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Publication Date: 2014-06-09

Design Insights

Architects' Top 10 White Exterior Paint Picks

Choosing an outdoor shade for your house is a big commitment. White is a classic, but go with the wrong one and you end up with a very expensive mistake. To take the guesswork out of selecting the best white exterior paint, we asked members of the Remodelista Architect/Design Directory to share their favorite choices. They know from experience what works; so puzzle no more – here are their recommendations.


Top row, left to right: Benjamin Moore Brilliant White; Benjamin Moore Simply White; Dunn Edwards Crystal Haze; Farrow & Ball All White; Benjamin Moore White Heron. Bottom row: Sherwin Williams Pure White; Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee; Benjamin Moore Linen White; Porter Paints Atrium White; and Benjamin Moore Cloud White.

A Connecticut house painted in Benjamin Moore's low-luster Brilliant White, a shade selected by Devin O'neill of O'neill Rose Architects because it's "a standard that always looks good." The firm worked with color guru Donald Kaufman on the palette for the house, and chose Donald Kaufman Color DKC-44 in semi-gloss for the porch and ceiling.

Photography: Elizabeth Felicella

Steven Harris Architects of New York painted this Upper West Side townhouse in Benjamin Moore's Cloud White.

Bay Area designer Nicole Hollis chose Farrow & Ball's All White as her exterior white of choice. The whitest white in our roundup, it's shown here in a porticoed exterior from Farrow & Ball; the door and metalwork are painted in Pitch Black.

DISC Interiors of LA painted the exterior of this Loz Feliz home in Crystal Haze from Dunn-Edwards. The shade has the deepest tan inflection of the paints recommended here.

Architect Tim Barber chose Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee for this newly built house in Santa Monica. The color is also a favorite of Bay Area designer Nicole Hollis.

New York designers 2Michaels worked with art curator Larry Weinberg in choosing Benjamin Moore Simply White for this outdoor room on Martha's Vineyard. Interior designer Kriste Michelini also recommends the shade.

Interior designer Meg Joannides of MLK Studio in Los Angeles painted this Brentwood Park house with Sherwin Williams Pure White; the shade is a true white that barely hints toward warm. The charcoal gray shutters are in Benjamin Moore Onyx.

Nashville architect Marcus DiPietro recommends PPG Porter Paints' Atrium White, a notably warm shade that he selected for the exterior of this Japanese-influenced design in Oak Hill, Tennessee.

Donald Billinkoff of Billinkoff Architecture in New York City rarely uses any other white than Benjamin Moore White Heron. Says Billinkoff, "In bright light it looks warm, and in low light it looks bright."

Bay Area landscape architecture firm Pedersen Associates admires Benjamin Moore's Linen White, shown here on a Mill Valley house. Says principal Pete Pedersen, "Here in Northern California, the quality of light is such that you need to take a little off the whites to keep them from having too much reflective glare." Linen White is the warmest of the ten whites recommended here.

Looking for a shade of white to paint an indoor room? See 10 Easy Pieces: Architects' White Paint Picks. For more color advice, consult our Palette & Paint posts, including Remodeling 101: All You Need to Know about VOCs in Paint. And on Gardenista, see The 8 Best Red Exterior House Paints and 10 Paint Picks for the Perfect Green Shutters.

Article by Meredith Swineheart. Swatch photographs by Katie Newburn.


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