How to Pick the Perfect White Paint for your Cabinetry

White Kitchen
Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios

White cabinetry is forever timeless and can transcend a multitude of styles, but selecting the perfect white paint color can be tricky. I know I’m not alone when I say I have a love-hate relationship with paint in general. In my experience selecting paint typically goes one of two ways. In an ideal situation, you select your color, apply the paint and relish in the satisfaction of seeing your space transformed.

In scenario two you get your space painted, but the finished product looks nothing like you had expected, and the sight of the paint makes you want to cry, but the thought of spending the time and money to re-paint is even more painful! 

Unfortunately, scenario number two has been my experience more times than I'd like to admit. So over the years, I've come up with some tips and tricks to consider to make your paint-picking-process a sure success.  


The first step to selecting the perfect white for your space is understanding that all white paint colors have undertones; some yellow, some gray, some peach, some blue, etc. white paints were not created equal. Often these undertones are not super obvious when you look at the white paint on its own but are enhanced when placed alongside other items in the space such as countertops, backsplash, wall color, etc.. Because of this, I always suggest choosing the paint color for the cabinetry last, once all  of the other selections have been made.

This approach will make it easier to see which white paint will work best for your kitchen. 


Another key consideration is lighting. While most of your initial selections will be made within showrooms or at stores, it is important to look at your final selections together in your home before officially committing.

The natural lighting your space gets in addition to the existing ambient, and task lighting can make selections look different than they did under the fluorescent lighting under which they were likely initially selected. Looking at your paint options in your home during different times of the day is also a good idea. It will allow you to see firsthand how the color may change throughout the day. Because the color you select will live in your home day in and day out, considering your home and its unique lighting will give you a realistic preview of the final results. 

Wood Species

Finish samples are also very important. Cabinets can be made out of many different wood species all of which have their undertones. For example, cherry wood has red undertones, while walnut has a more brown tone. So, it is imperative to have a sample made with the color you select painted on the wood species you will be getting. If you are painting your existing cabinets, paint a small portion of one of the cabinets, let it dry, then see what you think before pulling the trigger on the whole space.  

By following these tips, you can make your paint finish selections with confidence and rest assured that you will end up with the beautiful white kitchen you've always dreamed about!


Needless to say, after years of working in the industry and countless white cabinets later I have my favorite shades of white. Now, this is not to say these colors are the best; they just happen to be some tried and true colors that have worked for my clients and me. 

  1. White Dove OC-17 Benjamin Moore
  2. Chantilly Lace OC-65 Benjamin Moore
  3. Shoji White SW - 7042 Sherwin Williams
  4. Marshmallow SW-7001 Sherwin Williams
  5. Pure White SW-7005 Sherwin Williams
  6. White Heron SW - 7627 Sherwin Williams

What do you all think? Am I missing any winners? Do share; I'd love to add to my list!

Happy Painting!