Designers share their favorite white paints for ready-to-sell style.


What Is the Best Shade of White Paint to Use When Selling a Home?

By Tim McKeough

The New York Times, Dec. 3, 2014

  1. I’ve heard I should paint my walls white before trying to sell my home, but there are so many shades of white out there. What’s the best one?
  2. Your walls don’t necessarily have to be white to sell your home, said Andrew Phillips, an associate real estate broker at Halstead Property in Manhattan. But it’s a safe choice.

“Our job is to capture as many people’s interest as possible,” he said. “And to do that, you have to be somewhat generic. Yes, there will be people who love a black apartment, but it’s a very small percentage. To get the broader percentage, you go more neutral.”

That doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t use color.

“It really depends on the specific factors of your property,” Mr. Phillips said. “If it’s a very bright apartment, color on the walls can create a sense of warmth, happiness and hominess. That’s positive.”

In an apartment that doesn’t get much light, though, those same colors may make the place feel dark, he said.

It’s hard to go wrong when you paint your walls white. But there is a lot of variation.

“Today, people prefer clean-looking whites,” said Debra Kling, a color consultant in Larchmont, N.Y. “Those colors skew to the gray side, as opposed to the yellow side. They’re cool whites, and very clean and crisp.”

Ms. Kling recommended avoided yellowish whites “like Benjamin Moore’s Linen White, which was the default rental apartment color for the past 30 years in Manhattan,” she said. “It tends to look dingy to today’s eyes.”

A better choice would be Benjamin Moore Decorators White, Distant Gray or Pure White, all of which have a faint touch of gray.

“Gray is the new neutral,” Ms. Kling said. “Right now, I’m painting every 30- or 40-something’s new apartment shades of gray.”

But ask five interior designers for their favorite shade of white and you’ll likely get five (or more) answers.

Sara Story, a Manhattan designer, has a handful of favorites she uses depending on the natural light available. In very sunny apartments, she said, Pratt & Lambert Seed Pearl may be a good choice: “It’s a really creamy white. It’s nice because it warms a room up and isn’t too stark.”

If you prefer a clean, crisp white, and your home doesn’t get a lot of light, she recommends Farrow & Ball’s Wevet, which creates a “gallerylike” look.

Ms. Story also stressed the importance of looking at color samples in the rooms you intend to paint rather than making your decision at the paint store.

“White is really tricky, because it changes so much,” she said, depending on the light. “You have to look at it in the space where you’re going to put it.”


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