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25 of the Best White Paint Color Options for Home Offices

A bright home office with white walls and flooring.

Pure white brightens up a home office but color undertones change mood. Whites with hints of color can change the mood of an office in ways that enhance accuracy, encourage conversation, and defuse tension. Tiny changes in tint can make a huge different in the feel of your home office.

If the walls and ceilings of your home office are painted pure white, you may get a lot more done if you apply a slightly different shade of paint.

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Pure white is the most common color for home offices, but not the best.

Tens of millions of office spaces around the world are painted white. White is the go-to color for contractors finishing office space, and it is a frequent choice for home offices, too. But if your own home office is painted a bright white, here’s some scientific research you need to know.

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In the 1980s a researcher named Nancy Kwallek at the University of Texas at Austin tested the impact of wall colors on worker productivity by giving three groups of volunteers a clerical task. One group was assigned to an office with walls painted white, a second group was assigned to an office with walls painted red, and a third group was assigned to an office with walls painted aqua.

Dr. Kwallek identified two groups of workers in the red and aqua rooms. Some participants in the study, whom she called “high screeners,” were not distracted by the bright red or bright aqua walls and ceilings. Other test study participants, whom she labeled “low screeners,” didn’t work as well in the brightly colored rooms as they did in rooms with more muted color schemes. But everybody made more clerical errors when they worked in the white room.

“White doesn’t make us more productive,” Dr. Kwallek said in her journal article. But what about the effects of other colors?

  • Red stimulates the pulse. It raises blood pressure. But a study at the University of British Columbia found that it also makes it easier to detail-oriented work.
  • Blue is calming. It helps creative people calm down. The same study at the University of British Columbia concluded that blue is a great color to use in your home office if you do a lot of brainstorming and need a steady flow of results. The study also found that blue stimulates communication.
  • Yellow makes people angry. It’s a terrible color for home offices used for telephone work or counseling sessions. In small doses, yellow encourages optimism. But bright yellows make people anxious.
  • Green is another calming color. It promotes creativity by encouraging balance that keeps people from following emotional or creative tangents to the task at hand.
  • Gray saps emotional energy. It gets people ready for hibernation, according to Colour Affects, a British psychological research foundation. If you really want to use your home office for taking naps, paint it gray. But don’t apply gray paint to walls and ceilings if you want to get things done.

Human beings can distinguish about 10,000,000 different shades of these colors, but no two people have exactly the same reaction to exactly the same shade of a primary color. The thing to remember about all of these colors is that when they used without any dilution with white, they help some workers and hinder others. But using these colors to tint white paint — leaving just a tiny trace on walls and ceilings or trim — has a variety of positive effects on the home workplace. Let’s take a look at 25 different white paints with special applications in your home office.

Best Bright White: Sherwin-Williams Extra White SW 7006

Extra White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams Extra White SW 7006 is the white you use when you a pure white with no undertones. It is not your best choice for a home office unless you intend to use it as a background for artwork, trophies, photos, and collectibles you want to stand out.

Ultra Pure White by Behr

Source: Behr

But you should not use this color for a wall you face when you are at your desk. A slightly less expensive alternative in a matte finish is Behr Ultra Pure White 1850.

Best White That Is “Just White Enough:” Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65

Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65 is a crisp white that isn’t glaring white. Designers sometimes describe it as “just white enough.” This is the shade of white you would use if your home office is bathed in sunlight most of the day. It’s devoid of yellow tones so it doesn’t make your office so yellow that you feel overly energized and combative. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65 has green and gray undertones that encourage creativity but allow you to relax. Just be careful about using this shade if you have lots of gray and green in your furniture.

Best Cooling White: Behr Falling Snow PPU18-07

Falling Snow by Behr

Source: Behr

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Behr Falling Snow PPU18-07 is the color you use when your office needs to be a place of clear, calm thinking. It is a white with blue and purple undertones that encourages calm communication. It’s a great color for your home office if you do a lot of telephone work. It’s bright, not overpowering and makes any room feel fresh and clean.

Second-Best Cooling White: Benjamin Moore White Diamond OC-61

White Diamond by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore White Diamond OC-61 looks pure white from a distance, but when you look up close, you see cooling blue tones. This is a shade of white perfect for subtle calming. It has an effect on your outlook, but it doesn’t take over the way you feel. It encourages an atmosphere of serene creativity. This shade of white is not creamy or buttery in any way and works well in rooms that have lots of natural light but also in rooms that have no natural light at all.

Best White for a Home Office with No Windows: Benjamin Moore Super White PM-1

Super White by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Super White PM-1 is a brilliant, sparkling white that is really overpowering in a bright, sunlit room. But it can be perfect for spaces that don’t have any natural light. If you have a basement home office, this white will ensure you have adequate illumination everywhere in the room. But the contrast to any other colors in the room can be draining for tasks that require concentration.

Best White for Smoothing Sharp Edges in Room Design: Sherwin-Williams Pure White SW 7005

Pure White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Do you have a home office with a triangular layout? Or maybe a home office laid out as a pentagon, hexagon, or octagon. When you need to minimize the sharpness of edges to give the illusion of space, you should check out Sherwin-Williams Pure White SW 7005. This shade has tiny amounts of yellow in it that give character to the bright light it reflects, with tiny amounts of black that soften shadows and smooth out the lines at the junction of walls and ceiling. Pure White is also a great choice for, especially large home offices. This shade is warmer in a south-facing room than in a north-facing room.

Best Pretty Damn White: Sherwin-Williams High Reflective White SW 7757

High Reflective White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

If you love white in all its brightness, Sherwin-Williams High Reflective White SW 7757 is for you. We’re not saying you will need sunglasses to work in your home office, but there is a real risk of glare if you have polished surfaces around the office. This shade of white is the most highly reflective white on the market. It’s also the least forgiving of dust, dirt, and grime.

Best Not Quite Off-White But Getting There: Sherwin-Williams Alabaster SW 7008

Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Here’s a white that isn’t off-white but it isn’t pure white either. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster SW 7008 has just a hint of purple, gray, and blue that tricks the eyes into seeing it as white by itself and tinted next to other objects around your home office. This is a shade of white used in stately offices with high ceilings and tall windows.

Best Not-Quite-Gray White: Sherwin-Williams Eider White 7014

Eider White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

If you are looking for a very calm shade of white or a gray that doesn’t make you feel sleepy, try Sherwin-Williams Eider White 7014. This white is the grayest shade of white that Sherwin-Williams classifies with the whites. The next darkest shade is a “gray.” This white is best used as an accent for other neutral colors in your home office.

Best Whimsical White: Sherwin-Williams Snowbound 7004

Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Sherwin-Williams Snowbound 7004 captures colors when it is textured. This not a shade to be used as a flat finish. It has all the colors of the rainbow and intensifies any colors you choose for your home office.

Best Mix of Light and Dark: Behr Snow Fall W-F-600

Snow Fall by Behr

Source: Behr

Paint that has both light and dark tones brings out sleek lines. If your home office is furnished in Danish contemporary, you will probably love Behr Snow Fall W-F-600. Often described as “Pinterest perfect,” this Behr paint is a great contrast to dark greens or a good background for office furniture upholstered in white.

Best Ivory: Benjamin Moore Acadia White OC-38

Acadia White by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Acadia White OC-38 is beautiful ivory that matches a tremendous number of color schemes. It is complemented by bright white trim. This shade of ivory adds depth to a room. Behind your desk, it makes your office seem larger. Across from your workspace, it gives your office a sense of spaciousness, particularly when paired with dark blue.

Best Gray White: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60

Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60 is not really a “gray” It is bright enough to be classified as a white. It can bring out blues and greens and give your home office a calming atmosphere, a little too calming if your home office does not have windows. It can be used with bright white trim or as a trim for bright white paint on a trophy or art wall.

Best White If Your Home Office Has Strong Sunlight: Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55

Paper White by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55 is the right color for many home offices that are flooded with sunlight. With just a hint of gray, it balances the energizing effects of natural light when it is used with a flat finish. When it is used with a gloss finish, it’s a great trim for rooms that have lots of natural light. The gray is soothing against the effects of the sun that sometimes stir up combative emotions. This is not white for windowless rooms.

Best White for Cluttered Offices: Sherwin-Williams Creamy SW 7012

Creamy by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Do you always have a stack of papers on your desk? Is your home office adorned with mementos and trophies and photographs? When you have a lot of different surfaces to bring together, a great choice in white paint is Sherwin-Williams Creamy SW 7012. This shade of white brings many different colors together. It’s also a great choice for a north-facing office that will get lots of “grayish” light that needs some golden tones to keep from becoming depressing.

Best White for Creative Work: Sherwin-Williams White Flour SW 7102

White Flour by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Do you need just enough energy to feel constructively competitive, determined to do your best but not overwhelmed by a need to compete? That’s the psychology of Sherwin-Williams White Flour SW 7102. It has golden undertones that also go well with blue and gold accents.

Best White for People Who Like Changing Colors: Benjamin Moore Moonshine OC-56

Moonshine by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Moonshine OC-56 has been described as “chameleon colored” because it reveals very different undertones at different times of the day. If your work style is very self-directed, that is, you are not particularly influenced by the colors of the walls and ceiling of your home office, you may appreciate the aesthetic of this paint because it’s never boring. Sometimes the blue undertones will come out, and sometimes the green undertones will come out, depending on the angle at which you view the paint. This paint is free of purple undertones.

Best White Paint for People Who Can’t Decide Between White and Beige: Benjamin Moore Ashwood OC-47

Ashwood by Benjamin Moore

Source: Benjamin Moore

Can’t decide whether to paint your home office white or beige? Benjamin Moore Ashwood OC-47 is less off white than light beige despite being in Benjamin Moore’s off white section. It’s the shade of white you use when you want more depth than “ivory.”

Best White Paints for Making an Office Feel Cozy: Behr Linen White 70 or Behr Navajo White 22

Linen White by Behr

Source: Behr

Navajo White by Behr

Source: Behr

Two of the best off-white paints for small rooms that need brightening up are Behr Line White 70 and Behr Navajo White 22. These highly reflective Behr paints have yellows to reflect sunlight in ways that make even small home offices seem snug and secure. They are a good selection for home counseling services and for writers.

Three Whites for Bright Home Offices with a Creative Vibe: Sherwin-Williams Fleur de Sel 7666, Sherwin-Williams Frosty White 6196, and Sherwin-Williams Spare White

Fleur de Sel by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Frosty White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Spare White by Sherwin-Williams

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Do you want a bright office with a cool, calm, creative feel? Three Sherwin-Williams whites with green and blue tones are a good match for you. These are Sherwin-Williams Fleur del Sel 7666, Sherwin-Williams Frosty White 6196, and Sherwin-Williams Spare White 6203.

Best White with a Warming Gray Undertone: Behr Close Knit T17-01

Close Knit by Behr

Source: Behr

Behr Close Knit T17-01 is a nearly-gray white with just a hint of yellow for warmth. It’s the perfect color combination for an office for a relaxed schedule or a retiree.

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