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The white paints designers use (and recommend!) again and again

Stairwell/Photographer: Nathan Schroder/Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White paint is the star in this dramatic stairwell by Elisabeth McCabe of Ecco Design.

Take it from us—you don't know how much you love (or loathe) a paint until you see it on your walls, and the most popular wall color—white—is no exception. We polled some of our favorite designers on their go-to shades of white. Spoiler alert: Sampling is key, whatever hue you opt for! Heed their advice, then shop our selects to find a look you'll love.

A white plastered fireplace/Photographer: Rett Peek/A plastered fireplace wall makes the case for neutrals in this Memphis home, designed by Sean Anderson of Sean Anderson Design.

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"A beautiful shade of white is always a good neutral to consider," says designer Anne Duterme. "It is fascinating how many options and nuances there are once you start looking at them!"

A neutral hued family room/Photographer: Joshua Wells/A family room in an Arizona home, designed by Dana Lyon of The Refined Group Architecture and Gene Kniaz of Spiral Architects, is bathed in neutrals.

Take the difference between cool and warm tones, for one: "Cooler tonality can come off as bright and energizing as well as clean. Warmer variances can evoke calmer feelings of comfort and tranquility and even heritage." Her current recommendations? Check out Benjamin Moore Cloud White and Simply White.

A Seattle home/Photographer: Andrew Pogue/Sherwin-Williams's Snowbound white paint makes an appearance on this bedroom wall in a nature-infused Seattle home, designed by Matt Wittman of Wittman Estes.

It's key to sample first, then observe, and then paint, to avoid color disasters. Designer Rachel Cannon points out, "You may think you're choosing a white, but when you look at that darkest color [on a traditional fan deck] it's maroon or emerald green—and that's going to show up in your white. Your kitchen will look pink or pistachio, and you'll always wonder why."

A kitchen nook/Photographer: John Woodcock/A bright kitchen nook in a Scottsdale home designed by Britany Simon of Britany Simon Design House masterfully balances different shades of white.

Sample using large-scale swatches in multiple hues and view them in various lights and during times of the day before selecting your final color. Rachel's preferred white, for the record, is Sherwin-Williams High Reflective White.

An airy entryway in a Florida home/Photographer: Brantley Photograph/Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace white paint appears in a Jupiter, Florida, home designed by Kara Miller of Kara Miller Interiors.

Still need more suggestions? Sample Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams (a fave of Traci Connell) Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore (Barry Goralnick's pick) and Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams, a favorite of both Kirsten Grove of We Three Design (she names it as "one of my favorite taupe-y whites. It's not too stark and it's not too creamy") and designer Molly Ballard of Emily Castle Design, who says the shade "is our firm’s go-to trim color when contrasting trim to the wall color."

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