The Science of Selecting a White

Finding the right shade of white for your color palette to combat customer decision fatigue

By: Maggie O'Hare, Sr. Manager of Color & Design, Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood 

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White is a classic. It goes with everything. While it may seem simple, it’s anything but – there are endless shades and hues of white, each of which speaks to where it will be applied, trend or preference. With so many options to choose from, customers can easily fall into a state of decision fatigue.

We make about 35,000 decisions a day1 – take this one off your customers’ plates by offering an intentional selection of trend-forward, expertly curated whites.  Capitalize on the vast color expertise of Sherwin-Williams to help you narrow your selection, leaving your customers with a carefully considered collection of options.

Our Industrial Wood DesignHouse experts use the most up-to-date sales data, proprietary color trend analysis and knowledge of your business needs to determine which whites will make the best impression. Let's dive into how you can confidently narrow down your selection of whites to the most impactful and beautiful shades that will ultimately drive your sales.

The Importance of White

Whites are versatile, sophisticated and timeless – creating the ideal canvas for home design. Simply put, whites are always in demand. But not every white is the same and is susceptible to the same trends as other color and stains. Whites vary from warm to cool and shift in tints and sheens. By reducing your white offerings, you can help your customers make more tailored decisions based on their needs.

For instance, Ceiling Bright White (SW 7007) may not look great on furniture but looks stunning on exterior building products – providing the environment with color to make the structure pop. On the other hand, a subdued off-white may not make the same impact on a larger scale but creates a soothing environment inside the home with furniture and cabinetry.

Warm tones continue to dominate trends with creamy-colored kitchens and more transparent sheens on textured wood. Looking forward, our color experts predict shades of white like Snowbound (SW 7004) will make an impact.

When it comes to deciding on which whites to offer, start with some of our most popular - like our top-selling Pure White (SW 7005) or our best-selling off-white, Alabaster (SW 7008). Having a palette that features three to five on-trend white shades may prove more productive than offering 10 whites for customers to choose from. 


For more information on selecting the best shades for your palette, talk to your sales rep today!


1. CNN, Decision Fatigue Solutions, 2022

Stay on trend at DesignHousee!

At the Sherwin-Williams DesignHouse, our color and design experts are focused on one thing: enhancing the natural beauty of wood while helping you go to market with on-trend finishes. We can help you with:

  • Trend forecasting. As the market for painted wood products continues to grow, our color experts know the latest upcoming trends when it comes to both pigmented and stained finishes.
  • Palette Assessment. Leveraging data from the industries we serve, we know both what's selling and what will be selling in years to come. Sit down with our experts to discuss how you can translate these insights into new products.
  • Research and development. We work with you to make tomorrow's trends today's reality. At our Application Lab, we can replicate your finishing conditions, application methods and substrate to bring your desired finish to life


Meet the team behind the Trends!

Our team is located in Greensboro, North Carolina and has years of industry and design experience. 

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