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Charleston White (DCR100) by Sherwin Williams

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When we recently redid the exterior of our home, I drove all around neighborhoods in my area looking for the perfect white paint color. Exterior paint is such a big decision, as it’s affected by a multitude of things like the lighting, the direction your house faces, and the time of day. I even went so far as to leave notes for several of my neighbors asking about their exterior paint color and I kept getting the same answer: Charleston White by Sherwin Williams.

Charleston White is part of the historic Charleston paint collection from Sherwin Williams/Duron and, in my opinion, is the perfect choice for a white home. It’s not too bright, too yellow, or too gray and looks good in all types of light.

Outside of home painted with Charleston White paint in southern setting and white washed brick.

In this post, I’ll tell you all about this perfect exterior white paint color, discuss other historic Charleston paint colors, compare cool vs. warm white paint, suggest complementary colors for Charleston White, and tell you about Duron and Sherwin Williams as a company. Could Charleston White be the perfect exterior paint that you’ve been searching for? Keep on reading to find out!

Sherwin Williams Charleston White (DCR100)

I have several blog posts about my favorite interior white paint colors like Cloud White by Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore and Extra White by Sherwin-Williams (SW 7006). I hadn’t done much research on exterior paint colors until we decided to completely renovate our front porch, landscaping, doors, siding, and shutters this past year. As with all paint decisions, there are some key things to keep in mind when deciding on a color like lighting, house direction, and the surroundings.

Painting the house siding white with Charleston White paint and pediment by Sherwin Williams.

LRV – Light Reflectance Value

LRV stands for light reflectance value and is a scale of brightness in the paint industry that goes from 0-100, but an LRV of 94 is actually the brightest white that you can purchase. The LRV of Charleston White DCR100 is 85.32%, meaning it’s a relatively bright white paint color with not much of an undertone.

Charleston White also has a hint of black to it, which prevents it from being too stark. Our house gets full sun, which we definitely wanted to keep in mind when choosing a color. House direction is such a huge factor in how paint (especially white) looks at certain times of the day.

Painters on ladders spraying white paint to exterior of home.

We went with Charleston White for our home exterior because we had just replaced our old wooden front porch with a composite material that is a bright white. We didn’t want to choose a white with warm or cool undertones for fear of it looking “off” up against our new porch.

Front porch getting painted with white paint and whitewashing brick.

We also wanted to consider the color of the railing and made sure to choose a white that went well with all the different factors at play. Charleston White was the perfect choice! As expected, DCR100 is a wildly popular choice here in the lowcountry for obvoius reasons. It’s a nod to the history of the area and all the beautiful downtown homes.

Historic Charleston Paint Colors

Sherwin Williams has many different paint collections and palettes to choose from. I find these to be extremely helpful if you’re going for a certain style or vibe on the interior or exterior of your home. For us, we wanted our updated exterior to be timeless, classic, and clean.

The Historic Charleston palette offers just that, plus we know that these colors will always be popular to buyers in our area, which is a huge plus when investing in such a lengthy and costly project. If you’re looking to update your own house and have a certain style in mind, or want to nod to the tradition of your particular area, I highly recommend heading to your local Sherwin Williams and taking a look at their Historic Collections.

Cool Whites vs. Warm Whites

Choosing white paint can be very difficult due to, you guessed it, undertones. Whites with yellow, orange, red, or pink undertones have a warmer appearance, while whites with a blue, green, or purple undertone have a cooler appearance. The easiest way to see what undertone your white paint has is to hold the swatch up against a “pure” white. You can also take a look at the colors on the same swatch a few rows down – typically the undertone will make itself more apparent in the darker shades on that same swatch.

White exterior porch with teak rockers and composite decking.
White porch paint with blue ceiling and decor. Warm grey composite decking and white posts.

Warm whites tend to look best in rooms with northern facing light, as they balance out that coolness. South facing rooms can sometimes make warm whites appear too yellow. They don’t typically look great with marble or quartz finishes, as the yellow undertones become more apparent and these types of stone can even make the paint look dingy or dirty. Older homes typically pair well with warm whites because of the abundance of beige and cream finishes.

Cool whites tend to look best with other cool colors and they do pair nicely with marble and quartz finishes. They work well in south or west-facing rooms by balancing out the warm afternoon light. I would stay away from cool whites if the style and decor of your home is warmer with lots of tan, beige, and cream. Cool whites are found frequently in more modern, contemporary homes.

Screened in back porch with teak table, Capistrano chairs, and coastal decor.

Complementary Colors for Charleston White DCR100

While having the exterior of our home painted, we decided to have the shutters redone as well. We went with Sherwin Williams Pediment (SW7634) for the shutters and I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s the perfect neutral that really suits our coastal home nicely. It pairs well with our updated coastal landscaping and will look good with any decor changes I may make on our front porch in the future.

Back of home exterior with White House paint, whitewashed brick and flagstone patio.

Another popular color choice down here in the Lowcountry is something called Haint Blue. “What is Haint Blue?” you might be asking; it’s a pale blue-green shade that is thought to ward off evil spirits, known as “haints.” It originated in Gullah culture and has become a huge part of architectural design here in South Carolina and in Georgia. Now, there’s not a specific color in the Historic Colors of Charleston collection for this, but I love Blue Heron DCR054 lightened at least 50%. It pairs so nicely with Charleston White and is a beautiful nod to the history of our area.


Sherwin Williams and Duron

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Sherwin Williams, but you may be asking “what on earth is Duron?” Duron used to be the third largest paint manufacturer in the U.S. but was acquired in 2004 by Sherwin Williams. If you go into Sherwin Williams stores today and ask for an old Duron color, they can use their ‘MyPerfectMatch’ tool to recreate that specific paint color. They also have pamphlets in store that contain all of these Duron colors for you to see in person. For example, all of the Historic Colors of Charleston were originally from Duron and contain the code DCR. My local store had no issue mixing up several cans of Charleston White for me!

Charleston White paint with grey decking on the front porch.

Charleston White DCR100

So what are your thoughts? Are you loving this classic and neutral Charleston color, or do you yearn for a more colorful home reminscent of the infamous Rainbow Row? Tell me all about your favorite exterior color combinations in the comments below. If you’re trying to nail down the perfect white paint for your home, be sure to check out my other paint posts to find your perfect match!

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