The Only Six White Paint Trim Colors You’ll Need



A lot of you have been asking me about and are stressing over your white paint trim colors.


And it’s not that I blame you one bit. Did you know that Benjamin Moore makes some 150 different shades of WHITE?

To add to the confusion, we have a wall color and a ceiling color. Oh, and floor color. That counts because the color might reflect on your walls and ceiling to some extent.


On top of that, we have lighting. We have trees sometimes, cloudy days, and sunny days. We have different hours of the day, and then there’s night.



And there’s more. I have seen this over and over.



I had this situation in my old home. I painted the walls and trim (crown, wainscoting, baseboard) in my living room ONE COLOR. It was Pratt and Lambert Ancestral, and I loved it. But one thing. The crown moulding always looked ever so slightly pink. Nowhere else did it look like that. There was no pink in the room. And there is NO pink in this paint color. As a matter of fact, the colors underneath Ancestral are green! It didn’t bother me; in fact, it was kind of interesting, and it wasn’t on every wall.

Other oddities I’ve found is off-white paint that looks stark white. Or cream paint that looks positively peach.

This is why white is the most difficult color. Therefore it’s highly reflective and can take on seemingly bizarre characteristics that are beyond our control.

And that’s the operative word.


We believe that it’s our right to control how our colors are going to behave, and that’s where I think the crux of the issue stems from.

We can’t control it anymore than we can control the movement of the sun. Therefore, in the interest of getting on with more important things in life, like our families, friends, jobs, and blog writing, I’m going to tell you one thing.


And, for that matter, all of your paint colors.


Really Laurel? But what if the cream looks yellow or the white looks cold or gray?


Well, it’s probably not going to because I’m going to narrow down the 150 to the only 6 white paint trim colors you’ll ever need

Why six? Because I have found that these six colors cover the gamut and are generally reliable.

Still, you must test, test, test as always! And test the paint in the can to make sure that everyone understood what to order and mixed it correctly!


First, I’m going to tell you some other things you need to know

about white paint trim colors that I think will be helpful.


  • For walls with colors, certain colors like blue and yellow will look horrible if the trim is slightly beige, pink, or dirty gray.
  • Try to pick one white paint trim color for your entire home.

You don’t have to do this, but if possible, it’ll make your life easier

  • if you’re doing a white kitchen, it will also be in the same white as the trim
  • paint your ceiling in the same color

this is not an absolute, but a perfectly valid choice. My old living room ceiling was a beautiful pale aqua called pistachio. I loved it!

  • AND, if you want white walls, paint those the same color too!


But, Laurel, what if I want the moulding to pop and I want contrast between the wall and the moulding?


Right. I know. It’s because you’re going for that “wow factor,” right? It can be plenty wow if painted the same color. Most of my clients don’t want it to be the same color, and I specify two different colors for walls and trim.

Here are some lovely examples of rooms where the ceiling, trims, and walls are the same color or almost the same.


neutrals-buaia-burdge-associates-architectsBuaia Burdge Architects

Have you ever seen such beautiful millwork? Just yummy!


Jo MaloneRose UniackeRose Uniacke


540f56bbec197_-_ver-graceful-manhattan-apartment-5-xlhome of Adrienne Vittadini & Co.

Don’t you just love those closet doors? Faux books source is here.


Dungan NequetteDungan Nequette

Who was it who said that an all-white kitchen is so cold?


Frank Neely-white-kitchenFrank Neely


Stunning! It appears that the range surround is painted a deeper color. I say “appears” because I have seen situations where something looks like this, and it’s the SAME color! This was a winner at the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Kitchen of the Year.


loi-thai-tone-on-toneLoi Thai

I was a bit upset about this because I know that this is Loi’s home. However, I could not find one photo on the internet that credited him. It drives me nuts when someone credits photos to Pinterest!

Ta-dah… the Only 6 White Paint Trim Colors You’ll Need

6 white-paint colors


Simply White OC-117 – a soft, warm white, but might be too bright for darker colors.

White Dove OC-17 – the universal donor of paints. It almost always looks great. It is a white with a touch of cream and a touch of gray without being dirty– usually. But, it can go golden in some lights. It usually does not, however.

Cotton Balls OC-122 – another universal donor. Very much like white dove but virtually no gray

Linen White 912 – It’s usually not my first choice for walls unless the space has good lighting. But this is often an excellent choice for deeper colors like browns and golds. Fair warning, I did recently see this looking peach which I had never seen before.

Super White OC-152 – A beautiful, warm white, just a hair brighter than Simply White.

Ivory White 925 – Another lovely cream that’s a bit brighter than linen white

Are there other great colors? Yes, of course, but I’m trying to simplify your life. With some of the colors, the difference is so minute anyway. If you want to see the entire list of wonderful whites, here is a list of 20 great shades of white paint.

I read recently that there is no such thing as “plain white” from Benjamin Moore,

but that is not true.


I have a can of it because that was what was used in my apartment for the trim and ceilings before I bought it. For the ceiling, it’s White N215 01. [that’s the flat formulation] It has different numbers for different formulations. It is fine most of the time, but sometimes in the living room reads as being too white. I don’t really ever notice it, however.

In the bathroom, I really like it with my pale gray, Shoreline walls. I didn’t put it on the list because overall, I like simply white better. However, plain old white is often an excellent choice for gray colors.

Another good color sometimes is decorator’s white. It is also well-mixed half and half with either linen white.

What are your favorite white or off-white trim colors? Have you ever made a whopping mistake that the rest of us can learn from?

For those who are waiting, I will be getting back to green. After all, it’s spring—-

They say. haha!


Some Favorite Posts About White Paint Colors For Walls And White Paint Trim Colors


For my very favorite shade of white paint, click here.


Are White Painted Walls Boring?


White on White Decor Inspired by a Top Magazine Stylist


Do You Live With a Drove of Pigs But You Want To Decorate With White?


And What About Your Ceilings? Must They Always Be White?




PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES.

7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Brooke - July 16, 2017 - 12:39 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Ever need even if kitchen cabinets are off white? White dove was too light. I want to use your fav cotton balls but fear itll make my cabinets look dirty. ThanksReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 16, 2017 - 11:28 PM

      Hi Brooke,

      Sorry, but some typos are preventing me from fully understanding your comment. Please test your paint colors and then you should be all right.ReplyCancel

      • Brooke - July 17, 2017 - 1:36 AM

        Oh sorry, I was on my phone. I was being kind of cheeky saying only 6 trim colors when I need 7. One to go with off white cabinets. Test paint? It’s my hobby, dirty secret, bad habit.It’s so bad that the ppl at the benjamin moore store in town think I am a decorator because I am in there so much and I have so many colors memorized it’s embarrassing. I don’t gamble or smoke, I buy paint. xoReplyCancel

  • Allison - June 21, 2017 - 8:53 PM

    Hi Laurel! Love your blog. I’m in between on Colton balls and White dove for trim. If I’m going with a very light gray on walls (pale oak or classic gray)… which would you choose for trim- cotton balls or white dove?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 21, 2017 - 9:45 PM

      Hi Allison,

      Oh gosh. There is not a big difference between the two. But maybe get test quarts of each and see which looks better in your light.ReplyCancel

  • liz - June 15, 2017 - 5:39 AM

    Laurel! Hi! We are renovating the kitchen..last room in the house…a 1912 cottage with original hardwood floors and charm charm charm..but very little natural light..Over the years i have tried different trim and decorators to name two and this house just says no..they look dingy..and sad. Then I found Oxford White by Ben..why dosent anyone talk about THIS white? Its beautiful..crisp clean..we just finished the bathroom reno..i was going to use Simply WHite but it looked creamy..went with Oxford on the wainscotting and Wickham gray on the walls..PERFECT!!!..Wickham gray is also the choice for my kitchen now..the things my kitchen can do with light and colour is truly a sight to behold..EVERYTHING changes on the wall and nothing is as it seems..i sampled revere pewter on the wall..along with about 5 other colours but the revere looked like someone came in with a shovel and threw mud on my walls..then i tried Wickham looks completley different than it does in the bathroom..more of a green blue gray..and its PERFECT in this strange kitchen..I will send you a pic when we are your blog by the way!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 15, 2017 - 9:55 AM

      Hi Liza,

      Thanks so much for this great comment! Much here.

      I had not every heard of Oxford white so first checked to see what number it is online

      and then went running to my fan deck. I have never heard it mentioned either. But it is as you say, a clean, warm white. I haven’t compared it to some of the other whites in the “Color Preview” but I am guessing that it’s close to Chantilly Lace. And it might BE Chantilly Lace or some other white in the CP fan deck because they do that.

      And yes, it’s maddening!

      But, I love this:

      “EVERYTHING changes on the wall and nothing is as it seems.”

      That would make a great meme! And it’s yet another reason why I can’t recommend paint colors from a distance. And if there, it’s a bloody crap shoot.

      My favorite is when a wall color looks like pale cool gray on one wall and on the adjacent wall looks pale dirty gold. Yes, I have seen this phenomenon a few times.

      But the other thing is that having a point of reference is very helpful. For instance, you tried some whites and they were either too dingy or too yellow in your space. From there, you could look for another white that was neither of those things.

      And that is great lesson too and one of the uses of the paint collection. It is only 144 colors and while that might be fine, it might be that the perfect color for one, might be a shade lower or higher or on the next page of the fan deck. Having that point of reference is immensely helpful!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Davis - May 29, 2017 - 11:40 PM

    We had settled on White Dove for our living and kitchen but I didn’t think about the trim! They come tomorrow to paint walls, trim, and ceiling. So, in your opinion, White Dove works well on all 3 surfaces or would you have some variety in the white? I did read the post- just particularly insecure :). Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • Lori Patten - May 4, 2017 - 9:33 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thank you so much for your blog! I’ve learned so much. I have a quick question that I hope is in the realm of questions you are able to answer. I fully understand you being unable to answer specific paint color questions. I’ve narrowed down all trim and master bedroom color to either cotton balls or simply white. Would you say there is enough difference between the two colors to be worth the back and forth over it? Should I just toss a coin in the air to decide? πŸ™‚ I feel crazy and the painter is coming tomorrow.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 4, 2017 - 9:56 PM

      Hi Lori,

      The two colors are very close. I don’t think you can wrong with either one.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Lombardi - April 25, 2017 - 6:35 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for taking the time to blog! I feel like I am learning a ton. You have given me some confidence in making choices for our Wheaton, IL rehab.. I have been figuring the coffered ceilings/trim/staircase in dove white, and will have revere pewter put into the MBR. So now I feel like it just might turn out alright. How shiny of a finish would you put on the trim work? My carpenter suggests semi gloss. thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 25, 2017 - 8:02 PM

      Hi Linda,

      Yes, 99% of the time I specify semi-gloss for the trim.ReplyCancel

  • Tamara - April 16, 2017 - 3:22 PM

    We are building a new home and worked with a interior designer. The entire house is in shiplap. The walls are painted Alabaster and the trim was a paint chip color from the designer. The trim looks yellow next to the Alabaster. The entire house is done with the painting and I am seriously considering having the painter rework the trim and doors. My husband says just paint it all Alabaster. You made a case here for all one color. I think maybe a brighter white for contrast but now I am nervous. The house is filled with windows (it is a lake home right on the water) and is north facing. When the sunlight does come in it doesn’t look quite as yellow but most of the time in the indirect light it does. Any thoughts??ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 16, 2017 - 3:28 PM

      Hi Tamara,

      I’m sorry but I’m not doing consults at this time. I would speak to your designer or find one that works better for your needs.

  • Brad - April 2, 2017 - 6:40 PM

    Hi – Little input for trim with BM Tranquility AF-490 walls. Dove or Cloud White? Btw, really enjoy your blog.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 2, 2017 - 6:49 PM

      Thanks Brad!ReplyCancel

      • Brad - April 2, 2017 - 7:31 PM

        So which would you go with?ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - April 2, 2017 - 7:35 PM

          Please read the note in the comment box. Thank you.

  • Natalia - March 29, 2017 - 9:34 AM

    I have vinyl windows that are a little bit bluish in color. To paint the trim and window sills I used BM Cloud White that goes perfectly with the Edgecomb Grey wall paint. However, the yellow undertone of the Cloud White doesn’t look well with the blue of the window frame! What other white color should I use? Please help!..ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 29, 2017 - 9:39 PM

      Hi Natalia,

      Sorry, but without being there, I can’t tell you the answer to that.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - March 28, 2017 - 6:40 AM

    Just curious as to what LINE of paint for kitchen cabinets? As in, BM Advance, Duration, etc. Which is most appropriate?ReplyCancel

    • Chess - June 27, 2017 - 6:17 PM

      I just painted my cabinets using Advance. It’s designed specifically for cabinets doors and trim.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 27, 2017 - 8:06 PM

        Yes, that is correct. It’s meant as a replacement for oil-based paint.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 28, 2017 - 10:12 AM

      Hi Erin,

      That’s very difficult to answer because I don’t know if we’re talking new wood, old wood, stained, already painted, etc. Plus, there’s the skill level of the painter.

      Is it going to be sprayed or hand-painted.

      Personally, I prefer the alkyd (oil based) paint. It’s difficult to get though.

      My best rec is to discuss with your painter and/or paint store. They are usually very helpful with your unique situation.ReplyCancel

      • Jill - March 28, 2017 - 10:53 AM

        I used the BM advance over an standard alkyd on my kitchen cabinets. I really didn’t want any yellowing or lingering odor.

        I’m pretty please. I’ve had some chipping, not bad, but it’s what I would expect in painting over any old paint. I haven’t experienced any staining either, and we have 8 in our family, so we put any paint/surfaces to the test!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - March 28, 2017 - 5:07 PM

          Hi Jill,

          I hear you on the odor, however, I had my oil based paint up for 17 years and did not see any evidence of yellowing whatsoever.

  • Virginia Gillespie - March 11, 2017 - 1:19 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I (hired a local painter) recently renovated our disastrous laundry room, from the 70’s, that had old dark paneling,dark doors& molding,red fake brick on the bottom,glue on the ceiling from torn down fake beams.I pondered over cotton balls and cloud white for the trim,(I added lots of nice moldings) and many BM greenish colors for the walls.I really wanted a soft bluish green. most every color was to gray to blue or to green.It took me 6 weeks to weed out and narrow it down.I eventually chose white cloud for the trim and BM Prescott green for the walls, and I love it.It just looks beautiful.We also put in a Stain Master wood look vinyl plank floor, in washed oak.We’ve gotten many compliments. Thanks for your helpful postsReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 11, 2017 - 12:24 PM

      Hi Virginia,

      Sounds lovely! Glad that the posts are helpful.ReplyCancel

  • vicky - March 9, 2017 - 8:39 AM

    I have 19 foot ceilings with two double dormers and French doors in my bedroom. Around the dormers the ceiling comes down to 5′ from the floor, ceiling is not flat like in most of the pictures above it has quite a pitch. The only moulding is around doors, windows, and floor. I love an all white look. What do you suggest for white? Would I paint the ceiling the same color as the walls and trim. I like the first photo in the group above. I want a clean, warm, look. Thank youReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 9, 2017 - 10:09 AM

      Hi Vicky,

      One of them. :] Yes, a glib answer because I’m asked for colors about 50 times a week, no exaggeration. But I’m not there. The blog is here to help folks narrow it down for themselves. If you still need more help, please consider purchasing my paint guide

      and/or hire a color consultant. Thanks for your understanding.ReplyCancel

  • From New Jersey - March 6, 2017 - 9:41 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    I enjoy your blog and recommend it to all my friends. I have a hallway with off white damask wallpaper. It’s Schumacher but feels a little dated. I wanted to paint the ceiling, baseboard and doors to freshen them. There is no crown molding. Lately I have been painting all my ceilings and trim BM’s Chantilly Lace when I have light colored walls. However I worry it will be too stark for the wallpaper. Should I choose a complimentary off white shade for the doors and trim and use Chantilly Lace only for the ceiling? Should trim and ceilings be the same color?
    Many thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 7, 2017 - 4:01 PM

      Hi NJ,

      Oh, how I wish I could give you some advice, but without seeing the paper and standing in your room, it’s impossible. However, I will say that small differences in white for the ceiling don’t matter. But, if any doubt, make your samples and tape them up. More difficult on the ceiling.

      I often use the same color on the ceiling as the trim, but flat or matte on the ceiling.ReplyCancel

  • Rana K - March 5, 2017 - 3:46 PM

    Hi!, Im thinking of painting my house exterior (both siding and stucco) either a white dove or simply white. If I chose either of those, what would be a good trim color for door and windows? Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2017 - 8:05 PM

      Hi Rana,

      I’m sorry but I can’t give such specific paint advice because there are many things that I don’t know and it mean a paint consultation which I’m no longer doing. ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - March 5, 2017 - 10:44 AM

    if coventry gray has more blue in than green then why is the RGB factor 72.55 R 73.3 Gr and 71.76 Blue? Just trying to learn!
    Thank you,

    • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2017 - 2:14 PM

      Hi Cindy,

      There’s a base to every color and that also affects the colors. A plain base has a bit of a blue undertone to begin with. That is why so many grays go blue.

      In addition, green is a combination of yellow and blue, so more blue.

      But great question!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - March 4, 2017 - 9:35 AM

    I am painting my newly built home, Coventry Gray, Stonington Gray, and Wickham. Since they are all light green based, shouldn’t I pick a white for the trim, with a light green base? I was leaning toward SW Site White, also like SW High Reflective White but that is fairly bright.
    Thank you,

    • Laurel Bern - March 4, 2017 - 3:47 PM

      Hi Cindy,

      Yikes, I’m on the plane and my charger is konking out. No, you do not want a white with a light green base!!! First of all those colors have blue in them too. And in the case of Coventry, more blue than green.

      White Dove or Cotton Balls should be fine. But please test.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - February 21, 2017 - 9:39 AM

    I have chosen 3 shades of gray for my house..
    Revere Pewter for bedrooms
    Stonington Gray for Bathrooms/laundry room
    Horizon Gray for Hallway, living room and kitchen.
    What colour white would be good for trim and ceilings.
    Thank youReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 12:22 PM

      One of them. :] If you need more help, I very much recommend hiring a professional designer.ReplyCancel

      • Sue - February 21, 2017 - 12:59 PM

        Thank you for your response!
        I was thinking white dove for trim and ceiling πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 1:44 PM

          Good choice!!! I can say with 99.9% certainty that you won’t be disappointed!

        • Sue - February 21, 2017 - 1:51 PM

          Thank you
          By the way I love your blogs πŸ™‚

        • Laurel Bern - February 21, 2017 - 6:15 PM

          Thanks so much Sue!

  • Armen Sarkisian - February 12, 2017 - 1:32 PM

    Hi Laurel:

    I love your blog! It’s been extremely informative. I’ve finalized my colors with your helpful advice.

    For my north facing dining room, I’m going with a deep red. It’s a toss up between two Benjamin Moore colors: Heritage Red and Rapture. They both look equally good both morning and night.

    My Spanish Revival home has dark mahogany trim and I’m wondering whether you’ve had a good experience with any particular BM white for the ceiling in a primarily red painted room.

    Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2017 - 4:15 PM

      Hi Armen,

      I usually do something like linen white with a red wall. Ivory white is nice too. Anything less creamy is going to look quite stark against the red and mahogany. ReplyCancel

      • Armen Sarkisian - February 12, 2017 - 8:33 PM

        Thank you so much! Coincidently, I have Linen White in the adjacent living room in Matte.

        Is matte safe for a newly drywalled ceiling or is flat still the safest option? The red walls will be in matte.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2017 - 9:42 PM

          Hi Armen,

          You should check with your painter if there is one besides you. I think it should be fine. It’s more expensive than the flat.

  • Betzie - February 6, 2017 - 4:19 PM

    Have you ever seen elephant tusk with white dove or cotton balls?ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Hope - February 2, 2017 - 10:13 AM

    Hi Laura, ONE more question you probably hv answered 100x.
    My kitchen is dark, small window facing north, sm window
    facing east. My dilemma is do I paint walls Cotton Balls or
    White Dove? Kitchen cabinets will be a pale gray green like
    Richmond Gray or Castleton Mist. Thank you so much. Nancy
    p.s. I hope you never get tired of us!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 2, 2017 - 2:26 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      I’m sorry but I can’t tell you because I’m not there. I suggest you get some test quarts and make your samples to see which would work the best with your lighting as well as other givens in the room such as backsplash and counters. And also consider what is going on in the adjoining rooms. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - January 26, 2017 - 11:36 AM

    Help! I have scrolled through the comments and haven’t found any question about this- but I am about to paint my whole house trim and I had picked white dove (used it in other houses, looooved it) but I didn’t put it next to the plantation shutters which are that stark factory white and the house were renovating is 6hrs away so I can’t get back to test before painting- ah!! the shutters are everywhere in the house. Which of those 6 colors are the “whitest” so that they might resemble the shutters (even if doesn’t match exactly)– does it even matter if it matches though?!?ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Harrison - January 26, 2017 - 1:46 PM

      Don’t mean to jump in, but I have WHITE Plantation shutters in my entire house (all brand new, just built). I went with Decorator’s White for all trim, ceilings…and the main color of my house inside is Stonington Grey (BM) I LOVE LOVE it. I have no regrets and the Decorator’s WHITE and Plantantion shutters look stunning. If you want a pic, let me know. Good luck!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 26, 2017 - 1:37 PM

      Hi Lori,

      Maybe you can find some shutters at a store closer to you. None of these are super white. Maybe look at Chantilly Lace or even plain white. But really, I would try to find some shutters to hold them up with. Or, perhaps consider changing the stark white shutters. Perhaps they can be painted too? Lots of options. Sorry, can’t help you further.ReplyCancel

      • Lori - January 26, 2017 - 5:58 PM

        This is exactly what I was doing (in Home Depot, testing my whites against some factory white shutters they had on display) when you replied. You are so amazing for taking the time to reply to each of our crazy questions! I was actually holding up super white and decorators white and they seemed to be closest to the stark white shutter color. Here’s my last question If you’ll indulge me- would you consider putting one of the whiter whites just around the window trims (so as to blend more since they’re right next to each other) but still use a warmer white-say simple white- on crown molding, baseboards, kitchen cabinets etc.?? Am I way overthinking it?? I just don’t prefer a stark white all over, yet I don’t want to paint the shutters and it would be too expensive to replace at the moment. Sigh.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - January 26, 2017 - 11:39 PM

          Hi Lori,

          I usually do the same white everywhere, but I think it’s okay to go a shade creamier for the trim than the shutters.

  • Savannah - January 25, 2017 - 4:35 PM

    I am trying to find the perfect creamy white that doesn’t look too yellow for my nursery. I painted a sample of white dove, but I am afraid it may be too stark white and make my creamy white furniture look yellow beside it. What is your opinion on mayonnaise?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 25, 2017 - 4:42 PM

      Sorry Savannah,

      It’s impossible to form an opinion because I’m not there to see what’s going on. All you can do is try a couple other colors, but please make test samples. ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - January 24, 2017 - 12:15 PM

    I meant I am going with Cotton Balls!! LOL Slightly stressed πŸ™‚ It’s a lot of millwork!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 24, 2017 - 1:44 PM

      I would still test, but feel 95% confident with cotton balls since I’ve used it so many times and in many different lighting situations.

      Oh, but wait. You’re a designer. As you were. haha. ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - January 24, 2017 - 12:11 PM

    UGH! The stress of white. Literally, the painters are standing by. I always use Pointing (FandB) but this project has so little light. I’m going with Cloud White — 100% based off this post! Crazy, I know. But after sampling 30 whites, and reading countless designers’ opinions I need to pull the trigger. Thank you. Your blog is FAB!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 24, 2017 - 1:30 PM


      Please NO! Please do not ever just do something because I gave it as a suggestion, because a suggestion is all it is! You must always, always test your colors. I can’t stress that enough.

      If you are a subscriber, you will get a guide that will help you with that.ReplyCancel

      • LB - March 5, 2017 - 11:47 AM

        Oh so true about the power of suggestion. I pulled the trigger on Simply White, a seemingly go to white, when I was 75 miles away from my project. Fortunately my painter was wise enough to alert to the fact that it was reading green. I ended up going with Dove White AFTER sampling it.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2017 - 2:20 PM

          Hi LB,

          I’m also LB of course! It sounds like you have a north-facing room. Or, the time of day that the painter was painting acted like a north-facing room.

          That’s the thing that no one ever talks about, but a south-west facing room is like a north-east facing room in the morning hours.

  • Sally - January 20, 2017 - 3:25 PM

    I am installing board and batten “faux” wainscoting in my son’s room that needs to be painted white. The walls above the wainscoting will be painted Hale Navy with one wall having horizontal navy and white stripes.

    I think my white stripes should be the same color (but maybe different sheen) as the wainscoting. Any suggestions?

    Also, my walls are plaster and have a very slight stipple to them. I’d like the smoothest look possible for the “board” and batten so I’m a little hesitant on something too glossy.


    • Laurel Bern - January 20, 2017 - 6:39 PM

      Hi Sally,

      My suggestion is to hire a designer if you are struggling. Sorry, I’m not doing consults these days.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - January 16, 2017 - 10:05 PM

    I am having my kitchen cabinets painted white dove. Do you recommend semi-gloss on cabinets? Do you recommend spraying or hand painting? PS: I’m glad I found your blog. You are my spirit animal.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 17, 2017 - 12:13 AM

      Hi Laura,

      That’s not easy to answer because it depends on if it’s new wood or being refinished and the skill of the painter. I usually use semi-gloss paint, however.

      Spraying is easier, usually, but hand-painting is a laborious, expensive task if done correctly. They must use many thin layers with a light sanding in between coats.ReplyCancel

  • Merri - January 10, 2017 - 11:04 AM

    Hi !
    Found your website while searching for white paint colors for trim. We are biting the bullet and painting all of our 25+ year old home’s originally stained trim. Room by room to avoid being overwhelmed by the project. I really want to use the same color trim thru out the house. Was considering BM-Atrium White. Thoughts? We do have one bathroom that has white tile, grey grout, white tub, toilet, black vanity. Should we pick a different shade of white for that room?
    Thanks in advance!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 12, 2017 - 9:05 PM

      Hi Merri,

      It sounds like you might need to hire a pro to help you out. It’s impossible for me to advise from here, since I need to see what’s going on. I’m not doing consults at this time, but when I was, there was a hefty fee for consults. Thank you for your understanding.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - January 4, 2017 - 12:53 AM

    Hello. Thanks so much for your blog and its terrific suggestions and comments. We have a small enclosed porch off our living room. All walls in the living room and porch are painted BM linen white, and all trim is BM white dove. We need to paint the wooden floor in the enclosed porch (it’s too damaged to refinish, and our budget allows can only handle painting for now). Are there any pale grays that work well with linen white and that you’d recommend for the floor? I was considering Revere pewter, but wonder if it will be too dark….Thanks for any and all suggestions you can share!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 4, 2017 - 12:59 AM

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m sorry but I’m not there to see your specific situation including what other colors you are using, other floors, furniture, lighting, surrounding areas outside– all can affect the color. And even if I knew those things need to be there in person.

      My only suggestion short of hiring someone for help is to make your big samples on a separate piece of cardboard and lay them on the floor in different places. But remember to consider all of the things I mentioned and see your home as one composition with different parts.ReplyCancel

      • Sarah - January 4, 2017 - 2:58 PM

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I didn’t convey it clearly, but what I was trying to ask was whether there are any light gray BM paints that you consider to be especially compatible with BM’s linen white. The BM site offers a few “companion” colors for linen white, but none of them are in the light-gray range. Wondering, for instance, if I should be looking at light grays that have a hint of beige/greige, or if I’d be better off looking at the blue-ish light grays. No need to reply: I understand why you can’t answer this question without being on site! And I appreciate the wealth of advice you give elsewhere on your blog: many thanks!ReplyCancel

      • Debbie - January 4, 2017 - 11:30 AM

        I have used all these whites for walls and trim, but now I am working on the master and I am considering one color in varying finishes to create a calm, cohesive feeling. So, for example if I use Cloud White, I would use matte for walls, eggshell for baseboard and doors and satin for crown molding. I am considering Simply White for ceiling as a contrast in a brighter white to lift the ceiling and emphasize the molding. Any thoughts on this design plan? Thanks!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - January 4, 2017 - 1:44 PM

          Hi Debbie,

          It sounds lovely.

  • Natasha Kalita Design - December 30, 2016 - 7:14 AM


    I am so giddy to find your blog as I am obsessed with paint colours and white and love to hear thoughts on them!
    I entirely agree on your 6 whites, though I tend to use White Dove, Cloud White and Simply White the most. Especially love white dove and I used it throughoutmy own home; it really is the most perfect shade of white:)
    I cannot wait to read all of your posts as I thoroughly enjoy your style of writing!
    I am sure you have heard of Maria Killam? Another “colour whisperer” from Canada that also has fantastic advice on whites. White and Beige are truly the most difficult colours for clients and designers to master! It’s all about those undertones!
    Natasha Kalita DesignReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 30, 2016 - 2:14 PM

      Hi Natasha,

      Thanks so much for your kind words and happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - December 13, 2016 - 3:53 PM


    I just painted my kitchen cabinets a very cool white (behr dutch white) and although I love it now I realized that the rest of the house is a very dingy cream color on all the trim and doors. I had planned to paint the trim the same, but really don’t want to paint the doors. I’m trying to find a good inbetween off-white that won’t look terrible with my new kitchen cabinets! Please help.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2016 - 4:27 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Sounds like you need the help of an interior designer and/or color specialist. I am no longer doing consults and when I was. there was a hefty fee to help folks figure stuff like this out. The only thing is… a lot of designers won’t get in the middle of something that’s difficult to fix. Not saying that yours is… but you should find someone who can help you in person.

      This is not a no-brainer and I feel very strongly that choosing paint colors over the internet is a crap-shoot at best as one needs to see the light in your home and what else is going on. ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Primrose - December 3, 2016 - 1:32 AM

    Thank you for all the great info in your post.
    One thing you mentioned here was about blue and yellow and how trims that have dirty gray in them would not look good with these colors. I have picked white dove to use on kitchen cabinets and trims throughout, however you mentioned white dove is not dingy…usually-
    I’m using mannequin cream lightened by 25% and can slightly see the gray in the white dove in my northwest facing living room. Have you had experience with white dove coming out ok with yellow walls?
    Also, so you recommend using white dove on ceilings too, or cutting it by 50%?

    • Laurel Bern - December 3, 2016 - 1:42 AM

      Hi Pam,

      Thank you for your interest in my professional services, however, I am no longer doing paint consults–especially long-distance. ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer McDowell - December 2, 2016 - 2:15 PM

    LOVE this information1ReplyCancel

  • Mohsin - November 30, 2016 - 6:52 AM

    Laurel, what a wonderful article, THANK YOU. I couldn’t agree more when you said white is the most difficult color. I am building a house and the exterior wall is covered with white tiles (don’t know which white but very white). I have external columns and trims not painted yet and can’t think of a color. The problem: I have a roof which is almost mozart blue 1665 and large windows glass is nile green 2035-30. I am stuck what do you think?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 30, 2016 - 6:05 PM

      Hi Mohsin,

      Sorry, I don’t think anything because I’m not there, but I’m glad that you enjoyed the post.ReplyCancel

  • Sep - November 25, 2016 - 11:07 AM

    We are going to paint our entire home with BM White Dove. Can you comment on what finish we should use for the walls, ceiling, and trim? All eggshell, or just eggshell for the walls/ceiling with the trim a semi-gloss? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 25, 2016 - 8:15 PM

      Hi Sep,

      It’s really a personal preference. Ceilings are usually flat unless they are pristinely perfect and you’d like to see some sheen.

      I like matte for the walls, but some prefer eggshell. Matte is washable. And I always specify semi-gloss for trim.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - November 7, 2016 - 4:37 PM

    Do you know the paint colors in the Buaia Burdge architect picture? Love your site by the way. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 7, 2016 - 4:44 PM

      Hi Beth,
      Sorry, no, I don’t. Lovely room, isn’t it? It’s my belief that what makes it extraordinary is the architecture and furnishings, not the color. It could be any shade of white and be just as lovely.

      Also, even if I knew the white, it will almost definitely, not look the same in your home. I can pretty much guarantee that one!ReplyCancel

  • Meisha - November 1, 2016 - 11:15 AM

    Hi there! I am in love with BM white dove but we are having to use Sherwin Williams, any suggestions on the best white for cabinets and all trim? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 1, 2016 - 12:01 PM

      Hi Meisha,

      My favorite SW white is Dover White. Very pretty. However, it is possible that your SW dealer can match White Dove. Maybe get samples of each.ReplyCancel

      • Meisha - November 1, 2016 - 5:44 PM

        Thanks so much! I appreciate your suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • Alissa Wolbach - November 1, 2016 - 12:03 AM

    I hope you can help. I am building a new home and plan on white throughout. I am leaning towards simply white on trim and cabinets but am still unsure of a wall/ceiling color that will coordinate providing just a bare minimum of contrast. Would white dove work or should I use white dove on the trim and cabinets and simply white on the walls?

    • Laurel Bern - November 1, 2016 - 12:26 AM

      Hi Alissa,

      I am asked a lot for help like this. I’m sorry, but I can’t answer these questions because I’m not there. And I’m not doing consultations at this time. And if I was, there would be a hefty fee. :] The advice in the blog posts and there is a LOT of it in nearly 350 posts is free. Everything else is not free. :]

      If you’re struggling, I would seek out the help of an interior designer and/or color specialist.ReplyCancel

  • Pat Brizendine - October 23, 2016 - 12:37 AM

    You have the most informative articles! I’m choosing paint colors for the Living Rm and Kitchen. Our house is full of red oak trim, floors, cabinets and floor to ceiling wainscoting of red oak on one wall of the living room. I’m planning on using BM Gray Owl. Will White Dove work for the ceilings? I wish I could paint all the trim white, but it’s such high quality I can’t bring myself to do it, so I just have to work with it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 23, 2016 - 12:39 AM

      Thanks so much Pat! White Dove should be fine for the ceilings. I’ve specified it dozens of times.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - October 20, 2016 - 8:29 PM

    Hi! Love this post & am hoping you can help me! We decided to paint all the trim in our house Linen White when we moved into our home & it looks great everywhere except my daughter’s room. We recently painted her room a pale pink (BM White Dogwood) and the linen white trim & ceiling looks horrible with it… the trim looks way too dark and dirty.. I’m thinking about re-painting the ceiling/trim Simply White… thoughts??ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 20, 2016 - 9:02 PM

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the post Sara. Good luck with your daughter’s room and trim color.

      I can’t say what is the best white because I’m not there. And if I were there, I charge a hefty consulting fee. ReplyCancel

  • TC - October 15, 2016 - 10:57 PM

    Hi Laurel, I am so overwhelmed. Trying to remodel entire house with emphasis on kitchen and bathrooms. I have a farmhouse style house.I am using breadboard and white subway tile in my bathrooms. Will the trim and breadboard and cabinets need to be the same white as the subway tile? If so what is a good white to match white subway tile? Which leads me to the next problem. If it does need to be the same as subway tile do I have to do the trim in rest of house the same white as in the bathrooms – such as in adjoining bedrooms and on and on? I am also painting my kitchen cabinets white and have some breadboard in kitchen. I don’t think I really want them as white as bathroom. Can I have different color white cabinets, breadboard and trim in rest of house that is not as white as bathrooms? Losing sleep! Thank you for your help.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 15, 2016 - 11:32 PM

      Hi TC,

      I hear your frustration and worry. However, I am not there to see what you are talking about.

      There is no such thing as a standard white subway tile color. There are dozens of manufacturers and different types of glazes.

      However, if you are struggling, may I suggest finding a color specialist or interior designer in your area to assist you with your decisions.ReplyCancel

  • L.F. - October 10, 2016 - 3:24 PM

    Hi! Love your site and wonderful information! I was wondering if different shades of white could be used in adjoining rooms?
    My kitchen has a 5 foot door opening to the den area and I was wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets a different shade of white than the white walls in my den. The lighting is different in each room and also the my marble countertops in kitchen would look bad with the creamier color in den. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2016 - 9:34 PM

      Hi LF,

      Absolutely yes! In fact, even IF you used the same shade of white in the various rooms, the color WILL look different in each room! It’s the most amazing thing.ReplyCancel

  • sandra goodwin - September 23, 2016 - 3:31 PM

    Yes, big mistakes trying to use our current “white” trim color and just paint the walls. We have navajo white everywhere….we have it with october mist, comfort grey (which is really a sea salt blue) a grasscloth room and a wallpapered dining room. all very restful and inviting and the trim really pops. when we took down the wallpaper in dining room and tried to paint the living room and hallway walls (think it is harvest buff), realized navajo white is very yellow and goes with none of the neutrals we are trying to use!!! makes all the neutrals look cold and cement-like!! ohh, the thought of painting all the trim!!! wish i could find a warm neutral that is not yellow. have been using lots of green and beige in kitchen, warm living room colors (though there is a blue sofa) and the trim has always look great!
    can’t find a true greige. have paid more for samples than i am paying the painter!! (or so it seems!)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2016 - 6:41 PM

      Hi Sandra,

      Have you looked at Revere Pewter? And maybe Edgecomb gray. They are both greige. RP is a little more towards the green, but it depends on the light. Sometimes, the green is not visible.ReplyCancel

  • Deb Martin - September 22, 2016 - 1:00 AM

    Hi, love this information. We have an older cabin with the interior done in knotty pine, including all the walls and ceilings. This tends to be yellowish in colour and makes the overall feeling dark. We want to replace the kitchen cabinets with painted ones to break up all of the wood. I would like something off-white or more antique-looking, because I think something too white will look too stark and not look good with the rustic feel of the place. What undertones should I avoid? Should I pick something with a creamy undertone or will this just make the pine look more yellow? I think cloud white is too white. I am considering ivory white, and haven’t got a sample of linen white to compare.
    I would appreciate any help you can give!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2016 - 2:34 PM

      Hi Deb,

      I can’t say for sure, but I probably wouldn’t do white. I would consider using a greenish-khaki shade. One very nice one that’s not too dark is Benjamin Moore Nantucket Gray HC-111. There are others in my paint collection that’s for sale. (please see one of the two banners in the side bar)ReplyCancel

  • Geralin - September 21, 2016 - 4:34 PM

    Hello Laurel,
    Thanks so much for your detailed post(s) on paint!
    Unfortunately, some of us don’t have a lot of natural sunlight in all rooms; any suggestions for a North-facing master bedroom? There’s only one window – on the North wall.
    I’ve tried a few paints but so far, everything reads sort of grayish or greenish.
    The furniture is dark wood the carpet is creamy / off-white.

    • Laurel Bern - September 21, 2016 - 8:25 PM

      Hi Geralin,

      I would not paint the walls white. I would actually do a rich color, but you will need mirrors and great lighting too. ReplyCancel

      • Geralin Thomas - September 28, 2016 - 1:47 PM

        Hello Laurel,
        Once again, any thanks for your tips. I’ve now have patches of paint colors up and am noticing that the higher the LRV, the better I like the colors. So, I’m taking your advice and going to change the lighting and mirrors around and hopefully, I’ll make a final decision soon.ReplyCancel

  • Keeley McKinney - September 19, 2016 - 3:29 PM

    Thanks for the great information- in the middle of a kitchen remodel- cabinet, trim, walls will all be white dove!

    Do you know if the black window are painted black (in the second to last photo) or are they a steel frame? Love that look but the steel window frames are very pricey.

    Thanks !

    • Laurel Bern - September 19, 2016 - 11:07 PM

      Hi Keeley,

      Those are definitely steel. Yes, it’s a great look.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - August 28, 2016 - 10:50 AM

    Just moved into new home. Walls r Benjamin Moore bone white n doors satin bone white. I want to paint my closets but don’t know what color to go. Like bone white but don’t love it ( will b changed at future date).

    I’ve always been more of a light peach/champagne- but can’t change the room with 2 different colors. Anyways any suggestion on which light or neutral color i should go with..?ReplyCancel

  • Jess - August 25, 2016 - 11:28 AM

    Wow…I’ve been combing the Internet, literally for over a year and just learned more in your one article than…well, you get it. Won’t waste your time – only have one simple question I cannot find a definitive answer to anywhere! Recently painted entire home interior shades of gray (shocker) ;). But HATE that my home is overwhelmed with oak-EVERYthing! YUCK
    I did a fairly dark gray in my kitchen by Jeff Lewis, “Storm” I THINK, but trim everywhere is ultra white! I want to paint my oak kitchen AND oak built-ins in LR white, but NOT ultra white. :/ Do cabinets and trim have to match?? What white will be softer than/not so stark as ultra white, but not clash with trim??
    Your info is fabulous thank you!! I’ve bookmarked you! πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 25, 2016 - 3:28 PM

      Hi Jess,

      Oh please do waste my time. lol And thank you so much! I am not familiar with Ultra White. Is that a Behr color?

      In a perfect world the trim and cabinetry should match but mine doesn’t. (not my choice it came this way). However, there’s no crown (nine foot ceiling) and only one window and very little baseboard.

      The whiter whites that aren’t too stark are cotton balls, simply white, cloud white, chantilly lace, and super white. One of those should work. So maybe start out with the paint chips and then narrow that down to a couple of test samples.ReplyCancel

  • patty - August 18, 2016 - 3:02 PM

    Hi Laurel, so happy I came across your site and thanks for all your advice! I find it strange, that working as a decorative artist myself for several years and painting as my passion, that picking colors for my own home has me close to anxiety attacks. I currently have linen white primarily in my home, and also use BM decorative white as a brighter white in some areas. I read your article carefully on the 20 shades of white paint. I’m currently attempting to pick a “universal” white for all my wood work and window colors for four rooms I have just stripped wallpaper and primed. I plan on using one of your deep blue suggested colors for one room which is adjacent to larger living room in either gray or taupe tones. I tried your suggestion for cotton balls (too bright), lily of valley (still yellow tinge) and tried 1/2 linen and 1/2 decorative white which I know have renamed as “Declin” white (1/2 of each name) – still doesn’t seem right. Is there any white in your six favorites shades of white that you feel works with these tones so I can do all woodwork the same? Any thoughts would be appreciated. I imagine several people may be in this same boat. Thanks in advance! pattyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2016 - 12:11 AM

      Hi Patty,

      Try White Dove or Swiss Coffee.ReplyCancel

      • patty - August 19, 2016 - 2:36 PM

        thanks for the tip – can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - August 16, 2016 - 11:19 PM


    Just stumbled upon your blog/site. Love it all! In another blog post you mention when painting a kitchen using the same paint for trim as the walls. By same do you mean same sheen as well as color? Or should the trim be oil (if possible) or at satin (or semi-gloss) and the walls flat? I’m thinking that because of food spills and grubby hands the walls should be a non-flat though, right?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 16, 2016 - 11:48 PM

      Hi Pamela,

      I think you may have read that wrong. It is the same paint for trim and cabinets. You may use a different color for the walls. As for finish on the walls, I’m hearing varying reports about matte. It is supposed to be washable.

      You are probably safest with eggshell for the kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Deb - August 11, 2016 - 7:33 PM

    Ok, so I am feeling left out about the post on Restoration Hardware is someone going to share the link? πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 12, 2016 - 12:32 AM

      Hi Deb,

      Someone just left for the day. :] If you go to the blog tab, it is the most recent post.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Anne Edwards - August 11, 2016 - 7:00 AM

    Laurel , you are SUCH a pleasure to read! I’m not sure how I stumbled upon you (Pinterest?), but so thankful I did! Your post on Restoration Hardware had me laughing out loud! I plan to fully explore your blog as time allows! Let’s have coffee sometime! πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Julie - August 1, 2016 - 8:17 PM


    Thank you so much for this article. I am painting the interior of my house. I am getting so much criticism from friends and painter to avoid WHITE (look unfinished they said), wall and trim must have contrast. I want to do wall/Trim the same color. Thank you for showing all the beautiful examples and I feel more confident in my decision. I am in between Simply White and Dove White, I like both and cannot decide. My house is not very bright. I have both color samples on the wall and my eye keeps going to Dove White as it seems “softer” to me. I will be painting all the rooms the same color. Is one better than the other if house is darker ? I like “cool” tones.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 1, 2016 - 8:56 PM

      Hi Julie,

      They are both warm whites, but I am not so fond of cold whites because they can look quite icy.

      It’s best not to paint the color on the wall, but to put it on poster board and look at them one at a time and move them around and look in different lights.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - July 17, 2016 - 12:30 AM

    Hello! I have a pool outside my living room and kitchen windows. I find that the reflection of the pool is really throwing my colors out of whack. I’ve never had such a hard job picking out paint. I am trying to figure out how to ‘cancel’ so much of the blue I see showing up whenever I try a sample. Chantilly White looks electric!! Simply White looks better but still pretty stark. There is a lot of natural light in the kitchen, so the paints that have yellow in them also seem pretty yellow. Any suggestions for working with reflected pool water would help!!ReplyCancel

    • savannah - August 8, 2016 - 6:49 PM


      Are you putting a primer under your samples? If not, I would always recommend to since it can really change the color. I had of samples Benjamin Moores Collingwood (a very taupey grey) appear blue without a primer.

      Best of luckReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - August 8, 2016 - 7:26 PM

        Hi Savannah,

        I’ve never heard of that. I supposed it couldn’t hurt though.

        If one uses two coats of paint over white poster board, or a canvas board, they shouldn’t need to prime first. Primer is to make the paint stick and to cover up a wall color that is either much darker or lighter than the new color. In fact, the color of the primer could also tint the paint if only one coat of paint is being used.

        Is it possible that the Collingwood was mixed wrong? Or could it be the lighting in your room? Just thinking about what might’ve caused that to happen. ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 17, 2016 - 12:38 AM

      Hi Jill,

      Are you moving your sample to different areas where the cabinets are or will be?

      If you’re only looking in one area, it might be the one area that’s catching the reflection off the water.

      Take a look at Swiss Coffee. It’s a creamy off-white but not as yellow as the rest. Very pretty. Also, Cloud White 967 is also nice.ReplyCancel

  • Janet Adams - July 11, 2016 - 11:42 AM

    Hi! Updating a brick ranch from the 70’s and decided to keep the light blue and white tile in one of the bathrooms.
    The original trim around the doors and windows was painted blue as well! I started painting the trim a bright white and now the tile looks dingy and the white trim looks neon! Any recommendations on what to use???ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 11, 2016 - 3:29 PM

      Sorry Janet. If you’re having trouble and you’re there how am I to do it without even having that benefit?

      My recommendations are to get a fan deck(s) and match up the colors. They don’t have to be exact, but you will definitely be able to find something better.

      Or you could also purchase the Laurel Home Essential Paint Collection which has an entire chapter devoted to white colors + 12 beautiful whites and my favorite four shades of white

  • Connie - July 11, 2016 - 11:23 AM

    I’m going to use linen white on my walls. Because I have lots of light, I think it will look good. But, I need some advice about doors/ trim. White dove looks too grey. What would be good for trim without so much grey?
    Thanks for a great post!

    • Laurel Bern - July 11, 2016 - 3:25 PM

      Hi Connie,

      I can’t make recommendations online, however, in the past have used linen with white dove and they coordinate beautifully. Linen white also has a fair amount of gray in it.

      But I also love to use the same color when I do white. I love the atonal look.ReplyCancel

      • Connie - July 11, 2016 - 8:08 PM

        Thanks for the reply and great advice. I appreciate it!ReplyCancel

  • michele handschuh - July 5, 2016 - 9:55 AM

    On your list of six white paints, you list White Cloud, but then refer to Cloud White. What is the difference, in your opinion?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 5, 2016 - 10:10 AM

      Hi Michele,

      White cloud is a typo on the graphic. It is 967 Cloud White and unfortunately BM created a color with the names reversed which I am sure has resulted in some mistakes. This is why when I specify colors, I always put both the name and number to lessen that possibility.

      As for the difference, Cloud White 967 is a warm, off-white and White Cloud 2159-70 is a deeper cream shade. I think that “white” is a misnomer for the latter as is often the case when they name their colors. Cream Puff Filling would’ve been better. ;]ReplyCancel

  • Colleen C Cairncross - June 29, 2016 - 1:42 PM

    I am looking for a white to use for trim and doors (and in a bathroom with no natural light) in an open concept dotage that we just bought that is all pine — the previous owner started to use BM Pickling white but did not finish the job, and we have a highly-recommended professional coming to finish off properly, doing all the walls and high open pine ceiling (ceiling if rough cut pine). I am uncertain what undertone the pine might add to the whitewash/pickling white colour and want to choose a trim colour that will be bright and fresh. ALSO there are new windows that have white inner (manufacturer) frames to think about. Simply white? I want fresh and clean looking ….ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - June 26, 2016 - 4:42 PM

    I wondered if you ever tried BM Lancaster Whitewash and what you think. I used it in my bedroom and loved it but when I pained my kitchen and foyer trim it’s looking a little yellow to me. BM also has a color called Lancaster White but I
    originally thought that paint chip looked more yellow than the Lancaster Whitewash. My walls are BM Revere Pewter. Can you suggest the right off white color if you think the Lancaster Whitewash is too yellow or creamy. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 4:53 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      I don’t normally recommend paint colors but take a look at White Dove with Revere Pewter. WD is the perfect white for all of the warm grays. ReplyCancel

  • Scott - June 11, 2016 - 3:27 PM

    What color white is the Buaia Burdge Architect room?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 12, 2016 - 12:11 AM

      Hi Scott,

      I don’t really know. but what I do know is that it’s not so much the color as it is the gorgeous architectural features and furnishings. Even if I did know the color, it would not look the same in your home. ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - June 5, 2016 - 3:06 PM

    Hi! Loved the article! What are your thoughts on BM vanilla milkshake? Just painted my large great room that color, too and it opens to the breakfast area that’s creamy white. Trying to figure out a way to subtly blend without having to paint the whole breakfast/kitchen the same color!! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 6, 2016 - 12:26 AM

      Hi Ashley,

      I’ve never used VM, however, I study paint colors and have heard very good things about it. I’ve written a lot more about this in my new paint collection which is so much more than a paint collection. But so many of these whites are either duplicates or are so close to another white that it’s silly to have both. I can’t help you with your dilemma because I’ve decided not to do paint consults long-distance. I can’t see what’s going on and even with photos, i found it very problematic.ReplyCancel

  • Karel - May 25, 2016 - 2:05 PM

    I just had my oak kitchen cabinets painted BM HC -81 Manchester tan. I now would like to have my trim painted as well on my first floor. What color would you suggest? Same color as cabinets throughout or a white?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 25, 2016 - 2:43 PM

      Hi Karel,

      I’m sorry, but I can’t give individual help in the comments–especially based on a description. In addition, coming into the middle of a project and advising is not something I do either. No worries. It happens numerous times a week. The general public has no idea what goes into selecting colors, but I have discovered that it’s next to impossible to do, even with photos and totally impossible based on a description. Thanks for your understanding.


  • Jacque - May 22, 2016 - 5:11 PM

    Hi..I have a log home with some interior sheet rock. I had a designer come in and she suggested decorates white for some doors etc. It looks good on the doors that are on sheet rock (the walls are ballet white) I started doing my stair risers…AWFUL…too bright white…..the treads are stained (hoping for a runne in the future) I don’t have it in me to repaint the doors. Can I mix whites..meaning use something like cotton ball on the treads and spindles? Think I should have just left it wood but too late now.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 22, 2016 - 8:35 PM


      This is frustrating for me, because I’m sure that there are lots of rememdies, but since I can’t see the situation, the lighting, what else is going etc. it’s impossible to advise you. Sorry about Dec White. I’ve never used it and that is why. When it’s bad, It’s really bad.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Merwick - May 15, 2016 - 2:54 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Love the info – I have bm white dove for all my trim and bm decorators white for the ceiling in my orangery extension with bm classic grey walls and it looks fantastic we get lots of compliments on the paint and who would have guessed since the colors are so subtle it’s hard to tell it’s even grey! I also painted my nursery bm silver satin with bm white dove trim because I wanted a really soothing and relaxing neutral. I didn’t realize the white dove was actually going to be darker than the walls but it looks good together.

    I have a question – our bedroom is an attic conversion so one side is slanted which makes painting the room tricky because the wall is curved and doesn’t allow for a natural ‘end’ to the ceiling. So I am thinking I need a good white to paint the entire room (walls, ceiling, doors, trim, built-in closet) but I am reluctant to use white dove if there is a better white. The room has a huge window and a skylight so it gets plenty of sun. I have a large upholstered dark teal bed, black and gold dresser/nightstands, gold lamps with black drum shades, black and white graphic rug from ikea, and black and white vertical stripe curtains. Because the bed is a blue base I was wondering if I should go for a blue base white? Or do I use a white that is more complementary like one with a coral or peach base? Any suggestions would be fab πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your timeReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 16, 2016 - 12:47 AM

      Hi Colleen,

      I can’t comment on color choices for a lot of reasons, but I will say that I ALWAYS paint these types of rooms one color — all the way around. It does not have to be white. It can be any pale color that looks good to your eye. I think coordinating it with the bed is a good start.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - May 11, 2016 - 10:31 PM

    Hi! Loved your article!! I am confused. Is off white different than creamy? I have tried SW Creamy and BM Ivory white but they seem to buttery. I think I want a more classic, vintage, simple off white. Definitely not bright white. Picture an old nautical off white. Is there a difference? Thank you!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 11, 2016 - 10:44 PM

      Haha Carrie! Is there a difference? Well, beauty is in the eye of… and the lighting and the other things around it and the lighting… If those are looking too yellow, maybe take a look at Swiss Coffee. And then, there’s my favorite Cotton Balls. It’s not yellow, but it is warm and soft.ReplyCancel

  • Alicia - April 26, 2016 - 4:19 PM

    Torn between white dove and chantilly lace and decorator white for kitchen cabinets and trim and ceiling throughout contemporary style house (built in 92). Planning to do bm intense white through most of first floor and upstairs hallway which is pretty open. Don’t want to darken the house if white dove looks too gray – but is chantilly too stark – decorators white too blue? Thanks so much! (And sorry if this is a repeat post – tried to post on another one of your articles but don’t think it went through?)ReplyCancel

    • Judy - September 9, 2016 - 9:19 AM

      Hi Alicia-just wondering what you ended up doing with your paint and how you like it. I’m considering one of the combinations you were. Intense white paint for walls, possibly white dove trim and ceiling (WD matches my kitchen cabinets). But also considering WD on walls as well. we have open plan with North and south windows. Paint consultant wants me to do Sherwin Williams Repose gray, but I want white-ish!ReplyCancel

      • Jill - September 10, 2016 - 11:56 PM

        I just painted my walls with Classic Gray and trim and ceilings in White Dove. It’s so subtle, airy, and lovely. Warm while being super clean. I love it!! I think some people want high contrast but I have a dark wood floor that is providing contrast enough.ReplyCancel

        • Judy - September 13, 2016 - 1:34 PM

          Thanks so much for your response. After dozens of gray and white trials, I hadn’t tried Classic Gray. Guess what? Winner! I think it’s going to work for us–painters come in 2 days. White dove trim &ceilings for us too! Thanks again!

        • Jill - September 13, 2016 - 8:16 PM

          Oh good! I guess my testing of 2,378 samples benefitted someone else! πŸ™‚

        • Laurel Bern - September 13, 2016 - 11:46 PM

          Yes, the paint store. lol

        • Laurel Bern - September 13, 2016 - 7:20 PM

          Hi Judy,

          That color IS a winner! I discovered it because it is a favorite of my identical twin brother, Loi Thai. lol

          And of course, being that we’re identical twins, I love everything that he loves!

    • Laurel Bern - April 26, 2016 - 4:57 PM

      Hi Alicia,

      I got both your notes and appreciate your needing help. Perhaps you missed the note which is as close to the comment box as I could get it. But it’s impossible for me to give individual advice.

      Even if you were paying me, I can’t help someone in the middle of a project because there are often givens that I wouldn’t have recommended. If you subscribe to the blog, you will get my paint guide that explains how to select paint colors. You use the “Are you Freaking Out” form.ReplyCancel

      • Alicia - April 27, 2016 - 3:56 PM

        Thanks so much. Will try to find that form. As a general question about trims though in a modern (but not ultra modern setting) – do you want a stark contrast from the wall to trim and ceiling or do you want it to be more subtle? What generally makes the room feel brighter?ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - April 27, 2016 - 3:58 PM

          Hi Alicia,

          There are no generalities. I prefer that white trim and walls be the same color.

  • AnnieT - April 26, 2016 - 7:41 AM

    Great post Laurel! We have Ivory trim (from BM) throughout house and LOVE it. It really read s a very warm white in our home. What whites would go with Ivory trim in your experience (as we are about to repaint the bedroom walls white and don’t want to repaint trim….)? I am afraid of the contrast making the lovely Ivory trim look too yellowy. Perhaps there are some whites that have a more golden base that would not do that? Many many thanks and keep up the great work!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 26, 2016 - 12:43 PM

      Hi AnnieT,

      Ask me something difficult? Paint the walls Ivory white but in the matte finish. (It’s washable) I always paint the trim and wall the same color when doing white or off-white. Always. ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 25, 2016 - 2:39 AM

    Thanks for your suggestions! Over the past two months, we’ve been up to our necks in a complete reno of our 32-year-old kitchen–including having new custom cabinets built. We’re settled on a two-tone kitchen (staining the base cabinets a dark walnut color and painting the upper cabinets white).

    I *thought* I had settled on Behr’s “White Dove,” which is a rich and creamy white. But after the countertops were installed (White Macaubas quartzite), I now see that the countertops are a lot grayer than I expected. I love them, but not with Behr’s White Dove.

    I’m eager to take a look at BM’s Dove White, as it sounds like it might have a hint of gray while still erring on the slightly warm side. I’d also like to grab a sample of Simply White. I have a few more days before I need to make a decision. Thanks for the tips!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - July 17, 2016 - 12:25 AM

      What did you decide? I’m having to make cabinet color decisions before my White Macaubas is installed and it’s making me crazy trying to decide! I have a sample of BM Simply White that I *think* might work, but it’s so hard without the counter in.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - July 17, 2016 - 12:35 AM


        Do you have a sample of the counter stone from the slab they’re fabricating it from?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 25, 2016 - 10:40 AM

      Good luck with that Kim. White Dove is a great color.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - April 18, 2016 - 6:43 PM

    SUCH a good article (I loved the longer version as well). Do your recommendations change at all for a contemporary home, as opposed to traditional–especially in terms of using a different white for walls versus ceilings/trim?

    We’re building a home in the Colorado mountains–very contemporary with industrial and rustic accents. Nothing too harsh or sleek–lots of reclaimed wood and rusty metal. I had chosen Farrow and Ball’s ‘Strong White’–and was planning on just doing different finishes for walls/ceilings/trim. But now I’m wondering if I should choose two different colors?

    Thanks so much for your perspective!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 18, 2016 - 10:26 PM

      Hi Amy,
      I generally do the same color white for ceiling trim and walls. It WILL look different on the different planes and finishes. It does not matter if it’s contemporary or traditional.ReplyCancel

  • MaryEllen - April 18, 2016 - 11:15 AM

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog! I’m moving into a new development in southern Calif and all trim is SW Swiss Coffee. I have decided to paint everything white since it is a pretty open floor plan and we have several paintings. It is also much warmer and includes views outdoors from all main rooms. I want to have just a hint of warmth in wall color. Should I stick to same color on walls or go with something more like Ivory White?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 18, 2016 - 10:20 PM

      Hi MaryEllen,

      I can’t say for sure but I usually do the same trim and wall color when doing white and off-white.ReplyCancel

  • Nita - April 15, 2016 - 2:58 AM

    Every single piece of trim, the doors, and all but one ceiling in my house are painted BM Pale Oak.
    Now I’m looking to paint a NE facing room a contrasting white and, oh boy are there a lot of whites!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 16, 2016 - 4:29 PM

      Hi Nita,

      Yes, there are, but I would try to stay focused on the tried and true and not be too influenced by the rest that in many cases are so close to the rest that it’s not really significant enough to make a big difference. And I would stay away from the cold, icy whites for your NE facing room.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie Largent - March 23, 2016 - 10:04 PM

    Hi Laurel. Thanks for the article. Very interesting. We are going to paint the exterior of our home Eddie Bauer Pine Needle EB23-2 which a sort of neutral sage.
    I am still a little unclear on which of your six whites would look nice with a green like this. Thanks for the help.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 24, 2016 - 12:06 AM

      Sorry, Bonnie, but the comments are meant for discussion that can benefit everyone, not individual consulting. No worries. I write this note about 3 times a day–sometimes more!

      If you read yesterday’s post, perhaps it’ll be more clear why it’s impossible to advise people on paint colors without being THERE! It would be phenomenally unprofessional to throw out a color based on an image on my computer screen. In addition, I can’t see the light or anything else that’s going on that could affect the color.

      While the colors in this post may very well work outside, these are colors I’ve used inside. One thing to note is that colors generally appear brighter outside, so I would opt for a white with some depth to it. Perhaps consult with the store where you bought the paint to see what they or the company recommends as a coordinate white or off-white trim color.ReplyCancel

  • nora - March 15, 2016 - 4:23 AM

    This is a great article, however, how does one deal with painting doors if on one side of the door is a warm white like BM “Cloud White” and on the other side, a cool white such as “decorators white”? Especially if you have painted ceilings and trim the same colours as the rooms.
    Do you paint the door 2 different whites, warm on one side and cool on the other or do you choose yet another white?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 15, 2016 - 8:37 PM

      That’s a very good question Nora. Generally, I recommend choosing one white, but if not then the door should be painted the same as the trim as how it would be when closed, not open. The reason being is that when closed it will clash horribly if painted the opposite color. But when open because of the different angle will probably blend in better.ReplyCancel

  • Deb B - March 14, 2016 - 9:28 PM

    I used BM Cloud White on all the trim, kitchen cabinets and paneling in my home. It works well with all the BM neutrals I picked for the walls (Powell Buff, a few different tans, Revere Pewter, Edgecomb Gray.) I love it. The exterior of my home is painted BM Linen White– we don’t have shutters because of wide and asymmetrical windows, so the creamy Linen White softens up the whole scene. After reading your post, I’m ready to paint a big area Dove White. Maybe the basement. It’s due for a fresh coat. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 14, 2016 - 10:53 PM

      That sounds terrific Deb. Cloud White is a good one for sure and I agree with your pairings. ReplyCancel

  • nora redden - March 7, 2016 - 12:20 AM

    I am curious, when painting in white and keeping ceilings, trim and walls the same colour, as in the sample photos, how do they decide on sheen?

    Your blog mentions a glossy or even oil for the trim which is delicious but then how do you do choose sheen for both the ceiling and walls? Do you keep them both the same? ie) walls and ceiling in eggshell or flat? or ceiling flat and walls eggshell and if so, how does that affect the overall room with 3 different sheens?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 7, 2016 - 11:50 PM

      Hi Nora,

      That is a good question. Ideally, I love semi-gloss oil for the trim but it’s outlawed in some states, so then semi-gloss latex. If one has a more country, slightly rustic home, then satin is fine too.

      For the walls, when using Benjamin Moore, I love their matte finish which is like flat only washable.

      If using the same color, you can use the matte on the ceiling. OR you can get a gallon of flat. If there’s any difference, though, it’s negligible.

      Some people do prefer a slight sheen on the walls and then they use eggshell, but I would always do flat on the ceiling because if it’s at all shiny, it’ll hi-light every imperfection.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Muzzalupo - February 26, 2016 - 10:16 PM

    Love this post! You saved me hours and hours. Will use White Eove (matte) on walls and trim (semi-gloss). Also, planning to paint cabinets White Dove. What finish would you recommend? Semi-Gloss to match trim? Also, would you recommend Aura or Regal Select for a long-lasting finish. I know I could ask my painter, but he used Ben paint in our last house and it’s awful (marks easily and not washable). He did a great job painting, but we weren’t happy with the paint. Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2016 - 12:13 AM

      I like the Regal Select Sheryl, but the Aura is great too. I usually do semi-gloss for all trim and cabinetry. Please read last week’s post if you see this comment. You’ll laugh.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - February 23, 2016 - 3:40 PM

    Laurel, Thank you so much for this tutorial on “white”! I have recently bought a new house. It’s a beautiful country estate on 30 acres of rolling hills. I must say, I bought the home for the location and the “bones” not the interior. The entire home has to be completely redone, from the floors to ceilings. Which brings me to my problem: Every window in this 5000 sf home has beautiful plantation shutters in WHITE!…normally I would think that’s fine, however I love the look of Robin’s Egg Blue with cream~ trim. I’ve narrowed the cream contenders down to three.. SW7012 – Creamy, SW7010 – White Duck, and Benjamin Moore’s CSP 305 – Crisp Linen. I’m concerned that the cream trim surrounding the WHITE plantation shutters will look dirty. What are your thoughts? Should I forgo the entire Cream trim idea and just go with WHITE?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 24, 2016 - 2:24 AM

      Hi Tracy, I am asked this sort of question about 10 times a week and what I always say is that it’s like a doctor diagnosing you over the phone based on the fact that you’re not feeling well. I cannot SEE what you’re seeing. What I recommend is that if you’re struggling to find a professional color consultant in your area. If that isn’t an option, then buy a few test samples. Make your little boards. If you subscribe to the blog via the turquoise and white form, you’ll get a free paint guide that explains the best way to choose colors. Your eye will tell you when it’s right.ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne - February 16, 2016 - 10:47 AM

    I am so glad I came across this post as I am renovating a very DARK 70’s split level and am stressing over just the right white! (Kill me now!)

    My question: I’m totally good with doing a semi-gloss version of the paint on the trim (and kitchen cabinets are being painted to match and will get a coat of their own lacquer). But what do I do about the ceiling? I don’t like flat paint so was going for an eggshell finish on the walls… do I go flat on the ceiling? Eggshell like the walls? Help please!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 16, 2016 - 11:42 AM

      Hi Adrienne,

      I recommend flat for ceilings because any shine will hi-light any slight imperfection.ReplyCancel

  • Deb - February 3, 2016 - 9:49 PM

    Thank you! I am so happy that you have chosen to help so many people like me that struggle and yes stress over the right white. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Deb - February 3, 2016 - 9:19 PM

    Hi, I’m a frequent visitor. Chose White Dove for exterior of my home now looking at BM White Heron OC-57 its not on the list so just wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on this color if you have any experience with it. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2016 - 9:40 PM

      Hi Deb,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I have not ever used White Heron, however, I’ve seen others who have. This is funny, but I’m working on my paint collection guide and putting my selections IN the guide as we speak. I narrowed it down to nine whites and I will tell you why.

      Sometimes the difference is between 10:00 and 11:00. What do I mean by that? I mean a subtle switch of the sun. Partly cloudy vs. partly sunny.

      98% of the time, White Dove is an awesome white. I also adore Cotton Balls. Simply White is also terrific. All of these colors are lovely.

      But here’s the thing. Light has it’s own rules and it’s not always forthcoming. I have seen dark south facing rooms and bright north facing rooms.

      All rooms are dull and dark when it’s raining and all rooms are south facing at night. lol Right?

      The question I want to know is what else is going on? What are the fabrics? What color is the floor?

      And what’s going on with the architecture? If it is rich in detailing, it’s going to make a big difference for the better!

      The best piece of advice I can give is to stick with the tried and true and then after that, test it per my guide which subscribers get.

      Paint can only do so much. It is the backdrop for everything else. And you can get the paint color right but muck up the rest and then the paint color won’t be right, after-all. They should be chosen together, ideally.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - February 3, 2016 - 8:15 PM

    PS your blog was super helpful b/c DW was on your TOP 20 WHITE LIST and that helped reassure me it was not a “miss.”ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - February 3, 2016 - 8:14 PM

    We just built a custom home from the bottom up and I really struggled with the TRIM color – but I finally decided on Decorator’s White and absolutely LOVE IT. It is clean and crisp. Most of the colors in our rooms are blue-grey, so it goes with it amazingly well! Our main color of our hallways, foyer, etc is Stonington Grey by BM – again, goes super well with DW!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 3, 2016 - 9:30 PM

      Hi Jenny,

      I’m so glad it worked well for you. Yes, Dec White is a good color with cool paint colors, but not so great with warm tones and in darker rooms.ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - January 28, 2016 - 8:35 AM

    Having read Laurel’s articles on whites about a hundred times, I confidently chose White Dove for all of the ceilings and trim in our home. Unfortunately, forgot a critical piece of advice that she is always giving…..get samples and look at the color in your own home! White Dove looks ok/good, but now that I have done a sample, Cotton Balls looks fantastic! Our new home has limited windows/light pending a remodel, but that is a couple of years away so picking the right white to cover miles and miles of golden oak was critical for my sanity. Fortunately, only bought enough paint for the master bedrm trim and ceiling so can easily switch to Cotton Balls elsewhere. Thanks for your great articles on white, Laurel. I am sold on samples, now, too!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 28, 2016 - 1:28 PM

      Hi Eleanor,
      Yes, it is very important and also something that most people don’t understand. I get requests on a daily basis to just throw out a color that will look good with x, x, x and x. But there is a ton of other critical information I do not have and so it’s impossible! It would be like a doctor diagnosing and illness without seeing you and/or doing some tests.

      I’m so glad the cotton balls is going to work nicely for you. It really is an amazing color!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - January 24, 2016 - 9:33 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    We just painted a room SW Panda White and found your site while searching for paint trim ideas. SW Panda White looks great and I think you would like it but, the SW Ancient Marble color in an adjacent room reflects onto the SW Panda White just enough to make you lose your mind that the Panda White is green.

    Love your site. Hope to become a client.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 24, 2016 - 2:22 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for the lovely comment! Actually, Panda White does have green undertones. If you look at a fan deck you can see it better further down the chain of colors. And while the Ancient Marble could be reflecting some of its color, it could also be the lighting in the Panda White room that’s bringing out the green undertones. If it’s a north facing room, it’s almost a certainty since that light tends to be cooler and brings out all of the cool undertones in paint colors. Very interesting!ReplyCancel

  • Mike Vinarski - January 23, 2016 - 11:35 AM

    Laurel, thank you so much, very educational post! Like you said, we closed our eyes and selected the white dove OC-17 for the interior side of our entry door during the ordering (based on popularity). Now, I assume we are done with the selection of the trim – automatically it will be white dove semi gloss. Now, following your recommendations we can chose the same color shade matte finish for the walls and matte or flat for the ceiling. This is our main scenario.
    As an alternative our architect said that he personally would recommend additional scenario for consideration – slightly darker shade of white for the walls. I was thinking about China White but then change my mind after reading your blog (you dislike it). What white color would you recommend for the walls according to this scenario (a bit darker walls)? Should the ceiling color be the same?
    Also, we wanted to pant our library in relatively light gray (not dark). What gray is your favorite in BM that is going well with white dove trim?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 23, 2016 - 1:42 PM

      Thank you Mike. I’m glad that it was helpful, however I am not currently doing paint consultations. There are lots of blog posts which hi-light favorite whites and grays.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie Setler - January 17, 2016 - 6:50 AM

    I wanted to pin the chart with all the white colors but it doesn’t have a “pin” button. I know you have listed whites before –is this list somewhere else? (or do I have to scribble them on a post-it-note and hope I can find them when I need them πŸ™‚

    • Laurel Bern - January 17, 2016 - 11:06 AM

      Hi Maggie,

      It’s one of those images that the pin it button “disappear” because it’s white on white. haha! but if you click on it, it should take you to pinterest. The other thing you can do is install the browser pin it button directly from your pinterest account.

      If you click on the + sign in the upper right hand corner and click pin from a website, it will take you there, or you can just put in the url from the post.

      That way you can pin almost any image you find no matter where you find it! I love it and use mine ALL the time!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Falconer - January 14, 2016 - 11:46 AM

    Thank you for your very helpful response and I agree. SO, if you had to pick only one of these paints for trim and ceiling which one would you pick? THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - January 14, 2016 - 7:42 AM

    This was INCREDIBLY helpful to me. Before this article, I would have said that white paint, is white paint. Wow, was I educated? What are your thoughts about painting ceiling and crown molding two different whites for a bit of contrast? Would any of your recommendations look good together on the ceiling and then crown molding and baseboards? Would love your input. Thank youReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 14, 2016 - 10:57 AM

      Hi Karen,

      That is what most people think, so you are not alone by any means! 98% of the time, when using a white on the walls, I use the same color for trim and the ceiling. I find the subtle variations between finishes and directions things are going create a rich and unified look. ReplyCancel

  • Deb - January 4, 2016 - 11:19 PM

    Hello, This was a great article. Thank you so much! Out of all the whites that you listed which would you recommend for a white on white house exterior on the Ocean in Florida?ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - December 20, 2015 - 4:04 PM

    Hi! I am so lost when it comes to painting my bedroom, it’s south facing and the master bedroom.. My bedroom pieces are linen white (no gloss) and my bedspread is white (shabby chic), I also have dark accent night stands and as of right now I painted my bedroom linen white like my furniture and it does nothing for the furniture and I do what my linen white bedroom set to pop, and I’m going for a all white bedroom with hints of creams.. My question is what color should I paint my walls, molding and ceiling? I also don’t mind painting the molding and walls the same color but I’m in desperate need of help?!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 4:14 PM

      Hi Samantha,

      Without seeing photos, it would be impossible to ascertain what the issue is. However, I’m not doing consultations at this time. The problem may very well not be the wall color, however. Maybe you need to accessorize the walls with some art pieces and have some accent pillows. I recommend that you hire someone whose work that you like. But if you don’t want to spend the money, perhaps you can get some ideas on pinterest. ReplyCancel

  • Karen - December 20, 2015 - 9:59 AM

    Hi, Thanks for posting the best white/off white paint colors. Its hard to figure out which white to use because of the undertones. I am renovating my moms condo in Florida. Im not into bright white walls which is the mistake most make when choosing a color. I am leaning toward cotton balls oc-122 or ivory white 925. I do like a semi-gloss for the trim. Im still deciding if I should have crown molding done. I have it in my house and I love it, but the Florida condo seems it should be more casual. Still undecided about the floors. Happy Holodays!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 20, 2015 - 11:42 AM

      Hi Karen,

      I really don’t think you can go wrong with Cotton Balls. There’s a pic of it in my most recent post with the sconce and fireplace mantel/stockings. It’s definitely white, but soft and warm and not yellow. Ivory is also very beautiful but is definitely creamier. I always suggest making some large test samples on heavy poster board. Tape them to the wall flat and move them around and look in different lights.

      Also, it does help to know what your other finishes are. Hold them all up together in the way that they will be living.

      Finally, don’t sweat it too much. The shades I have here are all wonderful. No funky undertones, like pink or icey or too gray.ReplyCancel

  • Rick - December 13, 2015 - 9:44 PM

    Thanks for this. Very helpful. Would be great if you would mention complimentary wall colours.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:04 PM

      Stay tuned. I am working on a paint color collection with palettes, coordinating trim colors as well as other finish materials. Of course, that one will be for sale.ReplyCancel

  • Alplily - December 13, 2015 - 1:46 PM

    Hi there… I have a two-level smaller condo. It is entirely beige. Beige wall-to-wall, beige counters, off-white walls (not so bad), and the worst–darker beige/taupe trim and doors throughout–a lot of it (ten doors, multiple windows). The beige trim is a near match for the beige carpet. Nearly all the walls run into each other with no natural breaks.

    I am a color person (think contemporary/eclectic cottage look) and an artist and all this beige makes me… sad. Fresh wall colors like yellow and green will look awful with the beige.

    Anyway, I am considering painting, myself, all the trim and the doors a reasonably bright/clean white in hopes of brightening the place up. I am on a very tight budget. This will take me forever.

    Any suggestions for whites? OR, will this just make all the other beige just look dingier? I cannot afford to switch out the carpet for hardwood/bamboo floors yet.

    Many thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 13, 2015 - 10:02 PM

      Hi Alplily,

      I’m sorry, but beige is a subjective term. I don’t know if it’s a pink beige or a yellow beige or more taupe. So, it would be unprofessional of me to be throwing out colors. My suggestion would be to get some test samples and paint them on a large piece of poster board and tape flat against the wall.

      Yes, the right shade of white will definitely freshen things up.ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - December 4, 2015 - 6:01 PM

    You seem like a nice person answering so many people’s questions. And you are funny without getting annoyed. Please have a nice night.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 5, 2015 - 10:30 AM

      thank you Bridget. I do try to be nice. Can’t say that’s always the case. I figure that it’s a good idea to acknowledge those that are kind enough to take the time to make a comment.

      There was a blog that I liked and I would comment and never heard anything back. After a while, I lost interest. Earlier this year, I actually met the blogger at a conference. It was then that I realized that she is actually rather shy. But she was bemoaning that her traffic had fallen back.

      Well… there it is…ReplyCancel

  • LMT07 - November 22, 2015 - 9:46 PM

    I love your blog!! we recently refinished our kitchen cabinets and used Ancient Ivory – BM… It’s gorgeous!!! Very rich creamy white that absolutely remains the same color regardless of the light or surrounding colors… I adore it and am so happy we found it… I rarely see it mentioned and wondered if you’ve used it before?ReplyCancel

  • Chris Lutz - November 12, 2015 - 10:50 AM

    Do you have any experience with the LIFX color changing led bulbs? I ask because we are placing them all over our complete remodel and are overwhelmed but also excited about the possibility of changing the way our house looks with different lighting color and intensities. We are painting our walls, trim, ceiling and cabinets Simply white in the finishes you recommend. Semi-gloss for trim, Matte for the walls and flat for the ceiling. Still undecided on the finish for the cabinets our house is very modern but don’t want super super shiny.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 13, 2015 - 4:39 PM

      Hi Chris,

      Well, you just touched on a sore subject with me. Light bulbs. I promise to do a post very soon about light bulbs. ReplyCancel

  • Susie - November 3, 2015 - 10:01 PM

    I used Swiss Coffee for baseboards and ceilings. Revere Pewter on walls. Looks great.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 5, 2015 - 12:57 AM

      Hi Susie, I’ve never used Swiss Coffee but have heard great things about it! Thanks for the info!ReplyCancel

  • Kevin - October 24, 2015 - 7:49 PM

    I have a dilemma. We are trying to make our salon look bigger in each individual room. They are all about 15×15. We have low drop ceilings in each room. We have no natural light, only artificial lighting. What would you suggest in the way of painting the wall and ceilings to make the space look bigger? We were told light light colors would do that, but I also read having dark walls will fade away. Please help.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - October 18, 2015 - 7:41 PM

    I trotted off to the hardware store, 30 minutes before closing, 12 hours before painters arrive, with this list:
    Dove White
    Cloud White
    Chantilly White
    Cotton Balls

    …because I hear the best time to try paint is at dusk when there’s almost no sunlight and you have half dusk-light and half terrible track lighting pointing on the swatches.

    I had a feeling from your description that Cotton Balls was the winner (and I like how awkward and non-romantic the name is compared to the others.)

    I am painting doors, trim and millwork in two dark bathrooms with no windows (one with cararra marble floors and BM Sunlit Coral walls, other with Nobilis rust-orange and white wallpaper and creamy stone floors) – the rest of the loft has northern sunlight and is entirely painted in Restoration Hardware taupes by the previous owner.

    Your descriptions were so spot on. Cloud White was the warmest and looked too old-fashioned in my spaces, but is pretty. Chantilly White was by far the brightest in my swatches (which commenters had suggested) almost glowed blue in my bathrooms without light. I think that would be great in some apartments if that’s your style, and probably if you have dark wood floors and gray walls and stainless steel everywhere- but with warmer colors and natural stone it looked too clean.

    Dove White was my second choice- close, but no cigar.

    COTTON BALLS ALL THE WAY. How is it so warm without being dirty AND bright without being cold?

    Thanks a million.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 19, 2015 - 8:19 AM

      Hi Elizabeth and warm without being yellow? I don’t know. I just had a client paint her entire large living room cotton balls. Even empty it looks gorgeous! There are a lot of trees around and windows at two ends (and indirect from an adjacent sunroom with French doors) But, it’s never a light bright room.

      Cotton balls still looks clean yet soft and warm. Amazing shade of white!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - October 18, 2015 - 6:24 PM

    THANK YOU! I forgot that I have to give my painter a trim color tomorrow morning and the hardware store closes in 30 minutes!
    You saved me.ReplyCancel

  • Cara - October 7, 2015 - 12:17 PM

    I have an Arts and Crafts home and have painted all ceilings and trim (trim is a semi-gloss) with BM Super White. My kitchen looks great (Horizon walls, Steel Gray butcher’s pantry cabinets, High Gloss Super White kitchen cabinets), my bedroom (Metro Gray) and the girls room (1 nosegay and the other a true pink) all look great. Now I am trying to paint the living room walls a softer white still with BM Super White trim and ceilings and I cannot find a color. Decorators white is too similiar, White Cloud looks too yellow, White Nine strangely is still too yellow – thought this would be better but it’s not. I feel like Simple White looks to bright against the Super White trim. Any suggestions? Thanks so much.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2015 - 10:01 PM

      I’m sorry Cara, but I’m not doing paint consultations at this time. However, when doing white, I love it when the walls and trim are the same color–just a different finish, of course. ReplyCancel

      • Angela - October 14, 2015 - 11:18 PM

        What finish do you recommend for the walls, ceiling and trim if I use the same color for all three? I am using SW Snowbound for my cabinets and planned to match for everything else. Have you seen this work well?ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - October 14, 2015 - 11:39 PM

          Hi Angela, I usually do flat for ceilings, semi-gloss for all trim and matte for walls, but I am talking about Benjamin Moore. SW, I am less familiar with since there is such a monopoly here with BM.

        • Angela - October 15, 2015 - 5:54 PM

          Thank you!!!
          Any experience with floor stain? We have oak we are trying to achieve a light grey with.The stain we have on it as a sample appears too dark but when they put a lighter version of the same on it there was too much yellow/orange/pink coming through. Would it work better if we did a grey stain and then a white stain over that? Any ideas??

        • Laurel Bern - October 15, 2015 - 6:43 PM

          Hi Angela, I’m sorry but I am no longer giving interior design consultations and when I was, the minimum fee is $250.

  • Karen C - October 6, 2015 - 2:05 AM

    I’m also a fan of Chantilly lace. We have an old Brooklyn brownstone and the super, clean, white helps contrast the darker areas of the house like the hallways.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 6, 2015 - 3:43 PM

      Hi Karen, Chantilly is on my bigger list. I’ve never used it which isn’t to say it’s not a terrific color. It’s just that if you have one great husband you (usually) don’t need another one. ;]ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Sieweke - September 25, 2015 - 2:35 PM

    Love your blog and all of your amazing advice as I just became a first-time home owner! I like the idea of going with the same color trim and wainscoting in the entire house. However, what do you recommend when one room has white furniture (bookcases, desk, etc) that is slightly off-white? Do you recommend matching trim to furniture in this room? I like the simply white and chantilly lace for most of our house but white dove matches the furniture in one room. I am trying to follow your advice of “Stop stressing over your white paint trim colors” but failing miserably, as you can see.ReplyCancel

  • Shelley - September 24, 2015 - 11:14 PM

    Stumbled across you website as I was looking for the ideal white for our mudroom lockers, trim, and doors. I love you have a “top 6” whites, which makes it easier to decide which white to go with! We are painting the mudroom walls with BM Charlotte Slate. We think we have narrow it down to three whites- What are your thoughts on White Dove, Cotton ball or Simply White for the lockers, trim, doors or perhaps you have another white suggestion? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2015 - 10:19 AM

      I’m sorry Shelley, I wish I could help you, but I’ve stopped doing private paint consults for the time beingReplyCancel

  • Diana - September 19, 2015 - 4:51 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I have white Dove trim and I want to paint my dark cabinets white and install subway tile as backsplash. Do you think I can do White Dove on the cabinets as well? or it will be to creamy compare with the white subway tile? maybe I should try simply white? but I am not sure it it would look good with the White Dove trims. I would also paint the wall and ceiling the same color as the cabinets. My kitchen is small 10×10 and not much natural light.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 20, 2015 - 12:13 AM

      All I can say is that you need to test the colors and hold them up together in the direction that they will be living. ReplyCancel

  • Mary Hanson - September 19, 2015 - 1:32 PM

    Thank you for the information about white paint. I am starting to look a bit like OCD in your blog. We are doing a kitchen remodel and have selected Cambria “Berwyn” as our countertops with SS appliances. Our Kitchen has a northern exposure with a bit of west. I’m favoring BM Mountain Peak White although I have considered Dove White, Dove Wings and Creamy. Would you recommend trying a test pint of BM Cotton Balls? Have you used BM Mountain Peak White? Oh my! MaryReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 20, 2015 - 12:15 AM

      Hi Mary, I haven’t used MPW, but here’s what I’ve discovered about white. It’s not as bad as some people try to make one believe it is. For kitchens, I always like a white with a bit of warmth to it or the kitchen can look icy. Hold the samples up together in the direction that they will be living. That is your best tool for seeing which will look best. It is fine for them to all be a bit different.ReplyCancel

  • Claudia - September 19, 2015 - 7:53 AM

    Laurel, thanks so much for your insight. I am considering either Cotton Balls or White Dove for my apartment. Love Cotton Balls, but I am dealing with the dilemma of facing South in NYC, where I can be flooded by sun or dark. In the sun, Cotton Balls is a bit yellow and bright. In the dark, I love the brightness. White Dove sample ble ded into my white wall, so I couldn’t even see it. Thinking maybe the walls were originally painted that color. So the question….If I paint my walls Cotton Balls, what trim color is a good match, other than doing everything Cotton Balls? What trim is good for White Dove? Thanks ahead if you’ve answered this. ClaudiaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 20, 2015 - 12:17 AM

      Hi Claudia, I would not paint the trim a different white. There, that was easy. :]ReplyCancel

  • Jill - August 19, 2015 - 10:03 PM

    I am painting interior of a Cape Cod style house .
    The rooms are small and not much light. There are beautful whited plantation shutters already in the home . The walls were very dark and differnt in every room. Even the primer opened it up miraculously.

    I chose a flat white BM paint Chantilly Lace and now wonder if I should go for it and Do all one color on trim , wall and celing?
    My goal is for the space to look much like the ones on your site …. Clean,
    White and serene.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 19, 2015 - 10:42 PM

      Hi Jill,

      I’m sorry but I cannot give individual advice and I am no longer doing paint consults except for a very few local clients. Between the blog and direct email, I’ve been getting close to a dozen requests every day and it has become impossible. Thank you for your understanding.ReplyCancel

  • Steve - August 13, 2015 - 5:19 PM

    I am doing a new home. Santa Barbara exterior. The interior I want is cool and bright. No more Tucson or earth tones. The rooms are large and have lots of light. The floors are a medium color hardwood. I am trying to pick a trim paint and a wall paint. I want to stay light on the walls. I want the difference between the trim and the walls to be ever so slight. I tried Dunn Edwards version of White Dove and it appears yellow.
    Any suggestions for a trim and wall paint ?ReplyCancel

  • anne davis - August 5, 2015 - 12:57 PM

    Re: your comment about not crediting designer – I agree! There’s a blog (South Shore Decorating) that has at least 25-50 interior photos everyday and NOT ONE has the designer’s name attached. I complained and said it was disrespectful to constantly post designer’s work but not give credit and she said if I really wanted to know who it was I could figure it out myself. I unsubscribed!ReplyCancel

  • Janet - August 4, 2015 - 12:47 PM

    Just ‘happened’ onto your website and love it!! While in the midst of deciding on a white for a guest bedroom, I stumbled on you casually mentioning not to paint a dark room white. With a corner room facing north and not getting much light, does one really have to give up on white? I also love your advice on keeping the same color on walls, ceiling and trim while changing the finish.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2015 - 10:31 PM

      Hi Janet,

      I have a post here “my north facing room is depressing me.” And there’s a white that I recommend for dark rooms which is Cotton Balls.

      The color may not end up not looking as white as you had hoped. And often a white in a north facing room will look gray or beige, or just plain dirty. In an older home that dirty white can be nice.

      The problem is that sometimes people want a light airy room and it’s just not possible. You can’t create what isn’t there to begin with. If you do go with white, I would try to pick a clean one with some warm undertones.ReplyCancel

  • Jas - August 4, 2015 - 10:27 AM

    Great info! I’m having my walls painted BM pale oak & classic gray in bedrooms and I’m worried that the BM simply white we chose for the kitchen cabinets won’t pop enough so I’m thinking about changing the trim color to chantilly lace. The kitchen cabinets meet the trim in only two spots, only one is more obvious. Will it look bad if they don’t match? Gosh this is stressful! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - August 4, 2015 - 10:23 PM


      Thanks and I hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but the word “pop” is like chalk scraping on a blackboard for me. I don’t necessarily think that mouldings should contrast at all with the walls. I would recommend testing your paints before painting. However, Simply White is a lovely shade and should coordinate with what you’ve chosen, but please do test if you’re not absolutely sure.ReplyCancel

  • John Misso - August 1, 2015 - 11:03 PM

    I found this site very helpful. In particular, I like the idea of using the same color for the trim, ceiling and walls. Do you think White Dove works well when taking this approach? If so, do you think white dove works well for the ceilings throughout the house?

    Lastly, what finish do you recommend for the trim?


    • Laurel Bern - August 2, 2015 - 10:31 AM

      Hi John,

      Thank you. The only way you’ll know is to test the color per the guide which you can get if you’re a subscriber. I almost always do semi-gloss for the trim and I love the matte finish for walls. It’s a flat finish that’s washable from Benjamin Moore.ReplyCancel

  • Phyllis - August 1, 2015 - 10:13 PM

    Laurel, I am in the process of repainting my living/dining, family room and kitchen. I am putting up crown molding through out and the wainscoating in my dining room. The colors we are using are benjamin moore, everlasting (lvg rm), muslin (kitchen) fairway oaks for dng rm and family room. What white would you suggest for trim, molding and wainscoating? Someone told me to use linen white for all that plus the ceiling. I feel it has somewhat of a beige tint to it. Shouldn’t I use something alittle more white? Would the benjamin moore WHITE work? any suggestions?ReplyCancel

  • Alex Hass - July 18, 2015 - 9:45 AM

    Thank you. Answers questions I could not fomulate clearly which were lurking nonetheless amid all the confusion. The idea of same color walls and trim was helpful, as I thought that was only an economic consideration, not a possible aesthetic choice. From there, the question of sheen or finish arises, since this is for a rental unit that turns over every year or so and thus we would like more durability than matte might offer – unless you thought differently. That is the only question left.

    Thank you for a superb article.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 18, 2015 - 12:28 PM

      My experience with matte is that it is extremely durable and washable. I disdain eggshell unless it’s a dark color. I think it looks a bit plastic-y when on a large area. In addition, the matte will be easier to touch up. Eggshell shows more flaws.

      However, some people like the slight sheen. So, it’s really up to your preference.ReplyCancel

  • Debra - July 13, 2015 - 7:13 PM

    I’m painting a spare bedroom and will be using it for my new walkin closet… I have put in recessed lighting and used light grey ceiling paintg…for two of the walls, I’m making them black (two small walls and one is mostly mirror) the other facing walls will be white. My question is…what white and what do I paint my crown molding?
    Any suggestions would be most helpful! Thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - July 13, 2015 - 2:16 PM

    One other thing freaking me out is the whole light bulb dilemma since led, florecent, halogen and good old fashioned incandescent bulbs make such a HUGE difference on colors! Replaced two of four eyeballs in an existing bathroom and the paint on one side looks greenish and the. Other side warm! A whole blog go be on this topic alone!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 13, 2015 - 2:48 PM

      Oh yeah… been thinking about that one. I took a webinar several weeks ago and screenshotted the whole thing. I will be talking about this very soon. Thanks for reminding me Abby!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - July 13, 2015 - 2:05 PM

    Laurel I have been avidly reading every scrap of info on your blog for ideas for our new house. Love the color ideas BUT

    Trotted off to Benjamin Moore paint dudes and purchase my very own color thingy only to find half the paint colors you mention aren’t on the darn thing. I got the “classic colors” one. Some of the colors recommended were there but other color numbers were off in never never land – I am assuming number 122 cotton balls is not equivalent to the number122 orange sherbet indicated on mine!

    Now what? Help appreciated. I really don’t want to paint all my trim 122, orange sherbet! Cotton balls doesn’t exist on my wheelReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 13, 2015 - 2:15 PM

      Hi Abby,

      Oh damn! Yes, there are TWO main fan decks. And then there are three others, just to make EVERYONE really nuts! I try to avoid the little ones because really now. Cotton Balls is on the other fan deck, obviously. It is also known as 2145-70. So, you’ll find it twice on the other fan deck which is called (let’s see, I have them surgically attached to my hip) ;] COLOR PREVIEW. Dumb name. The cover is black, orange and teal.ReplyCancel

  • Emily P - July 9, 2015 - 11:01 AM

    Thanks so much for this post! We are closing on a house tomorrow and the walls and trim all need new paint! We are starting with the informal family room, kitchen nook, and open kitchen. There are beautiful white plantation shutters in kitchen nook and one large shuttered window in center of family room, and the kitchen cabinets are white white (I LOVE them). We are still in the process of choosing the perfect greige for the walls (we want a cool greige to go with our neutral coastal casual decor of blues and greens). Anyway, the baseboards and door casings will need a fresh coat of paint and I was going to use Simply White until I was told to just use pure untinted white for all trim because it will pop and look clean. If my walls are going to be a light greige (maybe SW agreeable or grayish or on the rocks), will BM simply white pop and not look dingy? Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2015 - 11:28 AM

      Hi Emily, If you are in need of a professional consultation, please contact me. I cannot predict how any color will look in your unique setting. Perhaps pick a white closest to your kitchen cabinets. There is no such thing as “pure white.” The white out of the can has a gray tinge. Sometimes it’s alright and sometimes not.ReplyCancel

  • Dale Loyd - July 7, 2015 - 8:30 AM

    I know you’re an interior designer, but what is a less glaring white or other color for exterior trim on a red brick Southern colonial with huge columns? Or does this sound like another one of those requests for free advice? If so, sorry…..but what do you think?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 8, 2015 - 9:09 PM

      well.. yes… it does go under that category. I’ll be glad to help you. The fee for exteriors is $150 because there’s usually more than one color involved.ReplyCancel

  • cindy - June 30, 2015 - 1:06 PM

    Thanks for this Laurel!
    Any advice for our Exterior White Trim with “BM Copley Gray” for the body? We are working towards a more craftsman style house.
    We used White Dove inside for trim and love it (with Edgecomb Gray walls). But, White Dove might be too bright outside.
    I’m leaning towards “BM Seapearl”. What do you think?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2015 - 1:37 PM

      Hi Cindy, It looks like a good color, but you’ll need to test it of course.ReplyCancel

  • Maury - June 29, 2015 - 11:32 AM

    My husband and I are building a home and I’m beyond overwhelmed with paint choices. I’m really into the gray’s, blue (not green or teal), cream’s and taupe’s. Our last home had bright white glossy trim, now I’m really wanting more of the cream trim (Navajo white-SW). What are your thoughts? Somewhere I read that cream trim is becoming more popular than the traditional stark white, is this true? Thanks for your input!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2015 - 11:47 AM

      Hi Maury,

      I’ve never liked stark white trim. Or should I say trim that appears to be stark white. The important factor is does the trim color coordinate with your wall color in the room it’s going in?

      It is NOT rocket science. The trim color is going to look different in different portions of the room, in any case.

      I don’t pay much attention to “trends” and I encourage my clients not to either. Go with what *you* truly love and you can’t go wrong! Trends are usually the function of a marketer. What really gets me is that many so-called trends have been here forever. ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - June 25, 2015 - 9:53 PM

    Hi Laurel, would you say that these 6 whites hold true for exterior trim as well?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 27, 2015 - 1:19 AM

      Hi Jenna, That is a very good question. Generally things get more washed out, outside because well… there’s SO much light. Look at Swiss Coffee. That’s a nice shade too for outside. But as always, please test!ReplyCancel

  • Virginia - June 18, 2015 - 7:45 AM

    Is BM revere pewter a gray or beige? What white would you put with that color? (For trim) If some of those whites look bad with yellow, would this apply for revere pewter? And do you paint trim with latex paint or oil based?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2015 - 6:31 PM

      Hi Virginia,

      Revere Pewter is a difficult color to describe and it’s changeable according to the light. Sometimes it looks a little bit green. It is not beige and it is not gray. It’s in between and very pewter like! Whites that look bad with yellow might not apply to RP. However, a very stark, cool white is not going to look good with RP. White Dove is a pretty safe bet.

      I live in NY. They took away our oil-based paint. I ALWAYS used to specify it. ALWAYS! The advance formulation from BM is not bad, however. Much improved from the old semi-gloss water-based paints.ReplyCancel

  • Noelle - June 14, 2015 - 9:55 PM

    Can you tell me the name of Loi Thai’s paint color in the picture you posted? Thanks!

    • Laurel Bern - June 14, 2015 - 10:00 PM

      Hi Noelle,

      I don’t know for sure, but I have heard Loi mention that he uses White Dove and Simply White. If I had to guess, I would say the former.ReplyCancel

      • Noelle - June 14, 2015 - 10:10 PM

        Thanks for the fast reply! I read this post with great interest because I am discovering white is the hardest to choose. The internet is helpful, but the colors on my computer screen are not even close to the actual color when I see it “live”.
        I have been reading other blogs and designer posts as well in an attempt to figure this out. I like the fact that you spoke about one white that was fitting for an older home as opposed to stating they must have the same undertone ie, cool colors with true white and warm colors with cream. I find that limiting and not always true.
        Looking forward to reading more!

  • Lisa - June 11, 2015 - 12:30 AM

    If you needed to quickly choose a single shade of white paint for every room in a house, what would it be? No opportunity to look at paint samples.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 11, 2015 - 12:36 AM

      I just wrote a post about it. I wrote about it in terms of a trim color but it’s beautiful for a wall color too. Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls OC-122 – it’s warm without being yellow and doesn’t look either dirty or too bright either. Of course, I don’t know what else is going on in the home. ReplyCancel

  • E - May 27, 2015 - 2:21 AM

    Love this post! and your longer one on favorite white paints… I think your tip on choosing a shade with less grey for north-facing walls is very helpful. I recently found a wonderful warm shade by Sherwin Williams: SW2074 Fencepost White, and it has done wonders for my sort of dark house with small windows. The space feels so much more open and airy now (it had been a pukey latte color). Also makes all the artwork I’m hanging really pop. I love white paint!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 28, 2015 - 10:16 PM

      Hi, I’m sorry, I can’t get your name from your email address Elaratanguy. I’m going to look at Fencepost White. Thank you so much for the recommendation! I’m not as familiar with SW as I am with BM. The former has done a great job of marketing and also producing a collection of great colors!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - May 26, 2015 - 9:32 AM

    So glad to find this as I’m getting ready to paint every surface of a new home. Super helpful! Two questions for you:

    1) You mentioned you’d recommend ceilings and trim the same color. Do you mean the same color, but different finishes (i.e. matte ceilings and semi-gloss trim?) Or no?

    2) And you also mentioned same color trim throughout the house…what color would be your recommendation if all the walls were going to be taupe-y with maybe some light greens and blues in some rooms?

    Thank you so much in advance!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - May 26, 2015 - 12:58 AM

    Hi laurel, love your site! For a kitchen with existing what te cabinets does one typically match the cabinet white for the trim and wall and ceiling color?

    Thanks for the reply!ReplyCancel

  • SF - May 25, 2015 - 8:25 PM

    What is your opinion of “handmade paper” for the basic walls? I don’t get much direct light, some defused, and my home is a 70s red-oak floor type construction.

    I want a warm feeling – so I am trying to avoid grays and stay more in the golds-coppers-reds-yellows-seafoam tones for colored walls.

    Based on your recs, I went with bedroom ceiling in white dove. It does look a tiny bit dirty, actually, so I might switch to the cotton balls one for the living/kitchen/hallways ceilings?

    My friend thinks handmade paper would be nice but I am worried it will look dirty/dull.

    I would appreciate your thoughts!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 25, 2015 - 11:50 PM

      Hi SF, I try to make it as clear as possible, that I do not recommend paint colors for every job. I always say that it’s imperative to test! The colors I select look good most of the time, but depending on the lighting might not look like they typically do.

      I am not familiar with handmade paper. I just looked it up and see that it’s one of their newer color stories color. It’s night so I can’t check it out. Please don’t forget to test. If you subscribe, you’ll have access to the guide which spells out how to do that.ReplyCancel

      • SF - May 27, 2015 - 1:50 AM

        Hmmm. I did subscribe. Should I have received something? Anyways, thank you so much for your reply! I reread what I wrote and it sounded like I was blaming you for my ceiling – I wasn’t! And really, white dove looks fine on the ceiling it is on, but I want it to pop! So I thought what you said was spot-on – you thought white dove does very occasionally look a tad dirty… I did do a test, but somehow the whole ceiling looks a little, dull? flat?, in a few unexpected areas. I think I am not used to how the light changes in the room – should have tested it in different spots than I did. But thank you so much for your reply – I think your website is great! If you DO get to know “handmade paper” I will be very interested in what you think. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jilly Gee - May 10, 2015 - 11:30 PM

    Thanks for this great post. I did want to mention that in your graphic showing all the swatches (very helpful!), #5 is titled White Cloud, while in your text you cite Cloud White. I believe they’re different and would love to confirm which one has made it into your Top 6. πŸ™‚

    • Lene - April 13, 2016 - 9:25 AM

      Lol, I was just sifting through every comment to see if someone else caught that mistake!
      Cloud White is CC-40, OC- 130 and 967
      White Cloud is 2159-70ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - April 13, 2016 - 3:46 PM

        Thank you Lene. Silly of them to have two colors with the names reversed. It’s correct in the post but not on the graphic. Oh well, that’s why I always put in the name of the color and the number. That way, if one is wrong, it sends out a red flag that it needs to be checked on!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 10, 2015 - 11:37 PM

      Ahhh… good catch! Thanks Jilly. Alas, the graphic name is reversed, but please note that the number is the same. And that is why I always use both name and number when specifying paint. Less chance of a mistake being made, but of course, it’s always wise to double-check!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis Akleh-Soof - May 8, 2015 - 12:35 PM

    You are a great resource!

    We painted the exterior of our house in White Dove and it was extremely buttery looking which surprised us. We ended up mixing White Dove with BM White Heron in a 50/50 ratio, repainted and we love it. Not too stark with the perfect amount of softness.

    We are now working on the interior shiplap walls and ceilings and decided to give white dove another try and again it reads buttery in this house. Probably going with simply white instead. Thanks again for your helpful posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - May 10, 2015 - 4:22 PM

      Hi Alexis, That’s very interesting but nothing surprises me when it comes to color. There are so many variables and that’s why my mantra is test, test, test! I’m glad you came up with a good solution. I’ll keep that one in mind.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Johnson - April 12, 2015 - 6:13 PM

    Back in 1985, every room in our house was painted “Classic Cream.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember who made it but I loved the color because it looked different in every room. It would take on a hint of whatever color was in the room (furniture colors, accessories). Is there a current paint that would do the same?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 13, 2015 - 11:54 AM

      Hi Gail,

      I found a company that makes a color by that name called Ellen Kennon. It’s a full spectrum paint. White Tie by Farrow and Ball is also nice.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Kalafus - April 10, 2015 - 11:24 AM

    Thanks so much for the information. We have been in our home ten years and it is time to freshen up the space. I love grays and taupes. I know, very trendy. Builders used a creamy white on trim and ceilings, and now I want more of a brighter white. Our painter recommended White Dove. I really don’t want to do the ceilings as well, but I am afraid there will be a strange contrast with the ceiling. Thanks for the tips!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 11, 2015 - 3:48 PM

      Hi Allison,

      Usually they put up that dreadful ceiling white. Well, it’s not always dreadful, but often it is. A creamy white is preferably, IMO. And it’s absolutely fine to use a whiter shade of white for the trim.

      Why don’t you try the White Dove and have him do one small wall (if there’s one and he’s willing to do that for you) and see how you like it. ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - April 10, 2015 - 2:20 AM

    Thanks so much Lisa! These are all winners depending on the situation, look one is going for and lighting. 95% of the time, however, white dove looks great in a kitchen. It’s warm, but not yellow and not too bright a white, but not dirty either. Of course, please test before buying.

    But that’s why I narrowed down the field. These are the main whites that I’ve used for 25 years. Yes, I’ve used some others but some of them are so close that it really doesn’t matter as much as one might think.

    Take heart, however.The first time I painted my home, I had about 50 test swatches all over the walls. That’s why I know that it doesn’t work. I too, drove myself nuts. The second go-around, was so much better. I just went with Victoria Hagan’s color Ancestral by Pratt and Lambert and enjoyed it for the remaining 12 years I lived there.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Jones - April 9, 2015 - 11:26 PM

    Laurel, I love reading all your post! I get so excited when I see email from you. In regards to white paint colors, which one is your favorite for kitchen cabinetry? I would rather have a root canal than choose paint colors.
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful and helpful information you share with all of your readers.


  • Erika - April 9, 2015 - 7:25 AM

    What a helpful article. Thank you. You asked about mistakes. So many, I’ll mention my biggest. New kitchen 10 years ago with factory glazed cabinets in off white that falls slightly darker than linen white. I can’t figure out the exact undertones it sort of morphs a bit. Today, I wish they were brighter – tastes change, times change. Suffice it to say these cabinets dictated the trim and colors in my open floor plan which is Linen White trim and ceilings are (close your ears) Navajo white. I have to brighten things up without changing the cabinets or trim (cost/time – many of us have limited resources and are doing the best we can), I don’t mind Linen White. The Navajo ceilings are driving me nuts and literally ‘bringing me down’. I’ve narrowed down the new ceiling color to either White Dove – or maybe Linen white based on your comments of just keeping it the same. Worried White Dove will be too bright compared to the cabinets – but it could be just what it needs – a layering of white? (ceilings are somewhat vaulted there. Worried the Linen White will be too similar to the Navajo and won’t brighten it up enough – boring and blah. Dark Walnut stained oak floors throughout – Uba Tuba countertops (yet another thing I wish were lighter – but not purchasing new granite!) Would love your opinion – White Dove which I hear goes with everything – brighten my poor off white choices up? Or Linen White to go with the trim and be consistent?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 9, 2015 - 9:30 AM

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Erika. I don’t know if you read any of the other comments, but I can’t give specific individual advice like this on the blog. I do give private paint consultations, but there’s a fee for that service starting at $90 for one room that has one basic color with trim and ceiling.

      I can say this however. It sounds like you might be putting good money after bad. Why don’t you have the cabinets painted a brighter shade of white like White Dove and Then paint the trim and ceiling the same color.

      Anything can be painted. 20 years ago I had those fugly melamine 80’s cabinets in our townhome. They had that horrid oak trim at the bottom. I had the contractor nail 5/8″ panel moulding. Then he primed and sprayed them a creamy off-white. I was a very happy girl! They held up surprisingly well and that was paint over plastic!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - March 23, 2015 - 8:04 PM

    Thank you! THANK YOU! The whole post is great, but the best part is about crediting where photos come from. I’ve stopped reading two decorating blogs for that exact reason. It’s not (usually) that hard to find out where a picture from Pinterest came from!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 23, 2015 - 8:48 PM

      Thank you so much Sherry, I just read a blog post on a very well-known painting guru’s blog. No names mentioned of course. I couldn’t believe it but every photo was credited to pinterest and I can’t believe that the blog owner allowed that. ReplyCancel

  • Emma A - March 23, 2015 - 9:05 AM

    I used your list of 20 whites to choose a white for the trim in our house recently. Choosing one is so tough and I think I’ve driven my husband a bit nuts with the discussions of the subtle variations of white! I tried simply white at first but it was just too stark white for our old home. Farrow and Ball Pointing ended up being the winner. A clean white with just the perfect touch of cream. It’s just lovely! I also recently spec’d chantilly lace for the exterior of our newly restored leaded glass windows. I agree with Jo that it’s a great choice for a bright white. So much better than the brown color they were painted!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 23, 2015 - 8:46 PM

      Hi Emma, So, glad the 20 shades list was helpful!

      Pointing is really pretty and perfect for an older home. I find that older homes look better in the creams than the whiter whites. I really wanted to limit this list to 6 and colors I have already used and liked and also kept to Benjamin Moore. But if you’ll notice, I did actually stick in a couple more colors. Maybe really three. I still do love 925 for a pretty cream color. ReplyCancel

  • Megan - March 23, 2015 - 8:38 AM

    Hey Laurel,
    Can you create a pinnable image with the white paint colors you specify here? My fiancee and I just moved into an old house (built in 1919) and I want to update some of the walls that are a buttery cream to a warm white and would love to be able to easily reference this again.


  • Jo Galbraith - March 22, 2015 - 7:28 PM

    Great idea to narrow down all the choices for white. I really like White Dove and Simply White. Chantilly Lace is a great choice for a “true white”.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 22, 2015 - 7:49 PM

      oh yes! Forgot about Chantilly. I’ve never used it but it is, very white which would be great for a room with a lot of light where a nice crisp white is needed– like with blue. After I get more feedback, sometime, I’m thinking of doing the ultimate list maybe and make it nine like the other color lists.ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - March 22, 2015 - 2:45 PM

    I know… me too! I have no idea. The kitchen could definitely be white dove. The first one, I can’t tell. And that’s the thing. We don’t know if it was color corrected, wasn’t color corrected, if there was weird lighting, or what? So, the color could be almost anything. Plus our monitors. Everything looks yellower on my macbook. My old posts done on my pc look over-saturated and yellow a lot of the time on here.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - March 22, 2015 - 2:31 PM

    Great post! I am absolutely obsessed with the first picture with the millwork and that Atlanta kitchen. What do you think they are…white dove?ReplyCancel