My Top 20 Best Shades of White Paint

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Wait, Laurel!

 

My Top 20 Best Shades of White Paint???

 

Haven’t you already written this post?

I mean, it’s how I found you, in the first place and it saved my life— and marriage!

No joke!

Is this the same post?

Sincerely,

Ivy Gotitnow.

 

*********

 

Very good, Ivy! And so glad that post was helpful to you.

 

Here’s the deal.

 

The old post which entitled “20 Great Shades of White Paint” is nearly five years old! And, one thing I’ve been doing is updating old content. I’m doing this for several reasons.

  • Google, my sometimes sadistic boyfriend LOVES fresh, new content.
  • Over time, some of my opinions about the best white paint colors do change. I said “some,” not most.
  • OR, I’ve gleaned new information that I wish to share.
  • Some of you just tuned in and never saw the old post.
  • Most likely, with practice, I’m a better writer, so hopefully, the post will have more clarity and better information.
  • There are many photos that are new to this post.

 

And, so here we are, with a totally rewritten post.

 

My 20 Best Shades of White Paint

 

GP Schafer architect fireplace-Boxwood, Nashville, TN - gorgeous fireplace surround - maybe White Dove paint?

Gorgeous fireplace mantel surround by Gil Schafer

 

Hmmm… Hold on a sec. I see that some of you are looking worried and nervous.

 

Well, Laurel, did the list change?

 

Oh, I see. Rest assured, that over the years, I have already done little updates to this post. But, no the actual white paint colors that were my favorites five years ago, still are.

You can exhale now…

 

Where’s the old post Laurel and the comments? I learned a lot just by reading the comments.

 

Sorry, the original post no longer exists. The reason for that is because the two posts would be in competition with each other; not to mention too confusing. However, I went through all 347 comments. Yes, I did. And, I have saved the pertinent comments which you can read here.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all of that out-of-the-way, let’s begin, for real on this important topic of the best white paint colors.

Over the years, if I had to state the NUMBER ONE ISSUE that people face when decorating their homes is:

What damned color am I going to paint the walls, ceiling, trim, etc.?

 

And, then, we go to the paint store and find that there are at least 150 colors that they are calling white. And that’s just from Benjamin Moore.

 

Confused much?

Of course you are!!!

And, sorry to say, it would appear that it’s just the way they like it. I dare-say that Benjamin Moore’s bottom-line would be hurting mightily if we all didn’t make 50 trips to the paint store to get those test quarts of paint!

 

Oh, you think it’s just YOU that’s the “crazy paint lady (or guy)?”

 

Not by a long shot.

If it makes you feel any better, some 23 years ago, when I first chose paints for myself, (for my old home) I too, was a frothing at the mouth, wild-eyed-wacko making her 16th trip to the paint store, so I could then ponder another 3 or 4 shades of the best white paint color. I’m sure I’ve written this here before– or somewhere. However, I think it bears repeating.

 

White paint is very much like a husband.

 

Most of us only need only one. ;] You search and search until you find just the right one. You marry him and then you live happily ever after until the paint begins to crack and peel and chip off the wall.

After fervent attempts at spackling without success, you get rid of that one and find a different husband and are happy with that one too…

Well, white paint is exactly like that!

In other words, in most cases you would be just as happy with a number of shades of white paint.

Therefore, please (try to) relax a little.

 

Still, I am going to give you 20 wonderful shades of white paint.

 

Do you need all 20?

No, you definitely don’t.

 

The truth is; I’ve only needed approximately six “husbands.”

 

And even then, I probably could’ve made do quite nicely with only three of them. ;] If you’d like to meet my six husbands (aka: short list of white paint colors) click here.

 

I am happy to share this information because I know it’s so difficult to know which shades of white are the best shades of white paint.

 

Here are the common issues that I’ve found or heard over the years

 

  • One issue is that some so-called white paint colors are NOT actually white. Ever go to the store and ask the guy for a gallon of white paint and then you get it home and it looks horrible? Once it’s up, you realize that it’s really pink, peach, yellow, green, blue, gray, violet or BLINDINGLY WHITE?This may not be easy to see on the chip, but here’s a trick I learned from my wonderful colleague, fellow paint guru and friend Maria Killam.

 

Maria says that if you compare any white color to Chantilly Lace you will easily be able to see if it has any undesirable undertone. I’ve not tried this, but I have no doubt that she’s right about that.

 

Park and Oak Design - Classic White kitchen - Best Shades of white paint - Chantilly Lace

Park & Oak Design – Beautiful white kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

And, here they are on instagram.

 

I love the work of this young firm and featured them on this post about another misunderstood color. – beige

 

Two more issues I hear regarding the best shade of white paint

 

  • The shade of white is too bright, dirty, warm or cool. We are going to go over this.

 

 

Before getting into the list, we must first talk a little (and I mean little) about color theory. I mean, we don’t HAVE to, ;] but I think understanding why the beast behaves in a certain manner helps to know how to deal with it.

 

Some of you know all of this already, but most probably don’t.

 

We see different colors because an object absorbs some colors (wavelengths of light) and then reflects or transmit other wavelengths seen as colors back to our eyes through our brains. Different wavelengths of light create different colors.

In addition, the light reflecting on any individual object if changeable, is going to affect the color we see.

This is why, a color might look different at 10:00 AM than it does at 4:00 PM.

Or, two walls adjacent to each other might read as two completely different colors.

 

In addition, there’s something called the light reflective value.

 

The lighter the color, the more it is affected by the light hitting it and the more light it projects back to our eyes.

And, there’s more. The perception of any color is influenced by the colors surrounding it. For instance, opposite colors on the color wheel enhance each other. If you put red and green together, the red will look REDDER and the green GREENER. If you have a gray with a tiny touch of green in it next to red, it will begin to look decidedly green.

 

Benjamin Moore desert twilight 2137-40

Okay. Now, close your eyes for a sec and the scroll down and then open your eyes.

 

Benjamin Moore Strawberry Red and Desert Twilight

 

Does desert twilight look greener? A little, I think.

Of course, the above information is a very simplistic explanation of a complex subject.

An even more simplistic explanation is:

It’s all a big bloody crapshoot!

This is why–

 

NO MATTER WHAT I OR ANYONE ELSE SAYS, YOU MUST TEST YOUR COLORS IN YOUR HOME AND YOUR UNIQUE LIGHTING SITUATION.

 

Whatever you choose, I recommend strongly, that you always test on all four walls and look at different times of the day and at night. A movable sample on poster board or a small piece of sheet rock (which is sold at most paint stores), is the way to go. (be sure to tape flat against the wall!)

For more tips on getting your color right the first time, please fill out the form at the top of the every blog post where it says “Freaking out about your paint colors?” And I’ll send you a free guide!

(please do not confuse the freebie guide with the 500 page Laurel Home Paint/Palette Collection)

However, if you really would like to have more definitive answers about paint colors and the white paint colors that will go with them, please look into getting the Laurel Home Paint,Palette and Furniture Guide. You can read more about it here.

 

And now, we are ready to examine my 20 favorite shades of white paint

and some that I’m not as much a fan of.

(my largely sucky-white list– but in some cases with exceptions)

 

20 of the best- great shades of white paint - mostly from Benjamin Moore, but some from Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert

 

You might want to take this time to go and grab a sandwich and/or take a potty break and then please come right back. :]

Please note that many of these colors, I don’t have any idea what they really are, like the one below.

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Lonny Magazine

 

I am sticking to mostly to the best Benjamin Moore white paint colors because where I live, most contractors prefer it and it is readily available.

However, I am also going to stick in a few from Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert. The former is pretty costly— for paint that is. But it’s worth it. The colors are complex and wonderful!

These are rooms by designers known for their use of the best shades of white.

 

From now on… Benjamin Moore = BM

 

20 of the best- great shades of white paint - mostly from Benjamin Moore, but some from Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert

bronxville-kitchen-canopy-designs-custom-sconce Benjamin Moore White Dove - Best Shade of White Paint

From the Bronxville kitchen we did a few years ago. This cabinet is white dove.

 

Laurel Bern Interiors bronxville-bath-door - Benjamin Moore White Dove - Best shades of White Paint

BM- WHITE DOVE oc-17. You can never go wrong with the dove. It is a soft warm white with a teensy touch of gray. We also did the bathroom cabinetry that I designed, in white dove.

TV cabinet caning detail- interior designer - home stager - Lotte Meister - Rye, NY

More white dove from Lotte Meister’s home. Photo by me. There’s a lot of white dove in her home. To see more, click here.

 

Laurel Bern Interiors-benjamin-moore-palladian-blue-ceiling-linen-white-walls-white-sofas-jute-rug-wicker-chairs- best shades of white paint

A Sunroom we did nearly a decade ago! The walls are BM linen white and the ceiling is BM Palladian Blue. For more great sunroom ideas, please check out this recent post.

And, for other beautiful ceiling colors, this is the post for that.

 

 

BM – LINEN WHITE. I prefer it in brighter rooms. It is a classic cream and looks very lovely paired with white dove for the trim. An alternative to this color is

 

lockers - home in Kentucky - we did Benjamin Moore Ivory White 925 Best Shades of White Paint

 

BM 905 – LILY OF THE VALLEY. This is a lot like linen white, but just a hair brighter. I did it once in a family room full of gorgeous built-ins. I don’t have a photo, however. But, it is close to Ivory white which is what the color above is.

 

Making It Lovely - Benjamin Moore White Blush wall color - Best shades of white paint

via Making It Lovely. Great blog filled with tons of info about paint colors and sources.

 

BM – 904 WHITE BLUSH. (see above) The color looks ever so slightly pink on the chip, (and the name also implies pink) but when it goes up, it’s very lovely and soft and creamy and generally not at all pink. This is a wonderful white with taupes and grays. It does not look good with yellow, however.

ivory white - kitchen - best shades of white paint

BM – 925 IVORY WHITE. This is the home I helped the loveliest long distance client with in 2016. It was one of the last jobs I did. Please note that Ivory white is the same color as ACADIA WHITE – ac-41. For more of this lovely home in Kentucky, please click here.

 

BM – 967 CLOUD WHITE – This is another very pretty white with just a whisper of cream. It is quite close to White Dove. Maybe a hair whiter.

 

exquisite-crown-moulding-white-on-white-cotton-balls - best shades of white paint

BM 2145 70 COTTON BALLS – This is from their “newer” fan deck.  You can see more of this cool vintage apartment here.

Too funny. I just realized that this is the former home of the parents of the long-distance client who used Ivory White in her home.

Cotton Balls is a soft, warm, lovely, lovely white. Really beautiful for walls or trim with any other color.

 

panel moulding and wainscoting of a renovated Paris apartment - Best shades of white paint - original source unknown

 

BM 2143-70 SIMPLY WHITE – The name says it all. However, it is a warm white, very close to Cotton Balls and a touch whiter than White Dove.

 

simply white ode to albert hadley living room - best shades of white paint

One of the 40 mood boards I created with furniture sources, using the wall colors in the background for the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection.

simply-white - best shades of white paintAbove is a reduced screenshot of one of the pages associated with this color from the palette collection.

 

Loi Thai - Tone on Tone fall white decor - best white paint colors

The gorgeous work of Loi Thai.

 

BM DECORATOR’S WHITE – an enduring classic white that’s more on the cool side. Please be careful about using it in a darker room on the ceiling. It is better for brighter rooms, I think.

 

Gerald Bland on instagram - Greek Revival Home - Living Room - Best Shades of White Paint

Gerald Bland on instagram

Remember this post where I featured his work?

 

 Best Shades of White Paint

Oh man, since that post, he painted the outside of his home too! What shade of white is it, you want to know?

EVERYONE DOES! And, here’s the thing. I don’t think Mr. Bland realizes that he’s supposed to engage with his audience. He never answers anyone. However, I am not holding it against him.

Aside from the fact that he’s already married, I would gladly marry him, sight unseen. I’m sure that we would get along just fine. He can decorate everything and I’ll bask in the beauty! That is just how MUCH I love his work!

 

BM DECORATOR’S WHITE mixed 50/50 with LINEN WHITE — This one is a little secret that’s no longer a secret. Although, I’ve never actually tried it, but it makes so much sense. Dec has slightly blue-green undertones and linen, slightly gold… and together, makes for a sublime creamy white.

 

Benjamin Moore – WINTER SNOW – oc-63, a vignette from Nancy Keye’s living room

(this is the only new color)

This is also known as a Darryl Carter color – SOMERSET WHITE dc-05

It’s the same color for Benjamin Moore.

And, here it is again, in Nancy Keye’s Living Room.

Please follow Nancy on instagram!

 

BM 2143-70 MOONLIGHT WHITE- This is another of the Darryl Carter colors for Benjamin Moore which just to confuse us into thinking is a different color is also called Huntington White DC-02.

my knotting hill cracking the darryl carter code - Best Benjamin Moore Shades of White Paint - 20 Great shades of White Paint

If you are interested in a great post on “cracking the Darryl Carter code,” with the real names and numbers, you can find that here on My Knotting Hill Blog. And yes, I know that the image is too small to read. You’ll need to go check it out Knotting’s blog. Sorry, she doesn’t publish her name.

 

However, they can call it whatever they think will sell the paint because whatever Darryl is selling… I’m buying.

 

He’s a genius. The next two rooms are his and I would be in heaven living in any of his spaces. For more Darryl, click here.

 

VER060112_105Darryl Carter

above and below

Darryl Carter - Elle Decor

 

BM – PAPER WHITE. This is a white with a slight gray tint and I had some bookcases painted this color in a room already painted a warm gray with a hint of violet. I had the inside of the cases painted orange. It looks amazing!

 

Below is another board from the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection.

 

Benjamin Moore Paper White - Best White Paint Colors

 

To mix it up, I used Paper White on this board, for the trim

Interestingly, another excellent shade of white paint that wasn’t in the original post is DISTANT GRAY. However, the gray is exceedingly distant. Paper White has more gray in it.

 

 Best Shades of White Paint - Studio McGee

 

Benjamin Moore SUPER WHITE is one of Studio McGee’s favorite shades of white paint. They are known for their white walls and clean new-trad look. This is a soft, clean, warm white.

They’re also huge fans of Simply White.

 

BM – WHITE. Who knew? Their plain white is very nice for trim with either clear or cool colors. It does not look so great with gold. For gold and khaki, I love one of the creamier whites like linen white or Mayonnaise. My apartment has BM white trim everywhere. To be honest, it looks wonderful in the bathroom and good in the bedroom. (although the bedroom trim is white dove now.)

 

Now, for a few faves from Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert.

 

Farrow and Ball has been featured on this blog numerous times. To see some of those posts, click here. 

Their colors are magnificent and complex. If you are interested in as close as I could find alternatives with Benjamin Moore, please check out this post.

 

great shades of white paint

via

 

Farrow and Ball POINTING 2003 – Pointing is a beautiful white with just the right amount of cream. (I know… there are a lot of these. Don’t knock yourself out. haha.)

Farrow and Ball ALL WHITE is a very crisp true white which looks wonderful in more contemporary settings.

Farrow and Ball WHITE TIE Another very nice cream color.

 

Pratt and Lambert is another favorite company. They have a far smaller collection of colors than Benjamin Moore, but most of them are winners.

 

victoria-hagan-slipcovered-sofa - Best Shades of White Paint - Pratt and Lambert Ancestral

 

Pratt and Lambert ANCESTRAL.

 

My old living room was painted this color and I lived with it for 12 years and never ever tired of it. It’s soft and warm. I discovered it because Victoria Hagan had painted her home in the Hamptons that color.

 

item12.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.victoria-hagan-14-guest-room

Pratt and Lambert SEED PEARL, a clean, warm white- Seed Pearl is a fave of many designers and I know that Victoria also uses this color. She’s a huge fan of P and L. The bedroom above is another of her beautiful designs.

Thom Filicia White on White entry with lovely oil painting - dark hard wood floors - mouldings great shades of white paint - best shades of Benjamin Moore White paint

Thom Filicia’s design for Jennifer Lopez

And finally Pratt and Lambert SILVER LINING which is not in any way silver. It has a teensy, eensy, weensy bit of gray. It is very close, I think to white dove. It’s another great one, especially for trim.

 

***************************************************************

 

So, are there any whites which I think suck?

 

Well, yes; however, my sucky white might be someone else’s go-to. It’s true

 

This is my short list of sucky whites that probably sound less sucky than they really are.

 

BM CHINA WHITE. Some designers love this color. I think it looks dirty. It’s warm, but dirty looking, IMO. However, it is a great white for home EXTERIORS!

I did see it in a friend’s home a couple of summers ago. It is a highly changeable color. Sometimes it looked slightly lavender and sometimes like the palest dirty gold.

 

ATRIUM WHITE. Pink undertones which is fine if you want a pale, pale pink. Again, there are some who like this color, however, I think it needs a LOT of light to look good.

BONE WHITE. No. Dirt. yuck. Stay away! I think they finally got rid of the even more putrid Spanish White. It was like the dog had peed on the wall. I’m not kidding. (However, it might be fine if you live in an adobe home in Arizona, for the exterior)

ANTIQUE WHITE. Well, if you like peach it’s okay, but if you don’t want peach, steer clear.

NAVAJO WHITE. Another one that some designers love but I think looks just a tad too beigey-barf and neither here nor there. It’s an offwhite for wimps. However… my former neighbor had terra-cotta/ burnt orangey kitchen walls (actually BM spiced pumpkin which I had used before and like) and a sage-green living room and used Navajo for the trim and it was very pretty. But her tile on the fireplace was beige.

 

One common mistake when choosing the best shades of white paint is painting a dark room bright BRIGHT white thinking that it will make the room look brighter.

 

Often, it just looks gray and drab because north facing light is blue-gray. I don’t recommend white for most dark and north facing rooms, but if you do, I would try one without the gray but instead warm undertones usually work best. Here’s my favorite white for north facing rooms.

 

If you paint the room all white, should you paint the trim a contrasting white?

 

white-paint-colors

 

That is a matter of preference. However, the trim should always be in a semi-gloss or satin paint. (I once went into a home where some idiot painted the walls in gloss and the trim in flat.) My preference is still for oil-based paint for the trim, but the latex paints are better than they used to be.

 

Benjamin Moore Advance is a wonderful product. It’s a water-based alkyd and does a wonderful job of mimicking oil, but it’s low VOC and not oil-based.

 

If you missed the husband analogy above here are my 6 favorite shades of white paint by Benjamin Moore For those of you who are still overwhelmed, this is a great list of white paints. 95% of the time, one of these will work nicely for you. I wrote this as a list for great trim colors, but of course, they can also be used for walls and ceilings too.

 

And what is the BEST shade of white paint?

 

This is my favorite Benjamin Moore white paint color.

 

Or, at least one of them. Please don’t make me choose. haha

xo,

 

And, don’t forget to check out the newly updated HOT SALES for this week.

 

For more help with the best shades of white paint and other colors,

please click here.

However, please note that I cannot answer your individual paint color issues. And, please do not ask other readers for advice either. It is only me, Laurel who’s moderating and answering the comments and it’s not possible. Thank you for your understanding.

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Ellie - March 20, 2019 - 11:37 AM

    I chose Atrium white for my guest bedroom. It is south facing and has both an east and a south window. I see no pink in it at all. It just looks warm and lovely, like it was lit from within. I chose Swiss coffee for my master which is next on our paint list. When we purchased our home it was chocolate brown, every wall and every room. It was awful but it’s such a cute home and was in great condition. We decided that paint was an easy fix but it has taken a coat of primer and two coats of paint so far for our living room, kitchen, dining and two bathrooms. The transformation is incredible though.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 20, 2019 - 12:27 PM

      Hi Ellie,

      Atrium is best in bright rooms like yours most likely is. But there are so many factors that can affect how a color reads in a space. But sometimes, Atrium can appear to have a pink tone. I love hearing about the transformation. It’s really true!ReplyCancel

  • T - February 19, 2019 - 7:52 AM

    Thanks for your list, I love reviewing posts with the many variations of one color…grays, whites, etc. (Or “color”.) I may not be alone, and perhaps your main blog readers are true designers, but for me, Benjamin Moore isn’t really practical as a purchase. It’s very expensive (and I do have a lot of walls…put the money in the house:)) and we have one retailer in our area, which is about 20 miles away. Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert…ditto. It would be so great for many if eventually you could do a list with Sherwin Williams (grays, whites, etc.) since that is more practical for most. You can buy it at Lowes and in my area, at least, there are several retailers b/c the professional painters mostly buy Sherwin Williams. There are several times per year when they do sales, and my painter gets a discount, so I rarely pay full price for SW. If you don’t want to color match, and I don’t, it would be great to see some SW recommendations. I suppose no one will ever do Behr, but it’s what many buy since it is the Home Depot choice and Behr actually has a couple really good whites…Weathered White (perfect for an indoor porch or more rustic environment…has a gray undertone) and Silky White (slight green undertone that is barely, if at all there, but looks great with Revere Pewter and similar colors. Yes…I once used a BM color, Revere Pewter, but color matched and realized it was slightly off. It was still very pretty, but after another color matching experience, I will never do it again.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 19, 2019 - 9:06 PM

      Alas, we have the opposite situation in my neck of the woods. Benjamin Moore is plentiful and most of the contractors prefer working with it. And while I respect your opinion, it’s impossible to please everyone.

      It’s true. There are other brands, but I made a decision to focus primarily on one company and I stand by my decision because it’s confusing enough as it is and I feel this makes life easier. And that’s worth something!ReplyCancel

  • Katarina - February 15, 2019 - 10:13 PM

    First of all, I adore your writing style and humor. Second, I’m head over hills for all shades and nuances of white, so the worst punishment would be choosing between one of them, so we’re on the same page about that. Thank you for this very useful and informative blog post, it was much-needed!ReplyCancel

  • Joan - February 15, 2019 - 5:01 PM

    I am so glad you added Benjamin Moore’s Winter White; we recently used it in our bathroom remodel and I’m so glad we did. The redone bathroom has a gray and white basketweave mosaic floor, grayish calacatta quartzite countertop, plain white subway tile on the bathtub surround and board and batten paneling painted Yarmouth Blue on the bottom half of the walls . Initially the designer wanted to use White Dove on the upper half of the walls and on the vanity, but I thought it might look a little dirty against the pure white tile, so we picked Winter White out of the BM color book. I’m so happy we went with the Winter White; it reads pure white in my north-facing bathroom but it doesn’t look stark or cold. It also make the color of the Yarmouth Blue paneling look fabulous.

    I know no paint is “pure” white but I haven’t been able to figure out the undertone of Winter White. I read somewhere it was lavender but I can’t really tell from looking at it.

    I’m glad paint isn’t really like husbands, because as much as I love Winter White in my blue and gray bathroom, I wasn’t faithful to Winter White when we repainted the adjoining hallway and master bedroom. I’m not really a big fan of gray and the rest of my house is painted in warm whites and cream colors. For the hallway and bedroom we went with BM Ballet White on the walls and BM Simply White on the trim. (Winter White grayed out next to the beige Ballet White and beige carpet in my hall, whereas the Simply White has a glow to it).

    I could go on and on about paint color but you get the picture. I really appreciate your blog; it’s giving me a lot of food for thought for the rest of my house, which is due for repainting.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 15, 2019 - 5:17 PM

      Hi Joan,

      Well, let’s just say that it counts as a husband if it’s a white paint going in the same room. And, thanks so much for your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Lea - February 14, 2019 - 5:45 PM

    This:
    “Most likely, with practice, I’m a better writer, so hopefully, the post will have more clarity and better information.”
    Hahahaha, Laurel, you are the best. Seriously! I’m addicted.ReplyCancel

  • Christina - February 14, 2019 - 1:20 PM

    This is such a great resource and one that I’ve referred back to many times. I am planning on painting a room all the same color – trim, walls, and ceiling. Should the wall and trim be the same sheen or different? I haven’t found any information on that.ReplyCancel

  • Hilary - February 14, 2019 - 12:04 PM

    Thanks for the update! I went with Acadia for interior – exterior – trim – walls – ceilings-(even on porches – don’t find that the bugs are worse). Only exception was kitchen cabinets and trim- used chantilly lace there – the result exceeded my expectations. Probably went to paint store and re-read your original guide 600 times! My house is a very small 200 year old South Louisiana cottage- going all white has given it a more current and spacious feel without losing the charm- highly recommend! Thanks again for your efforts!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 15, 2019 - 8:30 PM

      Oh, sorry I somehow missed your lovely comment Hilary! Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Jody LaRock - February 14, 2019 - 10:37 AM

    Hi Laurel! First time comment from long time reader and student of yours. Love your blog! I study each and every post. You have helped me define my tastes and update my home. The latest and biggest update has been updating the kitchen and adjacent living room which included new countertops (goodbye dark green granite) and new paint on cabinets, built-ins, doors, trim (goodbye bagel color). I purchased your paint guide, followed your recommendations regarding testing and ended up with Linen White. It needed to work with the tan/beige/cream tile that runs thru out my lower level along with lots of mahogany and various lighting situations. It’s been a perfect choice for my home! Thank you so much for your guidance, education and entertainment!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 14, 2019 - 12:31 PM

      Oh, I’m so glad Jody, and yes, linen white can be a great “bridge” white to brighten up too much tan-beige. If it’s pinky-beige, then usually White Blush 904 or oc-86 is a good choice.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - February 14, 2019 - 8:34 AM

    Thanks for your advice to check out the corners before painting one wall in my living room a different shade from the other 3 walls. Since I’m definitely going to have the whole LR, foyer and stairwell painted I am not even using sample boards to test colors but painting stripes right on the walls so I can see all four walls throughout the day and night at the same time. I hope you are doing well health-wise. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alison - February 14, 2019 - 6:23 AM

    A really important thing to remember when using white and for any colour for that matter is to use the brand of paint the colour belongs to. The tints vary from brand to brand so asking the local DYI store to produce a colour but on a different brand is a recipe for disaster. Get it from the brand trade centre to ensure the base and tints are correct. When building our current home we specified a Resene colour however the painter had it mixed using a different more readily available brand Taubmens. Needless to say when I saw the first of the painting I freaked out, it was a very yellow white and not what I wanted. Expensive exercise for the painter as we made him replace all the paint with the specified colour. Thank you for another great post Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 14, 2019 - 12:08 PM

      Hi Alison,

      I see that you are in Australia, I believe. I’ve never heard of those paint brands. What you say, I believe, has a lot of merit. While it might be possible with a talented paint mixer, that is unlikely. Oh, they will say that the computer matching is perfect.

      It’s not.

      So, yes, I concur that it is always better to use the brand itself.

      IF your painter says that he can’t get that brand and it’s available to you, then what is stopping you from buying your own damned paint? Just tell the painter that you will provide the paint and ask him how much to get. The reason he won’t work with brand B is almost always because he has an account with brand A and/or a better discount with brand A.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Novotny - February 13, 2019 - 7:54 PM

    Had to laugh, your first white paint blog is how I found you! We were moving and needed to touch up the trim in our 4,000 square ft. Georgian. Due to the size and light in each room we had painted the trim in most rooms a different white and not kept a record. When we moved to our reproduction cape the ceilings needing touch up and I remembered that post and Cotton Balls! What would we do without you, Laurel! I reread all your blogs and come away with new info every time. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 8:52 PM

      Thank you Cynthia! You know that old post had well over 1,100,000 page views. So, it’s how a lot of people have found me. And that’s because I decided to write the most epic white paint post (at that time) to capture the attention of darling Google. And, it worked. And then, I had to show him that it wasn’t a fluke and that’s why he sends me gobs and gobs of traffic.

      Oh dear… now I’m going on about the business of blogging. I actually quite love it!ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - February 13, 2019 - 6:41 PM

    Dear, dear Laurel! You know how much I LOVE white and this is a fabulous post! Not just because you showed our house, but I love that, too! Not sure if I ever told you that our last house had a few rooms that were White Dove. Loved that and the Decorators White that we have in the keeping room now. Thanks as always! XOXOReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 8:44 PM

      Well, you know that I love your home and your decorating!!! xoxo Your insta account is looking mighty spiffy these days too!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Rennie - February 13, 2019 - 4:42 PM

    Hi Laurel, a timely post indeed, as I have some seriously OLD molasses coloured trim in a 1920 Arts and Crafts house, in a windowless central hall with walls AND ceiling painted what I think is Hawthorne yellow. OMG. Anyway, to comment on a couple of comments above and maybe offer another perspective. First, re Mayonnaise: all trim that was painted in the house before we bought it is Mayonnaise (including kitchen cabinets), and while I’m content for now to let the cabinets be (they were hand-painted, not lacquered, so can be changed eventually), after living with the other trim for several months, and knowing I have to attack the hall problem (uh, includes staircase too, which gives all the men in this town a heart attack, except my sainted better half), I’ve decided to switch to either Cotton Balls or Simply White – just trying to figure that one out now. I find the Mayonnaise is just a little too yellow, and does not give enough contrast against the wall colours I’ve chosen. That will mean redoing the existing trim, but I’m game. Comment two: Linen: a northwest facing room and a north facing room were done in Linen by the previous owner, and both are drab and gray. But in a southeast facing room, it’s pretty sweet – bright and warm. Thanks again for your great advice!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 8:43 PM

      Hi Paula,

      Yes, it’s true. Linen White is no bueno is a dark room. It does bring out the gray and some north facing rooms bring out the red and it goes really peachy. But, in a bright room, it’s very nice. It’s also a fabulous trim color with darker paint colors like browns, greens, reds, gold… Of course, always test!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne Rupp - February 13, 2019 - 4:06 PM

    I love the idea of comparing whites with Chantilly Lace. Makes me think of how I love looking at exterior paint colors when there is snow on the ground. You really can spot the undertones (Maria Killam).ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - February 13, 2019 - 2:08 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Thanks for this update. I have been reading and re-reading your previous posts on whites and grays. I even went to campchroma.com and printed out Lori’s information on an increasing number of possible white/gray choices which was really fun but I’m getting more and more confused.
    I finally chose Paper White for my den–a darkish room with 8 foot ceiling. It looks great! Pale soft gray and with no blue.
    My big problem is the living room. It has windows east and west, has a 2 story high ceiling, is open to stairs going up and semi-open to the foyer and to the den. Also there’s a small 2nd floor level room with a balcony into the living room so all of that has to work together. I had decided on Gray Owl which looks great on 3 living room walls but on the 4th reads dark blue-green!
    Paint is so weird and hard! I’m becoming a crazy paint lady for sure! I’m thinking about doing LR in Gray Owl except for the one weird wall in Paper White. The foyer and stairwell probably in Paper White also. Have you ever seen a room with two different colors that looks good? (this won’t be an “accent wall” just trying to eliminate that dark blue-green place.)
    Thanks, Sherry
    PS. Not asking for a specific color consult. I totally understand why you can’t do that. Just what do you think about 2 colors in one room?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 8:18 PM

      Hi Sherry,

      That’s actually a very good question. Here’s my take on that. IF the one wall looks good with the other walls in all lighting situation, then I see no reason why you can’t paint the one wall a different shade. If it looks weird, say at night or on a cloudy day or any other time of day, it might be time to rethink that.

      To test it, make large sample boards and look at them in different lighting situations. I would also make sure that one of them is on perpendicular walls, right in the corner. The eyes tend to go to the corners and the corners are where the colors often are the strongest as they are reflecting each other.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - February 13, 2019 - 2:01 PM

    I love this review of white. Thank you. I am looking at white more and more as a place to start in my retirement home. Once everything is neutralized, I will slowly add color as I live in the space.

    Nevermind that I can’t afford a place in my dream location. I am meditating on some financial good luck.

    I read your postings and always feel uplifted both from your humor and the design itself.

    Your site has changed my taste for the better. I needed color in this cold midwest location, but I can see white, or mostly white, working in Northern California.

    I do adore other colors though, so my choices will always evolve.

    Have fun in Vegas. I am sure you will come back with exciting ideas.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 8:12 PM

      Thanks so much Ramona. And as you’ve grown, so have *I*!!! Oh my. I’ve learned soooooo much because writing has often forced me to examine exactly how I do something. OR, I simply didn’t have enough knowledge in some aspect or other and needed to research it to be sure I was getting it right.ReplyCancel

  • Berit Monnier - February 13, 2019 - 1:59 PM

    Many years ago I read that BM White Dove was the perfect white. The following year, when I decided to paint our dark kitchen cabinets white, I miss remembered and used oil-based SW Dover White. A very happy mistake. It’s a rich beautiful white that plays well with everything.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Scruggs - February 13, 2019 - 1:46 PM

    Another gloriously jam-packed and informational post friend- so, SO good!
    The mood board you posted above that you created with Simply White *may* be my favorite ever that you have done…..
    *maybe*
    it’s SO hard to choose a fave!!
    SO excited to see you next week!!
    xoxoxReplyCancel

  • Lisa from MT - February 13, 2019 - 1:17 PM

    As usual Laurel – ❤️❤️❤️

    Thank you for this fabulous update! I have BM White Dove and Cottonballs burned into my brain! So happy the two classics haven’t changed.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:39 PM

      Everyone has their favorite shades of white paint. That’s why white paint is exactly like a husband. Once you have one you love, you don’t need to go looking for another. It was only after I started blogging that I felt compelled to start “cheating.”

      Peer pressure is a powerful thing. lolReplyCancel

  • Heather - February 13, 2019 - 1:16 PM

    omg… I’m so ashamed. I just saw your response to a previous comment on this blog. face palm.

    Off to go read your ceiling paint post!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - February 13, 2019 - 1:13 PM

    Dear Laurel, I squealed with delight for this update!!! We’re about to start demo any day on a cute little 1950s colonial in A2, and I’ve been obsessively reading your blog and taking in all of your advice. I have a sticking point however. What about the ceiling?! I noticed in your reply to a comment on an older blog post something along the lines of “don’t worry about the ceiling, you won’t notice it in a week”. But I have angst!! I’m planning to follow your advice and use cotton balls for both wall and trim…and my current plan is to use it for the ceiling too, but mostly because the thought of picking a ceiling color overwhelms me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ What effect do ceiling colors have on wall/trim color..and vice versa? Should you paint the ceiling the same color as the trim? Sorry if this is a painfully novice question.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:35 PM

      Hi Heather. I see your other comment above this one. Thank you. I appreciate that.ReplyCancel

  • debra @ 5th and state - February 13, 2019 - 12:21 PM

    For your same reasons Laurel, I would marry Darryl Carter!

    Knotting Hill blog owner is Michele

    another great post, cheers!
    DebraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:34 PM

      Thanks Debra. Yes, I would marry Darryl too and Mark Sikes and William McLure even though most would frown at the age difference.

      I don’t really care. lolReplyCancel

  • Beth - February 13, 2019 - 11:53 AM

    I love your blog! My house is a 120 year old colonial and was such a timely post for me, since I have a old bathroom, claw foot tub with a terra-cotta stone floor and white dove window and baseboard trim. I want to paint the walls a white, maybe ivory white or cotton balls. Would this look dirty perhaps next to the white dove trim?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:32 PM

      I don’t know. Why not just paint the walls White Dove? Otherwise, get some paint chips. Narrow it down and then get a few test quarts and make your boards. Look at in all lights and in numerous places.ReplyCancel

  • Renee Cordell - February 13, 2019 - 11:53 AM

    Soft Chamois BMReplyCancel

  • Mary - February 13, 2019 - 11:46 AM

    My first experience with white paint came when I wanted to paint my golden oak cabinets. I knew I wanted them white. I went to my local Ace Hardware store & sitting on their shelves were gallons of trim, door, & cabinet paint in white. I bought one & painted my upper cabinets. I was pretty happy with the color. When it was time to freshen up my baseboards I used the leftover paint. That’s when I realized the shade of white was different then my existing white trim & doors. So now I’m trying to get everything painted in the same shade of white. I had no idea that whites could be so different.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:21 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Most people don’t until they encounter a situation which proved to them otherwise.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - February 13, 2019 - 11:46 AM

    Laurel
    Have fun in Vegas babyReplyCancel

  • Renee Cordell - February 13, 2019 - 11:02 AM

    What about soft chamois? I used it in my whole house walls and trim and LOVE it.ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - February 13, 2019 - 10:49 AM

    Hi Laurel!

    This is the first time I have commented but just want to open with . . . I LOVE your posts! 🙂

    I was so happy that BM distant grey got a shout out. We moved into a new home recently that has new Corian countertops. I thought they were white but when I started to research paint colors for the cabinets I realized the color was a close match to distant grey. Alas, I was hoping to go with a warm paint palette in the house, but now I’m not sure if that’s possible without making the counters look dingy.

    My question is: Is there a way to bridge cool palettes with warm palettes on the same floor of a house? Perhaps by using an intermediate “skip” color? Or in this case am I stuck with cooler tones?
    I thought perhaps I could paint the kitchen cabinets in a cooler color to coordinate with the counters, but then using a warmer white in other rooms. However, we have an open flowing floor plan so I’m not sure if this will fly.

    Some other data points:

    1) We live in the northeast and the exposures are north and east facing, so predominately cool light. Another reason to warm things up a bit if feasible.

    2) Replacing the countertops isn’t in the budget.

    I think you are going to tell me to hire a decorator, but figured I would give this a shot. 🙂 I’m guessing I’m not the first person who has this question about mixing tonal lanes in the same room/open area.

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 1:19 PM

      Hi Johanna,

      I’m so sorry. I realize that you need help and don’t know what to do, but since I’m not there, it’s impossible. It might be possible to mix warm and cool tones together. The bathroom with the gray and white wallpaper that I did is an example. There are all different shades of white in there and that complexity is what I think makes it interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly O'Neil-Brown - February 13, 2019 - 9:59 AM

    Hi Laurel –
    If whites are not good for north facing rooms, then what neutrals would work?

    Love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Janet Lorusso - February 13, 2019 - 9:50 AM

    Great update, Laurel! I think shades of paint might be easier than husbands…:) Hope you are well!ReplyCancel

  • Kasie - February 13, 2019 - 9:25 AM

    This was a really interesting read for me as we are about to list our custom home (that we HATE!) for sale. We hired a designer when we built this home and she truly did a lovely job…with everything EXCEPT the “white” trim color used throughout the home.

    That color is Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan 7531. Oh. My. Gosh. It just looks DIRTY! It ALWAYS looks dirty. We have a ton of natural light throughout the home. Maybe that’s the problem? Perhaps it would be that creamy color I hoped for if it were darker in here.

    It doesn’t matter what color it is used with in my home. Some wall colors used are (all Sherwin Williams): Amazing Grey, Worldly Grey, Sensible Hue, Balanced Beige, Grays Harbor. These are ALL lovely colors. The Canvas Tan just ruins it for me!

    So, counting the days until we are outta here and moving into our new (old) swanky place—-WITHOUT CANVAS TAN!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 9:54 AM

      Hi Kasie,

      Well, I’m sorry that you had that experience. All the best for your move into your new (old) home!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - February 13, 2019 - 9:22 AM

    I love that you updated this post! Yes indeed this was the post that brought you to my world and taught me about how paint means nothing without LIGHT and SAMPLES!

    – I tried linen and ivory and all looked like sad mud in my CT north facing room— until F&B Wimborne White went up and angels started to sing.
    – the runner up was a wild lark of mixing BM Ivory and Snowfall White. It was so pretty I wanted to send you a sample on my stir stick but I thought that’s creepy.
    – after 17 swatches on my exterior I chose BM “White” and laughed at how much we can overthink these things.

    Much <3 and appreciation LaurelReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 9:51 AM

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I would’ve smiled had you sent me the stick. I wouldn’t have found that in the slightest creepy. Creepy is receiving a type-written three page letter on lavender stationery, no name or address, but chastising me at length for various things I’ve done or said.ReplyCancel

  • Judith - February 13, 2019 - 8:39 AM

    Thank you Laurel, for the update. I’ll bet your paint colors get pinned more than anyone else’s in the blogosphere! One question: What do you think of BM Collingwood? I have it in a good portion of my house. I also have RH Stone in the Master Bedroom which is quite close to Collingwood. The two areas were remodeled at different times, which is the reason for the two colors. Most people never notice the transition between the two. Collingwood comes off as a creamy white with gray undertones. I’ve had it for many years now, and am considering one of your white color suggestions for the next project. Will I regret going white as opposed to this subtle grayish white?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 9:44 AM

      I wish I had the powers to divine an answer for you, Judith, but it’s impossible to say without standing in your home and seeing EVERYTHING that’s going on.ReplyCancel

  • HeidiP - February 13, 2019 - 7:18 AM

    Ahhh paint colors!!! Love this post.
    I lucked out 5 years ago when I chose Chantilly lace for my trim, the one paint decision I don’t regret!!! I have loved Chantilly since. We knocked down and rebuilt 75% of our house, main living area faces south east but has windows on all sides, super bright. Per your tutelage, I tested my narrowed down choices, simply white, cotton balls and my beloved Chantilly lace on multiple walls… Chantilly won each time. I think it’s the purist white paint color there is! I didn’t see any yellow or blue or green undertones just pure white each time. Since my rooms are so so bright, this was the only color that I didn’t question or wonder if it would look dingy, it’s also the color all 94437329;&4$3 of the workers at my house liked too. Haha
    Now I’m positively FROZEN, PARALYZED in my paint selection for a new pool bath and a mudroom bench. Two small surfaces keeping me up at night. Paint selection is truly truly difficult.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 9:42 AM

      Hi Heidi,

      Well, at least that one worked out. Chantilly isn’t in this post. The thought crossed my mind to add it in, but then I forgot. It’s very close to super white. It is a color in my paint collection, however.ReplyCancel

  • GL - February 13, 2019 - 3:48 AM

    Always interesting to see how the different “whites” behave.
    Two remarks here: one advantage of the F&B colour card is that it isn’t a fan deck, so all the colours are on a white background, which helps to see the undertones (as Maria Killam points out) — and I like having a limited choice!
    Secondly, I notice in your photos that several of the best show the “white” with touches or more of green (plants) and black or charcoal — both the Bland pics do that — a great idea for colour combinations?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 9:35 AM

      Hi Gilly,

      Gerald Bland’s decor is a master class in the art of design and decoration. I would merely copy everything he does. The end.ReplyCancel

  • Amy S - February 13, 2019 - 12:40 AM

    Thanks for the refresh on this post. I’ve read the first one several times and this is right in time for me! I am just about to have a partition wall added for an entryway, and to repaint my living room white. (With a Palladium ceiling). I’m going to use cotton balls for all the trim in my house and I had Been thinking about China white for the walls. I’ll steer clear of that now and do either paper white or keep to cotton balls. (This crazy paint lady has one more trip for a sample).

    Thanks again, your blog really has helped me make my house a happy place.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - February 13, 2019 - 12:24 AM

    Thanks so much for this. A great guide, especially because whites are often confusing.

    I’m curious about your opinion of B Moore’s Mayonnaise, if you h ave one. I used it in the bathroom to match the older tiles, but I actually really like it’s creaminess….ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2019 - 12:29 AM

      Hi Laura,

      Yes, I’ve used it before and also like it. I haven’t checked, but I believe that it’s also close to Ivory White.ReplyCancel