The One White Trim and Wall Color That Works Every Time

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I know you’ve gone over this before. And, I’ve read all of your posts about trim and wall colors and love them. However, I’m still driving myself nuts. My husband is no longer talking to me, and the dog runs for cover every time I take out my paintbrush. lol, I’m hoping you can write a post about this.

I know. I’m stark raving bonkers. Please make it stop.

 

Just tell me the ONE color, the one white trim color, and wall color that will look good with everything!

 

Sincerely,

Olivia C. Deepshitz

 

Whistler_James_Symphony_in_White_the_little_white_girl_white-trim-colors

James Abbott MacNeill Whistler – “The Little White Girl – 1865”

 

Hi Everyone, this is an updated version of a post from six years ago. Of course, Olivia C. Dipschitz (OCD) is a fictional charachter.

 

Dear OCD,

There, there now. Don’t you know?

“It’s only paint.”

 

Well, that’s what they say when talking about paint colors.

 

Although, I fully understand your frustration. Many years ago, I, too, drove myself to the edge of my sanity. I made dozens of trips to the paint store, frothing at the mouth. I could just sense the bored clerk snickering to himself…

Oh, here she comes again… hehe… The “pathetic paint lady.” I wonder what shade of white she’s going to select today. hehe

 

Sheepishly, I requested another 2 or 3-quart samples of white trim and wall color.

 

And, then when I got home, I did exactly what you’re supposed NOT to do when selecting paint colors.

 

The painter needed to know- NOW. So, under duress, I convinced myself, “I’ve-got-this.”

 

Got this meant that I mixed TWO Pratt and Lambert whites.

 

Well, of course, that was not necessary, and it wasn’t really that great, either. What was wonderful were the beautiful mouldings we had our contractor put up. That made a tremendous difference in our townhouse.

Well, that was in 1996, and in the ensuing years, I got a lot savvier about selecting trim and wall colors. Sometimes making the wrong choice helps to make the right one, next time.

 

So, today, I want to focus on selecting the perfect WHITE trim and wall color.

 

Below are some of my best tips

 

  • One, if the color is dark, the trim ideally needs to be a little deeper white. Otherwise, the white may appear to be insanely bright by contrast
  • yellows definitely need warm but none-beige whites
  • blues also need non-beige whites
  • I generally stay away from cool, icy whites– just because I don’t like them.
  • Warm doesn’t necessarily mean yellow

The next thing I’m going to say is:

 

STOP IT!

 

I mean that most lovingly, of course. Just stop it. Stop driving yourself nuts, and here is why.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

A little secret that’s going to shock the drop cloth off of some of you.

 

Much of the time, it really doesn’t make that much difference.

 

John_Singer_Sargent_-_Helen_Sears_-_Google_Art_Project copyJohn Singer Sargent – Helen Sears (excerpt) 1895

(As an aside. The painting above is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.)

 

I’ll repeat. Much of the time, the shade of white paint you choose won’t make that much difference.

 

What, are you some kind of a sadistic freak, Laurel? Stop messing with us!

 

Haha! Okay, freak maybe, sadistic, never! I’m completely serious! Based on experience, I have found that many trim colors will do just fine in a lot of different situations. And they are the ones in this post about the only six white trim colors you’ll need.

There, doesn’t that make you feel better already? I mean, does your pearl necklace only go with one outfit?

By the way, when I say “trim colors,” the same goes for wall and ceiling colors, as well.

 

Boston_Hotel_architectural_mouldings_white trim and wall color

A photo I took in 2013 at a beautiful inn in Boston while visiting my son.

 

Yes, another coincidence, times two! One, the hotel is only a few blocks from where I am now. And, look at the mouldings. I was just talking about this style here.

 

The problem is… well, it’s simple. There are just way too many whites to choose from.

We could get rid of 3/4 of them and still have more than enough to choose from. Please see 20 of the best white paint colors.

 

I understand the fear.

 

Paint is fickle. It changes with the light. Remember my apartment where Benjamin Moore classic gray looks like pale gold! And, maybe you did make a mistake one time. Did you learn from it? Please know that we ALL make mistakes. However, I’m going to do my best to help you, not make one.

White is the most reflective color. It’s reflecting light. The light changes color. It’s like the sky.

God didn’t expect mom nature to pick just one color for the sky. Right? And that sky, clouds, exposure is going to change your shade of white throughout the day. So, while it may be the most difficult color, it’s also the most forgiving color.

 

John_Constable_Cloud_StudyJohn Constable – Cloud Study 1822

If you stick to the warmer whites, you’ll seldom have to worry about icy unless the contrast is too great. But maybe you want that stark contrast!

 

The issue here is that you want only one trim and wall color for the entire home.

 

This is a very valid point because then you don’t have to rack your brain. (as much) :] So, one day, your three-year-old decides to practice his writing on the wall with a sharpie. You’ll probably want to touch that up.

Now, you’re racking your brain–was that the mascarpone or the creme brulee? Oh, wait, no. It might’ve been swiss coffee. Life is confusing enough. I usually recommend sticking to one or two trim colors throughout the house if possible.

And, yes, it is a great look to paint the walls and trim the same color. So, there’s no need to stress about that. And, if painting the ceiling white, use the same color there, too. However, I usually do matte or eggshell for the walls, semi-gloss for trim, and flat or matte for the ceiling. That’s a general rule.  Please see why your paint sheen is confusing you.

 

laurel-bern-interiors-linen-drapes-white trim and wall color

From a recent installation we did in a Bronxville bedroom

(the trim color is Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17)

If you only want one trim color, then what needs to be considered are the kitchen and bathrooms. The cabinetry needs to match the trim– or at least be very close. Toilets, bathtubs, and sinks are usually pretty white. No, the paint doesn’t have to be an exact match, but of course, it needs to coordinate. That means one of the whiter whites.

 

john_hummel_builders_white trim and wall colorWhite on white. Gorgeous cabinetry and millwork by builders George Hummel and Associates

 

For bathrooms, plain old Benjamin Moore White usually looks pretty darn good.

 

My old bathroom was this color.

Okay, is plain old outta the can white, the IDEAL trim color? Well, it’s in the top 20 best white paint colors because it looks good with a lot of colors. Plain white actually has a good amount of gray in it. However, sometimes it looks very stark, and sometimes it looks a little dirty.

So, that leaves about eight other possibilities for white wall and trim color if you only use one trim color in every room in the house.

All colors by Benjamin Moore (not an affiliate link, but it should be!)

Chantilly Lace – OC – 65

Cotton Balls – OC-122

Mountain Peak White – OC- 118

Simply White – OC-117

Snowfall White – OC – 118

Super White – PM – 1

White Dove – OC-17

So,  which one?

 

Here’s what you do. Take eight pieces of paper with the names on them, put them in a hat, close your eyes and pick one. OR, play a game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo.

Oh, Laurel, please stop being so glib and tell us the best one!!!

 

Gee, sorry. I thought I had made my point. They are ALL the best one. Yes, in some situations, some are going to be a bit better than others. However, the differences are so minute that the average person will not see the difference.

But you want only one trim color.

Fine.

Go with Cotton Balls OC-122.

 

That’s what I said in 2015. And, I still stand by that color 95% of the time.

 

wagner-chair-cotton-balls-oc-122-benjamin-moore-paint_white_trim_color

My old living room in Bronxville with a cabinet painted with Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls. There is a lamp on, so that is skewing the color on the right.

So, is there a better choice?

 

I bet you’re going to change it to White Dove, Laurel.

 

Actually, no. I’m definitely not going to do that. I lived with White Dove oc-17 in my old bedroom with the Mural Source wallpaper for over 2.5 years. And, at the time, I virtually lived in my bedroom. So, I looked at White Dove – A LOT. All of the doors, trim, ceiling, and space between the moulding is White Dove.

Here are my observations.

 

white trim and wall color - Mural Sources Wallpaper - Bronxville, NY apartment for saleOn this wall, the color always looked terrific.

 

Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville apartment for sale - bedroom - Mural Sources - Chinoiserie Wallpaper - Benjamin Moore White Dove wall colorAnd, here, pretty much, too.

Please note, the cabinets were painted the same color as the trim. It is slightly different than the wall color. However, both are white dove. Before I sold my place, some repairs needed to get fixed already. So, they repainted the walls and ceiling. And, guess what? The new paint matched the trim much better.

 

This is why I can’t stress enough that there will be slight variations even with the SAME color. So, to be stressing about minute differences isn’t really worth your time or attention.

 

Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville apartment for sale - bedroom - Mural Sources - Chinoiserie Wallpaper - Benjamin Moore White Dove wall color - Harbour Cane bed - Serena & LilyYou see, the trim version of white dove was perfect, but the original wall version was ever so slightly off. Most people would not have noticed.

 

white trim and wall color - old bedroom with White Dove paint looking a little golden beige

However, on this side of the room with my funky dresser, the White Dove often looked like a light golden beige, just like you see here. If that wallpaper were any pinker, it would’ve been horrid.

 

White Dove would also be horrid with a clear yellow.

 

Where it’s nearly foolproof is with deep colors. In fact, with deep colors, you can go creamier, like Swiss Coffee or Ivory White.

And, White Dove is also quite lovely all on its own.

 

Okay, where does this leave us when talking about the best white trim and wall color?

 

Well, when I repainted the rest of my Bronxville, NY apartment last November, I decided to go with Super White for the rest of the trim and ceiling in the living room and kitchen. And, let me tell you. It was beautiful! In fact, it was so beautiful. I wish that I had changed the plain white years earlier.

 

What about Simply White, Laurel?

 

Thank you, you read my mind. ;]

I do talk for a bit about these three colors in the Laurel Home Paint Collection. They’re like identical triplets. Oh, there are always some subtle differences between triplets.

However, when it comes to Cotton Balls, Simply White, and Super White, I guarantee that you will not know which one it is if you go into a space painted one of them.

 

But, but, but. Here’s the thing.

 

Simply White and very occasionally, but not usually, Cotton Balls, like White Dove, can skew towards the yellow.  I mean, if Classic Gray can look yellow, any color can!

So, this is what I suggest if you don’t know how your paint color will react. Although, if you have a south and west-facing room, you will most likely see those golden tones in the afternoon and early evening.

However, if Cotton Balls or Simply White look YELLOW, then most likely Super White will too. However, Super White is ever so slightly cooler than the other two. But, all, according to Encycolorpedia, are pale yellow-green.

Uh-huh.

 

But, don’t worry. The operative word is PALE.

 

So, what do you do if one or all of those colors looks yellowish and you don’t want yellowish?

I would then try Decorator’s White or Chantilly Lace.

However, in all of my years, I have never actually used either of those colors. I have seen them, however. Decorator’s White tends to be pretty cool. And, Chantilly is the whitest of them all, but still with a touch of creamy off-white. It is on the cool side without being icy.

 

The only other white that will not ever read yellow is plain white. It won’t read pink or green or blue, either.

 

Alright, here’s the bottom line. 99% of the time, Cotton Balls IS a wonderful, soft, warm white trim and wall color that will look great in all situations.

However, I have to say that I really loved the Super White.

And, Simply White in this lovely white kitchen is beautiful!

 

John_Singer_Sargent_-_The_Fountain,_Villa_Torlonia,_Frascati,_Italy_-_Google_Art_ProjectJohn Singer Sargent – The Fountain Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy 1907

What about the rest of you? Do you have a favorite white trim and wall color? OR, one that didn’t live up to its promise? I’d love to hear your opinions about THE most difficult color.

By the way, since this post is a do-over, like the original 20 favorite shades of white paint, I saved all of the comments. So, I’m saving the comments for the only white color you’ll need on this page as well.

 

For more help with paint colors, please check out my curated Benjamin Moore paint collection of 144 colors.

 

Along with the colors, you’ll get trim color suggestions. And, it also comes with another huge guide where I put the colors into 40 palettes with furniture suggestions. You can start to read about these guides here. Some links will take you to more information.

 

the one white trim and wall color that works every time

Please feel free to share on Pinterest!

 

Do you love white on white as much as I do?

 

Well, if you like it even half as much, please enjoy the following grouping of white on white home furnishings. I included some accent pieces that I think complement the white furnishings.

For more info about the products and their sources, please click on the individual images.

 

 

Other posts about white paint colors you might enjoy are linked below.

 

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?

 

xo,

 

 

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

  • Susan Telfer - July 30, 2021 - 3:01 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Would you ever put Ivory White on a high ceiling?ReplyCancel

  • Marie - July 11, 2021 - 1:56 PM

    Laurel – I have cotton balls on the kitchen cabinets and crown above them. I love the color but wanted a slight contrast when painting the rest of the house. I am spending way too much time and attention trying to figure out if white dove on the walls will work well with the existing cotton balls on the cabinets/trim? Or if cloud white is a better option since it’s just a tad warmer than cotton balls. Samples seem to have just confused me further!! Any advice?ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - July 8, 2021 - 6:12 PM

    I have to say I love Cotton Balls, too. I sampled 4 whites recently. The main area is East facing with an overhung porch so we get less light. I had my husband tell me which of the 4 whites he liked best (in four different locations but not always in the same order). Every time, he picked Cotton Balls, too. So that is what (my house!), hubby and I also want. Win win! Just going to get wall moulding trim first and then paint. I can’t wait and it is going to finally not be so sad and depressing! Thanks to you, Laurel and your blog or I would have gone with cheap paint that can’t be cleaned. I can see the value of getting the good Ben Moore regal or advance because you need to clean your walls.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - July 8, 2021 - 2:50 PM

    We have put White Dove EVERYWHERE. Well, nearly everywhere. In a mostly North facing room (though it also has some Eastern and Western light, plus two sun tunnels). As baseboards in our small, dim Rose Bisque kitchen with Ikea white cabinets. In our windowless hall bathroom. As the base wall and trim in our small (bewindowed) bathroom with SW Naval stenciled on top. As the solid walls in our kids’ basement bedrooms (each room has a Bespoke Mural By Dad (TM) on one wall). As the white in our gym’s three wall/one ceiling mural. We are blessed with short ceilings (under 8 feet, yikes), so we use matte on the walls and satin on the trim, all same White Dove (plus in flat on the ceiling, of course). It makes our North facing ranch feel light and airy and alive. Love it.

    We even had it successfully in a small south facing room on the main floor, but we got excited about SW Urbane Bronze and painted that whole room–ceiling, walls, trim, and door in that color. But the OC-17 was certainly serviceable before that.

    We have Cotton Balls in our basement master bathroom and it’s also bright and airy and does well with our painted green vanity. NB–We are not trolls, except the children sometimes, but have decide to escape Denver heat by relocating everyone to the huge 3 bedroom, one living room basement.

    I just wrote a whole lot about white paint but I truly do love it.ReplyCancel

  • Carol waggoner - July 5, 2021 - 7:50 PM

    I’m wondering what color you went with on your dresser? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Michele - July 1, 2021 - 12:17 PM

    Years ago, because of Laurel’s info,I painted all my main floor living areas Cotton Balls, and still love that choice! I have an upstairs bathroom painted Simply White which is very nice, but I can tell the difference from Cotton balls. To me, there’s no white as nice and livable than Cotton balls. I’ve learned SO much from you, Laurel! MicheleReplyCancel

  • Violette - July 1, 2021 - 7:23 AM

    Amazing post, I’ll repaint two rooms in White Dove and Cotton Balls and see them in action! And all furnishings are so fun to see what you like, super educational as always. One thought is why everyone is on budget? Budget friendly furnishings on a budget with expensive taste. I wonder what would you choose if not on budget. You know it’s so interesting to learn from the best. I’m on budget too of course. Unfortunately lol. But I’d love to look at expensive things. I’m not jealous hahaha. Laurel please write about your favorite furnishings and everything if you or your readers were royals. I’d love to read it maybe I will get rich one day;] Do you believe in looking at expensive things for developing expensive taste? Your taste is expensive. You look at art a lot and it is great tip!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - June 29, 2021 - 11:48 PM

    Laurel, you are the best! You have saved me countless times on my decorating journey – thank you. Question for anyone with insight: my house has Saltillo tile throughout and walls are Swiss Coffee (behr) with a taupe undertone. I would like to paint my kitchen cabinets white but am wondering what white to go with since it will be next to Swiss Coffee. Any thoughts would be appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - June 29, 2021 - 10:31 AM

    My personal favorite is Farrow and Ball “All White”. I began purchasing the paint from F&B directly online in 2018 and have completed several rooms using this particular color. It is a positively exquisite white. I use the Estate emulsion for my ceilings, Modern emulsion for my walls, and Modern Eggshell for my trim — in “All White”.ReplyCancel

  • renee a pearman - June 29, 2021 - 9:02 AM

    As we are remodeling our kitchen, we primed the ceiling in order to paint. But it was so white with such a nice sheen that we’re leaving it as is. lolReplyCancel

  • Amelia - June 28, 2021 - 5:41 PM

    Please help me!!! I’m painting my front door October Mist..BM It faces West and the siding is white(faded) What white trim color should i use??????????
    Thank you,

    AmeliaReplyCancel

  • Sue - June 28, 2021 - 11:41 AM

    I love Benjamin Moore’s, China White. IMO, it does not get enough credit. It’s really warm and reads white until it’s up against a pure white, which then it can read gray. Definitely no yellow or pink undertones! I did a lot of research and found China White is NOT a fan favorite, but I’m so glad I went with my gut and used it. It’s my favorite white!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Bradley - June 28, 2021 - 8:12 AM

    My house is light an bright. I chose Cotton Balls for trim and most walls. LOVE IT!

    What is that gorgeous wall covering in the Bronxville bedroom?

    What would we do without you Laurel!?!ReplyCancel

  • Sue H. - June 28, 2021 - 6:46 AM

    My contractor suggested BM Super White in semi-gloss for the trim and flat for the ceilings 20 years ago. I have it through the whole house and it has made my life easier during reno’s and for touch ups! I have Vanilla Ice Cream for the living/kitchen/hallway area. Repainted a north room that was gloomy in Ivory White. So Happy!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - June 27, 2021 - 9:27 PM

    Before I had started to read Laurel’s blog and one day in a panic when the painter arrived, I chose Cloud White for the trim and woodwork on the main level. I dislike it immensely. Cloud White should be called off-white because it’s yellowish and a bit dingy. Up on top of the 9’ high molding in particular, it does not look white at all.
    Upstairs I chose Cotton Balls which in most areas is really beautiful but in a few places where there is not much light, it too skews a bit yellow though never dingy lik Cloud White. My next try will be Simply White or Chantilly Lace because I want a cleaner white, though not a cold white.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - June 27, 2021 - 9:01 PM

    My favorite white is All White by Farrow & Ball. It’s a perfectly clean white that doesn’t skew yellow, blue, green, grey or pink. It looks great wherever I’ve used it!ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - June 27, 2021 - 8:53 PM

    Yesterday I bought Ben Moore paint for several rooms. I have a utility room/hall with no windows and wanted something with a slight color in there. The grey sample I picked had a lavender tint to it in the space. When I got to the store, it looked blue with their display lighting. So I got a small sample can. On the wall in the room it does have that same lavender tint but on the wall adjacent to that room, it looks like Hydrangea Blue. I understand that color is light and light is color but this is a huge differene. Thank goodness for sample oaint! I think I’m going with Coventry Gray on my Great Room walls. It looks darker than I thought but I like it.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Sheehan - June 27, 2021 - 7:30 PM

    Hi,
    I’m sorry you left out Ben Moore Cloud White (#967)-it’s such a good ‘white’ that now several of the wood blind and shutter suppliers offer it as a standard color. It has a smidgen bit of warmth, a little bit of pink, works well with blues and reds and greens. It’s my go to white (but White Dove is great too).ReplyCancel

  • Jen L - June 27, 2021 - 7:29 PM

    On your guides’ advice, Laurel, we used Cotton Balls in many rooms for ceiling and trim. We don’t have any white walls, but if we did, we’d use it there, too! We did use Swiss Coffee in a couple places. We have zero regrets. Later on, we saw your previous “Cotton Balls if we must name just one” post, and obviously we agreed! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Winter - June 27, 2021 - 6:22 PM

    Several people mentioning SW Alabaster. I’ll have to check that one out too.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Winter - June 27, 2021 - 6:16 PM

    Dove White is a regular favorite of mine. I’ve also been known to use Chantilly Lace and Simply White. I’ve never heard of Cotton Balls….sounds sexy….I’ll check it out. 😉 This is the first time I’ve ever lived in a white-walled house (we rent) and I’m loving the freshness of it!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - June 27, 2021 - 5:19 PM

    The plasterers finished the bathroom walls last week and I can start priming next week. Then the fun begins! I am going to try White Dove and see how it goes. Wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Tara Kannon - June 27, 2021 - 4:25 PM

    I used Mountain Peak White on my ceilings and trim and it’s perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Novotny - June 27, 2021 - 3:46 PM

    We painted our Georgian circa 1785 in so many different white shades as the lighting was very different in every room with the 30 ft hall being very dark. When it came time to touch up it was a nightmare but this was before your blog! Our next home had Manchester Tan woodwork throughout the entire house and we decided to keep it, the owners left a booklet on all the paint colors and we did change a few of them but there was no mention on ceiling color. Fortunately, I remembered your article on White paint colors and remembered your comment to paraphrase, if in doubt try Cotton Balls. It worked perfectly. The walls are all dark colors except for a Khaki in the kitchen which I hope to change. Thank you for another great post on color.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Coffey - June 27, 2021 - 1:53 PM

    Tips for a white paint for a large room facing south with a homongous window letting in a tremendous amount of green from the outside. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - June 27, 2021 - 1:50 PM

    We used Chantilly Lace on the trim and ceilings of our new condo and it is a perfect clean white–not blue, not yellow just white. Highly recommend.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - June 27, 2021 - 12:53 PM

    Whites are very tricky. I experimented with around 6 BM whites in an east facing guest room. All looked pinkish, yellow or pale purple. White Dove was orangey. I finally changed to a lovely pale green ( BM Meadow Mist).
    Throughout the house is Chantilly Lace for trim in semi-gloss and it looks great with every wall color and orientation. It’s a crisp, clean, bright white but not too bright–perfect for trim but I’ve never tried it for wall color.ReplyCancel

  • MNowlan - June 27, 2021 - 12:43 PM

    Following another LBern post, I painted my my neoclassical apartment OC-17, White Dove, on every surface: low luster on ceiling and walls, and gloss BM Advance on all the trim – crown, picture rails, kitchen and bedroom cabinet doors. South West and North exposures. The art and sconces pop and the white-on-white scheme gets compliments all the time! (Update: After two years, I have decided to repaint the interior side of entry door F&B gloss pitch black for a little extra drama.) Thanks Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - June 27, 2021 - 12:35 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    My daughter is in the process of painting her home white. So far she’s been using SW Alabaster.
    She loves it.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi Eve-Cahoon - June 27, 2021 - 12:18 PM

    My painter uses Sherwin Williams. I have Alabaster throughout the house. It is a soft white without being too ivory. I love it. Our trim was all oak and I finally had it painted. Best decision! I smile when I look around now. It is so bright and clean. Looks like a new house.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Fox - June 27, 2021 - 11:34 AM

    Pointing ….Farrow and Ball is my favorite white…I LOVE WHITE almost as much as I love your website….ReplyCancel

  • Susan - June 27, 2021 - 11:23 AM

    “Much of the time, it really doesn’t make that much difference.” Thank you! All I needed to read.ReplyCancel

  • Maralee - June 27, 2021 - 11:05 AM

    OMG Yes! I am loving all white right now. I don’t know why, maybe after what we’ve all been through in the last year and a half we need a clean fresh start. I just finished painting my upstairs hallway BM Simply White OC 117 on walls(eggshell), ceiling (flat) and trim and wainscot (semi-gloss). I LOVE it! Clean and crisp but not cold. It even makes the color in my art pieces pop. Now I’m doing the same in the guest bedroom. BTW, my husband laughed when I told him that we had my favorite designer’s favorite toilet in our newly remodeled bathroom 😆ReplyCancel

  • Susan Hijazi - June 27, 2021 - 10:53 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Just wanted to mention a couple things…
    First, I used cottonballs for my trim and some ceilings and I absolutely love it.
    I just found a product that’s great for painting wood it’s called Unicorn Spit, yes true.
    And just curious as to whether or not you’ve found hardware for that dresser yet 😉
    Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Laurie Thomas - June 27, 2021 - 10:37 AM

    Omg! My painter critiques our brilliant use of white! His loving words. I have or have had all of those whites and have been very happy with my choices. Our living room is currently straight out of the can white because we started with cotton balls and it was PINK!!!ReplyCancel

  • Merrie - June 27, 2021 - 10:29 AM

    One of the first posts I read from your blog was the no fail white colors. I ended up using white dove for all the trim in our house. I love it in every room! Thank you for all your researchReplyCancel

  • Jenn - June 27, 2021 - 9:57 AM

    Years ago I had my old cabinets repainted with White Dove and I hated it-had a dingy quality that bothered my eyes! Now I recently redid my whole house, using your paint guides of course! I had cabinet doors samples made in simply white and cotton balls—and cotton balls definitely skewed yellow. Simply white is my absolute favorite, and it’s on all trim and cabinets-looks wonderful with all the other colors! I also have now used it on my outside columns, trim and molding! Love it so much!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - June 27, 2021 - 9:45 AM

    SW Alabaster is beautiful in my home in GA.ReplyCancel

  • Nelson Brown - June 27, 2021 - 9:15 AM

    Dwell June 2021.
    Check the stair renovation.
    Situation similar to yours.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - June 27, 2021 - 9:14 AM

    I use straight-out-of-the-can white for trim and have for years, and it always works (at least, in every situation I’ve put it in it has. Someone mentioned a log home, and no, I don’t think it would work there). I did this to simplify my life, as you discussed, and boy did it ever. I’m in a time of my life (3 young children) where I don’t have time or energy to worry about things like trim color, so this works for me. Plus, there is no one in my day-to-day life that would ever even notice the trim color. So that helps too!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Laursen - June 27, 2021 - 9:14 AM

    It seems white is everywhere these days, which I love! But when updating our 2000 built home with tan everywhere and warm coloured floors, cabinetry and fireplace feature wall our interior designer steered me not to go too cool white. She suggested the same colour as our trim. Lancaster Whitewash HC-174 in a different sheen of course. At first, I thought it would be too yellow on our southwest-facing walls. But once all done it looks perfect, soft, crisp and clean. It feels up-to-the minute yet classic!ReplyCancel

  • Monique - June 27, 2021 - 9:01 AM

    Hi Laurel, Beautiful pictures in this post and always very useful information. 😎 Will you share the wallpaper pattern shown on the walls “From a recent installation we did in a Bronxville bedroom” please? Also the source for the wallpaper murals from your bedroom too. I would like to see them in person as they are lovely in your photos. Thank you, MoniqueReplyCancel

  • Of Goats and Greens - June 27, 2021 - 8:36 AM

    Well, I will have to semi-humbly disagree. I have a log home, and I chose SW Canvas Tan (which is a warm canvas white) as my ceiling color, as well as the color for some (but not all) my walls. A starker white simply wasn’t going to go well here.

    But, everyone is different.ReplyCancel

  • Tracey Culver - June 27, 2021 - 8:35 AM

    Great post, Laurel! I ended up using Sherwin Williams Snowbound when I redid our small master bath. It works beautifully with the carrera marble vanity and the floor , as well as the tub and toilet. No complaints.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - June 27, 2021 - 8:29 AM

    Chantilly Lace is the perfect white-white I’ve used. I tried White Dove in my previous home but it looked more yellow. Then I gave Chantilly Lace a try and I got that beautiful white that just stayed white-exactly the look I was going for. In our new home I’m using Cotton Balls at your suggestion. I’m wanting to get a warmer feeling on all of the trim and not so plain white.ReplyCancel

  • Joni S - June 27, 2021 - 8:16 AM

    I have used White Dove for walls and trim throughout two homes now and find it the perfect warm white. I have never had an issue with it going too yellow or gray even in north facing rooms. In fact it really rescued our current home, where the prior owners had tried too hard by painting each room a slightly different shade of white! One room looked blue, the other icy white. Such a relief to walk into these rooms after my trusty White Dove went up!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - June 27, 2021 - 8:02 AM

    HI Laurel,

    You are so decisive today. I use mostly simply white for my clients, though I have used cotton balls, mountain peak white, oxford white and others, but the large majority of the time, its simply white. It is a beautiful, clean white with a hint of warmth. I have never found it to look yellowish on certain walls. To me, it goes great with deep blue. Though in my own house, my upstairs trim is painted crisp linen – it is a beautiful creamy white, much like the dresses in your paintings. I have also used vanilla ice cream for the white with deep red and deep gold rooms. Those colours, as you say look good with a white that is not so bright. Would they look good with decorator white? I don’t think so. I think it does make a difference which white you choose, though often there is more than one option that works.ReplyCancel

  • Paula - June 27, 2021 - 7:51 AM

    CANDICE, I used Simply White in my north (and east) facing rooms as the trim colour. It’s terrific. The previous owner had used Linen White and it was cold and dingy, verging on dirty. I’ve used Simply White throughout the house (all trim and ceilings) and it looks terrific in all exposures. All that is left is redoing the kitchen cabinets, which were painted Mayonnaise. Again, a little dingy / yellowy.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - June 27, 2021 - 7:50 AM

    Hah, great timing :). I’m in the process of painting our finished attic walls and ceiling with Cotton Balls, selected based on your previous posts, and it looks so beautiful. We even had a contractor comment, “that’s a really pretty shade of white,” and I imagine he’s seen a lot of white paint. I’m so glad I read your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Candice - June 27, 2021 - 6:38 AM

    Just the post I needed after tossing a turning last night- stressing about trim colors! You mentioned South and west facing rooms but what about a pesky north facing room? I’m at a loss for what to paint all the trim and built ins in my north facing room. I used White Dove in other areas of the house and love it but I’m worried White Dove might look too dingy in a North facing room.ReplyCancel

  • Nilene Thompson-Finn - June 27, 2021 - 3:10 AM

    Thanks to your e-book, I chose Cotton Balls for our new house here in San Diego four years ago. It was the best color decision I have ever made! We used it on the walls & ceilings in the public spaces, half of my kitchen cabinets, and all of the trim. Of course, I varied the sheen between the different spaces. It is my all time favorite white and I love it just as much today as I did on day one,ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - June 27, 2021 - 2:22 AM

    I do love white as much as you do, Laurel. And my favorite, the one I used throughout my home, is BM;s Chantilly Lace. It looks fantastically white without that hospital look. Up until three months ago I had rented my entire life and in every damn place the walls and ceiling and trim were always some form of what I came to call Rental Beige–and the worse of the Rental Beige was the Navajo White. Thank god I now have what makes me very happy. Thank you for sharing your expertise on this.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - June 27, 2021 - 2:18 AM

    I used White Dove in our carriage house and it was very buttery. I hated it at first but when the room was furnished, the yellow receded and it looked lovely. In my house I have Simply White trim and I love it. I also have a couple rooms with simply white walls and it’s less than fab. Simply White needs a little sheen. The matte finish can look dull and dirty, at least it does in my home.ReplyCancel