Comments for Old White Paint Post From 2014-2017

Below are well over 100 comments for the one shade of white paint post. Below that are the comments for the 20 shades of white.

  • BROOKE – July 17, 2017 – 1:44 AM

Now I am stalking your posts. I found this one! One trim color, sold. Even with off white cabinets though? My painter used almost flat paint on the trim so we have to paint it but the cabinets are impossible to match, some standard antique white paint. So, good enough will work as long as it’s not too white. And yes, I will test. Thanks Laurel. Love reading your posts when they pop into my email. Even if I am at a resultant w other ppl being a bit rude. I read on the sly.Reply

  • Edie – June 26, 2017 – 1:34 PM

    Do you think BM Swiss Coffee (walls) and Simply White (trim) compliment each other?Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 26, 2017 – 4:55 PM

      I usually do the same trim and wall color if doing a white, but if you want a slight amount of contrast, those two will probably be just fine, but test first please.Reply

  • Alisa Minkin – May 29, 2017 – 12:28 AM

    Hi Lauren,
    I love your blog, it could have saved me hours of obsessing if I found it earlier!
    Should the trim/ceiling color closely match the cabinets when doing white?
    I am going to have blue gray walls and SW Extra White cabinets, was planning one of the warmer whites you listed for the trim and ceiling, unless I should stick with a brighter white…
    Alisa MinkinReply

  • Lynn – May 25, 2017 – 12:17 PM

    Thank you Laurel for your articles on the right whites to use. I actually used BM cotton balls on most of the walls in my house since the color was such a pretty white that I felt I could live with forever. I used BM chantilly lace on my trim, but that’s because I like the white on white look.

    The most important part was when you quoted your art teacher and said it wasn’t brain surgery. That made me lol.


    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2017 – 12:45 PM

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for sharing and there’s nothing wrong with white on white. That’s very pretty too!Reply

  • Andrea – April 8, 2017 – 2:01 PM

    Thank you for this blog post. Cotton Balls was the answer for me.

    I thought I was losing my mind, trying to pick white trim for four different spaces with different wall colors, I really, really wanted to just have one color of trim to simplify things a bit. Thanks for the tip.

    It looks good with White Sand, Ballet White, New York State of Mind, and Collingwood. Happy happy happy.Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 8, 2017 – 2:27 PM

      Hi Andrea,

      It’s a great shade of white– very chameleon-like. Glad it worked well very you!Reply

  • Kerry – April 5, 2017 – 3:30 PM

    Hi Laurel! Not sure if you are answering these questions any more but here it goes — I painted my kitchen walls Villa Grey (by Valspar) a little while ago. I’m currently having my kitchen cabinets painted and crown molding put up. I have two questions — do people typically paint kitchen cabinets and trim the same color if both are going to be “white”? Also, I’m not sure how familiar you are with Valspar paint colors, but I was wondering if White Dove would compliment Villa Grey? I think I have some trouble seeing the various shades of white so I’m struggling with this decision. Thank you so much for any advice you’re able to give!Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 5, 2017 – 3:57 PM

      Hi Kerry,

      I so wish I could help everyone, but as it says in the comment box, I am not able to give individual help in the comments and I’m not even doing paid consultations at this time. Blogging is a full-time +++ job! Thank you for your understanding!Reply

      • Kerry – April 5, 2017 – 10:39 PM

        Laurel– I completely understand and I’m a medical provider so I totally get and love your analogy regarding the doctor needing to see you to diagnose!

        Maybe this is a better way to pose a question– I’ve read that you think white dove works with most rooms except those that are north facing.. Can a similar generalization be applied to coordinating white dove with other colors? i.e. White dove works with most color families except ____ (or worded another way- avoid white dove if the color you’re trying to pair has *these* undertones). Hopefully what I’m trying to ask makes sense…

        Thanks again– just reading your blog has been a big help with picking out a white. I never realized how difficult it can be especially to the (very) untrained eye!Reply

        • Laurel BernApril 5, 2017 – 10:50 PM

          Hi Kerry,

          I don’t think that I said that white dove does not work in north facing rooms, because I have used it in north facing rooms. The only thing is you need to be more careful that the lighting doesn’t bring out too much of the gray. But it can also look starkly white.

          Light is tricky. You need to test.

          White is a warm, soft white and works very well with most colors about 95% of the time. But so do a lot of the other whites I recommend.

          The only time it doesn’t work as well is if the color is very clear (no gray) and it makes the white look gray and dull by comparison.

          For more info about whites and other colors, please consider purchasing my paint color and palette collection. You can access it in the first menu item in the menu bar.

  • Rita – March 8, 2017 – 10:45 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I’m a big fan of neutrals, usually going with BM Revere Pewter on walls paired with White Dove trim. We just moved to a new home and painted our bedrooms those colors but the kitchen and living room get so much beautiful natural light that I want to go lighter and brighter. Trying to keep the paint colors tied together a bit, do you think White Dove walls would pair nicely with Simply White trim? I see they both made your best whites list. And I’m thinking this is a good pairing, but I’d love to know your thoughts. Thanks so much for your time and thank you for all your great design advice! Love reading your articles.


    • Laurel BernMarch 8, 2017 – 10:14 PM

      Hi Rita,

      Probably yes, but I always just do the same color trim and walls when doing white.Reply

  • Taylor – March 4, 2017 – 2:44 PM

    Help! I am in the process of a kitchen redo. I was planning on painting everything, walls, cabinets and trim in Navajo White because the trim in the rest of my house is in that color. I thought it was a good creamy color. Well, the cabinets are in and they look YELLOW. I can’t afford to repaint them. Can you advise me on a complimetary paint color that I could paint the walls, ceiling and trim. Such a costly mistake. I was thinking of 1/2ing navajo white. Thoughts on halving paint colors and/or 50/50 2 paint colors (navajo white, white dove).Reply

    • Laurel BernMarch 5, 2017 – 12:36 AM

      Hi Taylor,

      I’m not there to give you good advice, but actually the same or a deeper color would be better, I think. If you paint the walls white, it’s only going to make the cabinets appear more of what you don’t want to see.Reply

  • Jennifer – February 13, 2017 – 2:48 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Is there a bright white that you know works well with dusty pink and greys? I painted my entire top floor BM linen white a year ago. It is a loft area that has large windows facing the south and east, and is light all day long. The issue is that it has a warm yellow look in the bright sun, and with the bright white linens on the bed, it looks even more yellow. One year later I now want a bright white that I can pair with dusty pink/rose, and bright white linens, and greys. Is there a general rule, or is it something you just need to hold up and see? I was thinking something with cooler tones. FYI. the linen white looks lovely in the darker west facing rooms and the downstairs hallways.Reply

    • Laurel BernFebruary 13, 2017 – 5:24 PM

      Hi Jennifer,
      I wish I could help you, but I’m no longer doing any kind of interior design work or consultations. In order to give you sound advice, I would need to be standing in your room to see everything. No worries. It is no exaggeration, that I am asked these kinds of questions some 40 times a week. And that’s on top of other comments.

      Thank you for your understanding. For more help, please consider purchasing my paint product. I have 12 terrific white colors. And 132 other colors as well.

      If you scroll down a little, you’ll find the paint info and where to go from there for more info.

  • Katie – January 6, 2017 – 8:17 AM

    Hello – wonderful blog. I have a question that I hope is universal. . . I bought a 1920s home. I am having the floors redone, and I was going to have everything painted before moving in – the current paint is yellow with a deep (read yellow) cream trim (including all of the rad covers, built-ins, doors, etc.). I had a colorist come in and give suggestions for a neutral pallet. However, I am having doubts about the wall color, so decided to just paint the awful trim throughout the house and do the walls after moving in. The colorist suggested classic gray for the trim, but that was based on the corresponding wall color suggestion. Now that the wall color is unknown, I finally come to my question: Would you ever consider painting trim BEFORE knowing what your eventual wall color will be? I was considering using one of your “universal donors”. Thanks!Reply

    • Laurel BernJanuary 6, 2017 – 2:34 PM

      Hi Katie,

      I’m sorry but it’s impossible to answer this question as I can’t see anything that you are talking about. I will say that I would not choose a trim color until I know what the wall color will be. But yes, one of the universal whites is a good choice if you must paint the trim first.Reply

  • Marilyn – December 18, 2016 – 6:51 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Ive been reading your posts. I have a very uncomplicated question? I am buying a 900 sq ft. coop in manhattan. I have a southeast exposure. I will be using white and grey in my interior design. After reading about your whites, I decided to paint the walls Chantilly Lace and trim Simply white. I don’t like any yellow, beige or green tones. What do you think. Thank you.Reply

    • Laurel BernDecember 18, 2016 – 8:11 PM

      Hi Marilyn,

      I suggest that you make samples because I can’t predict how the light will be in your apartment.Reply

  • Susan – November 25, 2016 – 9:53 AM

    Hi Laurel, I love your living room! Would you mind sharing the paint color on your walls – looks like a beautiful shade of yellow. Thanks.Reply

    • Laurel BernNovember 25, 2016 – 8:04 PM

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks so much! My apartment came painted this way and I too thought it was a lovely sunny color. It is Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow hc-4.Reply

  • Mary – November 16, 2016 – 1:45 AM


    I’m excited to have found your blog! I am in need of advice.
    Two years ago I painted all the trim in my house BM mascarpone. I feel it has looked nice with my BM cream fleece walls.
    Now, I’m painting my kitchen cabinets and am adding wainscotting in the adjoining room. I keep reading that I should stick with my trim paint for my kitchen cabinets. I was hoping to go a less creamy on the kitchen cabinets and paint BM simply white. Would it look alright if the kitchen cabinets are different and less creamy than the trim? It gets really tricky especially with the new wainscotting going in. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you!

    • Laurel BernNovember 16, 2016 – 8:29 AM

      Hi Mary,

      I wish I could say for sure, but I’m not there to see the situation. It will probably be fine either way.Reply

      • Mary – November 16, 2016 – 12:53 PM

        Thank you for your quick response! Have you seen BM Mascarpone on kitchen cabinets before? Does it look very creamy? I was hoping that because it is large area does it would look more like white? I had wanted to put a marble like quartz on the countertops and worried that it wouldn’t look good with creamy cabinets.

        Thank you again!

        • Laurel BernNovember 16, 2016 – 5:37 PM

          Hi Mary,

          It very much depends on the light in the kitchen. The cabinets do not have to match the counters precisely. You will need to make a large sample holding it up flat and vertical and then get a large sample of stone and have it be horizontal, just like they will be living in real life.

  • Gage – November 15, 2016 – 12:49 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I just finished painting a 1200 sq ft living room/entry ceiling in Simply White (previously painted White Dove). I have to say, if you can get excited about a ceiling paint, this color is AMAZING! Now, the BM Ceiling Paint #508 does not cover a perfectly smooth ceiling in 2 coats, 4 coats for this ceiling, but once it does…WOW! Totally worth it. Ceiling throughout the house will now be Simply White with White Dove for trim. I’m in love with Simply White now. These two rooms will be Revere Pewter on walls, one rooms opens into a dining room painted in Restoration Hardware’s Slate (I love, love this color). Okay, I need to temper my ceiling paint excitement, because I really do have a question buried in here for you. I need to paint a mudroom that is off of one of the Rev. Pewter rooms. It doesn’t have good natural or overhead lighting. My initial plan was to do Rev. Pewt. in this room as well, but the samples seem very dark in here. I don’t want to go 50% because I am still trying to bring out the gray more than the beige. I am wondering….Revere is a warm greige, so could I go with something in a cooler gray that is lighter? I just don’t know if a warm greige to a light cool gray would look awful. Normally I would just try it, but I am running out of time before the holidays with trying to put our house back together after some major water damage/flooding. I was looking at BM Gray Owl, and also Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.

    So what do you think about combining a warm/cool in rooms that directly open to each other? Do you have a favorite?

    Sincerely, GageReply

    • Laurel BernNovember 15, 2016 – 1:41 PM

      Hi Gage,

      I don’t think anything because I am not there to see what else is going on. I don’t know what style your home is… what the light is like… what part of the country… what your furnishings look… floor color… ceiling height. Are there mouldings? How large are the doorways? I could keep going.

      I say this over and over, dozens of times a month (!) but it is impossible to give advice like this unless I’m there, and if I were there, there would be a hefty consultation fee.

      The only thing that’s free on this website is the blog. Close to 350 posts that I’ve spent thousands of hours writing.

      My best recommendation is to hire a color specialist in your area, if you are struggling.Reply

      • Gage – November 15, 2016 – 3:00 PM

        Yes, makes sense! Well all of that said, Simply White in BM 508 is a do-over for a ceiling in this house. I bought both White Dove and Cotton Balls in Advance. Love that product, and it does cure like an oil. Now here’s hoping that in a few weeks I no longer notice the ceiling, lol. ….oh and, the house is 1950 MCM. Happy Thanksgiving!Reply

  • Gage – October 31, 2016 – 7:34 PM


    I stumbled on your blog, and now I’m hooked! I hope you can help me. I have struggled to pick a nice rich gray that would look good with our furnishings, and found BM Revere Pewter. I read your recommendation for BM White Dove for the trim. All of the pictures look clean, crisp and exactly what I am looking for. My question is, what color would you put on the ceiling? This is a family room with large windows on the north side, but this is the only natural light. I tried a swatch of White Dove on the ceiling, and it looks dirty. However, it is up against a bright white.

    Also, I would like to use the same trim throughout the house. I have Ralph Lauren Plantation in the living room, and will be refreshing the walls in this color again, but would like to paint the ceiling and trim as well. Could I continue with White Dove, & the hopefully newly recommended ceiling color in this room also?

    Thank you very much in advance! I love your blog!Reply

    • Laurel BernOctober 31, 2016 – 11:02 PM

      Hi Gage,

      I’m sorry but I’m not doing paint consults at this time and that’s what this sounds like you need. And I can’t recommend colors in the comments. It’s impossible in any case, because I’m not there. No worries, this happens a lot. But it’s like if you don’t feel well, your dr. needs to see you. They never diagnose over the phone.Reply

      • Gage – November 1, 2016 – 2:41 AM

        Completely understand Laurel. I was thinking this would be a slam dunk for you and you would say, “Dove White everywhere”, lol. That would have been too easy.

        Now, I think I might get better help from my doc if I actually could do my diagnoses by phone, lol.

        Appreciate the response. I may just wing it and do the walls in Revere Pewter, trim & crown in white dove…and get crazy and do the ceilings in white dove also for lack of knowing what I should do here.

        Thanks so much for the response! GageReply

        • Laurel BernNovember 1, 2016 – 11:46 AM

          Hi Gage,

          That is a common misconception. But I would be remiss to suggest any colors without seeing what’s going on. I will say that white dove is a ceiling color that I’ve used dozens of times. I promise that after a week, you won’t be looking at the ceiling. lol

        • Gage – November 1, 2016 – 4:43 PM

          I did it, decision made…he says hesitantly. Simply White for ceilings, White Dove for trim, and the much overdone, but very perfect for this room, Revere Pewter for the walls.

          Thanks Laurel! Who knew that the color white could be so difficult!

        • Laurel BernNovember 1, 2016 – 5:10 PM

          Sounds gorgeous, Gage! I hereby grant you permission to chillax. :]

        • Gage – November 1, 2016 – 2:44 PM

          You’re right, I’m sure the ceiling will only stand out to me while I am staring at it obsessively as the light changes throughout the day, lol. I have never yet painted a ceiling in standard “ceiling white” from the can. I certainly can’t bring myself to start now! I’ll be slinging a few coats up soon, in either Simply White, Cotton Balls or White Dove. Knowing me, I’ll paint it several times until I’m satisfied, lol.

  • Deb – October 12, 2016 – 4:51 PM

    I am fascinated, because I just had a painter tell me to avoid cottonballs, because it takes 5 coats, even when he paints it over white.

    I did my bathroom trim in simply white and it was a little too yellow for the toilet white, but it was beautiful and I only noticed that fact for a few days.

    My painter is suggesting Dove for the trim in my livingroom, and it will be covering a brown door and dark wood, which will be primed, but I am pondering the 5 coats versus 1.Reply

  • Dana Neville – October 10, 2016 – 11:55 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    We are renovating our entire main floor with kitchen. It is hard to choose btw WD or Cottonball for kitchen cabinets and trim.

    Which would you use if the wall colour in the living room was Classic Grey? We do not have a lot of light in our front entrance and hall way, however we have a lot of afternnoon light in living room and kitchen.

    We are using calcutta nuvo quartz with a creamy white tiled backsplash.

    Would love your opinion.

    Thank you for considering my post.


    • Laurel BernOctober 11, 2016 – 1:30 AM

      Hi Dana,

      I’m sorry, but I can’t give a definitive answer because I can’t see what’s going on. But, my best advice is to make your samples and hold them up in the way that they will be living and look in different lights. Both are great whites. Cotton is touch brighter than WD. But remember, all whites change with the light.Reply

  • michelle – September 21, 2016 – 9:29 PM

    Hi laurel again……sigh…

    I forgot to mention Im open to color but wanted to try something new. If you can’t find a picture of the wallpaper it is charcoal and white……. animals……so nice to look at……

    thank you!Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 21, 2016 – 9:31 PM

      Sounds like you might need to hire someone. Reply

  • MICHELLE – September 21, 2016 – 9:27 PM

    so I have a wallpaper from Brewster called meadow in charcoal in my foyer the wall surrounding the front door runs straight into the family room/ 11 year olds hangout/playroom. I used white dove as the trim around the wallpaper but now have three walls to paint. I thought about doing white walls and trim but Ive Never painted white walls before so Im nervous. I have hard wood floor and the room faces south but with the trees the light coming in the window doesn’t shine in much, its not dark but not rich with sunlight either. HELP!Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 21, 2016 – 9:29 PM

      Hi Michelle,

      I wish I could help but I’m not there to see the situation. Reply

      • mhawlk – September 21, 2016 – 9:31 PM

        can I send a picture?Reply

        • Laurel BernSeptember 21, 2016 – 9:35 PM

          Sorry, Michelle but I’m not doing consultations right now. I’m inundated with requests but am a full-time blogger now. But even if I were doing consults, there is fee for that and it’s a hefty number. Thank you for your understanding.

  • CK – September 21, 2016 – 2:17 AM

    Hello! I have white Carrara marble tile (with significant grey veining) in my new shower. I want a really clean look. The bathrooms floors are gray ceramic tile and the countertops are charcoal gray quartz. What do you think about painting the walls, baseboards/trim, ceiling and vanity wooden cabinets all in BM Chantilly Lace semi gloss finish? Is that too much? I know you recommended different finishes in the same color but I thought bathrooms had to be painted in semi gloss because of the high humidity in bathrooms? I mistakenly painted the bathroom in BM white wisp and it ended up looking greenish gray and kind of dingy. Whites with yellow undertones don’t seem to look good with the white Carrara tile. Love your blog. Thanks so much!Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 21, 2016 – 8:22 PM

      Thanks so much CK. Unfortunately, I can’t advise on colors without seeing the space.Reply

  • Jen Oliver – September 9, 2016 – 11:04 PM

    Hi Laurel!
    Great stuff…..
    I am sold on Revere Pewter for a body color in my south facing kitchen/great room and either White Dove or Cotton Balls for trim & base. Do you think either would work? I like the idea of the warmth of CB. Would you recommend sticking with same color for ceilings?

    Thanks in advance for your great site and if you are able to assist on above decision.

    • Laurel BernSeptember 10, 2016 – 12:06 AM

      Hi Jen,

      Either would be beautiful. They are both warm soft whites. I have used WD with RP and they were gorgeous together. It depends what else is going on like the other finishes in the kitchen, for instance.


  • Jen Oliver – September 8, 2016 – 4:53 PM

    Hi Laurel!
    Great stuff…..
    I am sold on Revere Pewter for a body color and either White Dove or Cotton Balls for trim. Do you think either would work? I like the idea of the warmth of CB. Would you recommend sticking with same color for ceilings?

    Thanks in advance for your great site and if you are able to assist on above decision.

    • Laurel BernSeptember 9, 2016 – 1:02 AM

      I have used white dove with revere pewter and it’s gorgeous!Reply

  • Kelly – September 7, 2016 – 9:46 PM

    Hi Laurel, I own the Essential Paint Collection and love love it. Here is my dilemma, which I hope you will help me with because it might help others:) I remodeled my kitchen in my 100 year old home and because it’s easy on my eyes, I chose Ivory White for the cabinets, trim, walls, and ceiling. I loved it so much that I painted the foyer Ivory White too. But…what shade of white should the trim be painted? Cotton Balls? Btw, when I say ‘I painted’, I mean my painter painted. By default, the trim needed to be painted Ivory White in the kitchen but does that trim color have to be carried throughout the rest of the house? Thanks, KellyReply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 7, 2016 – 10:55 PM

      Hi Kelly,

      I had a client last year that did an Ivory white kitchen and she did ivory white for most of the trim throughout the house. She did do white dove in a few of the bedrooms. I actually prefer it when the white trim is the same as the walls. I think it looks richer, but if you feel the need for some contrast, I’m sure that cotton balls would look terrific too. Of course, I always recommend testing first.Reply

  • Joy – September 2, 2016 – 12:46 PM

    LOVE your blog!!

    So helpful reading that Cotton Balls is a go to color… bit will it look to Murkey or not POP enough with bm Grey Owl wall color ?

    Thank you so much !!Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 2, 2016 – 12:56 PM

      Hi Joy,

      Stop watching HGTV!!! lol, No really. It’s not your fault because everyone says it. However, the word “pop” is one that I never heard before all of that mediocrity hit the air-waves. (not all shows are bad, but too many are).

      Why do you want your moulding to “pop?” I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. Obviously, you want it to show up. It will. It will, even IF the moulding and walls are the same color. In fact, I think that’s the most beautiful, sophisticated, traditional (yes, traditional!) way of painting. And I’ve posted about this.

      However… there is also no problem with painting the trim a white. IMO, you do not want too much “pop.” (can you tell that word gets my hackles up?)

      However, in answer to your question, Grey Owl will be beautiful with Cotton Balls. And no, it will not look at all murkey. Of course, I can’t see the light in your room.

      That is a different subject because light CHANGES.

      I have a client who recently painted her dining room tone on tone cotton balls and sometimes the walls look like a very clean white and sometimes more creamy. The living room across the center hall is also painted the same and it’s the same situation. But because of different exposures, the adjacent sunroom and vegetation, is somewhat brighter in the living room.

      The entry trim (with wainscoting) is also CB with Classic Gray walls and it’s gorgeous.

      Hope that helps!Reply

  • Wayne – September 2, 2016 – 10:51 AM

    Laurel – Thanks for the great posts! Based on your articles, I’ve decided to go with Cotton Balls (CB) as the trim paint for my entire house. I have, however, some floor to ceiling bookshelves that I need to paint. Would you typically use the same paint as the trim (semi-gloss CB)? If so, should I plan to use some sort of finish to achieve a harder surface and, if so, what?Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 2, 2016 – 11:16 AM

      Hi Wayne,

      Terrific! Yes, I would paint the bookshelves in cotton balls. I used to always specify the alkyd formulation (oil-based) but it is difficult to get in some states. Reports are good for the Advance which is a “water-born” alkyd. To me, that sounds like an oxymoron, but apparently, the brushes do clean up with soap and water but the drying/curing time is the same as oil.

      No additional finish is necessary. It’s the prep-work that’s important!Reply

  • Mae – August 23, 2016 – 1:49 AM

    Hi, thank you for this topic, cotton balls now on the radar.

    The question I have, which seems to rarely be addressed on paint blogs, is: how to pick color–white in this case– for transitional spaces. We all have those rooms, south facing windows that lead into north facing hallways, or north facing rooms that bleed into a south facing room, etc. So…how do we pick a white that looks good when traveling through the space? I’m not so much along for specific colors (it’s probably cotton balls 😉 ), and more wondering if there is a rule of thumb? Particular undertones to look for?

    Thank you.

    Unrelated P.S.: I have decorators white trim, which has that grayed undertone. I thought I read this is what makes it a starker white. But you mention some white with gray undertones and say that the gray makes it softer. Color me confused.Reply

    • Laurel BernAugust 24, 2016 – 10:34 AM

      Hi Mae,

      These are all good questions. However, I don’t ascribe to the theory of undertones quite in the same way as others do because colors whether over or under as some say, change with the LIGHT.

      And one might not always like the way a color changes. That’s life.

      Cotton Balls is one color that looks good in all lights.

      I can’t say that I recommend it with decorator’s white trim. I might look at white dove in that case.Reply

  • Kelly – August 22, 2016 – 1:33 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I have purchased a home that is covered in oak paneling! The doors are the same color as the oak paneling. The beams in the living and dining rooms are oak paneling. The kitchen cabinets are honey oak with a cream colored countertop. I can’t afford to change the kitchen at the moment other than paint. Really wanted to do the whole house in a light gray (revere pewter) and the ceilings, trim, doors and beams in cotton balls. What do you think? Will it all work together? And currently the floor is wall to wall cream carpet, which I want to do a darker distressed laminate. Any ideas to look into? Thanks in advance!Reply

    • Laurel BernAugust 22, 2016 – 4:51 PM

      Definitely paint it. What color, I can’t say because I’m not there. Same with the floor, but most laminates I’m not too fond of. I would go with the real thing if possible.Reply

  • Eva – August 21, 2016 – 5:19 PM

    Thank you for mentioning BM White Dove I selected it from a decorator’s recommend column for my trim a few years ago. I love the affirmation. They also recommended Dove Wing for white walls. That color works great in my 70+ y.o. home. A starker white in my bath made the vintage tile look dingy but these white make that look whiter & cleaner. Also if your walls a a color another option is to paint the ceiling the same color at 25% intensity. For those of us with standard 8 ft. walls why accentuate that transition.Reply

    • Laurel BernAugust 22, 2016 – 3:50 PM

      Hi Eva,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!Reply

  • claudia – August 20, 2016 – 10:44 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I am building a small (700ft) cottage with a main bedroom and also a loft bedroom. This cottage is in the woods on top of a mountain (with undertones of an english cottage) I am thinking of painting it revere pewter and I want to warm up the revere with a BM white for trim and vaulted ceiling. Which would you advise? SHould I paint the kitchen cabinets that same color? ALso – should the loft be the same color as the main great room? Thanks so much!Reply

    • Laurel BernAugust 21, 2016 – 12:41 AM

      White Dove is gorgeous with RP! Kitchen cabinets also WD, yes. The rest, I can’t say because I’m not there, but if it’s the same room, then yes, the same color and I often take lighter colors onto the vaulted ceiling as well, but since I can’t see, can’t say for sure.Reply

  • Stacey J Smith – August 18, 2016 – 10:12 AM


    I am one of many who have painted, repainted, have enough paint samples, in every brand available to me, to paint the entire house, if I were going for a patchwork look, and finally settled on the perfect white for me.

    I chose BM Snowfall 2144-70. The best part is, I will never have to worry about it looking like snirt. 😂 (I read one of your other articles and it made me laugh. Yes, the white colonial covered with freshly fallen snow is beautiful, magical, breathtaking – at Christmas! Not so much at Halloween or Easter! 😂)

    I have, also, played the same roulette game with reds. Again, the perfect red for me is SW Positive Red. I painted my house this color and love it!

    Thank you for your humor and insight, it made my day!

    Aka Stacey

    PS I plan to paint the LR walls and trim all Snowfall. 😜Reply

    • Laurel BernAugust 18, 2016 – 10:27 AM

      Hi Stacey,

      That’s great to know. I’ve never used snowfall and probably because it is so similar to some of the other whites I know and love.

      I mean, how many husbands does a girl need? I say not more than 4 or 5! lolReply

      • Stacey Smith – August 18, 2016 – 2:43 PM

        I’ve had/have two husbands and I’ve already said that unless the next one is filthy rich, I’m not interested! LOLReply

        • Laurel BernAugust 19, 2016 – 12:09 AM

          For sure!

  • Marie – July 12, 2016 – 2:48 PM

    Your site is amazing and you write so well! Thank you.

    Do you have a go-to ceiling color when you’re using Cotton Balls? And will Cotton Balls work with Benjamin Moore Linen White? I noticed on another page you used Linen White with a different white trim.Reply

    • Laurel BernJuly 12, 2016 – 3:11 PM

      Hi Marie,

      Thanks so much. Actually, when painting walls any white, I generally use the same color on the ceiling and trim, but in a semi-gloss for the trim. Flat or matte for the ceiling and matte for the walls. Matte is washable, so there’s no need for eggshell.

      If you desire a little contrast, I would most likely use white dove with linen white.Reply

  • Joniece trammel – July 3, 2016 – 10:41 PM

    Is white dove okay to use on the ceiling as well as the walls and trim?Reply

  • Becky – June 27, 2016 – 12:39 AM

    Thank you, Laurel, for your funny, helpful sanity-preserving entry about the One White Trim. I started worrying about color trim about six hours ago when I realized what I had in mind wasn’t going to work. Called my sister-in-law, who gave me great overall guidance about avoiding anything with too much green or blue or pink or yellow, something a little creamy but not yellow (just like you say). But I still didn’t have a specific color, and surprise, paint stores are closed after 6 p.m. on Sundays. Fretted over dinner, etc. Then found your blog about the six white trims 40 minutes ago and then this one about THE ONE 20 minutes ago. So…it’s nearly midnight, my husband is asleep, the painters are coming at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and I’m going to tell them: Cotton Balls. THANK YOU AGAIN!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 27, 2016 – 1:15 AM

      Hi Becky,

      Glad to help. It’s funny, but a few months after I wrote this, a client chose this color. I gave her two possibilities and she chose cotton balls.

      Soooooo.. the painter comes over and starts priming, patching, etc.

      He tells MY client that she shouldn’t paint her walls white and the trim white. She SHOULD go with a creamier color on the wall. It’ll be too stark.

      Of course, smoke is now coming out of my ears because I’m not saying to my client… “you know, he really shouldn’t be using 2″ brush to paint the trim. I always use a 3″ brush.”


      Still… A little seed of doubt crept into my head. Of course it did! I went over as he had painted a large swatch on one wall.

      It looked terrific.

      He painted the entire room. Actually two rooms. Living room and dining room and it’s gorgeous and the client is thrilled.

      You can see her white walls here:

      and here. (funny post! look for the fireplace and white stockings)

      good luck tomorrow!Reply

      • Becky – July 2, 2016 – 12:45 PM

        Hi Laurel,

        Oh my, I have to begin with a digression: the SNIRT problem is worse than anything I’ve ever seen here in the Midwest.

        I do like the cream-colored trim+walls. I will keep this in mind for the next project…which may not be too far away. The trim color is great but the company hired to do the trim / doors didn’t do the best job (we sent them packing before they finished) and so now we will be doing large parts of it AGAIN and it may mean redoing walls, not just trim. Sigh. If it’s not one thing… I will try to see it as an opportunity.

        Your advice was still a HUGE help, and your blog is a treasure-trove. I owe ya. If you’re ever driving along I-80 in Iowa and need a cup of coffee, it’s on me. I’m guessing you drink a lot of coffee since you replied to my post at 1:27 a.m.! But happy to buy you a pop, as they call it here in the Midwest. Or wine. Whatever!Reply

  • Claudia – May 4, 2016 – 12:07 PM

    Hi Lauren. Love your website!
    I have a north east facing small bedroom/studio combo. There is an ugly wall that you first see when you open the door right infront of it and between two north facing windows. That wall is always dark. Im thinking it needs a warm strong color like a peach. Not too bright like red or orange but something in between. The issue now which white to use to paint the other walls. My room is currently painted in a very bright white white color so white that my eyes hurts and looks boring and depresing because it looks a bit grey and blue a lot of the tme. what do you suggest?Reply

  • Alicia – April 26, 2016 – 4:03 PM

    Would you use white dove on trim and ceilings in a contemporary style house? I am trying to achieve a modern (but not too modern), bright feel and am a little scared that the white dove will cast too gray – esp if on all the ceilings. We are planning to do most of the main floor in bm intense white (light gray). We will be staining the wood floors either Jacobean or espresso. Thanks for any help!Reply

  • Ali – April 21, 2016 – 4:12 PM

    Would you do white dove as trim (semi) and on ceiling (flat) or would the grey in it darken up the space? Want to keep things bright. Thanks!Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 21, 2016 – 10:02 PM

      It depends on the light in the room. If there’s good light in the room, it should be fine.Reply

      • katie – June 16, 2016 – 1:27 PM

        we are going to paint the built ins in our den white. Right now the trim in that room is “Simply white” by BM. Was thinking of doing “white dove” for the built ins, which is a little softer, Do you think it will be too big of a contrast? if the trim is simply white and the built ins are white dove would u be able to tell its two different whites? or should i just stick with simply white for the built ins? thanks !Reply

        • Laurel BernJune 16, 2016 – 11:28 PM

          Hi Katie,

          I would paint it all one color. Yes, it will most likely be noticeable and might look like someone goofed.

  • Michelle – April 13, 2016 – 3:06 PM

    I wish I had read this before I bought an expensive gallon of BM China White for my exterior trim! Now, I’m worried. Is there anything I can do to make this paint color less muddy looking? Anne commented that she uses it at half strength but I don’t know how to do that. I am painting the rest of the exterior an undetermined gray. Maybe it will be okay against gray?Reply

    • MichelleApril 14, 2016 – 3:29 PM

      Good point! I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you for taking the time to reply.Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 13, 2016 – 3:42 PM


      My post discusses INTERIOR paint colors. The rules for exterior painting are vastly different. Colors tend to look brighter and/or more intense outside, so a gray-ish cream like China White is most likely beautiful outside. I still recommend testing and if you’re not happy, you could combine the china with another color. Reply

  • shellie – April 12, 2016 – 11:41 AM

    I want to paint a bedroom with two shades of white, one for trim and one for walls. Accent colors will be pale turquoise and perhaps some tan and beige. What do you suggest? (I have a “coastal” feel in the rest of my house.)

    • Gay Gawa – April 17, 2016 – 6:54 PM

      Shellie, I had the same problem in my sunroom so I painted the ceiling with flat polar ice, walls in bm matte simply white and trim in semi gloss bm snowfall white.The room gets a lot of light from the southeast. Hope this helps. Sometime when you paint with whites depending on light choosing a finish from flat,matte, eggshell, pearl, semi gloss to gloss can make a difference.Reply

    • Laurel Bern – April 12, 2016 – 3:18 PM


      Perhaps you missed the note above. I cannot give individual paint advice regarding colors. I can’t see your room and there is a fee associated with paint consults. Not to worry; despite notes, I get these kinds of requests about 20 times a week.Reply

  • CaroleApril 11, 2016 – 12:49 PM

    I just redid my whole kitchen – Cabinets are called Alabaster white by manufacturer. I choose an off white matte textured subway tiles 21/2″ x12″. Tile floors that look like wood in a med tone brownish gray. Counters are colonial white granite- black gray and creamy white. stainless steel refrigerator. Black dishwasher and stove stainless steel with black. The kitchen appliance and sink area is L shaped. No wall showing except above tall cabinets. Kitchen small 10×13 with a cathedral ceiling making it appear larger. I cannot find a paint color to bring the kitchen I do not like dark muddy colors like BM Revere Pewter since my kitchen I believe faces east. That color looks well with lots of light. I thought I would paint the two cathedral walls a light gray but can’t find a color that doesn’t look like cement. I decided to paint the walls and trim BM super white. I want the kitchen open and airy looking. I would appreciate your help with any suggestion.Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 11, 2016 – 5:54 PM

      Hi Carole,

      I’m sorry, I wish I could help you, but I cannot SEE what you are talking about. It is just like calling up your doctor and telling him you have a tummy ache. Is he going to diagnose and prescribe over the phone? No, he needs to see you. My best suggestion would be to hire a color specialist in your area who can see the job in person.Reply

  • Dennis – April 4, 2016 – 5:33 PM

    Hi. I really enjoyed the read. I would like to ask one question further: I have floor to ceiling beadboards in a basement laundry room, well lit; should I use the same color and sheen for both the beadboard and trim, or different colors, same sheen or same color different sheens? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 4, 2016 – 8:14 PM

      Hi Dennis,

      The rule of thumb is that anything that is wood including the beadboard and trim is painted the same and usually in a semi-gloss. Satin is okay too if you don’t want it quite as shiny. The ceiling should be flat.

      And yes, the same color.Reply

  • Patricia Martinez – April 2, 2016 – 7:16 PM


    I LOVE all your posts and find you funny, talented and helpful. Am redoing my whole kitchen and am planning on cabinets, ceilings and walls in cloud white. I’d like to do living/sitting area and staircase adjoining the kitchen in bi’s paper white walls and cotton ball ceiling. The trim and wood have a natural stain (sort of a deep redwood color). I love the lightness of paper white, but am worried about the cotton ball ceiling choice.Reply

    • Laurel BernApril 3, 2016 – 12:22 AM

      Hi Patricia,

      Thanks for the compliment. I wish I could give you a reliable answer but I can’t see your space. There are a zillion factors I don’t know. But why don’t you just keep the ceiling cloud white? Of course, you should probably test it. But if everything else is cloud white, it’s absolutely fine to use it on the ceiling as well.Reply

  • CourtneyMarch 29, 2016 – 12:02 PM

    You crack me up!!! I think I saw Cotton Ball… and now I am going to have to rethink my Simply choice… Cotton Ball sound soooo much better too. It is fluffy and pretty. I am going to have to try it somewhere! xoReply

    • Laurel BernMarch 29, 2016 – 12:26 PM

      Hi Courtney,

      It is kind of fluffy and pretty! I have a client who just used it in her dining room and living room. Oh wait. It’s the one in the last post about the white linen drapes.

      They’re not the best photos because they were taken with my phone and it was getting a little dark, but it gives a pretty good idea.

      I did hear an interview about peeps at BM who obsessed for days about which color white they would choose. The overwhelming majority picked simply and that’s how that came to be the color of the year. But they are soooo close. To my eye, cotton is a hair grayer.Reply

  • Jane Anderson – March 21, 2016 – 2:03 PM

    This is a warning for those who want to use Anderson fibrex replacement windows- they are a very cold white, approaching light icy gray. We did get the suggested matching paint, but have not used it yet. Not happy with this trim color. Many customers complain about it. Even white dove contrasts enough with it to make it look funny on the trim. What to do! any help would be great.Reply

    • Laurel BernMarch 21, 2016 – 2:52 PM

      Oh wow!

      I know! What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know that we don’t want icy cold white for our window frames? (not to be confused with window casing, which is the wood moulding around the windows)

      You have two viable choices.

      One, live with icy-cold white pvc window frames and choose a white that’s not too yellow like white dove would be. Decorator’s white would probably be a better choice or maybe you could get away with simply white, but still might be too yellow.


      you can paint the PVC. I know, very rad, but anything can be painted with the right prep and the right paint.

      AND the right painter who understands all of this. There are actually companies that specialize in this sort of thing.

      Here is a discussion that might have some helpful information in it.

      The option I would not opt for is to match the ugly vinyl. You’ll never be happy.

      In days of yore, the sash and window frame, WERE made from wood and therefore had to be stained/varnished or painted.Reply

  • HG Fuller – March 7, 2016 – 8:05 PM


  • Lindsay – March 2, 2016 – 11:17 PM

    Can’t wait for your collection!!!Reply

  • Lindsay – March 2, 2016 – 4:16 PM

    I wanted to paint my front north facing living room and dining room white? Is that a major no then?!? I saw in a post north facing never paint white. Cotton ball white? This is so stressful lolReply

    • Laurel BernMarch 2, 2016 – 6:18 PM

      Hi Lindsay,

      I think it really depends what else is going on with the room itself, the size of the windows, height of the ceiling, other architectural features, floor color, other materials and then the furnishings.

      That probably doesn’t help with your stress. But it’s like this… I have a website. It’s stressful. I don’t always know what I’m doing and so I get some pro help.

      Point being, that the paint color is only one part of the entire composition that is your home. And saying that one can never paint a north facing room a warm white like Cotton Balls is wrong. But I can’t tell you if it’s the best color either for all of the above mentioned reasons.Reply

      • Lindsay – March 2, 2016 – 11:13 PM

        Thanks for responding! I think that’s the best part. So many times you can ask questions and never get a response!! Thanks!
        Yea it’s just a basic Long Island cape style home. No wow factors. HahaReply

  • Barbara Miller – March 1, 2016 – 6:36 PM

    Hello…thank you for your help on this project. I have a small commercial bathroom with no windows. Dark green floor tiles. Bright white wall tiles half way up with a dark forest green trim tile. What would be a good white for walls and trim of door and hopefully the oak vanity. Thanks!Reply

    • Laurel BernMarch 1, 2016 – 7:09 PM

      Barbara, I tried emailing you privately, but it bounced back. Here’s what I said:

      Hi Barbara,

      I very much appreciate the comment and wish I could help everyone!

      However, I cannot give individual advice in comments. One day, I will
      figure out how to put up a message so that people understand more clearly
      the parameters for commenting on the paint posts. Believe me, you are not alone! I get dozens of requests every week and some of them are about 20 times the length of what you wrote. No joke! It’s impossible to recommend colors without seeing everything that’s going on and it’s a big deal with photos and so forth.
      And of course, a fee.

      If you are struggling, may I suggest hiring a pro to help you sort it out.
      I’m not able to handle any more work at this time.


  • PJ – February 15, 2016 – 8:06 PM

    Loved this blog about whites. Can you please tell me details and where to find the beautiful lightweight curtains shown? They are perfect!Reply

    • Laurel BernFebruary 15, 2016 – 8:18 PM

      Hi PJ,

      Those are custom-made drapes made by my workroom. The fabric is a linen sheer that’s lined.Reply

  • KATY THOMAS – January 27, 2016 – 12:40 AM

    First off, your site is amazing. Thank you. We recently moved into a 9000 sq foot house from 1910 Regency Style that needs every surface painted…Prior to this house, we lived in an 1890 Queen Anne Victorian with all natural woodwork, that also needed every surface covered. I ascribed to the buy samples and try them out method…he guys down the street at Sherwin Williams knew me by name based upon how many Saturdays I stopped in for samples. I ended up with over 70 of them in my basement! Anyway, I didn’t want to become that lady again and stumbled across your site. So far, you have been spot on. If you say it is good, it is great! I am on to my dreaded north facing living room and am debating between a safe ivory white with a colorful oriental rug or and going all in with pumpkin spice..We have velvet Indigo drapes in the room and carpet is TBD. Going to hit the BM store tomorrow and pick up 2 samples which is a huge improvement thanks to your guidance!Reply

  • Jennifer – January 26, 2016 – 6:48 PM

    I loved your article and your way of putting us at ease…but my favorite white didn’t make your list. Any thoughts on Benjamin Moore’s ‘ Swiss Coffee ‘ ? We are currently remodeling the whole house. I think we’ve decided on using Revere Pewter (looks gray and not brown in the NW facing bedroom), Chelsea Gray (accent wall in the M Bedroom and wall color for the M. Bathroom) either Blue Danube or Slate Teal for a ‘moody blue room’ (game/family room) and an accent/gallery wall in the living room, …Not sure about the dining room (black buffets and lots of southern light) or the kitchen (black and white cabinets and also south facing). Should I stick to certain colors or undertones since I’ve decided to use Swiss Coffee throughout the entire house? Thanks! 🙂Reply

    • Laurel BernJanuary 26, 2016 – 10:31 PM

      Hi Jennifer,

      I can’t give you specific advice but I can tell you that you are on the right track. And BTW, Swiss Coffee is one of nine shades of white in my paint color collection that’s due out around March 1st.

      Swiss Coffee is warm with a touch of greige. It’s fine with most colors. I wouldn’t pair it with a bright color, unless a red, perhaps, but otherwise, the muted palette you’re working with will be lovely.Reply

  • Lidia – January 12, 2016 – 10:52 AM

    Dear Laurel,

    Thank you for your blog – it is delightful!

    I understand you recommend flat for ceilings, matte for walls and semi gloss for trims. What finish is normally recommended for doors and cabinets?

    Thank you and blessings of peace in the New Year!Reply

  • Erick – January 8, 2016 – 12:23 AM

    The other half & I can’t decide on exterior colors. Which bm gray to use with white dove.?. We DON’T want greige, beige, blue, brown or tan! We want a nice soft comfortable gray. Not super dark that’ll look good with white dove as our trim color.Reply

    • Laurel BernJanuary 8, 2016 – 12:42 AM

      Hi Erick,
      My best advice if you don’t trust yourselves to judge the color through testing is to hire a professional color specialist.Reply

  • Karen Hoar – January 2, 2016 – 9:10 PM

    Love your blog. I found it as I am prepping for painting next week and have been through tons of these colors! I want to lighten everything up, clean look, but not stark white. I felt Simply white was just too white. Dove white has been another option, but now we are thinking Ballet White – thoughts?Reply

    • Laurel BernJanuary 2, 2016 – 9:45 PM

      I think it really depends. Ballet is pretty but it is not white. It’s like a rich latte color. Reply

  • Lori – December 17, 2015 – 11:36 AM

    Hi there! My daughter wants BoHo Glam for her new Beverly Hills apartment. She wants to paint her walls beautiful white instead of the current beige. I love the way she’s thinking! I see Benjamin Moore Simply White for her walls but what about her crown moulding, baseboards and fireplace, etc. – e.g. the trim? What white would you use or would you use Simply White on all? Thanks much! Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Laurel BernDecember 17, 2015 – 2:43 PM

      Hi Lori, I usually paint the trim walls and ceiling one shade of white, but vary the finish. If using Benjamin Moore, I like matte for walls, semi-gloss for trim and flat for ceilings. Matte is similar to flat but washable.Reply

  • Matt Denney – November 18, 2015 – 10:38 PM

    Laurel.. I’m sure if I don’t stop telling you you’re my design hero you’re going to decide I’m some kind of freak and have a restraining order taken out. Your design teacher was, of course, right. It’s not brain surgery. My first boss’s corollary… “no one ever died from the wrong color!”

    Honestly, I’m right with you on BM White, right out of the can. It’s rarely failed me.Reply

    • Laurel BernNovember 19, 2015 – 12:51 AM

      That is so kind of you Matt! I won’t worry if I don’t see you. My philosophy in recent years is to keep my expectations low. That way, I’m not disappointed. If things go nicely… well, it’s a gift. That’s all.

      I have a big installation tomorrow. I had drama today and it was touch and go for a while. Hopefully, a bad rehearsal means a good show!Reply

  • Kathleen Kuhlman – November 12, 2015 – 3:23 PM

    Do you have an opinion on a specific creamy white trim? I want my home to read soft and welcoming. Concerned doing all linen white will be yellow/dingy?? We are doing a farmhouse colonial, big over-mortar stone and off-white siding. I love your suggestion of wall, trim ceiling the same but different finishes; but the rooms you show could be beautiful if they were painted purple! Those moldings are gorgeous. Can a house with large baseboards and substantial crown, but no floor to ceiling moldings pull off the singular color? I’m leaning towards linen white but thinking it may be too yellow. IM trying to trust the many professionals that love linen white but I’m considering timid white too. My builder doesn’t want to do a blend so the go to 50-50 linen/white dove is out. What color off the charts is similar? I’m so over the trim “popping” and stark white seems dated to me. Looking for that aged sophisticated white that won’t look horrible in my bathrooms.

  • Laura – November 9, 2015 – 10:29 PM

    I just came across your wonderful website! Such a wealth of information. I would love to paint my kitchen white. Unfortunately, I am stuck with yucky white laminate cabinets for the time being. Does Cotton Balls match or blend well with standard white laminate, or would another white be better?Reply

    • Laurel BernNovember 11, 2015 – 6:45 PM

      Hi Laura, I always recommend testing on a piece of large cardboard and holding up the elements in the position, they’ll be in.Reply

      • Laura – November 12, 2015 – 9:11 AM

        Thank you, Laurel. I appreciate your advice. 🙂Reply

  • Hillary – November 8, 2015 – 10:00 PM

    Thank you for this post! I also love follow your blog religiously.
    My husband and I recently bought a home built in 89 and after having it professionally painted, the trim seems to look darker than the walls. The trim is Navajo White by Kelly Moore and the wall color is Abilene Lace. I am not sure if most people will notice, but I was expecting a crisp white and its not. 🙁 I feel like I spent all this money on painters and now it doesn’t look right. Any advice? Thank you!Reply

    • Laurel BernNovember 8, 2015 – 10:15 PM

      Hi Hillary,

      Well, you have two choices.
      1. repaint
      2. decide that you really do love it for it’s uniqueness.Reply

  • Laura – October 21, 2015 – 7:13 PM

    Hi Lauren,
    First, thanks so much for all this helpful information. Second, we’re about to paint out interior walls BM Mascarpone with BM Cotton Balls for the trim. Does that raise any red flags to you? Third, we have a tray ceiling in the living room and I’m wondering what a nice complementary color there might be. We have red oak floors and accessories in vibrant colors — a la early California pottery, etc. Thank you!Reply

    • Laurel BernOctober 21, 2015 – 8:13 PM

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for stopping by and am glad the information has helped you. I’m sorry, but I’m not doing paint consults at this time. It entails lots of photos and requires more of my time than most people want to pay for. It would be reckless if not downright unprofessional for me to advise colors without seeing exactly what I’m doing. It would be like a doctor diagnosing an illness without seeing his patient.Reply

  • Gigi – September 8, 2015 – 3:46 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Yet another crazy white paint experimenter here . . .

    I have decided on Cotton Balls for my multi-purpose livingroom, which is quite long and serves as living room, dining room and den. Because it is broken up by different groupings of furniture as well as four gorgeous turn-of-the-century window frames, I was wondering what you would think about doing walls and trim in same color. I am looking for some uniformity. Right now walls are yellow and trim is white and the entire room looks very choppy. LOVE cotton balls – it is the perfect white, and I have looked at a lot of rooms that do the mono-color. Just worried mine won’t turn out the same!

    FYI, this is a back-of-the-building apartment, south facing, tall ceilings, but only gets afternoon light.

    Thank you!


    • Laurel BernSeptember 8, 2015 – 11:09 PM

      Hi Gigi,

      Yes! Go for it! Semi gloss on the trim and I love the matte formulation for the walls and you can do matte or flat for the ceiling.Reply

  • Kay – September 8, 2015 – 8:01 AM

    Hi Laurel–so good to read your advice about whites! I can relate to OCD! I have already painted walls and trim, but have a question about a custom wall unit. My walls are BM Natural Wicker OC-1 and my trim is Chantilly Lace. I don’t love the Natural Wicker walls, but am willing to live with them (could be persuaded to repaint too) We are having a built in wall unit made and I am concerned that the wall unit will be way too stark if I paint it in Chantilly–but I can’t imagine a 3rd color in the room. (My floors are travertine.) Do you have any suggestions?Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 8, 2015 – 3:03 PM

      Hi Kay,

      I would repaint the trim to a creamier white and then paint the cabinet the same as the trim. I agree that the chantilly will be too stark for the cabinetry. But if it’s built in, it should match the trim.Reply

  • elizabeth floyd – September 1, 2015 – 12:15 PM

    Laurel, I’ve read several blogs, including yours, that advise against using atrium white because of it’s pink undertones. But what about us poor souls who have already committed to atrium white as a trim color? It’s impossible to find a light neutral wall color to go with it. The off white colors with similar pink undertones look super pink on the walls. So, I have to agree that Atrium White is a paint to avoid! I just wish I had read the blogs first!Reply

    • Laurel BernSeptember 3, 2015 – 11:12 AM

      Hi Elizabeth, One solution might be to paint the walls the same color. Or, maybe try googling “what paint color looks good with atrium white trim.” Maybe you’ll glean some insight.Reply

  • Laura P – July 31, 2015 – 3:27 PM

    Hi Laurel, thanks for sharing your amazing insight on paint colors. What do you recommend for white ceilings? Should they be the same color as the trim or a bit brighter? Thanks much!Reply

    • Laurel BernJuly 31, 2015 – 4:40 PM

      Hi Laura,

      It really depends, but I often just paint them the same as the trim and if white, the same as the wall too.Reply

  • Julia – July 8, 2015 – 4:56 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I’m new to your blog and love it too much! It’s humid as heck here, just north of Boston, so I don’t feel like doing anything else today but reading past posts. I am painting my beach house in Maine after 14 years. It has been Monroe Bisque with Decorator’s White on the bead board/trim/doors since birth,which I have loved. I was thinking of doing all white this time and was convinced that I would love this choice after reading some of your paint information blogs. I’m going with White Dove everywhere! I hate “shiny” so I’m going with the matte finish. Is it ok to do the bead board the same “matte” finish? Thanks for your fun and informative comments.Reply

    • Laurel BernJuly 8, 2015 – 9:20 PM

      Hi Julia,

      Thank you so much! Are you near Gloucester? I had the best pastry I’ve ever eaten in my entire life there two summers ago. My son lives in Boston.

      I’m with you as far as the walls go, but the wood is another matter. It takes the paint differently. I usually do semi-gloss but if you want it more matte, you could do satin. I’ve never done matte on wood. I have seen it on occasion when I visit a new client. It’s not very attractive IMO.Reply

  • Karen Graham – June 27, 2015 – 6:13 AM

    Laurel – You’re right about China White, as I painted a sample on the walls, and it is too dark. I need to find a white wall paint that Super White trim would go with. Thanks so much for your help. I love your blog!!!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 27, 2015 – 9:26 AM

      Hi Karen,

      Well, I think that it’s fabulous to paint the walls in the same Super White just not shiny. I had white on white (same color) in my old home and loved it! I prefer the matte formulation. It is flat but washable.

      Of course, test it first. Cotton Balls OC-122 is also good for darker spaces.Reply

  • Patty – June 26, 2015 – 8:08 AM

    Hi Laurel. I have really enjoyed all of the comments in this string. I commented earlier about having painted all of the trim work in my house Bruton White. I am going to have my kitchen cabinets painted, but don’t think I want them to be as gray as Bruton White. I’ve either read on your blog or somewhere else that cabinets and trim should be the same color, but what about painting the kitchen cabinets something like White Dove? Would that be too much of a departure? MUST the kitchen cabinets be the same color as the trim?Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 27, 2015 – 1:25 AM

      Hi Patty, As long as the color has the same basic undertones, it’ll be absolutely fine. The only time it’s not fine is if there’s a crown moulding which meets the top of the cabinet. That would look funny. It’s night now, but White Dove sounds like a good possibility.Reply

  • Karen Graham – June 26, 2015 – 5:15 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I found your blog as I’ve spent sleepless nights trying to decide on paint colors for a new (old) townhouse that we are renovating. I’m afraid that my painter is going to start yelling at me in broken Italian if I don’t make up my mind soon. Currently the trim and kitchen cabinets are a bright white, so I would like to go with Super White trim, but can’t decide on a wall color for most of the house. I am using a light blue in the master bedroom, as I’ve used that color before and love it. We only get morning and late afternoon sun, as we are end unit with the majority of the windows facing north. I thought I wanted to go with China White until I saw that you don’t like it, so now my husband said that I can go with a white wall (as I am a black and white person). Any recommendations would greatly be appreciated!!


    • Laurel BernJune 27, 2015 – 1:23 AM

      Oh, that’s a lot for the comment section, Karen. If you are in need of a paint consult, please contact me directly and I’ll tell you what I need in order to help you. However, China white is hideous in a dark room. I know because my old home was entirely china white and in the north facing room it was phenomenally drab. It is better in a south facing room, but really very gray. Warm, but gray without really being GRAY.Reply

  • Margaret Brickley – June 22, 2015 – 7:23 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Do you have any recommendations when one is painting over stained woodwork? What should one do to prepare the woodwork? My woodwork is stained jacobean. I love your site, blogs, gorgeous rooms and paintings.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 23, 2015 – 11:37 AM

      Hi Margaret,
      That IS a great question and one worthy of a blog post. It will be up either tonight or tomorrow.Reply

  • Jessie Sartor – June 14, 2015 – 12:54 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I’m a big fan of your blog and especially love your tutorials on whites! I was wondering if you are a fan of doing the same white color for walls and trim, for example BM Cotton Ball on wall in eggshell and BM Cotton Ball on the trim in semi-gloss? Or would you recommend using different but coordinating whites? Thanks!!

    • Laurel BernJune 14, 2015 – 8:26 PM

      Hi Jessie,

      In a word, YES!!! In fact, I had that in my old home. It was a Pratt and Lambert off-white called Ancestral. For Benjamin Moore, I prefer the matte finish which is washable but has a flat finish. And yes, I do the trim in semi-gloss in the Advance formulation which mimics oil based paint pretty well.Reply

  • Barbara G. – June 10, 2015 – 9:31 PM

    I love your blog and spend too much time reading through it when I should be doing other things. Years ago, I was advised to paint the walls in living room Linen White and the trim Atrium White. What do you think of that combination? To me, it looked great! Then I redid all the bedrooms and painted everything Linen White and Atrium White for trim. I can put different quilts on the beds and hang quilts on the walls, (I’m a quilter), and it all looks nice–at least to me. What do you think of that combo? Getting ready to paint rooms again so would appreciate your opinion. Saw Linen White used a lot in rooms several years ago. Has that changed? You haven’t mentioned it at all. Thanks for your opinion.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 10, 2015 – 9:55 PM

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s high praise indeed Barbara! I also do a lot of things when I’m supposed to be doing other things. I think it was Leonardo Da Vinci who said to pay attention to that because it’s a clue to what you SHOULD be doing! hmmmmm… I’ll be honest, I’ve never used atrium white. But again, white trim isn’t really that difficult unless the colors really clash. Dove white and linen white are a popular combo. Linen white is in my post about the 20 great shades of white paint. I’m sure it’s linked to this post. Linen is a very nice color for warmer deeper colors. It can work for walls but needs a lot of light or it can look dingy. The sunroom with the teal pillows and small white sofas is painted linen white.Reply

  • Cynthia – June 10, 2015 – 10:25 AM

    Hi, Laurel,

    I just found this great site and have now gone back over many postings – fabulous and will a regular for me!

    I found you as I am looking for a great, soft white for a room with huge windows and southern exposure but no direct sun because of mature tree!! Currently has a yellow (past owner) that I don’t care for.

    I was looking at these great pictures. Can you tell me what that white is that you saw at an inn in Boston while visiting your son? It looks to be a beauty.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 10, 2015 – 3:53 PM

      Hi Cynthia,
      First of all, I heard that you were speaking to a colleague of mine that I know from a facebook interior design group! That is just too, too funny, but proves what I always say… There really are only about 500 people in the world!

      To answer your question— I have no idea. In fact, my photo was so bad, I had to do a LOT of photo editing on that one. But the mouldings are exquisite aren’t they? And that is actually the secret more than anything else. Gorgeous architectural detailing is always going to look beautiful. It really depends on the lighting which color will work the very best. Thanks for the lovely comment!Reply

      • Cynthia – June 11, 2015 – 2:43 PM

        Hi, Laurel!

        Thanks for the reply; yes, the detail in that picture is exquisite! And, yes, I met this wonderful woman that knew exactly who you were, etc. That was exciting. Small world. She was just great and very helpful.

        Read your most recent post and so sorry you are having difficulties! “Crazy” doesn’t quite get close to that sort of thing.

        I’ll be a regular now that I’ve found your wonderful blog!

        Thanks again for the reply,


  • Charlaine Miliken – June 9, 2015 – 9:00 AM

    Can’t wait to start receiving your blogs!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2015 – 9:57 PM

      thank you Charlaine and welcome!Reply

  • K. A. Dunlap – June 8, 2015 – 6:14 PM

    Thank you for another great post. I’m a big fan of your blog and your straightforward approach to decorating. I recently spent two months agonizing over paint for my living and dining rooms – but never questioned the trim color- my standby white dove is in every room of my house. It worked fine when the rooms were neutral with dark brown accent wall. Looks great with the new colors- two shades of gray blues. When I had the exterior of the house repainted Gettysburg gray- I went with white dove trim once again! So much prettier than stark white.

    If I ever feel compelled to repaint all the trim, I will look at cotton balls too…
    Thanks for helping to keep us all sane!

    BTW- finally made my paint decisions based on the classic paintings you always include in your posts. I unrolled an old Monet print I’ve always loved and pulled the colors from it- finally had it framed and it looks glorious on BM slate blue! Dining room is valspar flannel gray which looks like a deep navy in my light. I think it’s close to BM gentleman’s gray. Thanks for the inspiration!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2015 – 9:56 PM

      Hi K.A.

      That is all so cool! I love white dove too and I grappled with the decision with selecting the ONE color. The only reason I didn’t pick WD is that in north facing rooms, it can look a tad gray. Normally, that touch of gray is what keeps it so soft and pretty. Thanks for the great comment!

  • Dana – June 8, 2015 – 9:06 AM

    If painting walls and trim white, should they be the same white? If not, what shades work together? My kitchen cabinets are “coconut white”.(the cabinet company’s name for that white). Thank you so much for all of you advice, and your wonderful blog.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2015 – 9:52 PM

      Hi Dana,

      Not everyone feels this way, but I adore it when the trim and walls are the same color. I think it’s a very sophisticated look. Not that a contrast is not, it’s just different.

      The important factor in selecting a trim color is to be sure that the undertones compliment each other. For instance if you have blue gray undertones in the wall color, you wouldn’t want beigey-taupe undertones in the trim.

      How do you know? You have to put the two colors side by side FLAT against the wall in a sample at least 12 x 12″ each. If the undertones clash, you will see it. If you don’t see it, then it’s fine. Reply

  • Margaret Ann – June 8, 2015 – 3:14 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    One of my favorite whites is Benjamin Moore China White. It is as the name suggests, the color is very similar to white china. I love pairing this white with Sandyhook Gray, Edgecomb Gray, Grant Beige, Vapor Trails, Revere Pewter, and I could on and on. China White trim also works well with doors painted Dragon’s Breath. I absolutely LOVE your blog! You are the best!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2015 – 9:48 PM

      Hi Margaret Ann,

      Thank you so much! This is a little bit funny, but my old home was painted entirely China White. Now, you are suggesting it as a trim with gray colors and I can totally see that working as a soft, warm compliment to those colors. However, as a wall color, it was not-so-great. Especially because I also had to endure rose colored, yes rose colored wall-to-wall carpeting for FIVE years. The combination was totally barftastic.

      I have also heard of other aficionados of china white and am willing to revisit it in certain applications. Reply

  • chris – June 7, 2015 – 7:52 PM

    Forgot to say what I actually wanted to say in the beginning… You are SO right that the colors one chooses, in the big scheme of things, is so unimportant, and really, no one will even notice once you’re done and no one will care. Guaranteed if you were to sell your house, the new owners would repaint it again anyway a different color, as all tastes are different. Along with all the good the Internet has bestowed us, there is also the flip side…agonizing choices and endless reviews of products that can lead to paralysis by analysis…many, many, many of those reviews are bogus anyway.

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 8:48 PM

      Thank you so much Chris! I loved all of this! (both comments) There is no such thing as a lovely comment that’s too long! It just shows me that you care and that means a lot to me! xo

      PS: We sold our beautiful home 2 years ago. I’m sure I would vomit if I went in there now. Better not to think about it. lolReply

  • Chris – June 7, 2015 – 4:19 PM

    Another great post Laurel!
    My story…kinda long, and I hope not a bore.

    I just had my new house (which has not been updated since it was built around ’94 cape cod style) painted from head to toe professionally, 5000 sqft total. Including all trim and millwork, all windows and all doors which were still 90’s wood color, and all cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, and every square inch of wall and ceiling. Anyone wondering what this exercise cost? In my neck of the woods, Seattle area, it came to the tune of 25 large. Yes, it gave me a heart attack. I had no idea painting could be so costly, but it is the cabinets, windows and trim that go ka-ching$ and take a lot of time.

    Needless to say, the decision making process was a nightmare. But after a few weeks of obsessing and researching, and no previous decorating or paint experience, I got so tired of it, I just stopped cold turkey and decided to make everything white for my sanity.I thought by going white, I would eliminate decisions. HAHAHA (note: crazed laugh). I thought that I could always go in later to paint walls different colors as I grow into the house along with my choice of furnishings (which I don’t have the foggiest yet about how to do…HELP Laurel! I do so love the Swedish cottage style with a touch of Gustavian! ).

    So, all white, yeah, that’s the ticket,easy-peasy and I felt smug with my decision, or so I thought. That is when the pain started for real. There are 5 million whites, and most are not even white. I don’t know why the industry does this, but there must be money in paint and in making folk nuts. I researched, thoroughly, probably a hundred of them. Did do the paint samples directly on the walls of different rooms with different light. This all drove my partner crazy…I neglected my business…did not eat…ate too much…drank too much, especially red wine to help ease the pain…Did the whole song and dance…
    I could go on forever, but end result just, finished two days ago, is:

    I used only Ben. Moore paint due to the low VOC.
    (PS: All the floors are unstained natural maple.)

    All trims, windows, doors, millwork, kitchen cabinets, ceilings, and fireplace mantles: Chantilly Lace
    Chantilly lace is the most clean white out of all hundred that I tried and/or researched. It is crisp, very white, and has no undertones (at least in the light of my house) and will go with any other wall color I may later decide to use. And, if I need to retouch any trim, I always know what color it is (cause, yes, we do forget!). It is cooler, but more modern looking because of it. And I like cooler colors anyway. I love it.

    All west and south facing rooms got White Dove. This color is beautiful and soft especially when the gold sun from south and west creep into the room. But it was too grey for my east and north facing rooms. But it is wonderful when in the right room and may be my favorite wall color.

    All north facing rooms got Simply White. This color is also very white, but has a slight yellow tint (only when compared to real white can one see it), which is great in the blueish toned north facing rooms.

    So far so good and I love the above choices.

    Now the east facing rooms and kitchen, which is darker for most of the day, as we have a large veranda overhang, and has black granite counters and large island top, got Chantilly Lace for walls too. As my wall testing samples, showed this to be the best choice. I have to admit it looks good, but a touch cold. Especially since I have no rugs, or furniture yet, yet I wanted to stay really neutral and not have the particular white I chose clash with the black counter tops and natural maple floors. It looks striking now, black and white. My reasoning is that all color can be added with furnishings and wall hangings, curtains etc…, so that the wall colors just recede into the background.

    I carried the colors of pure black and white into the main entry way with large staircase. The walls, trims, stair risers, spindles are all Chantilly Lace, with shiny black handrails, black newel top, and black front door in gloss (like a piano)and huge black chandelier and nothing else.

    Master bath got all White Dove for cabinets and walls, as the counters and floors are white-grey marble. It looks splendid and the Chantilly would have been to hard for the marble. It looks gentle and soft, but still white.

    Hope that helps some. Hope I didn’t bore and take up too much real estate on the blog Laurel. Love ya and could not have done this without your blog and tips on paint colors!Reply

  • Judith – June 7, 2015 – 2:15 PM

    You have the same number for mountain peak white and snowfall white, help! Thank you for trying to make this easier for all of us.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 2:20 PM

      Hi Judith,

      Good catch! Sorry, about that! The correction was made, mountain peak is oc-121 and snowfall is oc-118Reply

  • Kathy Kraft – June 7, 2015 – 1:48 PM

    Oh dear, I JUST bought Valspar, oil based semi gloss, in Bistro White to paint my fireplace surround. Did I blow it????Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 1:56 PM

      Hi Kathy,

      No worries. I don’t have any idea about Valspar. However, maybe make a little test sample first. Get a piece of cardboard. You’ll need two coats to make sure (unless you’re pos that you’re not seeing any cardboard underneath) and you’ll need 12 hours drying time in between. Then, you’ll need 12 more hours after the last coat because the color wet will not be the same color when dry. The color in oil usually darkens a bit when dry.

      Also, maybe try doing a google search on that color to see what others are saying about it. Reply

  • Christine – June 7, 2015 – 11:39 AM

    Hi Laurel
    Where can I find your guide to getting your paint colors right? It’s the guide you advertise that is filled with your tips and secrets. Thank youReply

  • Patty – June 7, 2015 – 10:23 AM

    We just had painted our entire downstairs. i was overwhelmed trying to pick colors…until I went to the Benjamin Moore store! The salesman was so knowledgeable about colors and what goes well with what. He looked at pictures of the rooms I was painting and created an entire color palate for me. I wanted to go with warm grays so…chantilly lace on the ceilings, bruton white (semi-gloss) on all the trim (crown molding throughout the house along with wall mouldings, door casings and doors, fireplace mantel, book shelves, and baseboards), bruton white (satin finish) on three walls in the great room and master beedroom, bone black (it is a light warm gray) in the kitchen hallway, entry and office, and elephant skin (Behr color) on fireplace/bookshelves wall of greatroom, breakfast nook, and top half of walls in dinning room (bottom half with chair rail and wall moulding was sanded and skimmed smooth and painted with semi-gloss bruton white and now it looks like wood panels). I love, love, love these colors and how they go together! As the light changes and moves through the rooms throughout the day, the colors change. So what did I learn from this experience? Pick the colors you like together and just go with it! In the past I’ve always painted a room at a time, Painting everything at once is amazing because there is a marriage of color that will last the long haul.Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:51 PM

      Hi Patty,

      Yes, often the clerks in the stores are very good for helping you select a palette of colors. Of course, some are better than others. I had to look up those colors because they aren’t familiar to me. I see that they are on the Williamsburg collection. I do have the fan deck, but quite frankly, between the two big ones, the infinity and the color stories, it’s already waaaay overkill! However, I try to keep an open mind and am happy to hear of successful colors. I’ll keep them in mind. Love the tone on tone with the Bruton White and Bone Black!

      Thanks so much for the detailed, informative comment!Reply

  • Jill – June 7, 2015 – 10:03 AM

    Ok soi understand that Cotton Ball is the preferred white. BUT, did you say which brand?Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:41 PM

      Hi Jill,

      Oh GEEZZZ, No, I forgot to say! It’s BENJAMIN MOORE! Better go and make sure that’s clear. Thanks for mentioning it.Reply

  • Bonnie – June 7, 2015 – 9:53 AM

    White Dove.. love it. I have done my kitchen cabinets in white dove and all the trim in my house the same colour. The walls are greys and blues… it looks fabulous 🙂Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:39 PM

      Hi Bonnie,

      I probably use WD about 50% of the time. It’s a great white for most applications.Reply

  • Tone on ToneJune 7, 2015 – 9:46 AM

    Awesome post, Laurel! I didn’t know about Cotton Balls….gotta remember that. Simply White and White Dove are two that I love and often use. My friend used Super White throughout her home, and she loves it. Let’s chat soon…..been busy traveling. xoxoReply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:38 PM

      Hi Loi,

      Yes, I love those two as well. Well, in all honesty have actually never used Simply, but I love it on the chip and have heard nothing but good things. White Dove I love too, but with some colors can look just a tad gray. I have also heard a report or two that it looked a bit too yellow. (not my experience) However, in most applications, that slight gray is what makes it soft and yummy.

      I figured you were out and about. Call me whenever! xoxoReply

  • Beth – June 7, 2015 – 9:16 AM

    Hi Laurel! We are halfway through (taking a break) painting all the trim in our house, based on your previous suggestions…. Cotton Balls! It’s really gorgeous and exactly how you described. A warm white, but somehow not yellow. It goes with my very, very creamy family room, my very light white living room, the gold dining room, and the green/khaki office, and the greyish bonus room. It is absolutely beautiful in the Advance Benjamin Moore paint which resembles enamel and the finish is very smooth. Of all the painting we’ve done, the trim is my favorite! And yes, having a professional paint instead of family means it is exact and not gloppy, which would drive me crazy. I did ask them to do 2 coats, which the painters thought was overkill, but I like the finish better. Everyone– trust Laurel– she’s an professional and an expert!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:34 PM

      Hi Beth, So glad it’s working out great for you! And yes, the Advance formula which they call an “alkyd” water based paint is very good. I researched it and what’s interesting is that it takes the same drying time as oil and yet it’s waterbased. Obviously, there is something else in there which takes a while to dry and gives it the pearly luster of true oil. Good stuff! Oh, and thank you so much for the endorsement! Much appreciated!!!Reply

  • Tina L – June 7, 2015 – 5:09 AM

    Laurel you are my forever favorite blogger and I only subscribe to your blog. But I must say that I hate behr paint BUT their super white is yummy. No other color just white. But I love Benjamin Moore so I had them color match it..did my whole beach house in it and it’s beautiful. Please give it a try you might love it. Thank you wholeheartedly for your talents I love everything about this site!!!!!Reply

    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:30 PM

      Oh wow Tina! I am so flattered! Thank you so much for that tip. Behr isn’t widely available here. Oh wait. That’s Home Depot? Sorry, I live in a snooty area. There are Home Depots but they aren’t right around the corner. The last time I was in one was after Super Storm Sandy to gather firewood, lest we freeze to death.Reply

  • Angela Kessel – June 7, 2015 – 1:55 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I am a faithful reader of your blog and absolutely love it! I just saw the pretty photos of your living room. Do I recognize those pillows from the Lowell condo??
    I am laughing my head off at the two of us staging that place!



    • Laurel BernJune 7, 2015 – 12:26 PM

      Hi Angela,

      You are such a doll! Yes, those are the same pillows, or at least two of them. Can’t believe it’s been two years since we closed!

      Hope all’s well with you!

      xo Reply

Please enjoy the comments for the old 20 great shades of white paint post.

For the new post, click here.

  • Lindsay Z – June 16, 2017 – 12:18 PM

Thank you so much for this blog post, I am currently in Benjamin Moore White Paint Hell! This is really helpful and helps me narrow it down. I know the post is mostly interior but I was wondering if you recommend one of the white’s more than the other for exterior? I live in Miami, in a Traditional Looking house with coral accent around the windows and am trying to decide between Cloud White, Swiss Coffee, and Brilliant White. My contractor keeps telling me to buy Paper White, which I may now that I’ve read your blog. My husband thinks Swiss is too cream (I nixed Linen White for this reason).

  • Laurel BernJune 16, 2017 – 12:44 PM

    Hi Lindsay,

    I can’t recommend colors on the blog for a 100 reasons, but take a look also at China White and yes Paper White for the exterior. It all depends on your unique lighting situation and the look you are going for.

    • Lindsay Z – June 16, 2017 – 1:20 PM

      Thank you so much for such a quick reply. I’ll definitely check them out. The lighting is what definitely is making this harder as obviously exteriors has some areas in bright sun and some in full shade! Thanks again

  • Jeanette Zwart – June 6, 2017 – 8:38 PM

    Just came across your blog and think it’s one of the best out there! Great info, great voice, yummy photos.

    Just tried Cotton Balls on the strength of your recommendations here, on your “ceilings” post, your “he one white trim color that works every time” post, and on the ^the only six white paint trim colors you’ll need” post.

    It’s in my north-facing bedroom, which is painted Farrow and Ball’s Tallow – just a yummy complex , soft yellow. I found the existing white ceiling paint too harsh. Dove White to gray and muddy. But here’s the thing – Cotton Balls went all yellow on me! It’s not a rich saturated “white” – definitely yellow. Clean and beautiful, but fairly clearly pale yellow. I did not see it on my test swatches – the yellow is obvious mostly in the corners. I tried cutting it a bit with 5% Dove White (made no difference.) So I am going to switch out my incandescent bulbs for something a little cooler and hope I grow to love the yellow-and-tallow combo. Note to self – test samples in the corners of the room as well as the middle….

    Finding a white that does not read as a “color” or hue, but has lots of body, is a big ask. Your photos and advice fab (love love love the cabinet painted Cotton Balls in your apartment).

    I just don’t know if Cotton Balls is to clean and creamy for the complexity of the F&B Tallow? The trim is Chantilly Lace, which is perfect. Yum.

    • Laurel BernJune 6, 2017 – 11:35 PM

      Hi Jeannette,

      And here IS the reason that I can’t give out paint advice without being IN the room! I’ve never seen cotton balls go yellow. I’m wondering if the wall color is influencing that.

      White Dove won’t help. It is more yellow than Cotton Balls. If you love Chantilly Lace, for the trim, did you test that for the ceiling? I usually paint the ceiling and trim the same color if it’s white.

  • cori doron – May 30, 2017 – 1:31 PM

    We just moved to Seattle from Austin, Texas. I usually paint the walls a bright white to offset my colorful furnishings. I have used Decorators White and Chantilly Lace in the past. What would you recommend for a place that is often cloudy like Seattle? I want something that will brighten the walls and be a nice backdrop for my eclectic, colorful furnishings. I’m at a loss as I’m used to bright sunny spaces.

    • Laurel BernMay 30, 2017 – 3:30 PM

      Hi Cori,

      I recommend that you use a warmer white like I have in my paint collection. You can follow this link to learn more about it.

      And then test very carefully. There’s a guide for subscribers and also the same guide is included in the paint/palette collection.

  • Elizabeth – May 17, 2017 – 2:18 AM

    I know this is an article on whites, but I have a color question. (I’ve painted a NYC co-op in Simply White and love it. We are southeastern facing and it changes from warm and sunny and in the evenings a more cozy, nearly pale gray.)
    So, I wanted to go white in our main bedroom, but it just doesn’t seem right. Any thoughts? I did read through a lot of questions and answers but didn’t see any related posts. (Are there any pale colors that look good in easternmost facing rooms?) I’d appreciate any advice. 🙂

    • Laurel BernMay 17, 2017 – 10:38 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I am asked these kinds of vague questions dozens of times a week. It is impossible to say because I don’t know what else is going on. So, if you are struggling with colors, I recommend that you seek out some professional help or you could consider purchasing my nearly 500 page paint guide that has 144 carefully curated Benjamin Moore colors, plus dozens of palettes, 40 inspiration boards with furniture and links to sources. Here is where you can access more information about that.

  • Deme – May 9, 2017 – 8:44 AM

    Love this blog and your insight. What is a good coordinating wall color if you plan on using white dove on the trim, doors and blinds. Thank you so much. Deme

  • Louisa – May 8, 2017 – 10:19 PM

    I am finishing up a bathroom remodel, and chose White Dove…trim,cabinets in oil based, and walls in eggshell. I have read so much about it, and that you can never go wrong with it, but my marble and tile selections are so white, that I am not sure this was the right choice. The walls mostly, are really taking on a yellowish cast, especially in the evening and at night. I painted it on poster board and taped it, but really focused my attention on the cabinets. Not sure if I should have the painters repaint the walls and if so how do I select a white that is less yellow or more bright, and not repaint the trim and cabinets….. It is actually most noticeable/bothersome on the walls. Any advice?

    • Laurel BernMay 8, 2017 – 10:26 PM

      Hi Louisa,

      I so wish I could give advice in the comments, but I can’t. I’m not there. But it sounds like the walls are asking to be a soft color.

      For more help than you will use in three lifetimes, you could purchase my curated paint collection which has a whole big section on whites and it also comes with 40 palettes using the colors, furniture, rooms, what goes with what. If interested, you can go here to read more about it.

      • Louisa – May 9, 2017 – 1:24 PM

        Thank you for the reply. I was thinking a soft color might be what i need, as I may end up with the same struggle in another white selection.
        Can you tell me if Gray Mist is considered a soft color?
        I have used Revere Pewter at 50% with the White Dove trim and was pleased. Will look at that too…..
        So much for my all white bathroom!

        • Laurel BernMay 9, 2017 – 4:26 PM


          I’m sorry if you misunderstood, but it is not possible to give individual advice. Let your eye be the judge.

  • GoGoGramma – May 6, 2017 – 11:26 PM

    We just bought a new home with a lovely westerly water view, lots of light. After much angst on the white I would paint the living, entry, hallway rooms, I decided on Cotton Balls, eggshell on walls, gloss for trim. It’s gorgeous, bright but warm, it positively glows in the afternoon sun. Thanks for the advice on white, definitely the hardest color to pick. GGG

    • Laurel BernMay 7, 2017 – 12:51 AM

      So happy for you GGG. Thaks for sharing!

  • Linda – April 6, 2017 – 12:32 PM

    Love your site! Question, what is difference between BM White Dove and Navajo White? Is one more creamy white, do not want bright white trim! But also do not want too beige/white trim

    Shaker beige, Balboa Mist, Seasalt and London Fog are colors so far in home.


    • Laurel BernApril 6, 2017 – 12:43 PM

      Hi Linda,

      The only way to know is to test and that is because of the light. 98% of the time, white dove will be gorgeous with all of those colors, but in some lights, it can either look bright or the opposite.

      Navajo is creamier. Also take a look at swiss coffee.

  • Pat BloomApril 4, 2017 – 8:47 PM

    You’re a genius! I’d like you to know where BM “Marshmallow” falls on the spectrum. Is it a “cool” white or “warm” white?

    • Laurel BernApril 4, 2017 – 8:53 PM

      Hi Pat,

      Thanks so much! I tried checking on Marshmallow and BM does not have that color in their line, but Sherwin Williams does. It looks like a warm off-white to me. But I’m not familiar with that color, so to be sure, I’d do some more investigating.

  • Katherine – March 16, 2017 – 1:24 PM

    Hi Laurel. I have a white dove kitchen and have changed all trim in the house to white dove and I love it. I have a question. My two story foyer leads into a two story dining room – front to back of house. The lower part of the walls in both rooms are a paneled wainscot and I am now painting it white dove too. What color do you recommend for the upper part of the wall? Mind you this color will go all the way up the stairs in the two story foyer, down the bedrooms halls as well as in the two story dining room. I am nervous about paint choice because its a lot of space and I need something versatile and timeless- not too trendy. Thoughts? I was thinking BM Soft Chamois. I need a neutral! Thank you.

    • Laurel BernMarch 16, 2017 – 10:29 PM

      Hi Katherine,

      As we speak, my web geek is working on putting up a note inside the comment area about not being able to give individual advice. I’m so sorry, but I can’t possibly give you an answer.

      I am asked these types of questions at the rate of about 100 a week now. I really do need to be in the space because there are dozens of things I would need to know and I need to see the color in the space. Thank you for your understanding.

  • Brooke – March 15, 2017 – 3:53 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    No you did not say anything bad about Nimbus! Sorry. It was lumped into the muddy wildly popular new deck comment. We really do hang on your every word ha. It really is a nice warm gray. Test?? Ha. As I type this Paper White and Classic gray are still wet splotches in my bedroom. I changed bedding, which starts everything changing. Holy smokes, paper white is going blue and classic gray is going beige in my odd light. So, now I am off to buy a color I have had before and it is a bit boring but whatever, Horizon. I love looking back at some of my old comments here. I had forgotten what certain colors do in my house, this is like a paint test diary for me. I have a blog suggestion. What not to do when building. I did two bad things for a paint addict. Rounded corners, so hard to change paint colors! And knock down instead of flat plaster. Also, we saved $600 by agreeing to caulk ourselves, big mistake. Caulk is so important and of course years later, still not done. This builder sprays SW Kilm beige in eggshell on every wall and ceiling. I changed that to SW Greek Villa in flat, so that was a huge thing that went right. Also, for a budget countertop Wilsonart Oiled Soapstone is not bad for counters until it’s time to do quartz. Ok, done now. xo

    • Laurel BernMarch 15, 2017 – 5:43 PM

      Hi Brooke,

      Please no painting samples on the wall. First of all, it’s one splotch on one wall. and it might look completely different on another wall!

      Paper white is a cool, very pale gray. In fact I did it on cabinets in a living room with a pale gray wall. (already painted) and it looked like a soft white. Classic gray is warmer and with a touch of lavender in some lights. Very, very pretty. But it’s not purple.

      You should paint samples on poster board – two coats. Move it around and tape flat to the wall.

      Horizon is a fine color. I’ve used it. I like it better in darker spaces.

  • Brooke – March 15, 2017 – 10:25 AM

    Love this post, so much great info. Thanks for Shoreline, a beauty. I have Nimbus in my family room and I thought “oh no, repaint!” but it is very pretty and not muddy in my light. Try it Laurel! Ok, I read a list somewhere that listed whites in order of whitest. They had cotton balls as the top 1 or 2 which worries me. Do you find cotton balls whiter than Simply? It looks so clean which is great. Next time you are in WI I can bring you a very muddy gallon of gray cashmere, a gallon of a very blue gone bad in my light Pebble Beach and a gallon of thundercloud gray which is also blue. Some ppl hide purchases, maybe shoes etc I hide paint purchases from my family and need to get rid of the evidence.

    • Laurel BernMarch 15, 2017 – 2:49 PM

      Hi Brooke,

      Did I say that I don’t like Nimbus? I don’t believe I’ve ever used it but Candace Olsen likes it, so it must be good.

      I’ve used Cotton Balls numerous times and it is always soft and not overly white. But please, do test. The difference between Cotton and Simply are very small. Not worth talking about.

      My client used Cotton in her living room and dining room and it looks very different in each room at certain times of the day. It’s a center hall so you can see both rooms at the same time if standing in one room or the other. It truly likes like two different colors!

  • Sarah Bezanson – February 22, 2017 – 12:19 PM

    I saved this post quite some time ago after I cried laughing about your description of the Color Preview fan deck. I just read it again…dying here! So funny!
    I’ve decided that our Great Room which has lots of natural light should be painted white. I knew this post would be a good starting point to narrow down my choices. Right now the walls are a light tan (painted by the previous owner). The wall color is similar to Revere Pewter, so it’s not a bad color. However, our couches are tan, and the carpet is also tan. I’m in tan overload here! I’m thinking white walls would bring new life to the room.
    If you’re painting a room white, do you typically recommend to paint the ceiling the same color white? Right now our cathedral ceiling looks like a dingy white, even though the walls below are tan.
    Good thing you gave a warning about Spanish White…my old fan deck still has it! I’ll steer clear! 😉

    • Laurel BernFebruary 22, 2017 – 9:44 PM

      Hi Sarah,

      Rooms with cathedral ceilings I almost always paint the same color all the way around whether white or not. But yes, if the walls are white, I usually paint the ceiling the same color. It will look different anyway. And the colors on both ceiling and wall will change throughout the day and night.

      If you have a room that’s a little one note, it needs both accents of white and black– always some gold and some splashes of color will wake it up. I especially love yellow greens and chartreuse for that.

      • Sarah Bezanson – February 27, 2017 – 7:04 AM

        Thanks for your response, Laurel. Should I use a different sheen or type of paint on the ceiling? Most likely I would use Benjamin Moore Regal Select in Matte finish for the walls (unless you have a different paint brand and sheen recommadtion for walls painted white). Could I use Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint for the ceiling?
        Glad to hear you mention chartreuse accents because I have introduced some chartreuse into the room already through curtains and throw pillows. I have white curtains on four windows, but used a fun fabric on our double windows that are the main view when we enter the room. I used Joel Dewberry’s Antler Damask in Peacock.
        Now to choose the right white paint color for the room!! (And to convince my husband it’s time for this room to be painted, haha! I’m the painter in the house, but not sure I can tackle high ceilings myself!)

        • Laurel BernFebruary 27, 2017 – 10:19 AM

          Hi Sarah,

          My preference for medium to light colors is the matte finish for walls. Usually, I have the ceilings painted in the flat finish, but if you’re painting the walls and ceiling the same color, then it would be a lot easier to do the matte finish on the ceiling and you don’t have to worry about cutting in. The matte paint is a little bit more $ but worth it to save the trouble.

          Good luck with hubs. Happy wife. Happy life. :]

  • Danielle H – February 2, 2017 – 1:43 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I’m considering using Paper White for the walls of a bathroom that has carrara marble and white ceramic tiling. What trim color would you recommend? Decorator’s white seems to popular choice but I wondered if there were other options that you preferred.

    Also, while we’re on the subject of trim, do you have a recommended trim color to go with Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite? Preferably in BM as I’m trying to limit the number of gallons of FB that we buy.


    • Laurel BernFebruary 2, 2017 – 2:24 PM

      Hi Danielle,

      I’m sorry but I can’t recommend paint colors except in an extremely general way in the comments. Hope that you’ll understand. If you are needing more help, please either look into purchasing my paint product which you can read about here,

      or consider hiring a professional for a consult.

  • HaJo – January 30, 2017 – 2:03 PM

    I LOVE your post, and will be sharing it with many friends as several of us are redecorating/remodeling/etc. This is so informative and helpful and a spring of beautiful inspiration and ideas- I can only imagine that you do a stunning job!

    I give you kudos for bothering to respond to so many of the people who don’t read or use your commentary to argue a point. My health also is affected. I empathize 😉 Your site is beautiful and well-written.

    • Laurel BernJanuary 30, 2017 – 7:26 PM

      Hi HaJo,

      I think that folks don’t realize what goes into selecting a color. It’s like they imagine that there’s a revolving door of colors swimming through my head and if they give me 2 or 3 out of the hundreds of givens I can’t see, I should be able to figure it out.

      nope. Just like the doctor needs to see you if you are sick.

      But thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Betsy Nalley – January 18, 2017 – 6:54 AM

    This is an amazing blog . I am so thrilled to find it . We are adding a large white master bathroom . White Dove has always been my go to white but sine we are using Carrara marble in the shower and a Carrara diamond mosaic inset in the floor I am not sure going with BM white dove will work ? I don’t want a cold white bathroom but I love the sparse clean look of white . What would your suggestion be .

    • Laurel BernJanuary 18, 2017 – 11:49 AM

      Please hire a color consultant if you are struggling.

  • Dot – January 12, 2017 – 5:02 AM

    Your descriptions of the whites are wonderful. I’m trying to re-do my home using the least toxic products available. I’ve used a very non-toxic drywall and texturing compound, a sub-floor plywood that has no formaldehyde and uses soy-based glues. My flooring will be oil-waxed finished. And I want to paint the whole house a non-plastic gentle white. My choice of paint is Bioshield — easy to paint with, mineral-based, etc. The problem is that I do not like their whites. They seem to jump from bright, cold white to greeny-yellow or pinky whites. Is there a simple way I could take a bright white (they call it “just white”) and tint it myself to a creamy white?

    • Laurel BernJanuary 12, 2017 – 9:12 PM

      Hi Dot,

      The Benjamin Moore paints are very low VOC. I had my bedroom painted in the Regal Select formulation four years ago and didn’t notice a thing.

      A bright white paint can be tinted with a universal tint, but that’s going to be very tricky and if you need more than one gallon, even more difficult. Then if you run out of paint or something down the line, more problems.

      Please check out the BM paints first.

      • Dorothy Macnak – January 13, 2017 – 5:53 AM

        Thank you for your response, but there is simply no comparison between European mineral based wall paint and American liquid plastic wall paint. Low VOC’s is not what I’m after. Natural is. I did a small experiment of mixing one of BioShield’s colors (a yellowy-beige) into the white (1/2 and 1/2) and liked the results. Very close to the sort of creamy ceramic white I was looking for. Also, found a fascinating article on giving instructions for mixing creamy whites. However, using tints is beyond my skill level, I think. Much easier to use paint from the same line.

        • Laurel BernJanuary 13, 2017 – 9:56 AM

          Hi Dorothy,

          You’re right. There’s no comparison. I did some research and found exceedingly mixed reviews for this “all natural” paint. First of all, there is no such thing as all natural paint.

          There are plenty of chemicals in BioShield.

          Ingredients: Water, Chalk, Asbestos-Free Talcum, Titanium Dioxide, Polyphosphate (a water softener), Cellulose, Alcohol Ester, Sodium Hydroxide, and Preservative.

          Furthermore, the company states that it is not advisable to touch it up (the color will dry to be a noticeably different shade) and several people in reviews I read said that their customer service sucks.

          I’m sticking with what I know; I adore Benjamin Moore. It covers beautifully, doesn’t crack, shrink, chip, is washable and I find retains its original color over time. Plus, there are 3,500 colors to choose from. That’s too many, IMO, but far better that than what BioShield is presenting with.

          However, thank you for bringing this up.

          Based on what I read, I do not recommend BioShield, or if one uses it, please be careful and only used a highly skilled painter who’s familiar with the product.

          • Dorothy – January 13, 2017 – 4:11 PM

            What chemicals are you referring to? The preservative is the same as found in face cream. There is no plastic (latex) at all. It breathes and wears like iron (we painted a patch next to and above a shower a year ago to see how it would hold up to daily water splashing. It is incredibly easy to paint with. There are indeed all natural paints (Auro is one but difficult to obtain in the winter). BioShield comes incredibly close. If we all stick with what we know, we won’t learn anything new! I am all for the new, as Benjamin Moore is a toxic mix of plastics and chemicals. There is nothing nicer than a mineral-based paint as it breathes unlike liquid plastic (latex). Yes, the colors definitely leave something to be desired which is why I am working with mixing my own from what they offer.

          • Laurel BernJanuary 13, 2017 – 4:56 PM

            Well, then you don’t need me. Take care Dorothy.

  • Inmyviews – January 8, 2017 – 11:46 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Came across this post while looking for colors for my kitchen and master bedroom. We recently painted the living room (which is seen through the kitchen window) with BM Hepplewhite Ivory.
    The kitchen has big bay window facing west and receives lots of natural light. I am looking for color shade that will match with Hepplewhite Ivory.
    Now, for the bedroom, it has east facing windows, but does not receive much light other than few hours in the morning. Am struggling to find right color (had shortlisted BM Hawthorne Yellow which looked too loud, so now am considering BM Gold Tone)

    Appreciate your feedback

    • Laurel BernJanuary 9, 2017 – 1:26 AM


      Thanks for your interest and I appreciate your need for help, however, I’m not there and can’t see what’s going on. There are a million things I need to know that I cannot tell from a description. It’s like the doctor needs to SEE you when you are sick. Right? For this reason, I do not do long-distance paint consultations and if I were, there would be a hefty fee. It’s very difficult. As you are struggling, it is worse for me, because photos suck and all I’m doing is guessing.

      Hope that you’ll understand. Perhaps there’s someone in your area who can help you with this.

      • Inmyviews – January 9, 2017 – 9:50 AM

        Thank you Laurel. Appreciate your response. If I want to take your consultation services to chose paint colors, what would be the charges?


        • Laurel BernJanuary 9, 2017 – 10:28 PM

          Hi Inmyviews,

          I’m sorry but I’m not doing consultations at this time. But thank you for considering me!

  • jenny – January 7, 2017 – 10:01 PM

    i enjoyed this and will save it for when i am looking for colors. I would like to try f and b next time. i have atrium white on most walls and all trim and ceilings, and with my fabrics, it looks neutral, even though the house is in the shade. But i can see how a bright white would fail in a less than bright room. i have switched the cans in my great room to LED at 3000 K, which are really great. I like the consistent all white look of them, without the silver rim inside the older cans. I’ll bet you have already done a post on that, and i am going to check. I saw this post on pinterest via jenny johnston

  • Jennifer Danek – December 26, 2016 – 12:14 PM

    A lesson learned by me: I painted my entire upstairs BM linen white. The challenge with this color is that if you want to have white fabrics (comforters, pillows) or furniture (like a dresser), the contrasting white make the walls look like a dingy beige/yellowish color. So I would have to go darker with fabrics if the paint stays. I now am seeking to repaint the whole thing a brighter shade of white and am back online researching what others use.

    • Laurel BernDecember 26, 2016 – 1:56 PM

      Hi Jennifer,

      Great idea and also make some large test samples and tape them flat to the wall and move them around. Since you already have a starting point for what you don’t want, I think it’ll be easier to get it to what you do want.

  • Joanne – December 24, 2016 – 8:00 AM

    Would love your advice on a white paint (benjamin moore preferably) that goes well with gold curtains.

    I have one on my wall now but can’t remember the name!!

    thanks if you know.

    • Laurel BernDecember 24, 2016 – 11:13 AM

      Hi Joanne,

      My best advice if you’re struggling, is to hire someone local to help you with your colors. Since I’m not there, it is impossible to make suggestions. And if I was there, I would be charging a hefty fee. Thank you for your understanding and happy holidays!

  • Caroline WilhiteDecember 4, 2016 – 6:15 PM

    You just saved my from a disaster! Thank you!

    • Laurel BernDecember 4, 2016 – 6:23 PM

      You’re welcome!

  • Sara – November 27, 2016 – 11:14 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Just wanted to put in my thanks for your blog and what I think are the best discussions of white paint on the internet.

    I recently bought and reno’ed myself a cute little house from the 80’s, very bright south rooms, very dark north rooms, and after taking in all your advice and discussion, I went with BM Simply White for the entire house. I have very colorful furniture, a bit ethnic, and it was a great backdrop. I was looking for a ‘warm white’ that was still a true white and your discussions helped me narrow it down to that quickly.

    Also your discussions about light reflections were very helpful, and something I wouldn’t have really considered if you hadn’t mentioned it since I’m new to all this paint stuff 🙂 Keeping that in mind, for the north facing living room I installed a very light whitewashed oak floor with a yellow undertone that’s really negated any potential issues with the walls ending up blue or grey or ugly, and kept things bright in the room.

    I almost never comment on the internet but your blog has been such a wealth of useful information that I wanted to take a moment to express my thanks. Also the photos that you choose to illustrate your point are so helpful.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Laurel BernNovember 27, 2016 – 1:07 PM

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks so much for that glowing testimonial! It’s very much appreciated!

  • Theo – November 23, 2016 – 5:53 AM

    Glidden makes some of the finest product on the market no affiliation just a customer who has used their product. The Glidden Gripper is the best primer I have ever used and I have used a number of them at three times the cost per gallon. Also, the Glidden Antique White is the most gorgeous shade on the market it is not peachy at all leans more on a hint of pale yellow.

    • Laurel BernNovember 23, 2016 – 11:29 AM

      Thank you for your input Theo. I have never used Glidden. The reason that I have an emphasis on Benjamin Moore is because it is readily available here and in most places and painters like it. And it’s a fabulous product with a lot of terrific colors!

  • Christy – October 23, 2016 – 3:16 PM

    I found “20 Great Shades of White Paint” choices interesting, however, one of your not so desirable choices (Navajo White) is the color I’m preparing to paint my new kitchen cabinets. I’ve been working with a local designer who selected this color based on pairing it with an exotic granite I will be using in the kitchen (Café au Lau). I’m planning on painting the cabinet trim the same as the cabinets which will reach to the ceiling, but wanting to know which white I should use to paint the crown, window, trim, and ceiling that would pair nicely with Navajo White? Thank you!

    • Laurel BernOctober 23, 2016 – 11:40 PM

      Hi Christy,

      Gosh, I don’t want to step on your designer’s toes. I hope that you’ll understand.

  • Annie – September 22, 2016 – 1:51 PM

    Laurel, I moved into a wonderful colonial house with dark hardwood ceilings, which I love and won’t change. I feel like I live in a north-woods cabin. However, as you can imagine, it’s dark – dark trim, ceilings, doors, limited light from living in the woods. I want to bring in some color to the walls and a marshmallow white to the trim, chair railing and closet doors. What do you suggest?

    • Laurel BernSeptember 22, 2016 – 3:05 PM

      Hi Annie,

      It is very common for people to ask me for color help based on a description of a few things, but it’s impossible unless I’m there. In addition, I am getting a lot of requests for consultations, but can’t do any right now as I’m swamped to the gills. If you are struggling, perhaps consider hiring a color consultant.

  • Steph – September 8, 2016 – 10:14 AM

    I’ve tried eight BM whites in my south-facing living/dining room so far and they’re all either too yellow at night or too blue or blindingly white at mid-day. Is there a BM white that is more neutral?

    • Laurel BernSeptember 8, 2016 – 1:31 PM

      Hi Steph,

      If the color looks good during the day but too yellow at night, perhaps it is your lighting that needs adjusting. White is the most reflective color and if the lighting is very warm, even a cold, blue white will look yellow at night.

  • Katelyn – August 25, 2016 – 11:43 PM

    I am looking for a creamy white paint color for my daughters dressers. We are redoing them for her big girl princess room. Her walls are a lemonade yellow, I was planning on using pale pink bedding and an area rug. I was hoping to use an antique or creamy white. Do you have any paint suggestions that would look good for a yellow room?


    • Andrea – September 5, 2016 – 9:21 AM

      I think you are going to fight the current lemon color if you try to choose a creamier color for the furniture, because it would have a yellow base which could clash with the lemon- it could throw different tones. I painted my bathroom China White and I do not think pink or lemon would look good with it. I would suggest white dove. It appears white on the color card but really it isn’t a stark pure white and wouldn’t clash with pink or lemon.

      • Katelyn – September 6, 2016 – 5:27 PM

        Andrea, thanks for your tips!
        We ended up painting the dressers creamy in Sherwin Williams semi gloss. It looks much more yellow on the computer but if you see the actually color in person it is a white that is not too harsh on the eyes. It looks so pretty with the yellow walls! Now to find the perfect bedding!

        Thanks so much!

      • Laurel BernSeptember 5, 2016 – 10:08 AM

        Thank you for your input Andrea.

        China White is definitely a no go. White Dove would be a lot better, but in my experience, not a sure thing. It’s so light dependent. And that is why I am loathe to give paint advice without seeing the space as well as the other colors.

    • Laurel BernAugust 25, 2016 – 11:54 PM

      Hi Katelyn,

      Any of them that are not too beige or cold and that means that I would not go too creamy with a lemonade yellow wall. But I’m not there, so I can’t say specifically.

      • Katelyn – August 26, 2016 – 12:01 AM

        What would you think about creamy by Sherwin williams, China white by Benjamin Moore or honeymilk by valspar?

        • Laurel BernAugust 26, 2016 – 12:26 AM

          Sorry, I don’t know any of those whites and I don’t know if you saw just above the comments. (understandable if you didn’t because it’s a little small), but I can’t give individual advice.

          I wish I could help everyone individually, but it’s impossible.

          Picking paint colors is a big deal. It is a common misconception that designers have the power to select colors without seeing them in the space that they will be living.

          It is the same as a doctor needing the body he’s going to be operating on!

  • Beth – August 19, 2016 – 1:52 PM

    Laurel – LOVE LOVE your blog and your colors of choice match pretty close to mine. One question – in thinking about redoing trim work in my home – always used Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo oil base and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. However, is it toxic and dangerous? I am debating whether to go back to it. I have tried both the Satin Impervo latex and the Advance and neither are quite what the oil based is as far as the beauty of the finish. But I am afraid to continue with oil based. I can only get it in the smaller sized cans and am afraid they may discontinue it all together.

    • Laurel BernAugust 21, 2016 – 12:37 AM

      Hi Beth,

      I think it’s only a problem if you drink it. lol

  • jan – July 6, 2016 – 11:55 AM

    My baseboards are Swiss coffee. I painted my walls with Rice Bowl by Dunn Edwards and RH Linen and the rice bowl is a little too yellow and the Linen in the day looks greenish and at night very yellow. I don’t want to do swiss coffee on the walls so what would you recommend to try with that in mind?
    Thank you!

    • Laurel BernJuly 6, 2016 – 3:22 PM

      Hi Jan,

      I have no idea and am not doing private paint consultations (per the note above) and if I were, there’s a hefty fee.R

  • Stuart CollinsJune 27, 2016 – 2:25 AM

    If you have any suggestion for living room design, please share to us

    • Laurel BernJune 27, 2016 – 12:31 PM

      Hi Stuart,

      There are many posts here that discuss living room design. Perhaps try typing LIVING ROOM in the search box located in the blog sidebar.

  • Jennifer – June 19, 2016 – 1:27 AM

    Dear Laurel,

    We are fully renovating a newly purchased home with a sunny east-facing great room with cathedral pine ceilings and soon, Brazilian Walnut floors–so lots of orange tones. We replaced all of the pine cabinets with Brookhaven in a warm Alpine White, and the oak banisters with walnut and iron. We are looking for a warm off-white for the great room/main hall and kitchen/breakfast nook that is not too white, and not yellow (linen white seems yellow), peach or beige or gray. What is scaring me is that the only color that seems to not turn muddy or any of the above is Spanish White! I’m wondering if it is looking good in our space because of all of the warmth of the wood counteracting the slightest hint of yellow-green (think spanish olive). We also have water views (blue) that nicely contrast.

    I am having a tough time getting the description of putrid and looking like a dog peed on the walls out of my head! I don’t want to make a huge mistake! But I have to wonder if the space where it looked like this was already pulling greens–such as from foliage outside. I LOVE Hawthorn Yellow, but I couldn’t go so bold in my current kitchen. I settled for Summer Harvest–very different, but I needed to counteract the green from the fluorescent lighting so it reads as a soft, warm yellow, giving a similar feel. I’m wondering if all the orange in my wood is counteracting the green in the Spanish White, leaving me with a “wheat” off-white with a touch of gold.

    For the trim, with the Spanish White, I prefer the brightness of Simply White, which to me looks akin to heavy whipping cream, to the slightly cooler/grayer White Dove.

    Any thoughts on this combination and the madness to my method?

    Love your blog!

    • Laurel BernJune 19, 2016 – 1:46 AM

      Hi Jennifer,

      This is why we must all test. One man’s dog pee is another’s creme brulee. :]

      Trust your eyes, but make a separate large paint sample and put it up flat against the wall in different spots and in different lighting situations.

      • Jennifer – June 19, 2016 – 9:54 AM

        Thank you Laurel!

        I’m going to have my contractor give me some drywall scraps to prime and test my top colors. I might try the mix of Decorator’s White and Linen White. Maybe that will give me the color for which I’m looking without all the yellow of Linen White. Your descriptions of the subtle tones in many of the whites have been reaffirming and has been very helpful paring down colors as I have sat on the floor of our new home looking at samples in different times of the day on different walls.

        I have trusted my instincts in the past and have done fairly well, with the exception of a horrible rose color I painted my daughter’s bedroom. At 18 months old, she must have disliked it too because she took a green Sharpie to it when she escaped from her crib!

        My current master bath is Paper White–a color I selected over ten years ago that is now a BM 2016 Color Trend color! Made me feel like I’ve done something right!

        Thanks again for your reply.

  • Karen – June 8, 2016 – 4:18 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Thank you for what you do and sharing your ideas and experiences with us! I was wondering if you had any idea what the white color in the picture above from the Michael Smith room might be? Thank you!!

    • Laurel BernJune 8, 2016 – 4:25 PM

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks so much! I wish I knew the color, but I don’t know.

  • Aria WellingtonMay 17, 2016 – 5:09 PM

    The White Dove color is probably my favorite one out of these! My husband and I recently moved into an older home and the living is painted with this terrible orange color that we want to get rid of. Going with a nice shade of white would work really well for us and go with our furniture. We will have to talk with some painters to see how long the whole process will take.

  • Cindy – April 27, 2016 – 9:40 PM

    I absolutely love your site. I was reading about white paint.

    I am down to Simply White and White Dove for my Kitchen cabinets. The Kitchen faces south and has a porch that shades some. I am hoping to do a granite that looks like Marble. Plus a warm wood floor.

    Thoughts on the two whites for cabinet’s?

    Thank you!

    • Laurel BernApril 27, 2016 – 9:51 PM

      Thanks Cindy,

      Those are both wonderful shades of white. You didn’t say if you’re having a backsplash or not. I would make large samples of the two whites and hold them as they will be living, (not all flat like on a board.) Then, move to another wall where they’ll be living. Look also with the lights on. That should make it more clear which one will work better.

  • Susan – April 13, 2016 – 6:32 PM

    Can I make a suggestion based on my own basement experience?

    • Laurel BernApril 13, 2016 – 6:36 PM

      Yes, that’s fine Susan.

      • Susan – April 13, 2016 – 9:26 PM

        Hi, Laurie! I’m not a decorator or interior designer but just happened to luck out with colors I used in my unfinished basement. (The basement was to be used for a cat rescue project I was involved in but, still, I wanted to make it as bright as possible.) At the time, I didn’t know anything about how paint changes so much once it’s on the wall, and especially a basement wall! I wanted the outside wall and part of an end wall to be a sky blue (the rest of the end wall was taken up by the storage room) and the two remaining walls were to be white. I think that the blue was called “Wave” by Valspar, but when I paint it again, I may use Benjamin Moore “Soft Sky” or “Jet Stream”. If you’re interested in considering blue at all (even as an accent wall), you could also check out BM “Harbor Fog” or “Breath of Fresh Air” to see how they look in your basement. For the white, I used “Ultra Pure White” by Behr (Home Depot). It has a very high Light Reflective Value (LRV) which, at least in my basement, makes it stand out much better than others I tried. You could look at BM “Snowfall White” which also has a high LRV. But when I held up big samples of it, I found that it turned kind of dingy. (I called the Benjamin Moore help line [which I found on their website] where they send out 8″ X 10″ samples.) I’m so glad that I discovered that service, especially since I don’t have a Benjamin Moore store close by! Hope this helps a little. But as Laurel always says, “Test, test, test!!” 🙂

  • Laurie – April 13, 2016 – 10:17 AM

    We are currently doing our basement and looking for the best shade of white to do this. Our floors are dark grey, and our couches a medium grey. There is not much light as it is a basement, but we are trying for a modern feel. Any suggestions?

    • Laurel BernApril 13, 2016 – 3:44 PM

      Hi Laurie, I appreciate your problem, but I can’t see it and am not doing long-distance paint consults. It sounds like you need that. Perhaps you can find someone local in your area.

  • Nancy Hope – March 24, 2016 – 7:03 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I hv 10 by 10 1930’s kitchen. Minimum light. I am torn
    between a safe weston flax, b.m. sundance and golden honey. I know i should have a saturated color and want it, but scared to be
    knocked over by color when entering kitchen. There will be
    good amount of natural wood on floor and display shelves.
    Apologies if overstepping my question. I spend hrs
    reading and learning from yr sights. Thank you, Nancy

    • Laurel BernMarch 24, 2016 – 12:35 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      It’s not a large kitchen so you can get away with going a little bolder. Choose a color that fits in with the rest of your home’s colors, compliments the cabinetry, floor, tile and counters. Make your samples. Look at them one at a time. My kitchen is Benjamin Moore Pale Avocado 2146-40.

      It came that way. Have to say, I love it. I have a good sized slightly pie-shaped galley kitchen, but there is a good amount of wall showing. It’s saturated but still soft. My cabinets are white Ikea. Also not my choice but I lucked out as the usual around here is oak which is just way too much wood for me.

  • Essay – March 12, 2016 – 10:14 AM

    JUST to say..many moons now after the post..that I wondered why no comments followed “Olivia’s” post May 26, 2015..(that I could see). Her post stood out like the brightest of whites..while reading the many (helpful-good) comments.

    Anyway, trying to select a paint color for a bathroom..due to knowing one would spend considerable time there..being sick as can be..was rather sad..(a harsh challenge), but poignantly interesting reason for picking a paint color.

    Hope you found a color that was soothing to your being Olivia..and that you are doing better, better, all ways. +++++ :)))))

    BTW..I do enjoy (BM) Cloud White..which looks pleasing at all times of the day and night..and is a nice background for many “things.” In addition, (BM) Ancient Ivory which hums nicely in the light of day..and also recently..(not white..but) on the darker side of earthiness..(BM) Natural Elements..which has a surprising richness and depth..water, air, earth..goes well in feels like “humidity.” definitely something to explore and understand.

    • Laurel BernMarch 12, 2016 – 10:45 AM

      Hi Shirley,

      Thank you for your lovely comment and paint tips! I looked up Olivia’s comment and couldn’t believe I didn’t answer her. But then I checked my email and saw that I answered her privately and gave her some complimentary paint ideas. I hope she’s doing better. And I hope that you are too!

  • Shirley Jean – March 1, 2016 – 9:04 AM

    Wonderful blog…found by chance surfing the internet researching what else…PAINT COLORS. Recently renovated Master ensuite and carefully chose fixture colors, TOTO Colonial White, Whirlpool off white and shower surround off white as well. This may sound like I have ivory/cream colored fixtures, they are not. In my bright bath they are white but not the stark bright white – a subtle, subdued white. Adjoining hallway is painted Paper White ceiling/walls-matte and trim-semigloss. A couple solar tube lights provide optimum sunlight in an otherwise dark hall – paper white on paper white is stunning in that space. The colors I’m leaning toward for the bath ceiling/walls in your Shoreline(matte) – for the tranquility factor and just enough color to set off the teak/acacia flooring. It’s the trim I’m paining over. I want a slight contrast on the trim and after all my search am wondering why can’t I just use the same Paper White semigloss for bath trim? There’s so little trim – only one picture framed window and a sliding barn door with 10 lights including the trim around the door. Shoreline and Paper White – good idea to tie in with hall? I have now positioned my self squarely in the corner of indecision. Help…your thoughts? [Ranch Midcentury home – modern/contemporary decor]

    • Laurel BernMarch 1, 2016 – 9:20 AM

      Hi Shirley,

      Welcome to the blog! I don’t normally give paint advice in the comments but since this is also my bathroom color I will tell you that it is plain old out of the can, Benjamin Moore white and it is perfect with the shoreline! As for “tying in,” we aren’t talking about any substantial difference. Even the same color is going to look different from the hall to the bathroom.
      From a former (two decades ago) white trim obsessor, please take my advice and try not to overthink it. It’s best to stick with the tried and true.

  • Rachel – February 22, 2016 – 2:12 PM

    The third of the four photos that are in the Daryl Carter section is actually the New York Penthouse living room of designer Michael S. Smith. Yet, thank you for this wonderful blog post.

    • Laurel BernFebruary 22, 2016 – 4:14 PM

      Oh Thank you Rachel for catching that! We made the change, so it should be good now.

  • Pamela G – February 17, 2016 – 11:20 AM

    A quick note of thanks for your very helpful and entertaining post on white paint. I chose to go with BM White Dove for an interior stair/hallway with low lighting based on your “you can never go wrong” suggestion and it worked perfect. The second least stressful paint choice I’ve made! Thanks again, I enjoy your blog.

  • StephanieJanuary 25, 2016 – 8:31 AM

    Thank you for this wonderful post. There are some colors on your list I am familiar with and some that are new. As my decorating style changes and I find myself drawn to white walls, I can’t wait to try some of your favorites and see if they become my favorites too!

  • HJC – January 17, 2016 – 8:24 AM

    We’re currently building a home almost 1000 miles from where we live so won’t be able to carefully choose colors until we live there. But the walls must be painted something first, and it’s the “something” that has me stumped. Right now it seems like the safest bet is to choose safe whites like White Dove, maybe a soft neutral or 2 for variety, then move in and work on ideas for re-painting once we can experience the light and seasons. I know you can’t give individual advice via blog, but do you have any general advice for the dilemma of “have to choose something but am not in a position to choose wisely” ? The opposite of “wise” is “foolish,” but I’d prefer not to be completely foolish with my first paint job! Thanks so much

    • Laurel BernJanuary 17, 2016 – 5:13 PM


      I’m so sorry, I wish I could help you out but it’s impossible. I have no idea what the other finishes are, what your furniture looks, the style of the house, where it is… on and on… It would be like a doctor trying to diagnose someone and all he has to go on is it’s a female and she’s not feeling well.

      From my standpoint, however, I could easily live in an all white home. My concern is always the architecture of the home. If you get that right, it doesn’t matter much what damned color you choose. A beautiful woman is always going to be beautiful no matter what she wears! :]

  • Dolores – January 9, 2016 – 10:53 PM

    Laurel- during the summer,my sister gave me her B.Moore off white paint deck and I looked at all the colors for months, unable to decide on the right white for the newly refurbished kitchen. I was stuck! Then I found your blog on the ‘perfect whites’ and decided that I would quit perseverating,I bought ‘Cotton Balls’ and came home to the most beautiful white I have ever seen.I just love it. Next, we paint the trim in the same color, but in semi-gloss. Thank you soo much, you saved me from buying untold samples of paint- and a lot of agony 🙂

    • Laurel BernJanuary 10, 2016 – 1:33 AM

      I understand that word “perseverating” Dolores having raised a son with autism. But most of us do it with certain things. As I’ve been developing my paint collection, I’m continuously amazed at the absurd redundancy there is with many, many colors. Some, if there is a difference, we are talking dye lot type difference or less! Then, there is the lighting.

      Anyway, I’m so glad to have been able to help! xoxo

  • anne – January 9, 2016 – 2:58 AM

    I spent years as a production designer in film. I agree with the China White muddy/cobweb comment–however, it is beautiful cut in half–half strength China White it’s a subtle change but significant. I’ve used it in traditional spaces and house exteriors and ultra modern show rooms etc etc. It is so incredibly versatile. I bet it’s equivalent to one of your favorites. Thanks for the great post.

    • Laurel BernJanuary 9, 2016 – 9:53 AM

      Hi Anne,

      That’s very interesting and my guess is that it probably looks a lot like white dove. This has always been my question however. When a color is halved or at 50%. 50% of what? Is the other 50% the base that the pigments are put into? The base itself has a color so adding 50% to a formula doesn’t necessarily make it a weaker version of the color. It could make it a very different color. If someone happens on a formula that works for them, like you did, then I’m totally cool with that, but usually, if someone doesn’t like a color, I would recommend picking a different color.

  • Will Fehlow – December 31, 2015 – 2:29 PM

    Laurel! You are amazing! My wife and I were discussing how I was worried that I was going psycho over repainting our white kitchen floor, and how at various times of the day and night I would see green or red or yellow emanating from the newly-done areas. We have two large east-facing windows filtered by an enclosed porch as well as a large skylight on the south side, which means southern light on the north wall, and northern light on the overall…it’s complicated! After reading your lovely thoughts on white paint issues I realize I’m completely normal! Armed with your wonderful insights, I’ve decided to just live with what we’ve done so far and then see how I’m feeling after a few months; I’m now positing that all-things-paint are a (perhaps somewhat challenging:) *journey*, not a *destination*!

  • Ricky – December 21, 2015 – 2:45 PM

    Thank you for the article. I wanted to know if you believe that the finish plays a part in making a room look larger? I have a tiny bedroom, 7×10, I am painting that east facing but has only one small window. The white I have found is cool in temperature, much like photo 5 and 6 you have listed here. I just tested it out on the wall and realized they gave me a matte finish rather than satin, or a semi gloss. Do you think this will play a part in how large the room appears to be?


    • Laurel BernDecember 22, 2015 – 9:00 PM

      Hi Ricky,

      Alright, you’re not going to like this, but white is going to make your room look smaller. I wrote a post about this not too long ago. I would NOT paint a white color shiny on the walls–ever!

      • Ricky – December 30, 2015 – 2:59 AM

        Really?! Its so astonishing to me how depending on the application of color, a completely different theory of color (of absence of color) needs to be applied. So what wall color would you recommend for a minimalistic and industrial bedroom? Key colors/shades: white, black, grey, tan, creme, and possibly various metals. Thanks again.


        • Laurel BernDecember 30, 2015 – 3:23 PM

          Sorry, Ricky, but I cannot give out individual advice and if I did, there’s a fee for a paint consult. It’s impossible to just throw out a color as a suggestion. It’s like a doctor trying to diagnose without seeing the patient. If you subscribe, however, you’ll get a guide where I spell out the best way I have found to make a good decision.

  • Randi – December 8, 2015 – 8:52 AM

    I feel like I’m losing my mind. I have a playroom in my home that we repainted from bm Paris green to white. No matter what we do- and we did about 6 coats and trials- using super white off the shelf in eggshell and finally used BMchantilly lace flat. This color looked super white when painted in a 6 x 6 square in the room. But once again- the final product in the room looks blue/grey. We drove the painter insane. Yesterday a white leather sofa arrived and as soon as placed in the room it also turned blueish grey. There are some toys in the room that are bright white- and a desk chair that remains white as well. – so I know it’s possible to have bright white exist in this space. The trim is mahogany as are the floors. I have chanced the lights from regular incandescent soft white floods to both LED soft white and LED daylight and it does not help- just keeps on turning an icy mint- and gives me a severe headache. Please help!

    • Laurel BernDecember 8, 2015 – 10:11 AM

      Hi Randi,

      I’m sorry, but I’m not doing paint consults at this time. However, I may use your comment as a basis for a blog post. This is a common problem. There are a lot of problems here. It sounds like you have a north facing room. Yep. White’s tough in those rooms. Not impossible, but with all of that mahogany, it will be. The contrast is only going to make it more difficult. But here’s what I’m thinking and this is without seeing anything or knowing what else is going on in your home. Why not paint the walls a lovely cheery, soft, warm red? That will look stunning with the mahogany trim and white leather sofa. Then you can add artwork with bright white mattes. Add some soft white Roman shades or drapes out of white linen or white cotton duck. Pillows with a graphic fun red and white pattern, or maybe a touch of black and white.

      Here’s a post of some terrific red paints. We just did a dining room in Chili Pepper and it is gorgeous! Red Parrot might be a nice try too. But, these are all terrific reds.

      I do recommend making a separate sample and carrying it around the room and in different lights.

      good luck!

      No cool or daylight LEDs – EVER!!! Sorry, to shout. So-called “daylight” sucks the big petunia. HORRENDOUS!

  • Stephanie – October 29, 2015 – 8:36 PM

    First of all I want to say I LOVE your blog! I’ve really appreciated your insights! My interior designer recently chose Steam by BM for our ceilings and trim. It looks fabulous in the daylight, but I find it looks a little greyish in the nighttime with lamps on. I don’t see a lot of conversation around this color and was wondering if you have used it and your thoughts?

  • Stephanie – October 29, 2015 – 8:30 PM

    First of all I want to say I LOVE your blog! Thanks for all the great insights! My interior designer recently chose Steam by BM for our ceilings and trim. I notice there isn’t a lot of conversation around that color. It looks fabulous in the light, but is a bit greyish in the nighttime with lamp lighting. Have you ever used this color white and what are your thoughts?

    • Laurel BernOctober 30, 2015 – 4:48 PM

      Hi Stephanie, Oh my… I swear that BM is in cahoots with whoever makes Zantac and the like. I mean… what they are doing to us is actually abusive, IMO.

      I looked at the color. It’s lovely. It’s close to all of the greats, White Dove, Cloud White and Cotton Balls. It’s a touch grayer than simply, but we’re talking about the difference between 2:00 and 3:00! Or partly cloudy and partly sunny. I did a post where I did that color app and only photographed my WHITE trim. Well, I had to stop when it gave me back over 100 different colors and most of them were not white!

      Therefore, please have trust in your designer. And try not to overthink it. It really does not matter as much as some people try to indicate that it does.

      One reason it’s not talked about as much is because of the stiff competition from the two main fandecks. The AF came out with the aura color line. There are some fab colors on there! But it’s enough already!

  • Cindy – October 23, 2015 – 9:26 PM

    I had alot of fun reading your blog post. I did my entire house in all BM whites and enjoyed the memories.

    I have VIVID mental images of each color! Unless you’re like us, nobody would believe it, right?

    I also used several of your yuck whites and they were perfect for my needs! They only ones I steered clear of was anything with a cream/yellow hue.

    The Super White, though, I have to say has a blue undertone (which is why I liked it).

    Thanks for your blog!

    • Laurel BernOctober 23, 2015 – 11:05 PM

      Hi Cindy. It really does depend on the lighting and other factors going on. Actually, we did do ballet white not to long ago and it was very pretty in a guest bedroom. But it is NOT white. It’s a pale greige and looked great in a north facing guest bedroom. Thanks for the lovely comment!

  • Denise – October 12, 2015 – 12:44 PM


    Can you help me with choosing kitchen wall paint, ceiling and trim so that my “antique white” cabinets do not read yellow?

    The granite counter is brown/black a touch of gray-its very dark (I did not not pick this out ;(

    Thank you and PS I am a big fan of Mareitte Gomez

    • Laurel BernOctober 12, 2015 – 1:03 PM

      Hi Denise, I’m sorry but am not doing paint consults at this time and if I was, there is a minimum fee of $225.00.

  • Judy Friedman – October 5, 2015 – 10:53 AM

    thank you for being so helpful
    I’ve been doing white on white in my homes for fifty years. I love it and you have now valudated it. Thanks ?

  • Michelle – September 29, 2015 – 10:24 AM

    Hi!! So glad I stumbled upon this because I need help. I never thought I’d need help picking out a white color. So here’s the deal.. I am redoing my laundry room. I decided I wanted board and batten up (almost) 2/3 the wall. I painted the top Gray Cashmere by BM. I was just going to paint the bottom white.. I actually got Home Depot’s high gloss off the shelf. I dabbed a little on the wall and an now I am not so certain. I got the gloss because I need something that can easily wipe off. I was just going to paint the trim and all this color. Now, I am just not sure. Help… What would you recommend for the bottom portion of the wall and the ceiling for that matter. Would the ceiling need to be the same color as the board and batten or should I take that gray cashmere up into the ceiling? This room isn’t the brightest and gets the morning sun. Any input would be most helpful.

    • Laurel BernSeptember 30, 2015 – 10:54 PM

      Hi Michelle, I’m sorry but this is a paint consult and I’m not doing them right now. The only thing I’ll say is that I don’t recommend high gloss for board and batten. I wouldn’t go shinier than satin. The walls can be painted in matte which is like flat but cleanable. That’s if you’re using Benjamin Moore. Also, please test your whites! (well, all colors) If you subscribe to the blog, you’ll receive a guide that explains the best way to do that so you don’t make a costly mistake.

  • Meredith – September 21, 2015 – 1:47 PM

    Love your blog! Wondering…how do you test colors for a ceiling, given that I assume the light would hit it differently than the walls? I have Swiss Coffee (Valspar) on my bedroom walls with Woodlawn Colonial Gray (Valspar) for trim, but would like my ceiling a slightly different color I think than the Swiss Coffee walls. Problem is, my ceiling is planked, tall, and sloped in multiple directions! Makes it difficult to put a sample up. How do you test out a ceiling color?

    • Laurel BernSeptember 22, 2015 – 1:33 AM

      Hi Meredith,

      Whenever I have a sloped ceiling in multiple directions I always paint it the same as the walls. You won’t regret it.
      It helps to even out the crazy angles.

      • Meredith – September 22, 2015 – 6:58 AM

        Huh, I never thought of that! If I put Swiss Coffee on the ceiling too, would the ceiling still be flat paint or eggshell like my walls? Ceiling is pine planks in an old farmhouse. Lots of windows/light with super dark wood floors.

        • Meredith – September 22, 2015 – 8:01 AM

          Sorry, no need to answer! 🙂 Was mainly thinking out loud. Thanks for the advice about sloped ceilings, I really did never think to do it all the same color. Which is why I’m not a decorator!

  • Karen – September 17, 2015 – 1:49 PM

    Hi! Loved reading your blog! I am interested in some brief consultation. We are completely redoing a small lake cottage. I am going with the nickel board look (shown in one of your pics) and could use some help before I make potentially wrong decisions. I’m guessing our consultation time would be app. 1-2 hours. Can you please advise how we go about this and what the fee would be? Thanks so much!!

    • Karen – September 18, 2015 – 2:00 AM

      Oops…sorry, Laurel. Just read the note on your contact link that you are swamped right now and are not taking on any additional consulting at this time. Too bad for me right now. I’ll enjoy reading you blogs though. Good luck with all your work. I can see why you’re so busy!

      • Laurel BernSeptember 18, 2015 – 9:52 AM

        Thank you Karen. No worries at all! I’m actually not doing any consulting of any kind at the moment. I found that I spent many hours doing what I’m doing now and then some. Several emails back and forth and then people would often flake out. And then, for the ones that came through, everything took me way longer than I had anticipated. Have to say though, that everyone was incredibly lovely to work with.

  • Kelley – September 16, 2015 – 8:54 AM

    Love all white,,,

  • KG – September 14, 2015 – 10:48 PM

    Has anyone out there used:

    BM Vapor
    BM Colonial White

    I painted them on large canvases and they are both rather appealing. Colonial is brighter (maybe a bit like Farrow and Ball’s Pointing?), Vapor was the closest match to trim we already had–creamy

    Beware that BM reformulated some of their colours so even if you used a named colour and are just buying more: RETEST. Atrium white for example, went from extremely subtle to a very noticeable and (to quote our hostess) barf pink undertone. BM first told me I was imaging things then someone who understood formulations admitted that it was true.

    Also if you do a test pint, check the formula against the gallon formula. Believe it or not they are frequently different and use different bases so they are markedly different. The salespeople will claim that they have been perfectly matched but if you ever find yourself comparing the colours are like night and day. So your test pint can lead to a very expensive mistake!

    • CSN – July 21, 2016 – 10:09 AM

      All our trim was painted Atrium White in 2009. It definitely has a pink undertone, and was chosen to go with the Italian porcelain tiles that cover 1/2 our first floor. The tiles mimic ivory travertine, and have a strong pink undertone themselves. Atrium White goes beautifully with this tile, and just looks like a clean white unless you are focused on looking for an undertone. It does make picking out accompanying wall colors in the house more difficult. Greens and now-popular green-undertoned greiges like Revere Pewter that go so well with all the espresso furniture and floors put in over the last decade don’t work well. We have a poorly-lit bathroom painted in BM Crystalline, an AF color similar to SW Sea Salt, and the trim looks gray up next to it. Not terrible, but not “white” either. Should probably done that bathroom in Constellation instead.

      I’ve found I need to look for cool grays, taupey/pinky beiges like Cedar Key or Pale Oak, or go blue. Navy is fabulous with the Atrium White! We just painted our kitchen BM Evening Dove. It’s all context I guess. I think every house is going to have some sort of dominant undertone in the hard surfaces–and if a homeowner is lucky, not a horrible mix of different undertones!–so finding the non-paint undertone in the house is the start. A “neutral” choice will have the undertone that matches your house.

      As a side note, our trim is oil/alkyd based. When we had our windows replaced recently, the trim around them was repainted. I noticed that compared to newly-painted window trim, the old trim color has shifted over time to a yellower, grayer color as expected for oil paint. The older trim now looks a lot more neutral and less pink than the new trim. Oil-based paints can last a really long time, so Atrium White in this case has prevented the trim from going TOO yellow and aged looking. It just looks like a soft off-white now. The pink is still there, but it’s much fainter. I remember the pink was really strong when it first went up, so it’s not a formula shift from 2009 to now.

      • Laurel BernJuly 21, 2016 – 3:53 PM

        Hi CSN,

        Interesting comment. Although I have heard that oil based can yellow that was not my experience when we did that with Pratt & Lambert paint.

        • CSN – August 22, 2016 – 4:07 PM

          The oil paint we used in our house was BM Satin Impervo. Every painter that has worked with it in our house over the years LOVES using this paint, despite the fumes. It self-levels and just looks gorgeous and very high-end. But we do try to plan any oil repainting for the spring/fall when we can keep the windows open until the fumes go down a bit. You can just scrub it clean after it dries.

          Another plus is that you can use denatured alcohol, or even plain rubbing alcohol from the drug store, to clean up latex boo-boos from wall painting without damaging the trim’s oil finish. The oil-based trim will last a lot longer than a latex-painted wall, so it could last through a couple of wall color changes if homeowners are still happy with their trim color.

          But BM themselves state that if their oil paint is used in an environment that doesn’t get a lot of light, then it may yellow over time and they recommend using the latex version instead in this situation. It definitely has done this in our house, with the worst places being windowless guest bathrooms that aren’t used very much.

          The oil paints have been banned in a couple of nanny states, so people who now HAVE to switch over to latex have a real problem. It’s evidently really hard to make latex stick over oil paint without a lot of sanding and priming first.

          Thanks for your blog!!

          • Laurel BernAugust 22, 2016 – 4:58 PM

            Hi CSN,

            I believe that NY is one of those nanny states. yuck. I love oil for all the reasons you stated and more!

    • Laurel BernSeptember 15, 2015 – 12:14 AM

      Hi again, KG,

      Actually, Atrium has always had a pinky undertone. But paint colors can vary slightly which is why they say to buy all of your paint at the same time. Some colors can’t be mixed in quarts because the recipe can’t be replicated in the smaller size. I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about though. The base, however, should be exactly the same.
      It’s always a good idea to make a little sample board of your final paint before painting just as an added reassurance. Mistakes can also happen. They’re rare, but they have happened to three of my clients.

  • Mayan – August 25, 2015 – 7:18 AM

    I am decorating a small beach cottage. I am looking to complement but not match my Andersen 400 windows which have a gray tinge. I have China White in my current home, but I was thinking of doing something different on the trim. I plan to use blues and grays in this cottage.. Thx !

  • Brompton Handyman Ltd.August 20, 2015 – 9:54 AM

    I like all kinds of white. But the ivory white is the best. I am going to use it for my living room.Black painting on the ivory white wall is going to be fabulous. Combination of black and white is traditional. Thank you for your tips. Best regards!

    • Laurel BernAugust 20, 2015 – 9:18 PM

      Hi Brompton,

      It’s a lovely color. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nikki – August 18, 2015 – 10:50 PM

    You’re welcome. I feel ridiculous myself with this white paint so much as I’ve wanted to slap myself repeatedly and say “really, it’s paint for Godsake!!” My husband is certain I went off the deep end with no point of return and sadly I’ve taken him with me (hehe). But boy when you get the right white, the heavens open up….yep it’s that good!!!

  • Nikki – August 18, 2015 – 10:19 PM


    I have to laugh because I can just imagine you dreaming (or having of all these strange people coming at you with questions about white paint..Laurel what about this one, and this one, is this too yellow? Too white? Is it gray enough? Laurel do you think I could pair this white with this trim? Laurel….. Lol . Sorry I couldn’t help myself and I’m not teasing anyone on here as I am one of those people.. Lol

    • Laurel BernAugust 18, 2015 – 10:31 PM

      Hi Nikki,

      lol. You’ve got it for sure!

      If you want to continue laughing, please go to the contact page. I had to do it. It’s gotten so that I spend hours every day just answering people to tell them that I can’t help them.

      I realize that most of them don’t realize that they’ve overstepped a boundary. but still…

      Thanks for the support!

  • Chris – August 18, 2015 – 7:58 PM


    Thanks for all of your helpful comments. We have a rustic home with hickory wood work. White Dove might be a bit too white, Linen White seems a bit too yellow. What do you recommend for a white wall color and ceiling color if we want our ceilings JUST a touch darker with a hint of grey. Are there 2 whites that go together here?


    • Laurel BernAugust 18, 2015 – 9:50 PM

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you but please go back and read the top of the page. (and the bottom) I just made a few changes, but the basic message is the same. Sorry to have to be such a bitch and it’s in no way personal, it’s just that I’m drowning in requests. Thank you for your understanding.

  • Jeanna Swann – August 16, 2015 – 3:33 PM

    I have to say two thumbs up for BM White Dove, as well! I came into a 25 year old dated home and painted every ceiling White Dove. I also had new 5″ baseboards put in and they too were painted White Dove. I then painted my back room covered in smooth cedar and red brick (red brick!) my beautiful White Dove. It looks absolutely amazing! I covered the walls in BM Titanium Gray and BM Gray Owl in every other room. I am thrilled with the updated “canvas”! Many thanks for your expertise! So many of us value your opinion as we tackle the homes in our lives!

  • Susan – August 16, 2015 – 1:41 PM

    Greetings, Laurel! On the Benjamin Moore website, I’ve noticed that they provide the LRV numbers for most of the colors. If a given white’s LRV is 4-5 points higher than another one, would that white be noticeably whiter next to the second one? Or, put another way, is the LRV anything we should take into consideration? Thanks!! 🙂

    • Laurel BernAugust 17, 2015 – 12:06 AM

      Hi Susan,

      That’s a very good question. I very occasionally look at that. But what I’ve discovered is that might make a difference in a north facing room where white tends to look gray. For me, testing is the only true indicator of how a color will work in the space.

      • Susan – August 17, 2015 – 12:44 AM

        Right! Test, test, test!! Thanks!

  • Jeannie – August 15, 2015 – 1:00 AM

    I have not seen any reference given to Floral White by Benjamin Moore. I am looking for a warm white for my living room that receives a ton of natural light and I find myself drawn to this color chip. Any thoughts on it as being a wall or trim color?

    • Laurel BernAugust 16, 2015 – 12:25 AM

      Hi Jeannie,

      I did spec that color once. Oh gosh… so many of these off-whites are soooo close to one another. But get a sample of it and make a little board and put it flat against the wall and move it around.

  • Nikki – August 13, 2015 – 8:45 AM

    Just thought I’d ask. It’s one of the off white colors. Has a hint of gray to it.

  • Nikki – August 12, 2015 – 11:32 AM


    Any opinion(s) on Benjamin Moore White Down? Have you used it, seen it, undertones, does it read like a true neutral, ect?

    • Susan Telfer – April 17, 2016 – 1:58 AM

      I tried white down on bead board wainscotting in a small powder room (trying to match it to wallpaper) and it looked a bit dirty on the woodwork. Ivory white was better in that situation. White down is an off-white with a touch of pink. The creamy ivory white looks a bit yellow beside it. The Canadian BM website highly recommends White Down.(??)

      • Laurel BernApril 17, 2016 – 8:45 PM

        Hi Susan,

        Hmmm… I did look it up and our white down is 970. I don’t have my fan deck because I’m still at the High Point Furniture market. Ivory white is a great off-white.

      • Nikki – April 17, 2016 – 2:55 AM

        White down did look dirty and just too dark on my walls for what I was going for…..too bad I had to find that out the hard way lol

    • Laurel BernAugust 12, 2015 – 6:48 PM

      Hi Nikki,

      I’m sorry. I’m not familiar with that color. The best thing to do is to make a test sample on cardboard and hold it up in different lights, flat against the wall.

  • Lara – August 3, 2015 – 12:05 PM

    Benjamin-Moore whites

    I want to use a creamy white for my entire first floor, including walls, trim and ceilngs. It has oak floors in the natural color which is a little yellow. Kitchen cabinets visible from most rooms are maple which is also yellow. Most rooms have a lot of light. A dining room has low light and I may eventually paint that a contrasting color (like Galapagos Tortoise if I’m brave enough).

    I want to try Snowfall White for the walls, trim and ceilings. Most rooms have a lot of light.

    Would that be a good idea? I seek opinions! Thank you!

    • Lara – August 5, 2015 – 11:00 AM

      And after reading more I realize that was a PayPal question! I have used Laurel’s tips on choosing a white and I am going to try a sample of Cotton Balls. I think it will be warm enough and clean enough to look beautiful in the bright-sunlight part and the dark-hallway part of my open floor plan.

      I agree with Laurel that I do not like open floor plans! Not only is the kitchen always cluttered (teenagers and adults eating at different times 24/7) and visible from the whole house, but the rooms are not delineated! Presently they are painted different colors by just changing the color at the right angle where two walls meet and I just hate that. So I am painting the whole first floor (except delineated bath and bedroom and laundry room) in a single shade of creamy white.

      Cotton Balls it is for now. Thank you Laurel for your lovely description of it which got my attention.

      I’m hooked on your blog now.

    • Laurel BernAugust 4, 2015 – 10:10 PM

      Hi Lara,

      I recommend going to the store and narrowing your selection down to about 3 of the whites if you’re still not sure. Then make a nice size sample on heavy cardboard. Two coats of paint. You can do this with all of your colors. Then hold them up side by side to see which is most pleasing to your eye. Usually, one just stands out and says, “I’m the one!”

  • suzanne mundy – July 30, 2015 – 1:40 PM

    I am so sad. I just started to paint my whole house trim in Navajo White and just saw you hate it. It was the only color that looked right in my rooms. I had pulled all the others on your list and they looked dirty and grey with my other woods and woodwork. I love your blog and look forward to seeing more posts! Your pics you choose are beautiful!

  • Amita – July 28, 2015 – 7:55 PM

    What a wonderful post!
    For a petite cottage up in the hills of So Cal with spectacular views of downtown LA PAsadena (once in a great great while, the ocean):
    We’ve chosen BM White Blush 904. Love how it reads in the brite sunshine, compliments skin tones, and does well at night (ceiling recessed lighting. ALL low 8′ ceilings. Ceilings are white but don’t have the shade handy. )
    Initially was going to do all the trim in a brighter white to contrast but hubby convinced me that all trim and wood door interiors should be in White Blush (maybe 80% so that trim in satin gloss is a tad lighter) to create a uniform box. There is picture rail and above the rail is White Blush too
    Am okay with the trim not being a contrast and wonder if you have a view.
    Here is the REAL question. Your post mentions that Blush White 904 doesnt play well with yellows. YIKES! We are installing new wood floors in a natural hickory — of course there is an opportunity to stain it. But am i headed for conflict?
    And BTW, if i have exceeded the boundaries here, i am pleased to remunerate for your advice. Thanks for taking time.

    • Laurel BernJuly 29, 2015 – 1:07 AM

      Hi Amita,

      I had to look up natural hickory because I’ve never seen it before. I’m in the northeast and I don’t even know what a hickory tree looks like! In the photo it doesn’t look yellow. But, the only way to know for sure is to hold a sample of finished wood perpendicular to a sample of the white blush taped to the wall.

      I would do the trim in the same color. It’s like chalk scraping a chalkboard when I hear some percentage of the “color.” That’s impossible. It’s a DIFFERENT color, altogether and it might actually clash.It is not somehow a diluted version of the color, but a lighter color made lighter by adding more base. Well, the base has a color! I love doing the trim and walls in the same color if doing a white. Semi-gloss for the trim and matte for the walls.

      If you want to do a whiter white for the trim, please choose one of their existing colors that will go. White cloud 967 is a safe bet.

  • Diane GC – July 22, 2015 – 10:30 AM

    Thank you Laurel, you just saved me from paint-choice Hell! BM- WHITE DOVE it is!

    • Laurel BernJuly 22, 2015 – 11:05 AM

      Hi Diane,

      Glad to be of service!

  • aimee – July 20, 2015 – 4:57 PM

    All my cabinets and trim are Seed Pearl (and I LOVE it)
    What white wall color would you recommend that would work best
    with Seed Pearl trim? Thanks in advance!!!

  • Christine – July 7, 2015 – 12:36 PM

    I recently used Laurel for a paint consultation. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful an experience it was. I was able to unify all of the spaces and end up with an excellent finished product. I think her pricing is amazing when it comes to people like myself who cannot afford to have a Bunny Williams or Sarah Richardson descend and make my home into a magical shiny new place. The one thing I did splurge on is rift and sawn red Oak herringbone floors ibased on my vacation last year to Sweden. I am hoping that when all is said and done it will as I envisioned and all with the help of Laurel Bern. Her champagne tastes worked wonderfully with my cocoa cola budget. As for all the old paint in my basement the lids are currently all off and the cans are slowly drying out. I don’t think I will ever do the paint chip aisle at any store ever again unless I have Laurel’s input.

    • Laurel BernJuly 8, 2015 – 9:13 PM

      Christine, You are such a doll! It was a tremendous pleasure working with you too! Please send me some photos when you have a chance! xo

  • Dolores – July 7, 2015 – 8:08 AM

    $90 for a paint consultation is a BARGAIN…:-)

    • Laurel BernJuly 8, 2015 – 9:07 PM

      Sometimes it really is Dolores! I can spend a few hours on it!

      • Dolores – July 9, 2015 – 8:00 AM

        It surely is a bargain, Laurel, I meant it. Would save us neophytes untold fruitless hours of searching for ‘the’ right color! I was just trying to ‘help’ all the commenters who were conflicted on paint choices :-)The remedy was right here 🙂

    • Dolores – July 7, 2015 – 8:12 AM

      We should have a fire sale for all the gallons of unsuitable paint languishing in basements and garages…:-)

  • Julie – July 6, 2015 – 6:34 PM

    I want to paint my two story entry hall white. The wainscoting and trim are Cloud White. The ceiling is painted some pewter blue color and the floors are dark. All colors in my home seem to become so intense. The hall is now HC170 (Stonington Gray). In my hall it looks so blue and I am so tired of the color. I am a Darryl Carter fan too. Will moonlight white go too green in my north facing dark hall? Can I use Cloud White on the walls?

    • Laurel BernJuly 8, 2015 – 8:17 PM

      Yes, you can use cloud white on the walls! It’ll be gorgeous!(matte finish) Moonlight is a shade down from cotton balls. It is grayer and it might go greener if Stonington is looking blue-ish which it can. I am not as familiar with that color

      • Gail – July 15, 2015 – 3:20 PM

        Laurel, Why did you recommend Cloud White in matte finish? Would eggshell work?

        • Laurel BernJuly 15, 2015 – 9:57 PM

          Hi Gail,

          The matte is just a personal preference. It is washable and it has a nice flat velvety finish which I love. Eggshell has a slight sheen which I don’t love. But some people do so it’s fine if you want to use eggshell.

          • Gail – July 16, 2015 – 8:30 AM

            Thank you, Laurel. I was thinking of doing Cloud White or Cotton Balls in eggshell because I want the walls to have “life,” rather than just boring flat white. However, I’ve never used matte so perhaps there’s enough difference over the flat that the whites will look richer as opposed to dull flat white. Or maybe it’s the actual “whites.” I just spent three weeks narrowing down to two whites and now I’m confused again.

  • Rebecca Church – July 4, 2015 – 11:53 AM

    Hello Laurel,

    I simply love your white choices having used some of them myself and in applications in clients homes in the past. I know that the BM-china white is not one of your favs however I have used it with yellow/gold paint tones as trim color and linen white on
    the ceiling. I do agree with you that it can look dirty and would not use it with colors having a blue/gray tone. Your sense
    of design is only matched by your sense of humor!

    • Laurel BernJuly 5, 2015 – 1:21 PM

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks so much! One reason I’m so biased about China White is because my first home was painted that color—EVERYWHERE! In the north facing den, it was phenomenally gloomy. It does have a nice warm undertone so in some situations is fine but with many colors is too gray. The color I like with those gold and dark warm colors is linen white. I first saw it as a combo at the Baker Showroom in Manhattan. Barbara Barry had done the vignette and she paired it with HC-15 which is a very cool color that nobody ever talks about. Those goldish colors aren’t so popular right now, but they’ll be back.

  • Christine – July 3, 2015 – 8:08 AM

    It figures! Once again I have learned something new here. I am doing my own trim work and have no idea why in some spots BM Cotton Balls looks streaky. I have tried multiple coats, purchased some shockingly expensive brushes and nada-zippo-zilch. Still streaky. My other painter guy is a pro. His areas are lovely and smooth and I have been giving him a ribbing over how much time he takes to do the casing. I officially look like the rube I am.

  • Christine – July 2, 2015 – 10:00 AM

    A couple of comments…

    Regarding Krista and her child’s desire for a blinding bright yellow. I will say that years ago my young son wanted Plasma Green after we stayed at the Nickelodeon Hotel. Holy 5 Alarm Fire! That sucker was bright and all I envisioned was a shut door and needing a welders helmet to go in. To top it off he could not be dissuaded because he took a pile of chips and had them scattered everywhere. So we went with it. But we toned it down with a blue rug over the hardwood floor and plenty of poster sized art from Land of Nod, and some bullfighting posters we got in Spain. Add to that his school projects and boy knick-knackery and voila! Plasma Green we all actually liked (because we could barely see large swaths of it). They’re only young once and I think when they fly the coop we’ll miss the times we choked down their paint choices.

    Now On the BM Advance. If it goes on like oil, does it stink like oil or is it like BM Natura? Also if its self leveling then why sand between coats?


    • Laurel BernJuly 3, 2015 – 1:35 AM

      Hi Christine, I don’t think it smells because that’s the point of getting rid of the oil. It has high VOC’s. This paint is actually a waterbased alkyd which sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I guess it’s not. But the interesting thing is that the drying time is the same as it is for oil. So, there’s something in it. As for sanding. I don’t think that most painters do that except for if the kitchen cabinets are being hand-painted. The reason for that is durability. painting and light sanding between coats helps greatly in eliminating chipping and creates a beautiful, richly smooth finish.

      However, most painters don’t do that for trim.

  • JoyJuly 2, 2015 – 9:08 AM

    A great alternative to oil based paint is Advance by Benjamin Moore – it’s my new favorite paint! It goes on like an oil based paint, it is self leveling, and the finish is amazingly smooth. I typically do a light sanding between coats to assure that extra smooth finish. You’ll love the results!

    • Laurel BernJuly 2, 2015 – 9:26 AM

      Hi Joy,

      I did not know about Advance when I wrote this but I sure do now. I’m very glad to have this endorsement as it gives me confidence specifying it! Thank you so much!

  • Susan – July 1, 2015 – 12:25 AM


    I had to laugh at your comments about BM American Cheese. What a color! Yuck! Oriole doesn’t look much better to me, especially since “he doesn’t want it bright”!! Maybe Krista could pick one of the colors given below Oriole, like Peach Cobbler or Malibu Peach or something similar.

    I must tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the information about BM’s whites and grays and greens . . . I’ve gotten so many ideas from your websites and a few other websites I’ve read, things really intriguing like black (maybe charcoal? base mouldings and interior doors, and painting ceilings something other than white. My project to repaint the interior of my house is probably a couple of years away but I’m getting ideas now. This will give me plenty of time to test, test, test — whites, blacks, charcoals, blues, pinks, lime green, yellow green, etc.!!

    Many thanks,

    • Laurel BernJuly 2, 2015 – 1:56 AM

      Thanks so much Susan. I don’t fault anyone for choosing colors like that. They are there and in a small chip it’s very difficult to imagine how they are going to expand. One just sees a bright cheerful color. People probably assume that if a color is in a company’s collection, it means that it’s a good color. That is why I’m not happy with BM for going so assaultingly bright with some of their colors. I imagine they’re regretting it too but figure it would cost them more to get rid of the colors than to keep them lurking around. Afterall, they don’t exist until they are blended. Changing them would mean all new fan decks and other materials. That’s expensive!

  • Krista – June 30, 2015 – 12:50 PM

    What is your assessment of BM White Chocolate? No one ever mentions it lol. Making me nervous!
    Was thinking of that as a warm white band in my 15yo room with small west window.
    Primary color choice at present is BM American Cheese and want to tone it down a bit.

    • Laurel BernJune 30, 2015 – 1:49 PM

      Forgive me Krista,

      But I cannot look at American Cheese because that color hurts my eyes. :/ If you need a paint consult, there’s a fee for that. Please contact me directly, if interested.

      • Krista – June 30, 2015 – 5:09 PM

        I know that AC color is a bit bright… may end up with a different golden yellow.

        My question though is if you have ever seen or worked with the BM color – White Chocolate. Wanting to know if it’s a creamy colour or too brown or blah. It never gets listed in the white options.

        • Laurel BernJune 30, 2015 – 5:59 PM

          Hi Krista,

          it’s not a bit, it’s VERY bright. I’m presuming you have not made a large sample of it yet. You are looking at a teeny tiny chip. Put it on all four walls and your room is going to self-combust lol. Sorry, I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m making fun of you. But that is one of those colors that should not exist. I did a quick search and found it in a VERY tiny playroom off a kitchen, but it was almost all windows, so the color was a very small accent behind all the kid’s stuff.

          But to answer your question. I have not used White Chocolate. It looks to a nice cream. No brown undertone. Actually, pretty devoid of brown or gray. I think it would be good for a dark room.

          • Krista – June 30, 2015 – 11:46 PM

            Thanks for the feedback Not using American Cheese anymore! He doesn’t want it bright. Maybe Oriole or something.
            Will stick with White Chocolate. Thanks for the help.

          • Laurel BernJuly 2, 2015 – 1:58 AM

            Hi Krista, My living room is HC-4 Hawthorne Yellow and it’s a very pretty shade. HC-5 and HC-6 are also good.

  • John – June 29, 2015 – 6:21 PM

    What are your thoughts on BM Mascarpone (AF-20). Is it a good trim color to use all over a house? What are pros and cons of Mascarpone?

    • Laurel BernJune 29, 2015 – 7:04 PM

      Hi John,

      I just used it for a job in some of the rooms and it is very nice. It’s a slightly brighter version of linen white. So, if LW is too dirty looking, but otherwise nice, mascarpone might work. It does have warm, yellow undertones. This doesn’t mean that it’ll look yellow. It depends on lighting and what colors it’s going next to. Also, take a look at 925, ivory white. That’s my fave cream right now.

  • cristina – June 29, 2015 – 12:08 PM

    Great Article!
    I like how you mentioned the north facing light having blue-gray undertones and not recommending bright white for those room.
    This may require a separate post but, I would be interested to know what undertones the other directions have and what your broad color recommendations would be for those rooms based on the lights undertones in a certain direction etc.

    • Laurel BernJune 29, 2015 – 12:34 PM

      Hi Cristina,

      Oh gosh. Well, it depends on the time of day! This is what drives me nuts! Again, more confusion and IMO a lot of misinformation. My bedroom has three windows. South, South West (on an angle– one of my fave features of my home!) and West.

      When I wake up in the AM, the light in here is very cool. That’s right. My south and west facing bedroom with three huge windows is COOL in the morning. VERY cool! In the morning and even now at 12:30 it is still cool lighting! My dirty purple walls look like a warm, deep gray with very slight purple undertones. But, it never looks orangey, yellow as some people claim. Yes, warmer in the evening but there is more light shining in and of course as the sun is setting for a brief period it can appear more golden, but I wouldn’t decorate around one hour of the day and less in the winter!

      However, I live in an apartment. I have a couple of big trees outside and red brick buildings. I’m on the third floor and the buildings are not more than 6 stories around me, so I do get a good amount of sunshine.

      my living room has a huge bay window facing south, southeast and south west. In the winter mid-day. The room without shades is BLINDING! I mean, before I had my shades, you needed sunglasses in here between 11-1!

      Light, actually has no color. That’s right, it’s clear, except at dawn and at sunset. North facing rooms are darker and appear grayer because the sun is always indirect. It is also the most consistent lighting. Warm undertones are best for these rooms. I had a den painted a warm celery color and it positively glowed. Love it!

      I wish there was a magic formula, but there isn’t. I am in the process of putting together a collection of fabulous paint colors. As always, I strongly urge people to test all colors first.

      What I’m quite concerned about is that they are eliminating our incandescent lighting! LED and compact flourescent (warm please for both of these) it is… but… THAT, I need to do a post about.

      • Dolores – July 9, 2015 – 7:47 AM

        Laurel- we have a tall boy in our attic that is loaded with 100 watt incandescent bulbs, so I’ll be ok for a few years.But much to my surprise, I found an LED bulb that I can live with- the CREE 100 watt soft white ( $20 a shot.) However, it’s worth the price because it really does give back very accurate colors and, it gives a soft,but very bright light.I never thought I’d recommend any of the LED lights- I was wrong! I really like it!!

        • Laurel BernJuly 10, 2015 – 12:36 AM

          Hi Dolores, Thank you for that! I think I have heard of that one. They are supposed to last forever. I guess we’ll just have to get used to them and maybe in time, I’ll be won over too!

  • Melissa Alves – June 21, 2015 – 11:03 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I’m moving soon and thinking about painting the natural wood color kitchen cabinets, white and am also trying to decide on a wall color that will provide a nice contrast with the cabinets. Both the granite and wood floor have a lot of warmth. The granite kind of has a lot going on- orange-y browns, little specks of beige, and some chocolate running through. I’m having a hard time choosing colors, especially the white for the cabinets because I know I need a warmer white, but I don’t anything too yellow or peach. Any advice you can offer would be really, really appreciated. The paint color options are starting to make me crazy!

    • Laurel BernJune 22, 2015 – 12:35 AM

      Hi Melissa,

      If you are in need of a paint consultation please write me privately. The fees begin at $90. If that doesn’t suit you, I have several posts here about white paint.

  • Jan Irvin – June 19, 2015 – 8:49 PM

    looking for a “white” paint color that goes well with white appliances.

    • Laurel BernJune 19, 2015 – 9:44 PM

      Hi Jan,

      I have white appliances. The cabinets are from Ikea and are off-white but feel white. The trim is plain white. It all seems to go but it’s a small kitchen. In addition, there isn’t a standard white for white appliances. My best advice is to hold up the chip next to the appliance and if it looks good to you, then it should be fine.

  • Libby – June 15, 2015 – 9:24 AM

    Hello, Laurel,

    I’m a new subscriber, so I may have missed it, but I would like to duplicate the paint combination in your 6-18-14 blog for the entry way (

    1) Entry. The entry is the area that welcomes people into the home. It could be a wow! Or it could be soft and serene. However, it is the backbone of all of the other colors and it will be the same color downstairs and upstairs as well. We are going to paint it a rich cream.

    You identified the wall color as 925 IVORY WHITE but I don’t se what trim color you paired it with. Help!
    Thanks for the neat blog – it is always fun to read.

  • Sarah Bezanson – June 10, 2015 – 9:33 AM

    What whites are your favorite for trim? We are in the midst of replacing windows in our entire house. We have not ordered windows yet, but I am leaving towards a nice vinyl interior window as opposed to wood. (I had been very opposed to vinyl windows, but after looking at all the options, I think vinyl is our best choice.) Should my wood trim surrounding the white, vinyl window match the vinyl colir exactly?

    • Laurel BernJune 10, 2015 – 3:58 PM

      Hi Sarah, You are in luck because I actually wrote a post about this very subject. Here it is:

      As for an exact match. It should be close. However, I am looking at my white trim now. There’s the inside which is the brightest, (where the light hits it) the darkest usually the front but maybe not if there’s another window shining on it.)

      The eye will naturally want to make the colors go. But for instance, if the vinyl is a blinding white and that’s the only choice you have, perhaps stick with one of the whiter trim colors. Hopefully, it’ll be a nice warm white, that’s not too beige either.

  • Christine – June 9, 2015 – 9:13 AM

    I have a tiny powder room (4 x 5.5) with absolutely no windows. It’s very dark . I will have two opposite accent walls with wallpaper (soft metallic gray and gold pattern on white background) I was thinking of painting the other two walls white. Is that a good idea? Will painting the other walls white make the small dark powder room feel brighter and larger? I was looking at BM cloud white. Thanks!

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2015 – 10:04 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Well, if there are no windows, it means that there’s always going to be a light(s) on. So, in essence, it’s not a dark room. It’s a night room all the time.

      My feeling with small powder rooms is that you can do whatever you want. In fact, sometimes it’s fun to do something you would never do anywhere else just for fun.

      Now, this is just me. But unless there’s some very clear architectural feature like an alcove or dormer, I’m not a fan of accent walls or not doing everything the same. Therefore, I’d either paint everything or paper everything.

      White actually makes rooms feel smaller. Dark colors will make the walls recede.

  • Rebecca – June 2, 2015 – 8:27 PM

    Greetings! I was wondering what colors you recommend for the ceiling. Should it or could it be the same as the white for the trim? What finish should it be?
    Many thanks!!

  • ruth – May 26, 2015 – 10:26 PM

    I have a bathroom two rooms vanity in one bathtub in other one small window in bathtub area so bathroom is dark I want a shade of white but no gray undertones tryin is white white what is a good shade

  • Olivia – May 26, 2015 – 10:32 AM

    Hello, just short and sweet. Just over night I got ill with a rash and completely lost of memory. My husband took me ER was seen and immediately diagnosis with a Brain Tumor size of marble. Apparently I have had for 3 years. No symptoms. I am 58 yrs old and always did no breast exams. Oh figure that the ex-rays are only breast area only. Well enough of that. Had surgery on 4//26. Had an excellent doctors. Now awaiting for my tradition treatments that are taking for ever. My 1st Simulation is not till 6/4. Well lol enough of short and sweet. Well before I came home I went into this angelic white cleaning phase. Since soon I am going to spend a lot of time in the bathroom (barfing lol)and in my bedroom recovering . I had my husband paint it. Yuck low and behold he bought the cheapest white and yes the the rooms look like hospital white. I stood there and look at him as said, I am the one that has ( oh by the way Lung stage 4 cancer) not 1 or 2 or 3 Its 4!. I did say sorry afterwards for yelling. I do not know yet of the outcome, I feel 95% recovered. Only thing, nervous cooking and driving. Well what I am asking I am Looking for an ANGELICAL WHITE WITH WAS THINKING OF SOME KIND OF BLUISH TRIM TONE? Well sorry for my request. I get up every day at 6 am, pray and walk at the same x. I take my green supplements now (not coffee any more…well maybe a small cup after). .so God Bless your Website. Hope to hear from you soon of colors for my bathroom and bedroom. Love, Laughter and Hugs to all!

  • Nancy of Lake Stevens – May 25, 2015 – 9:36 PM

    I visited your blog today because of an email from Pinterest featuring the 20 best whites so I think that is where all of the traffic is coming from. That said I was a little surprised to not see Chantilly Lace on your list. Care to comment.

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:57 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      Oh wow! Pinterest sent out the email! Thanks for letting me know! I’ve had nearly 25,000 page views today. I practically shut my server down. lol

      I’ve never used chantilly lace which is why it’s not on the list. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad color. I’m just not as familiar with it. It is a very clean white and I’ve heard that it’s good in some situations and too white in others.

  • Sarah – May 25, 2015 – 8:45 PM

    i just came across your blog today, and am excited to read more posts. Your description of whites was very helpful. I had to smile as I read your list of yucky whites, and I recognized many of the names as ones I do not favor as well.
    I love Ben Moore colors, but did wonder about many of the color choices in the Color Preview fan deck. Thank you for your commentary about it! I laughed out loud.

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:53 PM

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Smiling and laughing is one of my goals. Great to hear it’s working!

  • Donna – May 25, 2015 – 7:07 PM

    my contractor is recommending BM Divine White for our mostly beige bathroom. Opinion?

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:45 PM

      I am not familiar with that color. Are you sure it’s not Sherwin Williams? I don’t think BM makes a color with that name. In any case, it wouldn’t hurt to get a quart and test it. For the best results I recommend using the guide I created. If you subscribe, you’ll have access to it.

    • Donna – May 25, 2015 – 10:26 PM

      Sorry, meant to say Sherwin Williams divine white…

  • Anne – May 25, 2015 – 6:08 PM

    Re:white paints. Great discussion! In 2005 painted my entire first floor and sunroom. Sunroom walls are California “Blue Ice” (love it) and consultant chose BM Dove, wonderful. Then she chose Navajo White for all the trim! And Bone White for kitchen cans to go with appliances! Ugh. Am thinkIng of repainting using yr suggedtions as kitchen/family room walls are peach and terracotta and granite countertops are Madora Oro ( gold, off white and lots of mOvement of cranberry, grape, black, olive). Living room is BM Radpberry Truffle, Dining is BM Copley Grey and tyinf all together is hallway in Desert Sand. Colorful, warm in the sunny rooms… But the white! Ick.

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:41 PM

      Hi Anne, Can’t figure out why she would’ve chosen those trim colors, but you’re on the task. Don’t forget to test first!

      • Ann – September 27, 2015 – 5:18 PM

        I love your website. We only have Sherwin Williams on our area. Any favorite whites in this brand?

  • Donna Wildemann – May 25, 2015 – 3:03 PM

    This is great advice! I’m so happy to happen upon your site. In general, which white do you like for hallways with little light?

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:42 PM

      Hi Donna, Well, I would stay away from the grayer whites. The colors on the six white trim post I did a few weeks ago are all nice. Please don’t forget to test!

  • Maureen – May 25, 2015 – 2:44 PM

    I live in the Southwest and, while I love your examples, I wonder how different they might look in Southern California sunlight. The major rooms in our house face west, so we get a lot of golden tones late in the day. It seems that most interior pictures I see in magazines, etc., are taken in the East and have a whiter/grayer light which would have quite a different effect on the paint colors.

    • Laurel BernMay 26, 2015 – 12:04 AM

      Hi Maureen,

      I’ve lived in Cali (well, northern Cali) and the light isn’t that different. Our afternoon sun in the northeast is also golden in south and west facing rooms. What you are seeing unfortunately, is something that drives me nuts. It’s digital photography. Much of the time, it comes out redder and bluer than it should be and people don’t bother to color correct it. It’s especially noticeable on a PC. Macs are warmer and closer to what it should be. So, it could be your monitor plus the digital photography.

  • Angela – May 25, 2015 – 2:22 PM

    Your style is the style people wish we had and admire so much in others. Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurel BernMay 26, 2015 – 12:00 AM

      Thank you so much Angela!

  • gigi – May 25, 2015 – 1:58 PM

    very interesting to see the recommendations, but also very toney. benjamin moore and farrow and ball are pretty expensive paints for some of us. behr (home depot) is recommended and much more reasonable. i guess a compromise would be to take the bm recommendations and have home depot mix behr to that chip color. or have walmart or menards mix one of their paints to the chip color. (remove the name).

    • Laurel BernMay 26, 2015 – 12:00 AM

      Hi Gigi,
      I don’t recommend computer matching ever. It’s a crap shoot. The bases of the paints are different. BM might be a bit more expensive but it covers so well, that you might need less paint. I’m not sure about that, but in the scheme of things, the difference is not a huge expense.

      • Gigi – May 26, 2015 – 1:24 AM

        Thank you for the response. Consumer reports indicates that behr has excellent coverage and I’ve had good luck w/ it, so will stick w/ it. The $$ do matter to me. But thanks for considering my comment! Will just compare chips.

  • Lorita DavisMay 25, 2015 – 12:20 PM

    Paint colors make my head spin.

  • Bobbie – May 25, 2015 – 11:28 AM

    Love your website – picked it up through Pinterest. Sitting here almost spilling my morning coffee while laughing at your comments. Like shopping/browsing the paint store with a good friend who also has a great sense of humor! Will now be receiving your blog and am looking forward not only to the info but to the entertaining, helpful comments.

    • Laurel BernMay 25, 2015 – 11:39 AM

      Hi Bobbie,
      Welcome and thank you! I normally get a fair amount of traffic from pinterest, but I just checked and it’s through the roof today! Good for me. haha. It’s also a testament to just hanging in there and not giving up even when no one is reading your blog! They didn’t for the first year and a half. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing.

      Occasionally, I do add a disclaimer. Clear liquids only while reading this post! lol

  • Stefanie – May 24, 2015 – 12:16 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I have been agonizing over my paint choice for some time. We originally picked a color that is very beigy gray and with a north facing room, it’s too dark so am opting to re-paint in white (talk about a huge waste of time and money). The issue I am having is my kitchen cabinets have a yellow hue (they are ivory) and pretty pigmented. I am attempting to go lighter than the cabinets since darker did not work. I have tested ivory white, cotton balls, cloud white, white dove and simply white (eliminated decorator’s white,navajo white and mascarpone). I like white dove but not sure the gray in it works and love ivory white but it seems too close to my cabinet color so stuck at cotton balls, simply white and cloud white (unless I can re-consider white dove). Any thoughts? I have a medium tone wood floor, dark furniture and my island cabinet is dark expresso. I know you now charge for color consults so I apologize if you cannot answer this. If you cannot, how accurate would the color be for you to do online?

    • Laurel BernMay 24, 2015 – 12:20 PM

      Hi Stefanie,

      Yes, I do charge for color consults. It’s true. It’s not as easy to do online, but so far, it’s been very successful. There’s nothing wrong with the wall color being close to the cabinet color. It sounds like ivory white is a winner. Otherwise, you could consider painting the cabinets, but maybe that’s not necessary.

      • Stefanie – May 24, 2015 – 12:34 PM

        I really appreciate you responding so quickly! The only thing I am concerned about is the ivory white being a bit too pigmented. Unfortunately the cabinets cannot be painted. I painted all but one on a board to move it around and studying them in all times of the day. I may have to paint a couple on the wall. Are there any other tips in selecting?

        As far as the consult, do you generally find you have come to a consensus pretty quickly? Is it $60 for just one room? Thank you again!

  • Julie – May 23, 2015 – 9:36 PM

    What do you think of BM glacier white?

    • Laurel BernMay 24, 2015 – 12:21 PM

      It depends on the situation. :]

  • Moira – May 19, 2015 – 8:15 AM

    HI Laurel,

    First I am in love with your blog. So much information and perfection! We are in the process of painting our kitchen cabinets, basically sprucing it up. WE have Santa Cecilia Gold Granite and are having a hard time that perfect shade of white, not too gray ( of course) nor not to pink or yellow tones. Any ideas?? I have been reading White Dove is a good shade to go with, however if you have any ideas I would appreciate your feedback.
    Going with dark colored cabinets is out of the question, I am looking to brighten things up a bit. Hope you can help!!
    Thank you

    • Laurel BernMay 19, 2015 – 8:43 AM

      Hi Moira,
      Thank you so much. White is a tough color which is why I’ve written two posts about it. There’s another post about the only 6 white paint trim colors you’ll ever need. That certainly narrows down the field. but you need to test the colors. If you subscribe to the blog, you’ll receive a guide that tells you how to do that. The lighting in the room is what matters most. Since white is the most reflective color, it tends to take on the hue of the light.

      Also, please make sure your backsplash coordinates. That’s even more important than the counters since it’s on the same plane. I hope that helps. If you’re still confused, you can contact me for a paint consult.

  • Nancy LevinsonMay 15, 2015 – 3:13 PM

    I have a question.
    We are building a house four blocks from the Pacific Ocean. The “great room” which includes the kitchen, dining and living room is long and narrow facing north. I was thinking of using BM Decorator’s White until I read in you blog that one common mistake is doing just that. What would you recommend?
    *the upper kitchen cabinets are a glossy white and the bottom cabinets are a washed black. The counter tops are a white quartz.
    This is a contemporary home.
    Yikes….. help!

    • Laurel BernMay 15, 2015 – 3:18 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      There are always exceptions to every rule. In addition, I live on the other coast and most of my jobs are more traditional. In addition, I have no idea what your lighting situation is, so it would be impossible for me to select a white for you based on what you’ve told me. By the way, it sounds amazing!

      so, you have two choices. You can subscribe to the blog and you’ll have access to a guide that spells out how to select paint colors, or you can hire me to help you. It’s $90 for one room or area and $60 for every room/area thereafter.

  • Rebecca Page – May 13, 2015 – 8:28 PM

    Please recommend a couple great BM whites for walls with Linen White ceiling and trim.

    • Laurel BernMay 14, 2015 – 9:44 PM

      Hi Rebecca, It really depends on the lighting. If you are in need of a paint consult, please contact me via the contact form.

  • Dan – May 13, 2015 – 10:45 AM

    Hi, just found your amazing site! I was going for a very modern all-white living room look. What are your thoughts on semi-gloss walls and high gloss trim? Please note that our living room has very little sunlight. Thanks!

  • kim – May 13, 2015 – 5:40 AM

    Hi, just found your website. Amazing. I have a dark room to paint with very little light. Is there a colour you would recommend to warm up this room but that still enhances the small amount of light in it? I was thinking of an eau de nil on the wooden book cases from craig and rose paint distributors. Unsure though!!

    • Laurel BernMay 14, 2015 – 9:27 PM

      Hi Kim,
      I’m sorry, but I am not familiar with that paint company. I did just look it up, however, and I think it might be a very good color for a north facing and/or room with low light. Warm undertones are always a good thing. If you subscribe to the blog, you’ll get a guide on how to select paint colors.

  • leslie – May 12, 2015 – 3:44 PM

    hi, I have painted my walls cotton balls, what would be the best color for trim?

    • Laurel BernMay 12, 2015 – 5:14 PM

      Cotton Balls in semi-gloss! There, that was easy.

      • leslie – May 12, 2015 – 6:15 PM

        Thank you! I’m finding this paint color a bit “beige” but it’s very dark and gray out, so I hope it will look more “white” when it is sunny and at night with lights, Also, I guess when I get my furnitre in, it will all change. thanks for the fast reply!

        • Laurel BernMay 12, 2015 – 6:47 PM

          Hi Leslie,
          I’ve never seen cotton balls look beige, but yes, dark and gray isn’t the best time to look at anything. And of course, right now, you’re hyper-focused on the new wall color. I do that too.

          • Leslie – May 26, 2015 – 1:33 AM

            Thanks laurel, I am actually loving cotton balls now that I have furniture and correct lighting, it is beautiful with gold sconces , very warm. I’m very happy with it! I am planning to keep the whole room light, I have a shiny black piano in the room which looks smashing with this white , love your blog!

  • Christine – May 11, 2015 – 1:33 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I am just trolling your old posts and finished going through the one trend that is never going away… Gold. It was amazingly put together and demonstrated through pictures why everyone should find ways to incorporate the color or the metal into a room.

    My question for you is what is your take on exposed brick? Years ago it was a trend to see all the exposed brick one could uncover. But after living on (ummm, I mean visiting) your site, many of the demonstrative pictures don’t show a lot of brick. So what is your take? Is it still a trend to expose brick in its most natural state or do you (as a designer) like to see it painted over?


    • Laurel BernMay 11, 2015 – 10:01 PM

      Hi Christine,

      I usually think of exposed brick as a more urban contemporary thing. My apartment in NYC had exposed brick. But that was another lifetime ago.

      If your home has a brick fireplace surround, that is a different matter. It really depends, but usually, I’m not that crazy about it. You can cover it with sheetrock if you prefer to not see it. I’m talking about around the mantel, not by the firebox. You’re required to have 8″ of fireproof material around the firebox.

      I’m a paint girl though. I guess I think almost everything looks better painted, but again, there are always exceptions and I also like mixing both wood and painted pieces.

  • Alexis Akleh-Soof – May 8, 2015 – 12:46 PM

    Thanks for this great post on white–my favorite color 🙂
    Do you have a go to paint sheen for trim and ceilings & walls with shiplap?

    • Laurel BernMay 10, 2015 – 4:25 PM

      Well, the ceiling and shiplap should be matte or flat. However, If there’s crown moulding, baseboards, window and door casings, etc. those can be painted in semi-gloss or satin. We did that in the sunroom in my portfolio (the one with the white sofas and teal pillows) that has shiplap on one wall. Actually, that’s the exterior of the original home as the sunroom is the porch, enclosed. There’s a coffered ceiling too.

  • Nancy – April 29, 2015 – 4:04 PM

    Hi Laurel!
    Perfect timing finding this article. In the midst of a remodel on our “loaded with natural light” view home in Phoenix (HOT!). Have chosen large square medium gray floor tile (the look of cement) for our mid-century home. The baseboard will be made from the tile with a brushed nickel Schluter trim. Tried many shades of grey on our walls and nothing worked with the tile. Am going to try some of the beautiful shades of white you wrote about but wondered if you might narrow it down to a few? We have lots of Danish Modern teak furniture and LOTS of light to go with our gray “Cement” floors. I think the lack of a contrasting baseboard or other trim is tripping me up.
    Thanks so much!

  • Lauri – April 26, 2015 – 3:28 AM

    Thank you Laurel! Your advice has helped me turn a dark rent house into a retreat. The living room is north facing. My final selection is BM Antique Yellow on the walls to balance the heavy amount of honey colored built in cabinetry. The trim and ceiling are BM Cotton Balls, based on your advice on this page. I tested many paint colors, including your pick BM Hawthorne Yellow. I wasn’t able to use it in the room because the sample swatch I painted (floor to ceiling) proved to be too much of a clash with the beige toned floor tile, but the color was everything you promised, and more. I can’t get over how gorgeous it looked, even in the dark. I used Hawthorne Yellow in two other rooms, along with Cotton Balls for the trim. The house feels warm and inviting, but it was downright depressing when we first saw it. Thank you for your blog. Our rent house feels like home now!

    • Laurel BernApril 26, 2015 – 10:09 AM

      Hi Lauri,

      Wow! You just made my day! I’m so glad you found the advice helpful. Incidentally, I’m not sure if I made it clear, but I didn’t select Hawthorne Yellow. The apartment was already this color and I didn’t see any need to change it.

  • Kimberly Kolar – April 24, 2015 – 11:23 AM

    I am trying to paint my new home in shades of whites and creams ! What would you suggest, Behr paints or Valspar? My spouse is struggling with the idea so I need to make this a show stopper.

    • Laurel BernApril 25, 2015 – 2:31 AM

      Hi Kimberly,
      While I know of those brands of paints, I don’t work with them. They aren’t prevalent here in NY and Benjamin Moore is. It’s wonderful paint and comes in a zillion shades. Good luck with the spouse!

  • Christine – April 20, 2015 – 8:14 AM

    Hey Laurel,

    I noticed you mentioned having walls and trim painted the same color but in different finishes in your previous home for 22 years. What a feat! On that topic, how does a person outside of the industry stay on trend for 10-20-30 years? Especially if one is making a choice to go all white? Is it possible? I know folks talk about classic pieces they have forever but what happens if your style is evolving? Can your white walls carry you through those changes?

    • Laurel BernApril 20, 2015 – 10:56 AM

      Hi Christine,

      For me, it wasn’t a feat. But these are great questions you are asking and I think a lot of people want to know the answers you seek. Therefore, I will address this in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!

  • Christine – April 19, 2015 – 12:48 PM

    Hi again! Thank you for responding. I am having a bit of a fangirl moment. Yes I am leaning towards a creamy but bright white that will work well with natural light I receive as well as with lamplight. You are so wonderful to help us make choosing a white pretty simple by giving us those colors that you find easiest to work with in your profession. I visited a friend of mine who redid her brownstone in Brooklyn Heights and when I asked her about what color white she used she said her decorator mixed colors. It was all very state secretive and quite a bit silly because I felt if she damaged her walls and had to touch up what the heck will she do? Thanks again.


    • Laurel BernApril 19, 2015 – 4:54 PM

      Hi Christine,

      Oh geeeeezzz… I mean, even the client that was PAYING for this info couldn’t get the formula? But even so, it’ll never come out the same again. In fact, it’s likely that even a standard wall color won’t be the same which is why they recommend that the paint for one room gets mixed at the same time.

      However, if she needed to paint one wall and the color was ever so slightly off, it most likely would not show because the color would be different on the other wall anyway. I have seen the same color on two adjacent walls that looked like two very different colors or that someone made a mistake! How freaky is that?

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

  • M. PenroseApril 19, 2015 – 6:02 AM

    Great info. I’m painting a rather dark bedroom with West-southwest windows Swiss Coffee (walls.) Hoping to figure out a subtle, similarly hued trim.

    • Laurel BernApril 19, 2015 – 4:56 PM

      Hi M, It is absolutely fine to paint the trim the same color as the walls but in semi-gloss. It’s a very rich look. I had it in my old home for 22 years and never tired of it.

  • Wendy KillianApril 18, 2015 – 9:54 AM

    White paint color for a north and south facing living room with high vaulted ceilings? Thanks for any advice you could provide!!Reply

  • Wendy KillianApril 18, 2015 – 9:53 AM

    White paint color for a north and south facing living room with high vaulted ceilings? Thanks for any advice you could provide!!

  • Christine – April 16, 2015 – 11:12 AM

    Hi. Thank you so much. I came across your board on Pintrest and have been reading up as much as I can about you, what you do AND the color white. I have a Brownstone and I am getting ready to repaint it ALL WHITE except in the kitchen and the bathrooms. My (muddled) question is: I always hear designers and architects and stylist refer to homes with incredible “Southern” exposures. Well my house has an East/West exposure. I am torn between choosing a bright white or a bright white with a hint of creaminess to it. How does a designer/ stylist/architect view homes like mine with East-West exposures when choosing white and why don’t they talk in glowing terms of East-West exposures?

    • Laurel BernApril 17, 2015 – 1:08 AM

      Hi Christine,

      Well, if we go back to the 8th grade it has to do with the path of the sun. It rises in the south east and sets in the south west. Therefore, a southern exposure will get maximum sunlight all throughout the day.

      East means light in the morning and dark in the afternoon and vice versa. That’s not a bad thing if there are windows on two ends of the home. The worst situation is one facing north and the other south.

      I think that a warm tone in white paint is always a good thing no matter what the lighting.

  • sara – April 10, 2015 – 2:44 PM

    I just recently went through the process of picking out paint colors for my house and many of them were whites. I am doing white dove on my kitchen cabinets, fireplace, trim, all molding in the house, beams in my master bedroom vaulted seating, a built-in banquet off the kitchen, and some built-in bench seating with bookshelves over them for the hallways in the master bedroom. Porter Paint is also an amazing paint company that I had never worked with until now, but they have an amazing white called Delicate White, #PPG1001-1 in their newer fan colors that is absolutely mazing and works very well with the dove white, so we are using it on all the walls and ceiling in the common areas, great room, etc., and they pair very nicely together. Good article, but I wanted to point this paint company out to you and specifically this color because I think you will like it. Thank you!

    • Laurel BernApril 11, 2015 – 3:52 PM

      Hi Sara,

      That’s interesting, PPG is also Pittsburgh Paints, but I looked it up and it’s also Porter paints. Maybe they are the same company? In any case, Porter is not sold in NY.

      But good to know about the delicate white looking great with white dove. Thanks for the info!

      • Mary Beth Hamilton – September 15, 2015 – 4:33 PM

        Delicate White is Pittsburgh Paint- 1st one on their deck, quite a lot of yellow undertone.

  • Natalie – April 8, 2015 – 11:52 AM

    Hi Laurel–

    Do you have recommendations for a white to go on the walls in a house with exposed fir beams/ceiling and fir trim and doors. There is so much color in the wood, we’d like to use white for a more contemporary feel and to not create rooms that are dark. Stained concrete floors–earth tones like olive green, dark brown, mustard, and even some Aqua/turquoise blue in a marbled look. Pacific Northwest house, and all rooms face south (a long, passive solar house). Many thanks for any recommendations!

    • Laurel BernApril 8, 2015 – 11:59 AM

      Sounds lovely Natalie. Sounds like you are in need of a paint consultation? If so, please contact me by going to the menu item that says contact. :] There is a fee for this service (paint consultations) which begins at $90 for one room. I will also need to see photos and get other information before I would be able to give a responsible answer. best, Laurel

  • Jen – April 3, 2015 – 8:23 PM

    I have an old house with a lot of dark tril and hardwood floors. I just painted using Monroe bisque and it looks Amber yellow and terrible with the trim. I would like to lighten up the space with a nice soft white. Any suggestions ? The old color was bone white. Which looks dingy now and horrible.

    • Laurel BernApril 3, 2015 – 8:43 PM

      Hi Jen,
      If you are in need of individual advice, I do give paint consults which begin at $60 for a quick question like your trim, 90 for an entire room and 60 for every room, thereafter. If it’s free advice you’re seeking, then this post contains every white or off-white trim I’ve ever used in the past 25 years. (from Benjamin Moore) best ~ Laurel

  • Patty Bruni – March 26, 2015 – 9:46 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Thank you for posting this information on whites. I love white! I presently am trying to pick a white for a north facing guest bedroom, and BM Marscapone seems to look best there. However, my design dilemma is that the connecting bathroom has white floor tile and a white countertop, and Marscapone is looking creamier. What should I do?

    • Laurel BernMarch 26, 2015 – 9:54 PM

      I would paint the bathroom a different color. Either a different white or a different color altogether. If your room is white on white then that’ll look great, if you have an accent color in the room, you could also pick out that color or something in that family for the bathroom walls. It depends also on the feeling that you want in the bathroom and the style of the rest of the furnishings. But the bathroom, although connected is still a separate space.

  • Paula – March 21, 2015 – 10:35 PM

    I love your blog. I am painting the walls of my sun filled apartment Linen White because I m looking for a warm neutral. Now I need to choose a color for a built-in and then the doors and trim. Should I do a 50/50 Decorators White/Linen as you suggest or a Dove White?

    Lastly, I have a windowless bathroom whose shower and vanity white with marble top. The floor is a very light slate. I would love to do warm, light gray. Do you have any suggestions? Pearl Gray?


    • Laurel BernMarch 21, 2015 – 10:48 PM

      Hi Paula,

      Thank you so much! There are too many variables for me to give you an educated answer for all of that. If you’re interested in a paint consultation, please write me through the contact form to discuss. best, Laurel

  • Kathy – March 11, 2015 – 2:12 PM

    What a great collection of photos showing beautiful, airy white rooms! I used BM Snowfall White for my doors and trim work with BM Revere Pewter, Chelsea Grey, Grey Horse, Thousand Island, Silver Fox, Pashmina and Barely Beige walls. It is a versatile white. I also love BM Deep in Thought which I used on my kitchen cabinets! Love Benjamin Moore colours!

  • Laurel BernMarch 2, 2015 – 4:24 PM

    Thanks Lynn!

    yes, semi-gloss for trim looks best. But I don’t give individual advice for paint colors because it’s not fair to my clients who pay for that service. If you need a consult, please contact me directly.

  • Adriana – February 28, 2015 – 4:54 PM

    Hi!! This post is genius! I am currently ripping my hair out looking for the perfect white and I find this!! What are your thoughts on decorators white for all trim and dove wing on the walls? We are doing a lot of trim work. in a satin finish. Do we go matte on the walls? Advice?

    • Lynn – March 2, 2015 – 4:16 PM

      Adrianna, I had to jump in before you buy satin for trim, you should use a semi gloss for trim and woodwork per Laurel s advice….matte on the walls, its still washable. You will be much happier with Ben Moore’s semi gloss for trim…its a dream paint. I just finished my kitchen in it.

  • Tina – February 24, 2015 – 6:23 PM

    I took your advice and used 925 IVORY WHITE in my windowless bathroom and….it has a lot of yellow in it. I like it better than the ugly baby blue it once was, but I didn’t expect that yellow. We switched out to higher watt bulbs, so the brighter it is, the less yellow you see.

    • Laurel BernFebruary 24, 2015 – 9:13 PM

      Hi Tina, I always recommend testing by putting up large movable samples of the color and looking at them at all different times of the day and night and on all of the walls high and low.

  • dpw – February 24, 2015 – 10:05 AM

    Our home is loaded with cedar:1st floor is cedar logs milled flat, most trim is white cedar and LR/foyer has cathedral ceiling with cedar tounge & groove. All inside walls are sheetrock and currently white.
    We are about to repaint walls & ceilings and my wife suggested BM Atrium White for walls. Then I found your article on whites.

    I’m concerned because I don’t think Atrium is going to go well with the cedar. And the inside walls are subject to different lighting. Floor plan is very open and we have a lot of glass in both the DR/Kitchen (2 full sliders + 3 full stationary windows) with primarily western light exposure. LR/foyer has 5 full sliders, 2 full stationary windows, large 2nd floor windows and skylights. This area gets some morning sun but most light is then from north & west.

    Would you recommend different whites for these two distinct areas?

    Thank You. I’m very glad I found your article.

  • leticia – February 18, 2015 – 6:39 PM

    please recomend me a simple combination of whites for wall and trim just so that it looks very clean

  • Andrea Sheehan – February 14, 2015 – 12:59 AM

    While brilliant white might exist, my designer friend worked with Vicente and says his go to was Super White as you deduced!

    : )

  • Joanna – February 13, 2015 – 2:12 PM

    YOu are amazing and I just linked to your Secret to Getting it Right the First Time article. Question: the living room in Buckland Blue is fabulous. For a room with windows facing east and south (pretty bright), would white dove trim with Buckland blue be bad? Not able to change trim to Cotton Balls (DH insistent that I not). Thanks!

  • Carolyn Bailey – February 13, 2015 – 10:32 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I painted the exterior and trim of my house White Dove. I painted the shutters a SW color-Attitude Grey. I am not happy with the shutter color-it is a more ‘cool’ color, whereas the White Dove is a more warm color. Do you have a color you would recommend for my shutter color?

    Thank you very much!!

  • nh_ets – February 10, 2015 – 3:49 PM

    Super helpful list! What might you pair as trim in a bath where the walls are BM Gray Wisp. White tub and toilet. Vanity will be same trim color. Corian top is slightly off white (hint of tan/gray in it).

    We had Oyster trim in there because we used in another bath (perfect!) but in here the pink comes through more for some reason.

  • LA – February 3, 2015 – 12:05 PM

    Help, Laurel! I’m hoping you can give me a teensy bit more of your amazing advice on the “right white” for my new construction home. I live in Colorado, where we have many sunny days, however, my family room, kitchen and dining nook are all north facing. The home was painted in what I thought would be a lovely greige, but it is way too dark, despite the decent amount of light we get here. I had BM Edgecomb Gray HC-173 throughout my old home, which i loved. But, sadly, the new color does not even come close.) I should also mention that we have many large windows in the home, on all sides. Because we lack the southern light in the rooms we use most, I am now considering an all-white re-painting of these rooms to brighten things up. Additionally using the same color in the entry, staircase and upstairs loft/landing area (which gets a bit of southern and eastern light from three smaller windows in our foyer.) All things considered, I am now scared that my home will look cold or drab if I choose the wrong white. I am not a lover of yellow-undertone whites. I am much more drawn to what I consider to be “cleaner whites”, with blue or grey undertones. But you say this is a no-no for north-facing rooms. Having read (and re-read) your post, I am now considering Cotton Balls, Cloud White or the Deco/Linen White 50/50 mix. Do these sound like safe choices???

  • Nicki – February 3, 2015 – 11:18 AM

    I am so glad I found this article. My husband and I are building a house and have been agonizing over which BM shades of white to use. We have it narrowed down but I still had concerns. The warm whites you mentioned are the ones we have been considering. I feel so much more confident about purchasing the paint now. Thank you for writing this!

  • Lynn – January 30, 2015 – 8:27 PM

    Hello Dear, I’m in a bit of a pickle. I read all your suggestions on whites. I have an 1850’s farmhouse and recently retired from the Army so the remodel is in it’s height. I just painted all the woodwork in my kitchen BM Gamboge from the Williamsburg collection. A lot of woodwork. I’ve spent a small fortune getting the wrong colors to go with it. So I just purchased 4 samples of BM whites per your suggestions…ivory white, Lilly of the valley, cloud white and cotton balls. I then painted 4 squares on the wall and still I stare like a deer in the headlights. I’m not sure if this is a PayPal question, I only need one word Dear and I break out the roller. V/R Lynn E

    • Laurel BernJanuary 30, 2015 – 11:14 PM

      Hi Lynn,

      Try reading this post about how to choose a paint color.


      • Lynn – January 31, 2015 – 12:24 PM

        Thank you Laurel for your quick reply. I woke up to your advice, literally. Although my kitchen is in the north corner I have many widows, large windows, old school windows. Ironically the room next to my kitchen I did in a colonial blue with a ever so slightly cream on the trim which looks a lot like the photos in the post. I wanted my kitchen warm and period, old but not ancient. You know what I’m saying. If I would have been smart, besides reading your great advice, I would have done the walls in the gamboge and left the cream on the woodwork, but sometimes the brain shuts down, and goes into “I got this mode” well I threw up a dark spicy color, long story short, a total no go! Hence the throw up. Well its come down to lily if the valley witch may be a little too much or cotton balls which might not be enough. But none the less there’s always Cloud, which is a hazy call, in a good way. V/R

  • kim – January 26, 2015 – 7:56 PM

    Oh, how I wish I’d read the above before mistakenly going with China White.
    2 brush strokes and i was done. I’m on to White Dove. I love white!

  • Melanie O’Connor – January 26, 2015 – 10:40 AM

    Hi! I came across your blog as I am desperately trying to choose a soft warm color at 38 weeks pregnant to paint a dark north facing room where I will need to spend all my time with the kiddos. I tend to like cool colors, but I know this house really needs warmer colors. So wee decide to use Swiss coffee for ceilings and trim as opposed to ultra white like in our other house. My husband is hesitant to paint a white, but I would like to go with a neutral to keep it light and airy and happy. Do you have some coke suggestions that mught be close to white, so he feels like he got a color and I got a soft creamy white washe feel? I have valspar balance up as a sample now, but in morning and late lights it looks a bit “yolky” although not yellow in mid day. We also threw up bm tranquility and realized too too cool for this room. I’d like to leave the room open to match white or warm grey kitchen cabinets as we haven’t decided what color we want yet, adjacent room)

  • Coco – January 17, 2015 – 7:23 PM

    Great post! Just to let you know I emailed Charles Spada to ask him which white he used in that picture and he responded Cloud White. He said it’s his go to white for walls. He said he used to mix colors together, but finally relented that Cloud White is perfection without having to think about it.

  • Mar – January 16, 2015 – 10:02 PM

    Hi Laurel. We want to modernize and brighten a narrow hallway leading to 4 bedrooms. Currently, the walls are dark salmon and the plain doors are dark brown (paint). For ease of application and to achieve the desired new look, we are considering all white – walls, doors and trim. But which white/s? BM Cloud White has been recommended as suitable for all. We would love to hear your suggestions.

  • Lisa Henderson – January 11, 2015 – 7:27 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I’m so sad now that I’ve read your article about picking the right whites. I don’t want the outside of my house to look like a dog peed on it! Is Spanish White a terrible choice for a Spanish house? We wanted a warm white with dark brown trim…

    If you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear them.


  • Naga – January 9, 2015 – 2:50 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    We are renovating our kitchen and want to paint our cabinets in white. We have bianco romano granite countertop, gray porcelain tile floors, and tints of gray in the backsplash. The living room adjacent to the kitchen has two shades of grey one on each wall and ceiling in white. These are the colors I picked: Benjamin moore super white semi-gloss for kitchen cabinets and wall trims; white paint from home depot for the ceilings. Please advice if this is a good combination. Can you also suggest me a shade of white for the ceiling and walls that will look good with the super white semi-gloss kitchen cabinets.

  • Bita – January 8, 2015 – 2:00 AM

    Love your site and recommendations. My house other than the foyer gets no direct sunlight and has very short ceilings. I am leaning toward 80% Balboa Mist and was wondering which white to use with it to make the house brighter and get the ceiling to look taller. I have all wood doors, windows, and casing which I am staining in Walnut. My floors are porcelain tile Crema marfil and 7″ oak plank that I need to finish onsite and will go natural. I thank you in advance.

  • LoriJanuary 7, 2015 – 1:41 AM

    Great list! I would also include BM’s Chantilly Lace, one of my top go-to whites. I actually painted my entire design studio with BM’s Atrium White; the space has huge windows on all 4 walls so plenty of light and I found the color to be the perfect shade to complement my rustic, reclaimed wood furniture. I have never tried P&L paint but will be sure to try it now. Thanks!

  • Gretchen – January 3, 2015 – 10:30 AM

    After researching online I came across your blog. Which I am loving and very informative. I am in the process of painting my walkin closet and would like to go with a white. I am having a hard time picking out the white. The trim in there is painted a very light cream color with one window and track lighting (considering changing to a chandelier) Could you give me any advice on what color of white to paint please. Thanks

  • JudyDecember 9, 2014 – 9:52 PM

    Do you give advice on colors? My kitchen walls are buttery yellow, white appliances and a faux granite countertop with black, gray, some brown and a greenish gray . I need to find a color to paint the cabinets. I’m thinking of white (or a light gray) and another color for the doors. I’m not sure what other color to bring in. Would appreciate suggestions. Thanks so much. Judy

  • Kat – December 7, 2014 – 2:11 PM

    This is exactly what I was looking for! I just bought a house that is completely covered in orangey wood trim and was feeling quite overwhelmed at the idea of having to pick a trim colour and paint the whole house (pressure!). You are an absolute savior – thank you so much for taking the time to put this list together.

    • Laurel BernDecember 8, 2014 – 11:32 PM

      Hi Kat,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! It’s especially nice because I’ve been grieving so badly the loss of my sweet kitty. Maybe he sent me a sweet “Kat.”

      • Susan – October 23, 2015 – 10:01 PM

        Hi, Laurel! I just came across this comment about your grieving the loss of your sweet kitty. Even though that was almost a year ago, I want to say how sorry I am. I know that losing these precious creatures takes a real toll on those who truly care. I do rescue work with feral cats and I have lost dozens of cats over the last eight years. Just last week I lost my special companion, Shadow; it has been a real blow. I’m still in mourning. The grief does subside with time, and memories of your kitty and mine will live on. So they still exist in our hearts and our love for them never dies. Best regards, Susan

        • Laurel BernOctober 23, 2015 – 11:12 PM

          Hi Susan,

          Actually, your comment is incredibly timely and very comforting. I just came home after being away for 8 days and felt the loss so acutely. Last year I took a similar trip and was soooooooo happy to see Peaches and I held him for far longer than most cats can tolerate. A part of me realized at the time that he was slowing down but I didn’t want to believe it. He suddenly took quite ill on Thanksgiving and kept going down hill over the next few days and was in a bad way with a dislodged blood clot and heart failure.

  • Lynnsey – November 19, 2014 – 1:14 PM

    Love your site and such great info! I just painted my bathroom Glidden-drifting snow which is a white with a slight grey undertone. The problem i have is the walls are a brighter white than the trim. I don’t know the color of the trim, and cannot change the color of the trim because it goes through the whole house. It looks very odd with the walls lighter than the trim. Any advice on a different wall color I should go with? The trim looked super white before I painted, but now they look more cream next to the white walls. Any advise would be great!

  • Paul – November 13, 2014 – 1:01 PM

    Laurel if I was going to use the BM moonlight should I use it for the walls, trim and ceilings? I figured I would so the walls in a Pearl finish, the trim in a semi-gloss but what finish for the ceilings?

  • Laurel BernNovember 10, 2014 – 6:08 PM

    Hi Anneliese. Thank you so much for clarifying that. And you are right, of course. I always wondered why they had those few colors in the back as “ext. rm.” It’s always been my understanding that any BM color could be made up in any formulation they carry.

    It’s an interesting shade of white. Brighter than plain old white, but still with a gray undertone. I can see why Vicente would like it though.

  • Anneliese – November 10, 2014 – 4:07 PM

    brilliant white does exist for Benjamin Moore. It is on the Classic Colors palette, listed as EXT. RM.

  • JOanna Thomson – October 24, 2014 – 3:39 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love your article, thank you. I need some expert advice please. You seem to know a LOT about whites! We are doing a remodel, and wish to go with an “all-white” palette on walls and trim. Existing trim is BM White Dove, and we think we will stay with this throughout the existing and new/added space, both because we love it and because it is too costly to repaint all existing woodwork. Would also like to go with White Dove Walls (will that be boring??) OR Simply White walls with the White Dove trim. I am nervous, but hoping the clean palette will be lovely…also have not seen ANY blogs/articles/images of WHite DOve trim with Simply White walls! Also in your opinion can we use Super White on ceilings or should we do WHite DOve on ceilings too? THANK YOU!!!

  • Catherine – October 10, 2014 – 11:38 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    You say a common mistake is to paint a dark, north-facing room white in an attempt to make it brighter. What do you recommend? My living room is long and narrow. One end faces south with bright light, the other end is north-facing and dark. My sofa is dark brown. I need something that makes the room feel brighter/warmer and was thinking a creamy white would do the trick. Any suggestions?



  • Mary Youngblood – October 10, 2014 – 4:27 AM

    Lauryl-Hello from Oregon 🙂 Thank you so much for this article and the one on grays! I was hoping you might have a white or cream suggestion for the exterior of our home. We chose to paint our single story 50’s house a dark gray (Behr’s dark ash). It looks great in small amounts, but now that the whole house is painted it has taken on a blue undertone. We started painting the trim white but it now the house looks even more cold and boring. I was hoping you might have a cream or off-white suggestion that would help it feel classy and elegant rather than stark and cold.

    Thank you!!

  • Laura Dougherty – September 11, 2014 – 4:05 PM

    This post has been so helpful! What are the rules on paint color for ceilings? If I with White Dove on moldings, etc. should i go darker/lighter?!?! Can’t believe I’m stressing over a ceiling!

    • Laurel BernSeptember 12, 2014 – 12:52 AM

      Hi Laura, Thanks for stopping by. Most people paint the ceiling plain old white. Except plain old white actually has a tinge of gray in it and the ceiling usually appears darker than the walls, anyway. Henceforth a dingy ceiling. White dove is a good choice, or you can mix it up ever so slightly and do White Cloud 967 or 2143-70 Simply White both good choices.

  • Brooke – August 12, 2014 – 9:23 PM

    Got it. I’ll get my thoughts organized. Thanks, Brooke

  • Brooke – August 12, 2014 – 1:32 PM

    Hi Laurel, me again. I am in trouble! I have committed a major no no and it’s taken four years for me to realize what I have done. I have been trying to get gray and white into a house with off white cabinets that I can’t paint. I want to but they are new and the finish will never be as nice if I mess with them. The trim paint was matched to the cabinets and they missed and it is eggshell which I detest.

    I have tested colors trying to determine what my cabinet color might be in Ben and it’s very close to Grand Teton White. So I would like to paint the trim again in semi gloss and it could be Grand Teton or a bit lighter. Then I need to paint the walls an off white or cream but it can’t be as light as Simply White or White Dove, in my house they look white white and my family calls this “drywall” grrrr. I was considering Acadia but I am worried it will be yellow.

    I am so glad I came back to this site because I had China White, Bone, Antique White and Navajo on my list for wall colors! Yikes. I am so much more comfy picking whites or grays than off white/cream.

    Any trim and wall color suggestions? And which line of Ben do you use for trim?

    Thank you so much! xo

    • Laurel BernAugust 12, 2014 – 5:57 PM

      Hi Brooke,
      I will be more than happy to help you, however, I have recently added a payment gateway at the bottom of my sidebar.
      It’s very easy and only $40 per question. I’m working on a more complete schedule of services that one can pay for in this way, but
      for now, this will do. Thank you so much! Laurel

  • Bryan – July 28, 2014 – 12:15 AM

    Now that I see linen white it looks too yellow. What do you think about decorators white for all walls and ceiling and door… Too stark? Tile has some brown and fixtures are going to be a light gold… Is there another white you would recommend to keep that clean airy bathroom feel?

  • Bryan – July 27, 2014 – 11:42 PM

    Hi laurel, We are finishing up a small bath with calcatta/Carrara tiling shower, and French gold fixtures. We want a very clean white look. We have 3 small walls, a door, and ceiling…was thinking linen white since you mentioned gold tones but was wondering if we should paint the door and ceiling a different white for a little contrast…any advice?

  • Maryann Goschka – July 20, 2014 – 10:46 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for your speedy response. Yes, you are correct about my appliances being white. I will have to look into those shades of white and what looks right in my room. I like a little of the cream look. I just don’t want it to look yellowed in contrast to my appliances. I enjoy reading your comments-entertaining and informative!

  • Maryann Goschka – July 16, 2014 – 12:32 PM

    I am finding the whites to be very confusing! The walls in my kitchen were just painted SW Restrained Gold. I was told by an interior redesigner to paint my cabinets SW Fragile Beauty, but when I painted a board and put it by my appliances, I thought iit looked too creamy! What should I do? I need a soft white to not clash with my appliances and yet a color that compliments my walls. Any thoughts?

    • Laurel BernJuly 16, 2014 – 2:17 PM

      Hi Maryann,

      I am gathering that your appliances are white. I don’t know what color your walls are. I am not as familiar with the SW colors. White Dove, Simply White and Cotton Balls by Benjamin Moore are all great choices. White appliances can look very cold. It is okay to choose a creamier color for the trim. Best of luck! ~ Laurel

  • Erin – July 2, 2014 – 8:04 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I love this page! The photos are so amazing! But I am having such a hard time choosing whites. I would like to use SIMPLY WHITE on the trim, but my mom says I need to choose a different color for the doors. First, is this true? Second, how do you choose complementing whites? I thought maybe SUPER WHITE but I am nervous that it will look too stark.

    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Laurel BernJuly 2, 2014 – 9:21 AM

      Hi Erin! Thank you so much! No, I have never heard of painting the door a different color. Anything that is wood such as window and door casings, mantels, mouldings and doors should be one color. As for the walls, it is a completely valid design choice to use ONE color. I did in my old living room and lived with it for 16 years and absolutely loved it, however, I also had beautiful crown moulding and paneled wainscoting. What did I use? I used Pratt and Lambert – Ancestral. It’s a very, very pretty off-white, somewhere between cream and white, but very soft. You can see it in the portfolio image with the cat [my beautiful Peaches] on the glass and wrought iron coffee table. If you choose to paint it one color, please use semi-gloss for the trim areas and matte for the walls. The contrast in finishes in one color is a beautiful, simple, elegant look. Hope that helped! Let me know how it goes! ~ Laurel

  • Linda – June 30, 2014 – 8:56 PM

    Thank you Laurel. That bathroom looks breathtaking!!…I wish they could label all the paint color used.

    Hi Brooke, please check out We choose 5141 frosty carrina. It would be more perfect if it has just a bit more of grey.

    Thanks again. Had no idea choosing paint color can be so stressful. Gonna go through your blog for more great ideas!!

  • Laurel BernJune 30, 2014 – 4:52 PM

    Hi Brooke and Linda. That is very interesting about the Ben Intense White. What you’re doing sounds gorgeous, Linda! I love this pale, pale gray color. BM Paper White 1590. very lovely and would look great for that tone on tone different whites and pale gray look. We did it for some custom book cases where the backs were a reddish orange. Here is the post so you can see.

    The client had already painted the walls and trim and they were Sherwin Williams I think. But a very soft warm gray with lavender undertones for the walls and probably something close to white dove for the trim. BTW, a BM color like that is Abalone 2108-60. gorgeous!

    If you want a bit more color, these grays are all also very nice. [it says for bathrooms, but these are all great for kitchens too!]

    All the best! x, Laurel

  • Brooke – June 30, 2014 – 4:29 PM

    I have a new favorite white! My husband didn’t want pure white walls and white trim so I tried Ben Intense White. It is a perfect neutral, no green, blue, pink or yellow. It has a gray undertone but still looks white. There is a nice contrast with white dove or simply white because I have both on trim in different areas.

    Linda, does which white cesarstone do you have? That is next for us. We are going to do white subway because it is so classic although I am tempted by the hint of gray or blue shiny subway tiles.

    I had gray owl in my family room and it went very blue in my house. Revere pewter went beige. So, you really have to test.

  • Linda – June 30, 2014 – 4:20 PM

    Hello Laurel,

    Thank you so much for the quick response. We have dark wood floor. White cesarntone counter top. And I am thinking about either white subway tiles or something that has a hint of grey as backsplash. For the family room right next to it, I am deciding between beige or light grey sectional. Thats all i have for now, everything else is still up in the air as there are just too many things going on with renovation!!!!!!!

    Thank you again!

  • Laurel BernJune 30, 2014 – 1:36 PM

    Hi Linda,

    Good question! It’s a bit tough to advise on that without knowing the other elements in the room such as back splash, counter and floor, as well as what is going on in the adjacent room(s). x, Laurel

  • Linda – June 30, 2014 – 1:23 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I am doing a kitchen Reno and choose white dove for the cabinet. What other white would go perfectly with white dove as I am struggling with the wall color.

    Thank you so much!


  • Laurel BernJune 9, 2014 – 10:01 PM

    For the kitchen [that’s taking forever to be finished] that I’m always talking about? Those are white dove and it’s gorgeous! I haven’t used snowfall white, but it’s only available in gallons because of the recipe. They have it all calibrated and sometimes it’s not possible to make it in a quart for some colors. Most grays have some other color that pops out and the most common one is blue. I have shoreline 1471 in my bathroom and it’s pretty true. I like it a lot– very pretty. I’ve also heard that stonington gray hc-170 tinted at 50% is a true light gray.

    I did once paint the doors and the base moulding black in a family room. It was really cool. I don’t remember what we used though. It might’ve been a Farrow and Ball color.

  • Brooke – June 9, 2014 – 9:37 PM


    Now I am searching your blog for the color you used on your white cabinets and walls! Care to say?

    I have white dove in my hoard, I’ll try it. I’m also going to try Snowfall white, have you tried it? Have you painted any doors black? That is on my list. My gray owl walls are going blue so it’s all going white and black !

  • Brooke – June 9, 2014 – 8:38 PM

    Oops, spelled my name wrong, it’s Brooke

  • Broke – June 9, 2014 – 8:36 PM

    You are amazing! I have scoured so many blogs, Pinterest, images for hours etc looking for the information you provided. I think I have a new thing, overuse of ipad while searching for white paint shoulder injury!Thank you so much.

    I have simply white, moonlight and super white samples on my south facing walls and I need something in between simply and super. Super is too white and simply goes too warm at night. Moonlight is even warmer than Simply but lovely. Do you have a suggestion for my next test pot?

    Love what you said about some of the whites. Thank you for being so honest, really helps!

    • Laurel BernJune 9, 2014 – 9:26 PM

      Hi Brooke! Thank you for making my day! Based on what you said, maybe try decorator’s white? Also, maybe get a sample of white dove. best, Laurel

  • Architect and Interior DesignersMarch 31, 2014 – 4:21 AM

    Great sample of interior designs I really like it !

    • Lisa Jones – May 26, 2015 – 10:28 AM

      When I first moved away from home I was so proud of my little apartment. I made my own furniture arrangement, putting a spiral planter in the corner and the couch in front of it to hide a stain from a broken pipe, but was especiall proud of the warm, inviting light given off from the hideous lamp hidden on the bottom step. Then I settled in to admire my tastefully artful arrangement and found one hilarious flaw: The room was five shades of white. Not each wall a different shade, but big, uneven patches. It was like five people with leftover paint cans were working at the same time. What could I say? It was a starter apartment.


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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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