HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT WHITE PAINT COLOR
It’s time to get your tighty-whities on because TODAY, you’ll learn to pick the BEST white for your cabinets or walls! But, before we get into the nitty-gritty, let me save you a LOT of time, energy, and sanity by saying this…
If you already have something painted white in your room, i.e., trim or cabinets, and are NOT repainting it, I would HIGHLY SUGGEST that you paint, whatever it is you want to paint, the exact same color.
Mixing and matching whites is RISKY business as one white can EASILY make another look dirty/warm/cool/etc… Therefore, if you already have a white surface in your room that you don’t plan on repainting, it’s best to stick with it. However, if you don’t know the color name of your white, take a cabinet door/piece of trim to the paint store and have them color-match it for you.
If the white you currently have on trim/cabinets/whatev’s doesn’t actually SUIT the room, you need to be prepared to paint it a new, more suitable white to match your other finishes. If you don’t have a solid paint foundation, you won’t get where you need to go.
Now, moving along to the guts n’ glory of this blog post…
STEP 1 FIND THE WHITE THAT’S ALREADY IN YOUR ROOM
If you’re painting your existing home, chances are, there’s already a surface in your room with white on or in it. In this case, this white is your GUIDING WHITE, and you don’t want to stray off its path. For example, if your countertop has a warm white, you’ll want to choose a warm white paint color – not a true or cool one.
Where might you find an existing white?
- TRIM (the number one shot caller)
- STONE OR BRICK
- FABRICS (ones that you’ll have in your home for a loooong time)
In this next photo, you can see how the original warm white of the cabinets is TOO warm for the cool tones of the marble backsplash and countertop – the backsplash should’ve called the shots. The taped-up sample shows a MUCH better partnership. Because the countertop and backsplash are permanent surfaces, the white paint color needs to be chosen to coordinate with them.
BTW, if you want white walls and already have white trim or cabinets (that you aren’t repainting), your VERY best bet is to do the same white on the walls.
Again, mixing and matching isn’t for the faint of heart.
If you’re building or designing a room from scratch and haven’t CHOSEN any finishes yet, you need to decide the TYPE OF WHITE you want and then let your decorative choices work off of that.
STEP 2 FIGURE OUT THE TYPE OF WHITE YOU HAVE
There are five types of white. Figuring out which TYPE of white you have, or want to have, is the next step.
THE 5 TYPES OF WHITES IN PAINT COLORS & FINISHES
Regarding the 5 types, this doesn’t just refer to paint colors; it’s also a guideline for the types of whites you may (or may not) have in your finishes. I go into much more detail in this blog post, but the info below will get you started…
1. WARM WHITES
Warm whites aren’t stark and clean; they look softer and often have slightly lower LRVs. Two examples of popular warm white paint colors are Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee and Sherwin Williams Alabaster (these are both warm soft whites).
This next countertop might look pretty darn ‘white,’ but it’s a soft, warm white that’s in love with its Benjamin Moore White Dove walls.
The 3 Best Warm White Paint Colours from Benjamin Moore
2. COOL WHITES
Cool whites aren’t used as often as they aren’t flexible or foolproof. You’ll find that most cool whites look fresh and a bit ‘icy.’ And remember, if you want to learn MORE about the 5 types of white, read THIS. Benjamin Moore Decorators White is a popular cool white (cool soft white).
Decorator’s White is on the bottom
The most common cool white is the white of appliances.
3. TRUE WHITES
True whites are pretty…darn…white, sitting at the top of the LRV range (approx 93, give or take). These whites can be a bit stark, so use them wisely and rarely with overly warm cream/yellow colors. The most commonly used true white is Sherwin Williams High Reflective White and Behr Ultra Pure White. True whites are often found on white subway tile backsplashes, but even then, some of those can be a wink warm!
One of my FAVE client bathrooms, with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on the walls, chosen for the COUNTERTOP
Countertops often contain warm whites vs. true or cold ones. Tiles often hold true or warm whites and are more rarely cool. Whites found in stone and brick can vary from warm to cool to true!
The 5 WHITEST White Paint Colours
4. BRIGHT WHITE
Bright white paint colors hover around the 88-90 range and include colors like Benjamin Moore Simply White and Chantilly Lace.
When it comes to bright whites, you can have WARM bright whites and COOL bright whites. (although there are fewer of the latter.) That’s right, a combination of TWO of the five types of white!
5. SOFT WHITE PAINT COLORS
Soft white paint colors have more moderate LRVs, averaging around 85, give or take. Again, the full blog post hits all the details. Soft white paint colors include the most popular whites like Sherwin Williams Pure White and Benjamin Moore White Dove.
Soft white paint colors can be soft and WARM or soft and COOL, combining two of the five types. Warm soft whites are OFTEN found in interior finishes such as countertops and tiles.
Benjamin Moore’s 8 Best White Paint Colours
Sherwin Williams 4 Best White Paint Colours
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Now that you know the basics of the 5 types of white, let’s chat about where to look for them.
ARE YOU STARTING FROM SCRATCH (BUILDING OR RENOVATING)?
When designing a room from the ground up, you’ll either want to choose a main finish and see what type of white it has in it – this will be your GUIDING WHITE and the one you’ll use on trims, walls, cabinets, etc…
The countertop is the BEST finish to start with if you haven’t chosen anything yet. After that comes backsplash, floor tile, wood floor, etc…
Alternatively, you can decide which TYPE OF WHITE you want in your home (SOFT WARM whites being the most popular), narrow down your options to one favorite, and then choose finishes to coordinate with your white.
ARE YOU WORKING WITH AN EXISTING SPACE?
If you already have an existing finish, see if it has white in it. If it does, your home has picked your white for you! This white can be in a countertop, tile, stone, brick, or fabric.
Choose the white that suits the home you have, not the home you wish you had.
In other words, if the white that best suits your home is warmer than you like, you should really listen to your home. If you go with your personal tastes over the needs of your home, it ain’t gonna look good.
On the other hand, if your room doesn’t have a single finish with white in it, you can either…
a) Take cues from the white trim/needs of the adjoining rooms; this way, there’s flow from one space to another. Only change whites from one room to another if you absolutely HAVE to. It’s best if all of your whites match.
b) Tune into the needs of any surfaces that don’t have white in them but might have warm tones (look at warm whites) or cool tones (check out true whites, subtle warm whites, or maaaybe a cool one*).
*The reason why I hesitate with cool whites is that they aren’t flexible in the long term, as they only suit cool colors. In this case, it’s best to go with a true white or a slightly warm one.
NOT SURE WHAT YOU’VE GOT? COMPARE COMPARE COMPARE!
You might be thinking, ‘Hey, crazy pants; all whites look white to me!’ If you aren’t sure which type of white you’re working with, the BEST way to figure it out is by COMPARING IT TO A TRUE WHITE as well as other, similar whites.
Comparison is one of the BEST ways to see the undertones/temperature of a white paint color.
By placing real white against your white, it should be easier to see which type of white you’re working with and ensure you’re on the right path.
- If you’re looking at Benjamin Moore’s whites, compare them to Chantilly Lace, as well as a few other whites.
- If you’re checking out Sherwin William’s whites, compare them to High Reflective White, as well as a few other whites.
However, if you’re looking at other brands, you can still use these two whites (or find out which white is the BRIGHTEST, truest white in your chosen brand).
Comparing this countertop to a real white (such as the hanging towel), we see that it’s slightly soft and warm.
THOSE TRICKY OFF-WHITE PAINT COLOURS
Off-whites might fool you into thinking they’re whites, but they have more softness and depth. These off-whites are usually on the warm side but are occasionally a super light gray/cool colour. Sherwin Williams Alabaster is CLOSE to being an off-white with its low LRV of 82. Sherwin Williams Creamy, with its LRV of 81, takes baby steps into the OFF-WHITE range and won’t be as bright as traditional whites. Once you hit the likes of Maritime White, Aesthetic White, and Maritime White – you’re nowhere near the white world anymore.
Not sure what LRV is? It will BLOW your paint-lovin’ mind; read all about it HERE!
In this next photo, you’ll see a beige bathroom tile. If you put a stark white or cool white with this, it wouldn’t work. However, this photo is here for ANOTHER reason…
If you wanted to paint the WALLS in the above room a white paint colour, it wouldn’t work as the tile can’t support white walls (not enough dominant white in the tile) – they would come off too stark and disconnected. HOWEVER, there’s more flexibility given when you’re painting ONLY trim. Whereas a bathroom like the one above won’t suit white walls (it prefers off-white), there’s forgiveness given when it comes to trim as trim is often EXPECTED to be white. From there, it’s just choosing the best white to suit the finishes in the room (in this case, a true white or subtle warm white).
The 5 Best Off-White Paint Colours
Sherwin Williams Designer Edition NEW White Paint Colours
STEP 3 PICK YOUR WHITE PAINT COLOUR
You should now be able to go to the paint store knowing which type of white you’re looking for. Personally, I’m a pinot gris fan myself, but I’ll settle for a nice chardonnay.
I’LL BE INCLUDING A TON OF LINKS TO THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLOURS AT THE END OF THIS BLOG POST – BUT KEEP READING FOR NOW!
Remember, a VERY COMMON place to find an EXISTING white is on trims that are already painted. As mentioned earlier, if you already have an existing white surface that you DON’T want to paint, I would suggest using this SAME white on your soon-to-be painted surface. If you are building and have chosen white cabinets, I recommend painting the trim, ceiling and doors the SAME white.
If your existing trim/cabinets/etc… white doesn’t actually suit your room and its hard finishes (countertop, tile, etc…) I suggest NOT using it as your GUIDING WHITE, in which case you’ll pick the RIGHT WHITE and paint ALL the white surfaces this colour – NO MIX N’ MATCH WHITES!
BTW, you’ll find HELPFUL LINKS to blog posts on the BEST WHITE PAINT COLOURS shortly, but first…
Tips for picking a white paint colour when you don’t have an existing one
If you don’t have anything white in your room that you have to work with, you’ll want to look at the neutral colours in your room for guidance. Whether it’s countertop, tile or carpet, the colour of your hard surfaces will help to guide you towards the right white. The exception to this is wood flooring which is far more flexible with regard to whites.
Get a look similar to this with Sherwin Williams Network Gray and Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
IF YOUR EXISTING SURFACES ARE LIGHT OR DARK GRAY, BLUE, GREEN OR VIOLET WITH NO OBVIOUS WHITE IN THEM
While you can create an interesting and dynamic look with soft, slightly warm whites, to keep it simple you’ll want to check out clean whites or slightly cool whites.
IF YOUR EXISTING SURFACES ARE IN THE GREIGE OR EARTH-TONED FAMILIES
Take a look at warm white, soft off-whites or sometimes true whites.
Get a look similar to this with Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray and Benjamin Moore White Dove
IF YOUR HARD SURFACES ARE IN THE WARMER RANGE – BEIGE, TAN, CREAM, YELLOW, ORANGE OR RED
You’ll want to look at warm whites, sometimes true whites (situational).
If you’re still not sure which white you’re dealing with, narrow it down to the two white groupings that seem the closest and bring samples home.
MY TOP 3 WARM WHITES
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE
Pure White is one of my faves. It’s pretty darned white with only a weee fraction of warmth in it. If all else fails and I can’t figure out what the heck white I’m dealing with, this is usually my go-to.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Pure White
BENJAMIN MOORE WHITE DOVE
White Dove is a soft warm white that’s similar in depth to Pure White.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore White Dove
BENJAMIN MOORE SIMPLY WHITE
Simply White is a popular choice for a BRIGHT warm white.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Simply White
MY TOP 2 TRUE WHITES
SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE
High Reflective White is pretty darned white, not warm, not cold – just white.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams High Reflective White
BENJAMIN MOORE CHANTILLY LACE
Chantilly Lace is my FAVE true white with just the TINIEST wink of softness to it.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
MY TOP 3 COOL WHITES
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EXTRA WHITE
Extra White will absolutely act like white, but a more ‘fresh and cool’ version of it – without being an actual colour.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Extra White
BENJAMIN MOORE SUPER WHITE
Super White is also pretty damn white. It can stretch itself JUST slightly cool…but barely.
(I also like BM Oxford White for a simple, but not overly bright white look)
FULL Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Super White
BENJAMIN MOORE DECORATORS WHITE
Decorators White is another nice pretty darned white colour that nods toward cool undertones.
FULL Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Decorators White
How to Pick Paint Colours When You’re An OVERTHINKER (OR HAVE ANXIETY)
Benjamin Moore White Dove vs. Cloud White, Pure White, Chantilly Lace, & More
6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Painting Your Cabinets White
Benjamin Moore’s 3 Best Warm Whites
Sherwin Williams 4 Best White Paint Colours
The 8 Best White Paint Colours from Benjamin Moore
Not sure which white is best for YOU and YOUR home?
Check out my affordable and fun E-design and Virtual Paint Colour packages!
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2018, COMPLETELY UPDATED IN 2021
Wow, super timely post… We just had Ikea Hemnes white stain bookcases trimmed out to look built in and I’m trying to find the right white to use that won’t require me to paint the inside of the bookcases. I also need to paint a fireplace on the opposite wall with the same color. I picked two whites and painted them on a board a few hours ago and after reading this post, before even taking them to the shelves, can see they are too warm for the white stain. Back to the drawing board!
I’m in love with the counter in the 1st Kitchen picture under “Warm Whites” (Benjamin Moore Cloud White) I was wondering on your thoughts on how that would look with cloud white on the cupboards and Benjamin Moore’s Natural Linen on the walls? Or would that counter be better suited with a grey wall colour?
Hi Patricia, Natural Linen could look quite lovely, I don’t see any problem with that at all and it might be nicer than a lighter cooler gray…
Kylie, I just love your posts and have learned so much from them (can you say LRV!?). Whites are so hard and I’m wanting to paint my 2 story gambrel roof house white. Which Whites work best for exterior use? I live in sunny Florida…….
Oooo Susan, great idea for a blog post! The only thing is that I use only my own photos and I don’t have any clients exteriors in the best whites – so it would be hard for me to reference them! Mind you, sometimes just info is helpful! BTW, I would check out SW Pure White…
This is amazing. You cut right to the chase and clearly explained what was what lol Compare, compare! I always learn so much when reading your posts. It def sinks in mi cabesa lol. Excellent and so funny!! Thanks again. Not going to be uptight with white!
Lovely comment, thank you Robin! Whites can be SUCH a bugger so hopefully the bits n pieces help!
We just bought a home and wanted to repaint the trim. There are a million whites to choose. I was in a dilemma until I read your blog. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I plan to use your online help once we move into the home.
Wonderful, looking forward to it Cheryl!
Thanks, Kylie, for condensing this subject into a great resource for your readers!
Would you please share the names of a couple of your favorite SW off- whites that fall into the SUPER light gray family as mentioned above? Perhaps a grayed-white?
Ooo Shari, you know what – SW just doesn’t have great ones in the super light off-white gray – nobody does really! It seems that undertones come up so much in that range. Eider White is a popular off-white, but it can cast a touch purple. Egret White is a bit warmer/greige and same thing. The best as far as I’m concerned is SW Crushed Ice, but it’s getting closer to the ‘light’ range as it has more depth to it. Ice Cube is a lovely, cooler off-white, but again, you will likely see those cool undertones coming up a bit more than you’d like…
So, if I’m reading this correctly, there’s not a great white that is a very very small bit on the warm side that has gray undertones???? And, I have serious doubts that I’m reading this correctly…. HELP!
This is true…kind of ;). The thing is, a white like White Dove has a bit of gray to it, but the gray only acts to calm down the warmth. As soon as it’s a VISIBLE GRAY, it’s not a warm colour anymore. I know, it’s a hard one to wrap the ole noggin’ around ;).
I’m doing a color consult with you. Love reading your analysis of whites and all undertones for that matter!
Thank you for your informative articles! I know that once a white is chosen for trim, it should be used throughout the home for continuity’s sake. However, if there is a separation of rooms, can another white be used? i.e. I have a corner utility room that was recently painted SW Vital Yellow with recommended Pure White trim and cabinets. Walking out of that room is my mudroom which has stained wood trim, and into the open area kitchen and family room–all trim and cabinets are stained. The hallway leading to the bedrooms and the bedrooms themselves have painted trim and doors in need of freshening up. The bedroom bath areas have stained cabinets and painted trim. However, I feel that Pure White is not warm enough to compliment all my stained woodwork–I sometimes see a hint of blue in the trim and cabinets in my utility room, and don’t want to see that in the rest of my home. I’m considering SW Alabaster for all remaining trim and doors in these areas. Would that be acceptable? Or do I need to stick with Pure White for the whole house?
Thanks for this post! I think SW Pure White is the best match for my kitchen countertops. If I use Pure White for cabinets and trim, can I use Alabaster on the walls?
I’m helping out with a Church/community children’s area . There are north facing windows only. The prep/activity areas tops are White with some grey bits, not sure of material but easy to clean, may be quartz.. Warmer white would be so nice for the north room but now I see it might clash with the white tops. (thanks to you Kylie!). I think I’m going to suggest pure white now because this sure is a difficulty I have no idea what to do with, and I think you said pure white is great for that ????) …but hm.. I wonder if the north light is going to kill it.
When you don’t know where to go, I think it’s pure white?
Hi Jed, yes north facing light could definitely kill the glory of PUre White. I’m wondering if you might like the softness of BM White Dove or SW Alabaster? Even BM Cloud White could work? I have blog posts on BOTH of these brands (re: the best white paint colours) that might help you! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/the-8-best-benjamin-moore-white-paint-colours-undertones-and-more/
I have rainwashed in my entryway (which I just love) but can’t find a color to put on the top of my small dining room. Afraid to go with too much blue or similar shades. Looking for a subtle greyer blue color and failing. Any thoughts?
Hi Dylan, thank you for your note! When it comes to questions like yours, I actually created an Edesign business – this way I can look at photos/questionnaire and come up with ideas that work, otherwise I’m TOTALLY guessing on what things look like on your end! It is affordable and fun! If you find that the complimentary blog post info isn’t working, it might be the next step! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
Hello. Just started following your blog, which I love. We are closing on a new home soon and I am looking at tons of colors. Your information has really helped. I am absolutely in love with the edgecomb gray and white dove pic by BM that you have posted. The look is similar to the home we are purchasing. Do you have recommendations for similar/equivalent colors in Sherwin-Williams? Thanks for all the great info!
Hi Haddie, unfortunately there isn’t really a comparable in SW – but you could ask them to colour match it for you? It won’t be 100% but close, just check it with the original sample 🙂
Hi Kylie ! I love your site; I think I’ve read every article multiple times in the last 3-4 weeks. We plan to paint our southwest facing DR in BM Newburyport Blue, and the adjoining northwest facing FR in BM Stonington Gray. I was thinking about painting all the trim in White Dove, but the room can we quite dark. What trim color would you recommend ??
Oooo, I’m liking the sounds of that! White Dove is just a versatile, easy white to work with! I also like the slightly more clean approach of Oxford White. If you have a lot of ‘white’ in your home, Oxford might be a better fit, but if you have some softer whites, White Dove could be better (I also love SW Pure White which is kind of in between the 2).
I’d LOVE to see the Newburyport all done!
Thanks Kylie! I will definitely send you pictures once it’s done. But it looks like the room actually has a northeast / north / slightly north west orientation (as opposed to NW-SW). I’m worried that the Stonington will read too cold with the northern light …. so now I’m shifting to Silver Satin (FR) and Newburyport Blue (DR) instead. What do you think about Simply White trim? The southwest side of the house will be Smoke Embers … lots of sunlight there, so no issues there.
Interested to hear how Silver Satin worked – lighter than the Balboa Mist but seems a beautiful grey.
Hi I’m having my kitchen completely redone. I have to pick a white for my cabinets. I don’t want that cold steel look. I’m looking at both cloud white and dove white. I have one white shutter in my kitchen that is in between two cabinets- I would like to keep that shutter and would like the new white cabinet to match my shutter. Is that going to be problematic? I worry about how it will match my new cabinets. I’m going with a warm wood look on my floor, stainless steel appliances. Considering the anthracite silgranite sink, or cinder colour. I want to add warmth to the room. My countertop will be quartz- Looking at callacatta tuano which is white, but has warm greyge tones,I also saw another that is cooler, but nice and I like it as well. It has a black vein with a cooler grey in it. What’s a safe white with my current situation??
Hi Paula, without knowing the exact white of your shutter, there just won’t be a safe white that I can recommend! Between Cloud White and White Dove, I would lean MORE toward White Dove, but again, we just can’t know! If you want it to match the shutter perfectly, you’d want to take it into the store and have them colour match it for you… 🙂
Thank you for this post and all your responses to your reader’s questions. It has been very helpful! I have narrowed down my wall paint choice to Cloud White. I’m stuck as to what color to paint the trim (the painter just started using a basic white w/o checking with me first). Before he goes any further, what do you recommend- should I be using cloud white on all the trim as well? I am concerned about different undertones competing… Just not sure if there should be contrast between the walls and trim or not.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
HI Kim, well if it were ME, I would do Cloud White trim too! The cool thing is that because trim is generally a satin or semi-gloss finish and the walls are either ulti-matte or eggshell, there can be a weeee subtle shift between the 2 surfaces to set things off slightly, without worrying about undertones. I wouldn’t do white…I hope that helps 🙂
I love reading your posts. The information is always very informative. We are in the process of repainting our master bedroom and master bathroom. There is a large cut glass window over the tub in the bathroom, and the window faces northwest. We have a new Caesarstone Taj Royale countertop. We installed Crema Cappuccino marble in the shower and the floor of the bathroom. The cabinets are painted BM Whital Brown. We decided to paint the walls BM Maritime White, but are having difficulty choosing the trim color. We’ve used Maritime White trim in the rest of the house, but the color looks very brownish in the bathroom on the wall facing Northwest. We are considering BM White Dove and BM Cloud White. The bedroom will be painted BM Manchester Tan, and we hope to use the same trim in the bedroom and the bathroom. Do you have any recommendations? We appreciate your time and your expertise.
Hi Kylie, thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge! We are trying to find the best white paint color for our kitchen cabinets. Our trim and crown molding is a close match to BM’s Super White but I’m afraid the kitchen will come across too stark if we go with that. I’m wondering if BM Simply White or SW Pure White would work without it clashing or looking awkward with the trim. If it matters, our walls are Revere Pewter (1/3 darker), Verde Peacock granite (black with green and brown) and yellowish oak floors. I’m also open to other neutral paint colors for the cabinets as long as it won’t go out of style any time soon! I so appreciate any direction and insight you can provide.
Hi Jen! Without knowing what that trim is, it’s hard to say, but i AM a big fan of matching my whites for consistency…definitely. From the sounds of it, Pure White might be a better choice as it isn’t as yellow as Simply White, but not AS stark as some whites (but it is more white than not…)
I wanted to come back and thank you for your input but couldn’t find my post! We had to put our cabinets on hold but are revisiting the idea again. It seems that BM Decorator’s White blends the best with our trim but I am nervous to pick a white that leans cool. SW Extra White is the other contender. Hopefully we will pick the “right” white 🙂
Hi Kylie, you are very color savvy! Hope you have some advice for me.
We are building a new home, so a fixed white starting point for me is the Alpine White of my maple Homecrest brand kitchen cabinets. I also fell in love with LGHausys Viatera Minuet quartz for the countertop. I asked Home Depot to do a custom color match of the cabinet sample – I saved the formula but did not buy a sample pot. They also analyzed which of their current colors would be the closest match – Behr Arcade White (Behr is the brand our builder suggested, but could use another brand perhaps at additional cost). When I brought some swatches home to compare, it did seem to be a close match to the cabinet sample, but I was shocked at how dark it was! Not sure I want that on all the trim and doors in the house, and not sure that it would look ok with the other wall colors I like. I want a light bright, but warm feel to the house – we are building in a Great Lakes beach town. Our floors will be a light finished red oak hardwood. Would using the matching formula, but requesting to lighten it 50% be a possible solution? How should I proceed? Colors all look different depending on weather, time of day, light direction, and what they are paired with! Any advice would be most welcome! Thanks!
Hi Nancy! When it comes to Behr, I’m just not as familiar with their colours to really be able to touch on that for you – my focus is primarily BM and SW. There is no harm in asking them to do 50% lighter, but at that shift you can expect the undertones to change, so be sure to do a LARGE sample to make sure you like it. Personally, I’m inclined to keep cabinets/trim/ceilings all the same, but that’s not always possible 😉
Thanks for the reply – I’ll keep working on it!
I’ve read your articles on whites at least a dozen times since we’ve started building our new house. My problem is that I keep going back between simply white, cloud white and white dove for cabinets and trim. We have lots of windows facing north east in our open concept and I would like a warm white that is not too bright and doesn’t look dingy either. I love white dove online, but the sample I’ve painted looks a bit green (or dingy). Could that be because the sample is a flatter sheen than cabinets will actually be?? What do you suggest?
Hi Monique – you are SO right, the sheen of the cabinets will ABSOLUTELY affect how the colours look! Cabinets are usually a satin/pearl finish (I love BM Advance) and that can make things look that bit brighter. From what I’m hearing, don’t do Cloud White. I wonder if you might like White Dove slightly lightened. Sadly, it’s not an easy thing to sample, but the idea is that they add 4-6 drops of white to the gallon of White Dove, which just lifts it a stitch. That is my BEST thought for you 🙂 I do love Simply White, but find it can look a wink yellowish for my tastes 🙂
Do you ever work with Dunn-Edwards paint? My trim in the entire house is semi gloss Whisper white. The ceilings are flat whisper white. I want to paint my kitchen cabinets semi gloss whisper white and the walls the same white in a velvet. Would this be okay? Is Whisper white a warm white?
Buying a “Cape ” house and want the entire inside to be white . I have to paint trim , 3 built in bookcases and an 80’s brick fireplace and kitchen cabinets. I don’t want any cream but just a white that will go with grays and beige in furniture and rugs. I need to do this asap and my head is spinning. I envision a crisp white on walls and kitchen cabinets and all the trim and builtins a slight different….please help. I thought maybe BM Chanitilly lace but now after reading a bit I’m totally confused. Any suggestions
Hi Kathy, you might want to check out Sherwin Williams High Reflective White, which is just pretty darned white and flexible! I love SW Pure White too, but it is a wink warmer/softer. As for the built-ins, I wouldn’t do them a different white. If you’re doing white throughout, I would do the same white, otherwise, you’ll enhance the undertones in the different whites.
Builder paint is all SW Dover White. Looking to go with either SW Agreeable gray or Worldy and using BM White Dove for trim & doors throughout. The painter suggested leaving the ceilings SW Dover White to have the crown & trim POP! Shouldn’t my whites be all the same?
If you paint an open room off-white like BM Ballet White, should you paint the trim the same color?
Hi Katie! Probably not. Ballet White has a decent depth to it and it really DOES come to life when it has some trim to contrast with. I’d look at BM White Dove :).
I just want to say how awesome you are! My hubby and I love your posts. You really know your stuff, and you are an excellent writer with humor to boot. Thank you for sharing your expertise!
Oh Jenny, thank you, I’m glad you guys think I’m funny – my hubby doesn’t always agree (I think I’m ALWAYS funny 😉
I love your humor! Don’t ever stop being you! 🙂
Kristy…thank you 😉
Hi! I’m remodeling my entire first floor. Ugh….putting up Half walls of shiplap . Repainting all trim and cabinets. Should I paint the trim/shiplap the same color white as the cabinets?
Hi Nicole, yes, I would recommend that for consistency :).
Wow – so much information on whites. We are repainting our ranch home in Florida. U shaped house and moving from a creamy white (all looks yellow to me now) to a white. Going for the California coastal modern feel with black windows outside and white on the inside. The issue – we have saltillo tile throughout the house. We tried simply white and I see yellow. Thinking of chantilly lace but thought I’d see if you’ve ever worked with a home with saltillo tile. Looking for a clean white look. I want to stop fighting the floors and let them stand on their own. Kitchen cabinets would be the same. We have honed black granite along the perimeter but changing out the island to make it lighter. White with light top. Going nuts on all the options.
Hi Mary! I do find that the Saltillo tiles work a bit better with slightly warmer whites vs stark or cold ones. Take a look at SW Pure White perhaps. I do love Chantilly and it can look great if you have south-facing light, but it can look a bit chilly if you have north-facing light! And whites are THE WORST to sample as the undertones tend to be OVERexposed, so you have to be super patient. And while I never rely 100% on Pinterest, I do sometimes find it easier to base things on Pinterest as in person, those white samples can just look pretty colourful!
I want to paint all the the trim in our house. We have an open floor plan with very cream kitchen cabinets, can I chose a warm white that is slightly lighter and less cream than the cabinets? Can it blend or does it need to match exactly?
Well, Maureen, it depends on how fussy you are. ANY warmer white that’s lighter and/or less creamy than your cabinets will make your cabinets look that much more yellow ‘in comparison’. This would drive ME crazy, but I know not everyone is as nutty about colour as me ;). If it were me, I would be more inclined to match the trim and cabinets. Mind you, if they are VERY VERY cream, I could change my mind on that.
Hi, painting my foyer sw softer tan and would like to paint the wainscoting white. My stairs were painted black and white and the risers are bright white. I am afraid to match the white on stairs to wainscoting because it goes down a long hall way and up the stairs and think it will be too much stark white and would like to warm it up. I have lots of morning and afternoon sun light . there are also french door and closet doors off this foyer. I was looking at benjemen moore glacial or perhaps chantilly lace…or is that too many competing whites ? I would paint the doors ,trim and wainscoting the same color but do not want to paint stairs because I just put down a runner. Any thoughts, advice is greatly appreciated.
I was so excited to see the picture of that green/black counter top, that’s almost exactly what I have! My kitchen cabinets are an orangey oak though. They really do not look good together, but its original 1999! I have to paint the walls right away, but I cant change the counters or cabinets, yet…. I’m thinking SW Pure white for the trim amd walls 😬 maybe that will somehow bring them together?? Somebody stop me if this is a terrible idea!
Hi, I am trying to decide on a white for cabinets. Trim is SW Pure White, but the painter only uses Benjamin Moore. I would prefer to find a Benjamin Moore white instead of having them try to make a match of the SW Pure White. Countertop is absolute black granite, backsplash is white (a very neutral to coolish, true white) and walls are revere pewter. Kitchen doesn’t have windows, but it’s an open floor plan and the light coming in via the great room is south east exposure. Leaning towards BM Super White or Chantilly Lace. Do you think either of these will coordinate well enough with SW Pure White to not look bad together?