HomeThe Best Paint ColoursBenjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams: Paint IdeasThe 3 Whites and Off-Whites I Would NEVER Paint my Trim or Cabinets

The 3 Whites and Off-Whites I Would NEVER Paint my Trim or Cabinets

Posted on April 5, 2019 by KylieMawdsley


The 3 Wicked Whites of the West

When it comes to picking a white paint colour for trims, doors and cabinets, there is a fiiiiine-line between what is flexible and what is most definitely not. Would you rather have a white with the flexibility of a 10-year-old gymnast or a white as flexible as an 80-year-old armchair aficionado? Personally, I’d rather have a white that is in the form of wine – in ma belly.

The best white for kitchen cabinets with marble. Sherwin Williams High Reflective White. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint colour consultant

SW High Reflective White

And I know you’re just shakin’ in yer boots right now hoping that your white trim isn’t on the hit list…and it might be. In fact, I can just imagine some of the comments I’ll be getting from readers who have ‘said whites’ and LOVE them. And I agree, there are some homes that can pull off these whites fantastically! But THIS blog post is about long-term flexibility, about choosing a trim/cabinet colour that will work EASILY with a variety of products, styles, changing tastes, etc… So, I’m not saying these particular whites are BAD, they are just a bugger to accommodate.

Stairs. Reclaimed wood floor and treads, Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, Cloud White. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour expert (4)

BM Cloud White with BM Gray Owl walls

The whites I’m referring to have too much yellow in them. I rarely come across whites that are too blue, green or purple (only because they aren’t used very often) – it’s always the warm whites that throw things off-whack in a design plan.

If these whites look good now, that’s GREAT, but should you want to change decorative directions, you could have a big problem on your hands.

You see, there are many fantastic warm whites that are flexible and also happen to be some of my FAVE paint colours. They don’t even come CLOSE to being too cream or yellow, they are just ‘subtle and warm’. They suit warm colours, cool colours and a wild range of neutrals. Now the buggery colours that I’m going to reference are ALSO warm – they just aren’t as subtle about it. The stronger yellow in them reduces their flexibility and won’t let them accommodate a whole whack of colours – which is snobby designer speak for ‘lots’.

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Classic Gray, Sherwin Williams Pure White cabinets, Mindful Gray island and white oak floor with wash

SW Pure White with BM Classic Gray walls

So. You’re probably wondering what’s so WRONG with choosing these colours for your cabinets or trim, what’s the big deal? WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? These colours are setting the STAGE for wall colours, finishes, furnishings and accents. They’re the framework to your walls, windows, cabinets and floors, they’re the starting point for any successful colour scheme. If these colours are limiting, you’ll have a FRACTION of the choices you might have had had you used a more flexible white.

So what ARE these white wonders you ask? Let’s take a peek…


I’m not even sure why Navajo White is even on the TABLE as an OPTION for trim or cabinets as it isn’t white – yet I deal with it ALL the time in my E-Design. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an AWESOME colour for walls, but when it comes to other surfaces – it’s not so hot.

living room south facing, Navajo White Benjamn Moore greige furniture. Before Kylie M E-design

BM Navajo White walls

At the beginning of any E-Design consultation I ask the question, ‘do you need a trim colour suggestion or do you have an existing trim colour that you’d like me to work with?’ When Navajo White or Creamy (coming up next) are mentioned, I make a mad dash for the wine cabinet and grab the nearest funnel, anticipating the glory of explaining why these colours are hard to work around and probably WON’T work with the owners desire for gray or greige walls.

Benjamin Moore Sea Pine, Stonybrook. Home office with creamy white wainscoting and farmhouse desk, rug. Kylie M E-design and paint colour expert

In the above photo of the home office, look at the colour of the small window trim vs the crown moulding – that’s the difference between Navajo White and a more flexible white. The thing is, when we buy a home, we’re rarely walking into a perfect slate and in this case, the owners weren’t all too excited about having to paint ANY of the trim. So, it was about finding a happy medium between what worked best for both trims AND the homeowner – and I think we did it! However, if there wasn’t any of the Navajo White trim, our options would’ve opened up CONSIDERABLY.

‘Whites that have too much yellow in them will be harder to work with short-term AND long-term’


Oh, I’m going to be burned at the STAKE like a wicked lil’ Ginger witch, but seriously, please don’t choose Creamy for your trim or cabinets. If you already have it and it’s working for you, then kudos, however, if you’re starting from scratch choosing trim/cabinet colours – you may want to look elsewhere for your perfect white.

Round accent mirror with gold detail reflecting photo gallery. On Sherwin Williams Creamy paint colours. Kylie M Interiors Virtual and e-design

Why? It has too much yellow in it. If you ever dream of having anything but warm-toned beige walls, this colour and the likes will be the BANE of your existence. If you are considering RESALE and want a trim colour that is flexible to accommodate a range of neutral walls – don’t do it.

The best white and gray paint colors for kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity. Benjamin or Sherwin. Edesign, Kylie M Interiors Online colour consulting. Home Decorating and diy ideas blogger

Click HERE or on the above image to see available packages

In the photo of the stairwell below, you’ll see SW Creamy on the WALLS and BM Cloud White on the trim – right where they belong! Of course, everything washes out with sunlight, so you’ll want to see the contrast where the baseboard/wall meet to see the shift.

Sherwin Williams Creamy is a great paint color for home staging or selling. As shown in stairway with wood and metal railing by Kylie M Interiors E-design

In the photo below of the hallway, you’ll see Creamy and Cloud White again. Had we put Creamy on the TRIM, we wouldn’t have been able to do that fantastic feature wall colour – no way Jose.

Hallway update with wood look laminate flooring, Sherwin Williams Creamy and Benjamin Moore Gray feature wall or accent wall. Kylie M Interiors E-design

Navajo White and Creamy are off-white, bordering on light. They are best suited for WALLS – not trim, not doors and definitely not cabinets. Are there exceptions? Heck yes! There’s the odd granite/backsplash combo that just BEGS for warm yellow-based colours like this – that actually NEED them. HOWEVER, they’re few and far between.

Read more…

Paint Colour Review: Sherwin Williams Creamy

HOW to Choose the Best White for Your Kitchen Cabinets


Again, Roman Column has tooo much yellow to be flexible. Unless you’re Big Bird.

Oh, did I say 3 worst whites? I meant 6…


Cotton Balls ALWAYS slays me as while it might LOOK like a lovely fresh warm white, it has a little nugget of yellow-green in it. THIS COLOUR WILL LIMIT YOU SO HARD – please stay away if you can. If you already have it, you WILL have to make some serious accommodations on your walls as Cotton Balls isn’t super flexible.


Antique White is another white #notwhite that is super popular – personally, I LOVE it…on walls. However, it’s awfully warm for mass appeal and tricky if you want to go outside of the warmer beige range and into the gray/greige or cooler range.

Sherwin Williams Antique White with traavertine floor and beige walls and stone fireplace. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

The above client hired me to work WITH the Antique White trim work. And while Antique White was on the island as well, I suggested she paint the island to help cut back on the AMOUNT of Antique White in the room and ALSO to accommodate her style (based on the photos of her furniture in her previous home). But even then, it was SUPER hard to get her very far outside of the beige world – it was more about an adjustment in undertone than a huge shift in colour. The current wall colour (Macadamia) was just a bit too green for the warmth of her travertine flooring. In her E-Design consultation, I gave her some new options to consider as well as a few thoughts re: the island, just to reduce the amount of yellow-cream in the room.

There IS one white that I wouldn’t necessarily PICK for trim or cabinets, but if it’s already in place, it’s a bit easier to work around than most of the others and that colour is…


In the photo of the living room below, you can see how Dover White works with BM Collingwood walls. While Collingwood would prefer a more subdued white, it does work.

Benjamin Moore Collingwood, best warm gray paint colour, Silver Gray ceiling, Sherwin Dover White trim, contemporary living room. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Dover White


Don’t believe everything you read (unless I type it), as Extra White is anything BUT extra white (kind of like Benjamin Moore Decorators White)! With its LRV of 86, Extra White has a slightly softer white approach and some darned coooool undertones. If you love grays, blues and other cold colours, Extra White might seem super appealing. However, if you EVER want to change into something even slightly softer, Extra White will limit you as it ONLY likes cool colours.

Kitchen cabinets painted Sherwin High Reflective White, marble backsplash, white quartz, home decor on countertop. Pewter hardware. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting

High Reflective White

I also think there are WAY better whites that will bounce more off of cool paint colours, colours like Sherwin Willams High Reflective White and other SUPER WHITE white paint colours.

Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Extra White

Now, you probably want to know which whites I DO love, the whites that are warm – but flexible. Well, that’s a blog post unto itself and you’ll find it RIGHT HERE!

Not sure which white is best for YOU and your home?

Check out my E-Design packages – I’d love to help!

The best gray or grey paint colors for your room. Benjamin or Sherwin. Edesign, online paint colour services Kylie M Interiors. diy home decorating ideas blogger.market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature


The 8 Best White Paint Colours: Sherwin and Benjamin

The 4 Best White Paint Colours: Sherwin Williams

How to Pick the Best White for Your Cabinets and Trim



    1. Post

      I do like Incredible White, but just keep in mind that has a bit of a feminine slant to it and in some lights can have a bit of a taupe look (VERY slightly pink/purple). As long as you’re cool with that!

  1. I recall the trauma of BM Soft Shammy (or something like that) when we started the paint portion of our reno. I had picked it for cabinets and trim throughout the house to work with the biscuit tones in our quartz countertops. Thank goodness we started paint in the bedrooms and were able to bring the process to a screeching halt- the reflections in the moldings looked like heavy smokers had lived in the house for decades. That yellow/green undertone was the worst. Now my cabinets don’t quite “match” my cabinets, but I think they work. Fingers crossed Ill be calling you on a new project soon!

  2. What color is that feature wall? I love it! I’ve got a spot that I want to paint a dark color, and I’d love to test that out.

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      1. Ughh!!15 years ago Antique White was the color to go with. I have it everywhere! Heavy trim work throughout/ mantles and a darker version on all my ceilings. I’m swimming in cream and am sick of it! Time for a total redo I guess.

  3. This couldn’t come at a better time. I am remodeling my basement and it’s mostly painted SW Gossamer Veil. I was debating between several trim colors but now I think I’m going with SW Pure White which actually was my first choice. You just helped reaffirm that choice.

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  4. I was excited when I found the North facing good color choices then I found this… I will agree with this article 200% – I have cabinets painted Canvas Tan at 50% which is basically Creamy with Roman Column trim I obviously didn’t find you before I painted – LOL. I now have 20 paint samples (maybe just 6) on my walls and can’t find one that goes – at least I know why now and can tell my husband I am not crazy there is a reason I can’t pick one, NOTHING goes with it! I really kinda love my Creamy cabinets 🙁 but I also want a change 🙁 but I also don’t want to paint my cabinets …. sigh. Does anything go with creamy cabinets besides creamy (which is what I have now along with a chair rail in the eat in area of kitchen)

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      Hi Christy! Yes, it’s challenging and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know! Now it actually depends a lot on your countertop/backsplash Creamy can suit some really pretty tans (along the lines of Canvas Tan) and with the right countertop/backsplash can even entertain some green undertones too!

  5. Hello! We are giving our kitchen a facelift. New countertops, solid surface Arctic White & new backsplash(white subway with black grout)We have been struggling to find the perfect gray & I think we’ve decided on silver satin. It doesn’t compete with the cabinets, which I like. The other choice was Coddingwood, still seemed to competitive. What color trim would you use? Thank you in advance

  6. Hi Kylie,
    We are in the building process of our new home I have sw alabaster on my master bath and sw silver mist on my master bedroom trying to decide on bathroom cabinets between silver mist or what color white would look good with alabaster walls.
    Thank you

  7. Kylie, you’re a life saver to a novice paint expert like me. We have been looking into painting kitchen cabinets in our home but have been uneasy about what shades of white would be good to lean towards. Definitely taking note of these. Thank you so much!!

  8. I already have SW Extra White for all of the trim in my house. I want to paint my living room in SW Gossamer Veil, will that work together?

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  9. A rep in my BM store recommended mascarpone, as a popular white here in Seattle. I do love it, in my bathroom on walls, and trim, with an accent wall in a dogwood pink (i can’t remember the name of the color, but it matches the dogwood in our yard you can see thru the bathroom window in the spring). I keep looking for a review from you on mascarpone, and haven’t seen one yet. I like gray in others’ homes, but in my home in seattle winters, i do not want gray. we actually choose a pale-ish yellow in the living/dining room, with very light yellow trim (I know, it’s not white trim, but i didn’t want the contrast of white trim and yellow walls in our smaller living/dining room area, and we do love it. I love your reviews and blog!!

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  10. Would simply white on trim go well with Navajo white or Indian white? (also which do you recommend for a west facing bedroom?) thanks!

  11. Oh lord I am in trouble! I just had my husband start painting our small dark hallway Navajo White including door, trim and ceiling in a satin finish because I read that painting a warm off white one color would make it appear bigger. Am I wrong? What trim would work with Navajo White?

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      Hi Momo! I might lean more into an eggshell finish on the walls, satin on trim/doors and flat on the ceiling. And Navajo White can be lovely on the walls, but I might lean towards Cloud White on the trims/ceilings/doors :).

  12. I am going to be painting my walls Extra White and my trim alabaster. I like the reverse contrast. What is your opinion of that combination?

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      Oh, Jennifer, you’re scaring the HECK out of me – I’m sorry to say! With Extra White being a COOL soft white and Alabaster being a WARM soft white, they’re each going to enhance each others undertones and I worry about the ‘colourful’ combination you’ll be left with. If it were me, I definitely wouldn’t do it…

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      That’s funny, I get asked that all the time! They’re actually Ikea Hemnes bookcases, so they came that colour!

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      Hi Jennifer, I’m not super inclined to mix whites as they can REALLY set each other off in a bad way, so if it were me, I’d keep it simple and do Alabaster!

  13. Hrllp Kylie, I am painting my walls worldly gray, I have wood floors, stained cabinets and a black island. I have chosen Greek villa for my trim. I have white windows.. How do you think this will look? They start painting in 2 days.
    Thank you so much,

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      Sounds alright to me, Marsha! My only hesitation would be if Worldly Gray DOESN’T grab the touch of green undertone it can have. PERSONALLY, I trust SW Pure White more :).

  14. We just bought a house that house loads of gorgeous deep baseboards and crown molding painted SW Creamy. We want the walls to be very light and bright. Our painter suggested painting the walls half strength SW Creamy. Thoughts?

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      That makes me SUPER nervous, as it can be really awkward to have the trim DARKER than the walls with this type of colour – I wouldn’t. I would stick with Creamy on the walls for sure – as-is.

  15. Was considering painting my office Medici Ivory. ( I have 80’s honey oak trim.) It is south facing with one window, but only receives the sun for about three hours 11 am – 3 pm. The garage blocks out the morning sun and the trees block out the afternoon sun. After looking at the colors you mentioned in the article, I am thinking maybe Medici Ivory is similar to these colors?

  16. Hi Kylie – Love your input of levels of warmth and cool, so informative. We are repainting the entire house trim in Pure White in Charleston. The hardwood floors are sort of a java/mocha dark brown. I am torn about walls – Lots of windows so exposures from South and West…I am not a warm white girl more of a gray tones but do not want gray. Steer me please!

  17. Hi Kylie,
    New construction paint choices are stumping me. Walls will be SW Natural Linen ( should work w all my fabrics & wood). Originally chose SW Aesthetic White for cabinets/ doors/ trim( builder gives 1 color choice).
    But need your advise on a soft white since countertop in kitchen will be Silestone Silken Pearl.
    So glad I found your website . I signed up for 5 days of paint advise. Your e consult are all sold out.. ugh. Builder needs choice asap so hope you can help in this forum..

  18. I have SW Antique White for my trim and molding. I want to paint my ceiling a lighter color. Should I use the same color SW Antique white? If not which color do you suggest. I am going crazy 🥴

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I’m following your post because we have tons of Antique White trim/molding cabinets etc. I’m wanting to paint the ceiling and walls. We have no idea what color would look best. Right now it all looks blue because we used repose on the walls. Let me know if you have suggestions on ceiling and walls for antique white trim.

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  19. I’ve heard you do not like Dover White for trim but I have it in all my rooms and painted my Master Bath vanity that color. I do not have any issues with it. I really don’t see a problem with it. Perhaps I’m just good at choosing colors to go with it.

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