WHICH WHITE PAINT COLORS GO WITH DARK WOOD?
For those of you who want to lighten and brighten your room with white walls or need the best white trim color for your darker wood-toned cabinets or floor, I’ve got you covered.
When updating a room with dark wood trim or cabinets, the goal is usually to lighten and brighten. And while white will help, there are a few things to consider before you start slappin’ paint on your walls.
Did you know there are five different types of white?
Crazy, eh? And while your room, its exposure, and its interior finishes will pick your best shade for you, it’s important to know which type(s) of whites you lean toward (once you’ve finished this blog post, read this: The 5 Types of White Paint Colors.)
But aside from the five different whites, here are a few more considerations…
1. If you have a lot of doorways and windows, white walls will be in high contrast with your trim, which can make a space look smaller and more cluttered (especially hallways). Of course, sometimes we have to pick our evil, as to lower the contrast, you need a darker color, which DEFINITELY won’t lighten your space.
What if white isn’t the best fit for your space? I have another great blog post for you to read if you want to explore neutrals or even a wink of color: What (Non-White) Paint Color Goes With Medium to Dark Trim & Cabinets?
This cream paint color is pretty, but a touch too yellow for the furnishings (this is a before photo)
2. If you don’t have enough light (natural or interior), your white could look chalky, flat, or dingy. Make sure to improve your interior lighting as much as possible, including choosing the right Kelvins that suit your fave shade of white, as well as the temperature of light you like to live in!
If you don’t have enough lighting, no paint color will save you.
1. BENJAMIN MOORE WHITE DOVE OC-17
White Dove is one of my favorite whites with wood, especially darker woods. Now, a lot of color coordination between walls and their surrounding finishes revolves around matching undertones. This isn’t always the case with white. For example, many dark woods have a red undertone, making you think you need a white with a red (pink) undertone. And while you CAN go that route, you don’t need to.
Let’s be honest – few of us REALLY want pink-tinged walls. If you do, Benjamin Moore Atrium White is beautiful. However, if you want a more flexible shade, White Dove is FAB. Will the undertones match your red-toned wood? Nope, but this doesn’t mean they won’t look good together, as shown in this next photo (which is more brown-toned but still rich and NOT yellow)…
This is not my home, just an example of walls that are VERY CLOSE to White Dove.
White Dove is a soft white, so it’s not a bright, crisp, clean shade. This softness means there’s a bit of gray in it, along with some creamy (yellow) warmth. I’m NOT a fan of yellow, but I chose White Dove for my home because it’s a great way to get a light, soft color with minimal commitment to undertone. As you see in the above photo, a subtly warm white like White Dove, when supported by surrounding furnishings, is a beautiful backdrop and partner to dark wood trim and floor.
If your room happens to have north-facing light or even eastern light, White Dove offers a pretty softness to help balance these gray, flat lights.
However, NEVER pick a paint color, especially white, without comparing it to similar shades. Often, it’s the wee tweak in temperature, depth, and undertone that makes one color the PERFECT shade for your room over another.
A FEW OTHER WARM WHITES TO EXPLORE & COMPARE WITH WHITE DOVE…
2. SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE SW 7005
If you’re more of a purist but don’t want a super stark white, Pure White could be the color for you. While Pure White has warm undertones, it’s not as traditionally yellow-hued as other warm whites. Not that all of them are overwhelming either; it’s just that Pure White has THE most modest, muted approach to its warmth, as shown in this transitional kitchen below…
For those who find White Dove too warm for their tastes or exposure, Pure White is especially popular – especially for south and west-facing rooms. While it’s a warm white, it’s passive enough to suit many of these warmer spaces. It will pick up more yellow, but it’s still a beautiful shade to live in for walls, cabinets, and more.
Again, NEVER pick a paint color without comparing it to other shades…
A FEW OTHER WARM WHITES TO EXPLORE & COMPARE WITH PURE WHITE…
I would compare Pure White to White Dove and Alabaster, as well as these popular shades…
- Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is brighter and cleaner
- Sherwin Williams Extra White also brighter and cleaner than Pure White
- Sherwin Williams White Snow is brighter and has a beautiful subtle warmth
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF PURE WHITE!
3. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ALABASTER SW 7008
When it comes to the warm world of creamy whites, it’s hard to beat Alabaster. While those who love traditional shades of white find it a bit too warm, with its yellow undertone, others find it the PERFECT shade between the white and the off-white worlds.
Alabaster is especially nice if you have north-facing light, as its soft warmth adds a bit of visual balance to these gray-light spaces.
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLES OF ALABASTER!
(Don’t worry, it’s not as yellow as it looks on the website)
THE BEST WARM WHITES TO COMPARE WITH ALABASTER
Finding similar warm whites is a great way to land on the one that’s the BEST for your home’s finishes…
- Benjamin Moore Cloud White (coming up next)
- Benjamin Moore Simply White (brighter)
- Benjamin Moore White Dove (previously mentioned)
4. BENJAMIN MOORE CLOUD WHITE OC-130
If you’re looking for a creamy white with a more noticeable warmth than White Dove and Pure White but LIGHTER than Alabaster, Cloud White is a gorgeous shade.
Now, I don’t always have JUST the image I need, so while this next kitchen doesn’t have dark wood trim, cabinets, or flooring, the mid-toned wood floor still shows how beautiful Cloud White looks in contrast…
Cloud White has an LRV of 85, so it’s similar depth to Pure White and White Dove; it’s just more noticeably warmer. It’s a CLASSIC shade from Benjamin Moore’s Off-White Collection. And while compared to a brighter white, it can READ like an off-white, its LRV and degree of color tell us it’s a legit shade of white.
Here’s Cloud White on the board and batten and trim with a dark wood floor and medium-toned greige paint color on the walls…
And in the same home, with a green-gray paint color on the walls and dark wood dining room table. This photo shows Cloud White’s warmth really well…
Because I rely on my Online Color Consulting clients for their photos or use my own images, I don’t always have the EXACT example I need! However, there are a few more shades of white I’d love for you to explore!
- Sherwin Williams White Snow
- Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, for those wanting a BRIGHTER, whiter shade
As I get photos of these colors in action, I’ll add them to this blog post for you.
In the meantime, check out some OFF-WHITE and non-white paint colors for your dark wood – you might be surprised at what you fall in love with!
Check out my affordable Online Color Consulting Services!