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The ULTIMATE GUIDE to Choosing White Paint Colours

Posted on February 12, 2023 by KylieMawdsley
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How to Pick Your Home’s BEST White Paint Colour

When choosing the best shade of white for your walls, cabinets, trims, and ceilings, it doesn’t REALLY matter which white you like. In fact, your preferences come at the bottom of the pile. That’s right, amongst the variety of things to consider, your tastes rank pretty low compared to the needs of your HOME.

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White, small bathroom ideas with shiplap walls and gray vanity, round mirror. Client photo of Kylie M Interiors Edesign

This is why we’re looking at some of today’s most popular white paint colors and what goes into picking the best one for your home. The topics we’ll be covering include…

  • learning about the FIVE TYPES of white paint colors
  • learning about the main UNDERTONES in white paint colors
  • how to choose a white paint color that suits your INTERIOR FINISHES and style
  • how to choose a white paint color that suits your room’s EXPOSURE (north, south, etc…)
  • MIX & MATCH white paint colors in a room (and whether you even should)
  • links to the TOP white paint colors and their FULL COLOR REVIEWS

White kitchen cabinets with white bevelled subway tile backsplash, navy blue le creuset accents. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting and blogger

But before we get into the meat n’ potatoes, let’s talk about the HIERARCHY of choosing the best white paint colors for your home. What does this mean? It means you should follow a chain of command when selecting paint colors, and here it is…

 

The FOUR THINGS that matter the MOST…

1. INTERIOR FINISHES

Your interior finishes call the BIG shots. If your paint colors don’t coordinate with your interior finishes, your up shit’s a very muddy creek.

Of course, you can put your home’s needs aside and choose the white you love – fill yer lil white boots. Just don’t assume it will work with your finishes. If you choose the wrong white, you’ll be happy with the color on your walls, but your home won’t look well coordinated.

For example, the owner of this next kitchen must’ve envisioned a warm, soft white on their cabinets…

Pearl White custom cream off-white kitchen cabinets, similar to Navajo White with too cold gray backsplash tile.

Only to realize that the creamy yellow hue is too strong for the countertop and backsplash. They didn’t listen to their home. Now, look at the lower cabinets in the above photo. The light completely washes the color out, making it look like a brighter, cleaner shade of white. Even this small section of cabinet shows how much better the right white looks!

 

2. YOUR HOME’S EXISTING PALETTE

Suppose your current paint color palette already uses a consistent white, especially regarding trims and cabinets. In that case, there’s a good chance you need to repeat this white to avoid a hot mess of white madness (read more about this).

 

3. EXPOSURE

The exposure of your room will DIRECTLY affect how warm or cool a white paint color looks. We’ll dive into this below.

In this next kitchen, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is on the walls and cabinets…

Kitchen remodel, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace painted white cabinets, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray painted island, warm gray greige trim and board and batten. Wood flooor. Marble backsplash. Kylie M online paint color expert with Truley Home

Notice how warm Chantilly Lace looks on the far left walls that are getting hit with the afternoon western sun. Compare this to the cabinets on the far right that look almost blue-violet in comparison. You can even ignore the wall color entirely and focus on the subtle shift of cabinet color from left to right – from warm to cool.

ISN’T COLOR FUN?!

 

4. PERSONAL TASTES

Guess who comes in last place – you! But don’t take it personally, as putting your tastes aside will be your BEST chance of finding the best white paint color for your space. Remember, if you love a color that doesn’t suit your interior finishes, you shouldn’t use it.

Study or homework office desk nook for kids with white cabinets and shelves with gray chair and carpet. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting advice

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White

Why do you need all of this info?

Because if you focus on the white YOU love without considering these other topics, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with the WRONG white. If this happens, you’ll be tossin’ BACK the white (wine) as you sob in a corner, hyperventilating and twitching uncontrollably (it’s quite therapeutic).

LET THE GAMES…BEGIN!

guide to white paint colors on walls, cabinets, trims. Kylie M, North America's top paint color expert consultant. Benjamin and Sherwin

 

THE FIVE ‘TYPES’ OF WHITE PAINT COLORS

Don’t be scared; once you figure out which TYPE of white your home leans into, you’ll automatically eliminate SO MANY OTHERS. This knowledge will help you focus on the few whites that will actually work in your space. And guess what, buttercup…

There are probably only two to three white paint colors that SUIT your home.

Sherwin Williams Light French Gray, Pure White with warm gray taupe shower tile, Kylie M Interiors edesign client photo

Sherwin Williams Pure White

That’s right. Out of the DOZENS of whites you might have explored, only a small handful will look good. Learning which white paint color your interior finishes best suits is your FIRST step in choosing the best color for your room.

And because this topic is so near and dear to my heart (right up there with Ryan Reynolds/Gosling and Cornuts), I wrote an entire blog post about it (I’ll also include a link at the end of this post). For now, here are the basics…

 

1. WARM WHITE PAINT COLORS

While warm white paint colors can have a pink undertone, the most POPULAR shades lean into a yellow hue, giving a creamy-white vibe in many situations…

Benjamin Moore Cloud White with taupe greige subway tile backsplash, white quartz countertops, warm white painted cabinets. Kylie M Interiors

Benjamin Moore Cloud White is a popular warm white paint colour.

Many people get nervous at the idea of yellow undertones. However, this particular color is found in THE MOST POPULAR shades of white, so don’t let the ‘y’ word scare you off.

If your main surface (i.e., countertop or tile) contains a warm white, it only makes sense that a warm white paint color will be the best choice. Warm whites are the most COMMON, as they’re found in more interior finishes than true or cool white paint colors. Even if your surface doesn’t have white but leans to the WARM side, it will probably suit a warm white paint color.

In this next kitchen, the backdrop of this countertop (Brittanica Warm) is a soft, slightly WARM off-white…

Cambria Brittanica Warm, Urbane Bronze Sherwin painted island, white oak flooring Goodfellow. Kylie M Interiors Edesign.

How would I KNOW the above countertop is a soft, warm off-white? I’d compare it to a TRUE white and note the differences.

 

THE 5 MOST POPULAR WARM WHITE PAINT COLORS

Are White Walls, Cabinets & Exteriors STILL TRENDY?

 

2. COOL WHITE PAINT COLORS

Cool white paint colors favor a blue or violet undertone, although a weeee willy wink o’ green pops up here and there.

Bathroom with walk in shower, marble tile walls and floor, Best white paint colour, Benjamin Moore Decorators White. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online diy decorating and advice blogger

Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White is a COOL white paint color – LRV 85

Cool white paint colors are LESS standard and not as popular as they suit fewer interior finishes. However, they’re often a good choice for some marble finishes or south-facing rooms with minimal interior considerations (again, not many finishes coordinate with a cool shade of white).

As shown in the following example, the marble tile caters to the COOL side rather than the warm side. If you put a warm white with this tile and countertop, it would look yellow or dingy in comparison. Cool or even true white paint colors are the best choice…

How to pick gray paint colors for your countertop, tiles and more. Shown marble, tile countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign (2)

 

THE 3 MOST POPULAR COOL WHITE PAINT COLORS

 

3. BRIGHT WHITE PAINT COLORS (can be warm or cool)

Bright white paint colors have higher LRVs, but undertones vary depending on whether they’re WARM bright whites or COOL bright whites (our first two categories).

Popular warm white paint colour. Benjamin Moore Simply White , Collingwood gray walls, oak flooring, Kylie M Interiors Edesign,

Benjamin Moore Simply White is one of the best warm, bright whites – LRV 92

BRIGHT WARM whites are more common than BRIGHT COOL whites – I don’t even have a cool one to share with you.

 

THE 2 MOST POPULAR BRIGHT WHITE PAINT COLORS

Not sure what LRV is? READ ABOUT IT HERE – it’s a game-changer!

 

4. SOFT WHITES (can be warm or cool)

Soft white paint colors have LRVs in the low to mid-80s and can have subtle or more noticeable undertones, depending on whether they’re WARM or COOL.

Benjamin Moore White Dove, bright living room or family room, gray sectional, tv above painted cabinets. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Benjamin Moore White Dove is a WARM SOFT white (personal fave) – LRV 85

Soft whites are, by far, the most COMMON white paint colors for walls, cabinets, and trims (particularly WARM SOFT whites).

 

THE 8 MOST POPULAR SOFT WHITE PAINT COLORS (warm & cool)

White Dove vs. These Top 10 Popular Shades of White

 

5. TRUE WHITES

True whites are the most genuine whites of the bunch, clocking in with LRVs in the mid-90s.

Whitewash wood shiplap ceiling, built ins, High Reflective White, Stonington gray. Kids toy storage in playroom, gray carpet. Kylie M Interiors edesign

It’s hard to beat the ever-popular look of Sherwin Williams High Reflective White! LRV – 93

True whites come in a hot second place to soft, warm whites in popularity as their lack of undertone gives them a bit more flexibility.

Aside from having a higher LRV, the difference between TRUE WHITES and the previously mentioned SOFT and BRIGHT whites is that TRUE WHITES are rarely warm or cool – they’re just white!

 

THE 3 MOST POPULAR WHITES (TRUE) WHITE PAINT COLORS 

Remember, I don’t want to inundate you with too much info in this one blog post, so look for helpful links throughout (as well as at the end)…

THE FIVE TYPES OF WHITE PAINT COLORS (in more detail) 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE A WHITE THAT GOES WITH YOUR HOME

No matter what else is happening in your space – not its exposure or your tastes – it’s essential that your white paint color coordinates with your interior finishes.

Sherwin Williams Pure White is the best choice for the painted cabinets in this next kitchen. Had we gone with a warmer, creamier white, the Zellige tiles would’ve looked too pink/taupe in comparison…

White painted cabinets, zellige tile backsplash, dark gray quartz countertop. Kitchen update ideas by Kylie M Interiors Edesign

While it wasn’t easy, Pure White also updated the look of the Saltillo tile floors in the above kitchen. The wrong colors would make them look OUTDATED compared to the newer finishes (#miraclesdohappen)…

Kitchen with saltillo tile terra COTTA floors, the best colours for white painted cabinets and walls, Zellige tile backsplash, dark gray quartz countertop, Kylie M INteriors Edesign

Often, it’s about choosing colors and finishes for the home you HAVE, not the home you wish you had. In the above kitchen, the quartz countertop is a great choice for the original terra cotta tile floor. And while the Zellige tile backsplash stretches this space’s comfort zone, Sherwin Williams Pure White helps it feel more at home.

To show you REAL HOMES and REAL BUDGETS, I only use photos from my Online Paint Color Consulting clients. Thank you for sending them in; you all make my colorful little world go round! 

Your interior finishes will TELL you which type of white paint color they like the best. You then take this info and see if it needs to be or CAN be tweaked based on your current palette, exposure, and personal tastes.

This is about finding the white your HOME loves, and hopefully, you love it, too! 

In this next home, with its white quartz countertops and southern exposure, Sherwin Williams Pure White was the perfect choice (on all surfaces)…

Pure White kitchen cabinets, subway tile backsplash, white quartz and oak flooring. Navy blue island Sherwin Williams Cyberspace, prep bar station.

See this WHOLE HOME in Pure White!

As shown in the above photo, along with tile, countertops are a common surface to get inspiration and guidance from. Other surfaces to use as jumping-off points include:

  • tile (floor, shower wall, or backsplash)
  • carpet
  • existing white trim or cabinets
  • while linens/fabrics can be used, they’re usually more changeable then the previous finishes – you don’t always want them dictating the white for your WHOLE home
  • stone or fireplace surround

For example, do you know what this next countertop told my client? It said LOUD and clearly that it didn’t want white cabinets and preferred an off-white cabinet color instead…

Sherwin Williams painted off white cabinets with granite countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting (1)

Sherwin Williams 3 Best Warm White Paint Colors

The Best Off-White Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

At first glance, this laundry room/mudroom below is pretty flexible, right? HARD NO! In designing this room, the white paint colour needed to be the SAME TYPE OF WHITE as the white subway tile…

White laundry room with mud room built-in benchs, hooks, cubbies, white subway tile, gray tile floor. Sherwin Williams High Reflective White, Kylie M Interiors online paint color consultant

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White

Why? 

Compared to the TRUE white of the subway tile, the wrong white paint color would make all the painted surfaces look dingy, yellow, violet, or blue (depending on which white we chose). They work well together because Sherwin Williams High Reflective White is the SAME TYPE of white as the subway tile.

Your room knows which type of white paint color it wants – you just need to find it! 

 

TIPS FOR COORDINATING WHITES WITH COUNTERTOPS, TILES, & MORE

  • the majority of interior finishes cater to a WARM white, not a cool or true one
  • of these warm whites; MORE interior finishes lean into a soft, warm white over a BRIGHT one
  • if you have a finish that suits a COOL white (not as common as warm white), it’s most likely to humor a blue-violet undertone

Start your search by checking out WARM & SOFT white paint colors, which are more likely to suit your interior finishes.

If these warm whites aren’t connecting, branch out to bright warm whites, true whites, and then cool whites.

Kitchen island painted Sherwi Williams Urbane Bronze, Cambria Brittanica warm off white quartz, white oak wood flooor, White Dove walls, modern farmhouse style dining. Kylie M Interiors

Benjamin Moore White Dove walls, Revere Pewter main cabinets, Urbane Bronze island

3 Steps to Picking the Best White Paint Colors for Walls or Cabinets

 

SAMPLIZE PEEL & STICK

SAMPLIZE peel-and-stick paint samples are delivered to your front door in ONE DAY!

KYLIE M EDESIGN, SAMPLIZE PEEL AND STICK ONLINE PAINT COLOR CONSULTING

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE

 

ARE THERE ANY OTHER WHITES IN YOUR HOME?

When remodeling a single space or specific area (i.e., kitchen cabinets), there’s often a white paint color already in place, usually on trims and doors.

EXISTING WHITE TRIM, WALLS, OR CABINETS

If you already have a white in your room and want to keep it, you likely have one of the following three situations…

  • The white that’s already on your walls, cabinets, or trim is the BEST white for your room (and you KNOW it’s the best white). In this case, use this same white for your newly painted surface.
  • The existing white isn’t the right white for your room in the first place and should be changed to a more suitable shade. Just because it’s THERE doesn’t mean it’s the right color.
  • Some finishes have specific/different needs from the existing space, meaning you must introduce a NEW white to the scene. This is common in an open-concept home, i.e., you have a fireplace tile that suits a true white, but the kitchen backsplash suits a soft, warm white (which means the home itself wasn’t coordinated carefully enough).

 

WHITE PAINT COLORS IN ADJOINING ROOMS

Regarding white paint colors in adjoining rooms, IDEALLY, you would use the same white.

Why?

Using the same white paint color on trims, ceilings, and doors (and cabinets/walls) creates a connection between spaces and encourages a natural flow.

This next home’s trim was already painted Benjamin Moore Simply White, so continuing this white on the kitchen cabinets makes sense. LUCKILY, the kitchen finishes SUPPORT Simply White’s warmth; otherwise, we’d need a new white for this space…

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, maple flooring, Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim white kitchen. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

HOWEVER…

If your existing white doesn’t look good with the interior finishes for THIS PARTICULAR room, you must focus on THIS room’s interior finishes first.

Regardless of what’s happening in other rooms, if a colour doesn’t work for the room itself, it doesn’t work.

YES, this means you might have an awkward transition between rooms as you shift from one white to another, but short of avoiding white or redesigning one space or another, this is your reality!

3 Steps to Choosing the Best White for Your Home

White Walls, Trims, & Cabinets: Do They Need to Match?

 

WHITE PAINT COLORS IN AN OPEN-CONCEPT SPACE

In an open-concept space like this next one, mixing and matching whites doesn’t make sense. Because the cabinets are already Sherwin Williams Alabaster, it makes sense to use this on the walls, trims, and ceiling, too!

Sherwin Williams Alabaster, best warm white paint colour. Open layout kitchen, living room, dining, kitchen, dark black granite countertop. Kylie M Int

If your open-concept space has an existing white (i.e., on the trims), but it won’t work on your kitchen cabinets – it isn’t the right white for your room in the first place.

What does this mean?

If it’s the right white for your SPACE, it should suit your trims and cabinets. Suiting one but not the other means that SOMETHING isn’t working.

 

NORTH-EAST, SOUTH, WEST: WHICH WHITE IS THE BEST?

Whether your room has northern, southern, or INDECENT exposures (a constant in our bedroom), it’s important to note your room’s exposure when choosing paint colors. And while the needs of your interior finishes come first, exposure can play a big part in how a paint color is perceived.

But why are white paint colors so DAMN HARD to choose?

Good question, and it relates pretty nicely to exposure! Because white paint colors have the highest LRVs (light REFLECTANCE value), they reflect the most light around a room. So, if the light you give your white walls is tinted green via exterior landscaping or yellow via southern exposure, GUESS what color your bright white walls are going to reflect? Green or yellow.

Sherwin Williams Pure White, warm wood flooring, bamboo blinds, popular white paint colour, Kylie M Interiors Edesign

In the above photo, look at how Sherwin Williams Pure White warms up with a hit of western sunshine – and Pure White isn’t even one of the WARMEST whites!

Now check out Pure White in this north-facing foyer…

Kylie M Interiors EDESIGN. Entryway with vaulted ceiling, large oversized wall clock, builtin bench, painted black front door, Sherwin Williams Pure White walls, trim. Online paint colour advice blog

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Paint Colors with LRV

How to Pick Paint Colors When You’re An OVERTHINKER (OR HAVE ANXIETY)

And guess what, buttercup? THERE’S NO AVOIDING this short of boarding up your windows, cutting down your trees, or closing your eyes; tis’ the nature of the beast.

Please pay close attention to your exposure and the COLOR of light it offers your room before you settle on a white paint color. However, your room’s exposure matters more when choosing wall colors than those for cabinets and trims. (A long, boring explanation that we don’t need to get into unless you’re a total glutton for punishment, which I’ll assume you aren’t).

 

CHOOSING WHITE FOR A NORTHERN EXPOSURE ROOM

  • Because northern light is a gray light with a slight blue cast, you can expect white paint colors to look cooler than expected as they REFLECT this light (more like bright cool whites or soft cool whites.
  • The warmer your white is, the better it will counteract a dull, cool northern exposure. Just don’t get swayed by this inviting warmth, as it needs to be liveable at night, too (use the right BULBS to add balance)!
  • TRUE WHITES can definitely pick up a cool northern hue, whereas warm whites are more likely to add BALANCE to a room with northern exposure.
  • Unless I have an Online Color Consulting client who loves ONLY a cold, icy look or a room’s interior finishes DEMAND it, I would never put a COOL WHITE in a north-facing room.
  • My favorite white for a north-facing room is a SOFT, WARM white.

Sherwin Williams PUre White with north east exposure and 2700k warm light bulbs in foyer and living room. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy ideas

Pure White is a (subtle) soft, warm white that leans much cooler in this northern light.

 

THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLORS FOR NORTH-FACING ROOMS

WARM BUT MUTED WHITES: Benjamin Moore Cloud White, Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Simply White, Sherwin Williams Alabaster

TRUE WHITES: The only true one I’d consider is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, as it comes off slightly more gentle.

This next room has a balance of north and south-facing light, making the soft, warm vibe of White Dove a great choice…

Family room, north and south facing light. Best paint colour, Benjamin Moore White Dove, Kylie M Interiors Edesign. Gray sectional, tv and stand, white oak

The 3 Best White Paint Colors for a North-Facing Room

The 9 Best Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for a North-Facing Room

 

CHOOSING WHITE FOR A SOUTHERN EXPOSURE ROOM

  • Whereas north-facing light is COOL, south-facing light is warm with a yellow hue, meaning most whites will pick this up with their higher LRV.
  • The warmer your white is, the MORE YELLOW it will look in southern light, so I lean into more subtle SOFT WARM whites.
  • While COOL WHITES can add balance to the heat of a south-facing room, they can STILL pick up some of the yellow and look COLD at night if you don’t supplement with the right KELVINS.
  • All things considered, my favorite whites for a room with southern exposure is a SOFT WARM or TRUE WHITE.

Notice all of the green Benjamin Moore Simply White is REFLECTING on the wall cabinets (below), whereas the light shifts on the island…

Best Benjamin Moore White paint colour for kitchen cabinets, Simply White. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, client photo

 

THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLORS FOR SOUTH-FACING ROOMS

WARM BUT MUTED WHITES: Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

TRUE WHITES: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

COOL WHITES: Benjamin Moore Super White, Benjamin Moore Decorators White

The Best Paint Colors for South-Facing Rooms

 

CHOOSING WHITE FOR EASTERN OR WESTERN EXPOSURE

Rooms with eastern and western light are the HARDEST to choose paint colors for. Why? Because their temperature and quality of light change SO DRASTICALLY from morning to afternoon!

A warm, soft white paint colour like Sherwin Williams Alabaster can be a beautiful way to add warmth to a flat eastern afternoon or western morning…

Dining room with transitional farmhouse modern style home decor. Sherwin Williams Alabaster, best warm white paint color on walls. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

  • Eastern light is brighter in the morning and flatter in the afternoon.
  • Western light is flat in the morning and QUITE warm as the day progresses.
  • COOL WHITES are risky for fear of them looking drab and uninviting during the flat time of day.
  • SUBTLE WARM WHITES can add softness to the flat time of day while looking inviting during the warm times.
  • BRIGHT WARM WHITES are also a great way to balance the flat light of morning/afternoon, depending on your exposure.
  • Overall, my favorite whites for a room with Eastern or Western exposure are SOFT WARM or BRIGHT WARM whites.

Kylie M’s TOP 3 Curated White Paint Color Collections With Samplize

 

THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLOURS FOR EAST & WEST-FACING ROOMS

WARM BUT MUTED WHITES: Benjamin Moore Cloud White, Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee, Sherwin Williams Alabaster, although it’s warmer than the others and will heat up in the western afternoon (but really, so will ANY white).

BRIGHT WHITES: Benjamin Moore Simply White

TRUE WHITES: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

The Best Paint Colors for an East-Facing Room

The Best Paint Colors for a West-Facing Room

While it’s night in this next photo, this room has a mix of south, east, and west-facing exposures, along with a BEAUTIFUL quartz countertop and marble floor. These finishes combined make Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace a great choice – I can’t wait to see it all done!

Trout Gray painted dark gray cabinets, marble tile floor in kitchen, Chantilly Lace walls and trim (Benjamin Moore) Kylie M Interiors Online paint color consulting (2)

And finally…personal tastes.

 

WHAT IF YOU AND YOUR HOME DON’T AGREE?

Throughout this process, there’s a good chance you’ve stepped away from the white paint color you’d fallen in love with and landed on one that’s not EXACTLY what you had in mind.

Remember, this isn’t about YOU; this is about your home.

Sliding barn doo into laundry room mud room with built in bench, white wainscoting, Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray and Sherwin High Reflective White. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy upate ideas.

Go ahead and choose the white you love; fill yer lil white boots. Just know that ignoring your home might leave you with a room that doesn’t look well-coordinated, which harkens back to one of my 836 favorite sayings…

Choose paint colors for the home you HAVE, not the home you WISH you hada la moi

Sometimes, tough love is the BEST type of love.

 

SHOULD YOU USE DIFFERENT SHADES OF WHITE?

Long story short – no.

As you learned earlier in this blog post, there are five types of white paint colors with various undertones and intentions. Partnering different whites together is like drinking a chardonnay and pinot gris at the same time – one devalues the other, clashing on your tastebuds and leaving you with a regretfully whopping hangover. On the other hand, the right white (wine or paint) compliments itself rather than highlighting the subtle nuances in another that is often best left alone (kind of like me…with a hangover).

Living room beige sofa and loveseat, wood floor, Sherwin Williams Pure White, best soft white, north east exposure, brick fireplace. Kylie M Interiors client photo

Sherwin Williams Pure White on ALL painted surfaces

In this next photo, you’ll see Sherwin Williams Pure White, the SAME white from the above photo. Look at how much more yellow it looks IN COMPARISON to the whiter, brighter trim in the bottom photo. Did this person WANT yellow-hued walls? Not bloody likely. Had they used the same white on the trim and ceilings, Pure White would’ve looked whiter overall, as it wouldn’t be directly compared to a more true white.

Pure White compared to bright white trim. Should all surfaces be same white. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Want to see these white paint colors in ACTION? Check out Emily Henderson’s awesome blog post HERE.

 

WHY DO YOU WANT TO USE TWO DIFFERENT SHADES OF WHITE?

  • Is it because you’re worried about your room looking boring? If this is a concern, the bigger question is, ‘Does your room even SUIT an all-white palette, or do you need to look at an off-white paint color for your walls to get some dimension and visual interest?‘ ‘Does your room have the right decor, texture, and visual interest to support an all-white look?
  • Because you saw it in a design magazine? While you won’t see it OFTEN, it is done, and often, not that well. Remember, just because it’s DONE doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done. And besides, the white-on-white combos that do work are carefully chosen (usually by professionals) to suit the surrounding finishes and exposure.

This next open-concept space is painted in ALL Benjamin Moore Cloud White. Had they used a BRIGHTER white on the cabinets, trim, and ceiling, it would’ve enhanced the yellow in Cloud White, making it look LESS white and more yellow/cream…

Benjamin Moore Cloud White, do you need same white matching on cabinets, ceiling and trim, kitchen with warm white. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Hold on a hot minute! Look at the original photo (below), where the two exterior doors are WHITE. This is a great example of what a BRIGHT COOL white can do to a WARM WHITE paint colour…GAG ME WITH A SPOOOOOON!

South facing room Benjamin Moore Cloud White, unpainted back doors. Edesign example

In this next foyer, all the white surfaces are painted the SAME white paint color – Benjamin Moore Super White. There’s no reason to choose a DIFFERENT white for any of these surfaces…

Do trim, cabinets, walls be same white. Entryway foyer, white oak flooring, gray blue painted front door. Benjamin Moore Super White. Kylie M Edesign (2)

Want to learn more about coordinating white paint colors with each other? I’ve written a blog post on this exact topic as it’s a BIG one (that’s what she said). In the meantime, let’s just hit some key points…

  • if you’re going to mix and match whites, the WHITER of the two should be on your trim and cabinets; the darker white should be on the walls (this all comes down to LRV)
  • ideally, the white on your cabinets and trim would be a TRUE white, so you don’t have to worry as much about interfering with undertones

Now, you know I have a LOT more to say on ALL of the above topics, so if you love learning, check ’em out…

THE ENTIRE INDEX OF WHITE PAINT-COLOR BLOG POSTS 

SPECIFIC COLOR REVIEWS NOT INCLUDED (or we’d be here forever)

Which White Paint Colors Go Together?

Are White Walls, Cabinets & Exteriors STILL TRENDY?

White Dove vs. Cloud White, White Dove, & 10 Popular Shades of White

White Paint Colors: Walls, Cabinets & Trim – do they need to MATCH?

Sherwin Williams 3 Best Warm White Paint Colors

The 3 Best White Paint Colors for North-Facing Rooms

The 5 ALMOST FOOL-PROOF White Paint Colors for Your Home

9 Best White Paint Colors: Sherwin Williams Emerald Designer Edition

The 5 Types of White Paint Colors: Warm, Cool, True & More

The 8 Best Benjamin Moore White Paint Colors

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Painting Your Cabinets WHITE

The 5 WHITEST White Paint Colors

The 4 Best White Paint Colors for Cabinets & Vanities

Behr’s Best White & Soft-White Paint Colors

The 4 Best White Paint Colors: Sherwin Williams

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



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  1. I have BM’s Pure White trim all over my house and it looks nice. We’re getting ready to paint our orange-oak kitchen cabinets white but the Pure White will be too bright for our cream/tan backsplash and dark granite countertops. What are your thoughts on painting the cabinets and trim in the kitchen a soft/warm white and still keep the pure white trim in the rest of the house? The rooms are completely separate but I can see into the kitchen from our family room. Thanks!

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      Hi Terri, I would be VERY careful. One white can really exploit the undertones in another, undertones that might have been previously hiding! When it comes to whites it’s usually best to stick with the white you’re using or step RIGHT out of the white range and into something in the light family or darker. Remember, even though the name says Pure White, it’s actually quite far away from it as it has some cool violet hues that would DEFINITELY pop up against a creamier warmer white :).

  2. Hi Kylie, Happy New Year! Thank you for writing this blog post. It comes on the heels of me trying to figure out what white works best for my home. The front of my home (workout room, guest room, and 1 hallway) is south-facing while the back of my home (foyer, 2 small hallways, living room, and kitchen) are north facing. For the past 6 months, I’ve been living with swatches of BM White Dove on the north-facing parts of my home and loved it. I recently tested Chantilly Lace in my south-facing hallway and while it was very bright, it had a bit of softness and warmth to it. I decided to do another test and paint this same hallway White Dove and feel like I made a bad mistake as it appears a bit too creamy. Should I paint the hallways a different color and leave the core of my house (foyer, living room, kitchen) White Dove. Or is there by chance a happy medium color outside of White Dove that has a tiny bit of warm without being color and is still white?

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      Oooo that’s tough. IDEALLY, you’d use the same white throughout for consistency and flow. My concern is that the whites might do what you want in the daytime, but at night, they’d give different vibes.

      1. Hi Kylie – can you recommend a “faux” laminate marble look-alike that would pair well with BM white dove cabinets? I was thinking maybe Formica 6696-46 Carrara Bianco, Arborite P1015 UL, Versailles Marble or Arborite P1000VL Arabescato Marble – or should I just ditch the marble look-a-likes altogether? Your expert opinion would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi Kylie,Happy New Year! Just to let you know I enjoy reading your blog posts and watching your video’s.Even when I don’t have a particular project in mind for the all the useful information you give out. I love your sense of humor sarcasm and innuendos.Keep it up!

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  4. Hi Kylie! Thank you so much for all the helpful lessons. Following your blog’s advice last year, I was able to pick the correct white for my kitchen cabinets/walls/trim (BM White Dove…so pretty and versatile). We’ve just bought a new house that we move into next month and this post has already been so helpful! I can’t wait to get in there and use your tips!!

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  5. I’m trying to soak up as much as I can from social media as we are in the middle of our first home build and I’m trying really hard to avoid hiring a designer.
    After hours on social media I think I am making progress on my selections so far, but I am STUCK on this to the point of losing sleep…

    I love and want a white kitchen! I have always had tan everything (walls & carpet), so never again. But I REALLY don’t feel confident in my “white” selections for quartz countertops, paint, subway tile backsplash and farmhouse sink (being delivered tomorrow)!
    I’ve heard I don’t have to be all matchy, matchy, which I’m trying to break, but I know “clashing” whites will haunt me for life!

    Do you have suggestions? I’ve been leaning toward Sherwin Williams pure white, extra white or snowbound for all paint (interior and exterior) but this feels like such a HUGE decision. I get totally lost trying to figure out the north, south, east, west angles (sheetrock going in today) and I have no existing interior finishes to consider yet. We have tons of large windows, so I’m guessing we will have a lot of natural light. We are also narrowing down LVP flooring options, likely in a light wood tone.

    Is there a magic combination that I haven’t discovered yet???
    Once I get past this hurdle, I think the rest will come together 🤞
    Thanks in advance!

  6. Hi Kylie, I love reading your blogs and I am also a subscriber for your YouTube channel. I love how you speak and even my husband is a fan of your blue eyes 😍Anytime I am watching your videos, he would say I love her eyes! I really appreciate how you take time to write these blogs and post videos, you don’t know how much you are helpful to people like us who cannot afford very expensive interior designers🙏 you are my most favorite paint advise persons on YT. I have been watching all your videos to help me decide paint for my house for past several weeks.

    I tried to short list my paint colors to Dove white, Swiss coffee and Pale Oak. The way my layout is, I have to go with the same color for my entry way, living room (facing north west) and kitchen ( very dark since only one window facing south) since there is no division in between (80’s typical colonial house with stairs in the middle with no big foyer so dark hallway)I like how Pale oak goes with my warm fixed elements such as glazed maple cabinets and my dark brown couch, cream/beige coffee table and beige carpet/tiles, but what I don’t like is how it looks especially on stairways showing blue/ green undertones and also in my family room especially in evening hours when the warm light is turned on. I don’t like it in my family room so I started looking for off whites since I’ve 2 sky lights and one patio door in family room so I get plenty of lights there from south east direction. I tried so many color sample from samplize( thanks to your advise 😊) such as Chantilly lace, pale oak, Swiss coffee, super white, revere pewter, Collingwood, etc

    1st question I’ve is 1. Should I go with dove white in family room and pale oak in living room or should I keep white dove through out my first floor. 2. If I go with dove white everywhere then do I keep the same trim and doors ( laundry room/ mud room/powder room etc) or should I change it up? 3. I’m doing an accent wall in family room with board and batten which is facing the main wall that can be seen as soon as you enter the room as well as from kitchen and living room. I was thinking of choosing Dove white with Pale oak/ agreeable gray as an accent wall ( I tried revere pewter but found too dark) which one do you think would go more? 4. If it was your place with lots of warm elements would you go with off white such as dove white or neutral white would you go with greige color or any other color? If so which one? What color would you choose for accent wall?

    Sorry for the long question but I wanted to provide as much info as possible. Appreciate it! 😊

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      Hi Preity, this is just the nicest comment to get 🙂

      So, re: Pale Oak going blue-green on the stairs, that will be more about your natural light or light bulbs than Pale Oak, as pale oak has a PINK-VIOLET undertone, which is opposite those colours! In my own home, I have a VARIETY of exposures and went with White Dove on my walls/trim/ceilings/doors as I wanted a soft warm, but not ‘colourful’ look and it gives me SO MUCH FLEXIBILITY and shifts nicely with the light. Of course, it shifts DIFFERENTLY in each room, but that’s the nature of paint colours and lighting. So long story short, yes, I would lean into White Dove everywhere for a simple consistency. I would ALSO look a SW Agreeable Gray or Collingwood for the feature wall. It will be subtle, but I totally get not wanting anything too strong.

      I hope this helps!!

  7. Hello, this is GREAT information! I do have a question. My kitchen is more ‘Tuscan’ so to brighten it I thought of using Alabaster or Pure white. It’s a bright white now and doesn’t vibe. My living room has grey sectional darker with whites and woods (modernist) accents, would the Alabaster work in there also or should I got with a different white to brighten that room? I worry about mixing and not great matching colors. :). My trim and doors are all the bright white but my plan is to make it all the same white maybe? Thank you so much

  8. Pingback: Bookmarked: Everything the Document editors watched, read, ate, bought, and listened to in May

  9. Very informative blog post, though now I’m more confused than ever. Trying to repaint a fresh coat of white over the existing white in our new home’s main areas, and I have no idea what the current paint colour is to match it. I was leaning towards Chantilly Lace because it seemed the most “white” white. But I’m afraid to depart too much from what’s there already, for fear it will look off.

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