Today I’m Talking: The Best White Paints

white paint, Benjamin Moore, best white paintsIt’s no secret that white walls are where it’s at these days! Sure, grey paint is still a surefire choice but more and more people are jumping on the white bandwagon. And for those of you who know me and follow me on our reno journeys know how much I love using a. lot. of. white. In my mind, it’s the IT NEUTRAL and you can’t really go wrong. But choosing the right white paint can be a challenge with all the options. I’ve used a few now and feel ready to share my choices for the best white paints and impart a few tips and tricks for getting white right! Here are my winners:

Best White Paint

The first three are my top choices for warmer whites that pull more of yellow/creamier base.

  1. Simply White – clean and bright with the right amount of softness. It has a bit of a yellow undertone but less prominent than others. I absolutely love this one and used it in the Beaumont dream house seen here.
  2. Cloud White – definitely a warmer white that is very elegant and timeless. Great for any room…especially a nursery!
  3. White Dove – one of the most recommended white paints out there. It is warm, incredibly soft and it has absolutely no coldness to it! We are using this one in our current Laurier Heights project!

The bottom three are my top choices for cooler whites that hint more towards blue or green.

  1. Chantilly Lace – very crisp and clean! It reminds me of that pure silk colour you find with fabrics. I used it in our basement and it completely revitalized the space…pictures of that reno coming soon!
  2. Oxford White – this one tends to look more modern. It has a hint of blue/green and is a great option for bathrooms or even trim, moulding, etc.
  3. Decorator’s White – my go to when I want a really bright white. It seems to be the one closest to a true “white” in my opinion and is definitely a great option for any space. Though, while researching my white paints, I found it to be mainly recommended for trim and doors. But when we remodelled the kitchen and living room at the Capilano house, it worked perfectly for the entire space!

Shall we have a look at these babies in action?

dream home designSimply white (The Beaumont house)

the best white paintsCloud white via Decor Pad

the best white paintsDove White

the best white paintsChantilly Lace via Home Bunchthe best white paintsOxford white via Houzz

before & afterDecorator’s White (Capilano flip)

Having some white paint options in your back pocket is a great start but I know that’s just the first step. My tips are:

  1. Test out the options first…always. And make sure to look at the swatches at different times of the day!
  2. Know your lighting because colours can really vary from room to room. North facing gets cooler almost grey light whereas south facing definitely pulls in the warmer sunlight! So remember that a north exposure will magnify cooler whites and south exposure will enhance the creamier, warmer whites.
  3. Pick the right finish! When it comes to walls choose a flat or eggshell sheen. Ceilings are best flat and baseboards or trim are great in a satin or semi-gloss finish.
  4. On the subject of white walls partnered with white wainscotting or panelling, you can definitely do the same white paint on both! OR, I would suggest to keep the walls a bit warmer and stay in the brighter, cleaner options for the millwork. That way they will have a nice, clean contrast…even if it’s only a subtle difference! i.e. White Dove on the walls and Decorator’s White on the panelling.
  5. Use the Benjamin Moore website to see the colour variations. You can’t do this as much for other colour families but with white, the online map is amazing at showing you the undertones!

the best white paintsI hope this post was useful! Remember, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to white paint so test out several options before making the commitment!

Any questions?? Leave a comment and I’d be happy to respond!

  • Thanks for this post! I love love love white decor. I always wondered though, with white walls, do you match the trim to the walls? Because if you didn’t, wouldn’t they clash? Or, could you use the same white shade, but the trim be glossy and the walls be flat? Sorry for all the questions. I’m just nervous because I feel like the warm, creamier whites of say, Ikea Lack furniture, ‘clash’ with the cooler whites of my existing trim. Maybe they don’t and I’m overanalyzing too much. Your Capilano flip for example, did you use Decorator’s White for both the trim and walls, because it looks great. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and (hopefully) clarify some things for me! 🙂

    • That’s a great question and really, with trim, I typically stick to using the basic white trim paint found at any home improvement store. And I find it doesn’t clash at all. That’s what we did at the Capilano house. Decorator’s white on the walls in an egg shell and then basic trim paint in semi gloss on the baseboards and door surrounds, etc. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same paint colour in those different finishes too!
      I know what you mean about Ikea’s version of white in some of their products…it is definitely creamier. But varying shades/tones of white can look good together with the right balance of textures and then good lighting too. Try not to overthink too much and just give it a test to see is what I would do if you’re unsure. Hope that helps!

  • I painted my kitchen on Saturday and ended up hating the colour so I painted it again on Sunday but now I have decided that I really love the look of white. I may have to paint it a third time. White is scary to me but looks so clean and beautiful!

    • It does seem scary you’re right! But so far, I haven’t found it to be unmanageable at all! Maybe a bit more cleaning here and there but so worth it in my books. Just the perfect blank canvas everyone needs in their home! Thanks for the comment!

  • Q: We have one coat of primer on & we are trying to deicide on the final white for the trim (and trim + walls for the master bedroom – its getting sprayed at once). Our hardwood (walnut ish), doors, & railing have gold/reddish undertones & will we have some yellow Edison bulb lighting. Right now, we are stuck between ‘chantilly lace’ and ‘simply white’. I think ‘simply white’ may end up looking yellowish, but I don’t know..? And I don’t know if its ok to go with a white paint that is in the blue (ish) family when our wood has red undertones. H E L P!! xo

    • Haha I can see why you’re panicking! That’s tricky stuff! I used Simply White in my mom’s home and they had dark cherry cabinets and darker hardwood…never did it look too yellow. But at the same time they had a TON of good natural light. What direction are your windows facing? I would probably let that guide my decision in terms of the warmth of sun I am getting in the room. I also used Chantilly in my basement that gets almost zero natural light and it looks great…I honestly would lean more towards that one for you…I mean without seeing the space. But you could always buy a tiny sample of each and paint a bit of a wall or some cardstock paper and hold it up on different walls at different times of the day. I should come over to see it!!! 😉

      • This is so helpful! Thank you!! XO! The master bedroom windows face west & the other windows are north and south (hallway & other bedrooms – which would be a wainscotting and trim in that paint). Natural lighting is minimal. Do you still think ‘chantilly lace’? So far, its our fave. I am going to buy some sample tins tomorrow & try it out. The hard part is that all the wood is tapped off, so it’s a gamble. Dumb move on my part…

        I would love to have you over! We can go for a bevy on 124 St before or after I give you the tour of my seriously messy house (trust me when I say it’s messy; there is pre-reno carpet in the kitchen that we have dragged reno debris through…). I am going home for the Christmas, but I will send you a twitter message when I know when I will be back in the city. 🙂

  • Hi Lynne,
    I really need your help! I am trying to pick the right white for our entire 2 story house (main living areas open to each other. I have tried 12 whites! It feels so daunting because we are doing everything: walls, ceilings, trims/millwork. I will likely ned this same white for kitchen cabinets when we remodel that area. So far we have put in new wide, plank floors pic (below.) I love the idea of layering whites, but the house is only 1845 sq. feet, so my goal is for it to feel bigger.
    My white thus far is Chantilly Lace. My only fear with Chantilly Lace will it feel too stark with the key furniture (below)? The furniture in living room will be 2 Chesterfield sofas in Vintage Cigar leather, with chairs in light linen or white slipcovers and touches of indigo/navy in pillows & blue/white pottery. The Kitchen & and Dining Room are through the archway and will have this Carrera dining table. The Carrera top is supposed to be white marble, but it is truly an off white.
    My Second favorite is Simply White, but I have a big fear of it being too yellow, especially on millwork. We do have natural light, but not nearly as much as the Beaumont house you did. I included a snapshot of the house as the wood floors were being put in. Not sure why it is showing up sideways!? Most of the windows in the living room are east facing with some higher north facing ones & very small ones higher up coming in from west. Kitchen has east & south windows. What do you recommend? I am trying to create a bright, light space, but touches of old world charm. I love all the white interior of Parisian apartments with rich pops of wood tone & color. Just not sure who to get that right white!
    What white do you recommend for walls, ceilings & millwork? Thank you!!!

  • What do you do if you don’t know the white paint used on the millwork in a home and you are painting cabinets white as well? Any tips or safe bets? Looks like you suggest Dove White? Great blog by the way!!!!

    • It’s hard to say for sure. There really are no perfect safe bets. But I would try just doing a couple of swatches of different whites and seeing which one looks best next to your existing millwork. Thank you so much!

  • Great info! Do you have any suggestions for a white for a north facing bedroom? I live on Vancouver Island so we do have our share of grey days. Walls are textured plaster, if that makes a difference. Also, would you suggest eggshell finish? Thanks 🙂

    • Hey Christine! I would probably stick with Eggshell yes. Hmm with North facing you are getting a ton of colder light, especially in Van. I would suggest doing something warmer then so it doesn’t go too stark. Maybe try out a little tester of the white dove!

  • Hi Kristina, what do u think for Chantilly Lace for walls. my house is facing south east so there should be plenty of sunshine and i dont want it to be stark. and also should i go with eggshell or matt finish ?

    • Remember that south light is a lot warmer and Chantilly Lace is slightly cooler. So it will neutralize the colour a bit during those brighter hours. I would do a test swatch and see how it looks. But if it’s going too stark for you, I’d consider one of the warmer whites. I usually do an Eggshell finish for most walls except bathroom. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Kristina, I would love your help!! I have White Dove on all the walls in my house. We were originally going to do Cloud White on the kitchen cabinets. The White Dove and Cloud White look almost exactly the same. Is it okay to do the kitchen cabinets and walls the same colour? Or should I do the kitchen cabinets a starker white? I believe we are doing Decorators White on the trim and doors.

    • Hi Resi,
      You don’t necessarily need to go stark white. Even IKEA cabinets are a soft cream. I would make the decision based off the rest of my design choices like backsplash and counters, hardware, etc. I would really only go stark white if it was a more modern look…

      • Thanks Kristina. Maybe stark white was the wrong wording. I think I just meant a white that is lighter or more true than the Cloud White. I went with Chantilly Lace. Thanks for getting back to me though.

  • Wonderfully useful post and I’m
    enjoying exploring your blog! I’m trying to decide on a white trim to go with Ben Moore Seapearl walls in my bathroom – rest of house trim is White Dove (with Sailcloth walls) which reads a little too creamy for the bathroom. I hadn’t considered Oxford White til I read this – might work?

  • Hello! What kind of white was used for the trim etc when you painted simply white? It looks amazing.

    • (Because every time i use simply white, i always have a hard time with the trim affecting the paint colour!)

  • Hi! Great article about whites. I love white kitchens and all white homes. My husband and I are getting Simply White cabinets. However, we’re wondering which white to paint our walls? Should we stick with warm whites? Thanks. Keep up the great work.

    • It’s hard to answer that question without knowing more details about your space. It depends a lot on lighting! Try grabbing a tester of a warmer white and seeing how it feels at different times of the day! Thanks for stopping by!!

  • Hi there. I am picking a white for a new kitchen. It is a layering of the whites. Shaker cabinets, white quartz counter tops with a grey veining and probably a white backsplash? I was just wondering your recommendations for white cabinets? our trim throughout the house is cloud white but I am trying to decide between this and simply white?

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