The Best White Paint

shades of white paint

Well, if you saw my home disaster via snapchat (@earnesthomeco) and are still here with us today, than congratulations for being a trooper and having faith in my process.  Today, we are exploring the best white paints that I’ll be using throughout my house. Over the course of the last month, I’ve been testing out whites, grays, and off whites to figure out what will work best in my space.  I’ve discovered a few tips that are very helpful when making the white choice (ha).

First, this might be shocking (hold onto your hats) but the room you’re painting matters.  Our house is very segmented and while one room gets all southern light, another will get all northern light.  Because here in the states the sun tilts slightly south, we get warmer (yellow cast) light coming through south-facing windows and cooler light (blue cast) coming through north facing windows. If I were to paint a northern room in a cool white, it would look stark and cold.  Similarly, if I were to paint a southern room in a warmer white, it would have a yellow cast and could look dingy or old. This was a big factor in how I chose my colors for the nursery, the third floor, and the living room.

The second thing to consider is the trim.  My trim is all white, and a very true, ultra, crisp white at that.  I wouldn’t want a color that was too close to the trim, making the room look flat.  If my trim was wood, I could have a little more options as the white I chose for the walls wouldn’t compete with the trim.

white options

I started off thinking about using Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White in Matte in the baby’s room.  Since the room is south-facing, it could handle a cool white.  Plus, all of my inspiration pictures were pretty standard white. After doing a swatch on the wall, however, I felt that I needed something with a little more color to it.  I had a full gallon of Benjamin Moore Sheep’s Wool leftover from the kitchen renovation and after painting a swatch of that, quickly realized it was the winner.  It is just gray enough to keep the room from having a yellow cast with just a little bit more depth that the Decorators White.  Plus, it pops off the white trim really really well.

Now onto the attic. This room is north facing and has very few windows.  I wanted to go white because it is very dark up there and a light color would bring some much needed brightness to the space.  But also, rooms without good lighting can look sterile and flat.  A white with a little warmth was needed up there to make the room welcoming. At the suggestion of my good friend and interior decorator, Lacey, I chose Benjamin Moore White Dove in Matte (OC-17).  It has just the right amount of warmth and stands off the white trim really really nicely. It’s almost exactly the same depth (distance away from white) as the Sheep’s Wool, except has a warmer cast whereas the Sheep’s Wool is cooler.

Not to worry, though, I have the perfect spot for the Decorators White.  Remember me talking about swapping my living room and dining room?  Well, this would make the new living room on the south side of the house.  While I had originally intended in my inspiration post to use White Dove, I now think this will be a perfect spot for the Decorator’s White.

The very last ‘white’ in the top photo (on the brush) is a pure ultra white trim paint in a high gloss.  This beauty will be used to give all the window and door trim a fresh update and keep that wall color looking bright and vibrant.

Now, I know this seems like a TON of white.  But, remember that my entryway, the staircase, and the upstairs landing are all a dark navy blue while my bedroom is dark charcoal gray.  These super saturated colors find balance with shades of white and gray in other areas of the home.  Speaking of my entry, if you follow on Insta, you’ll have seen some SUPER exciting news regarding our foyer!  Take a look!


Disclosure:  Paint for this project was donated by Benjamin Moore although I would have used it anyway… guys, paint matters.  I’ll come clean and say that I tried to paint the 3rd floor with a hardware store brand first.  Then, after using a full gallon ($50) and realizing that it would take FOUR coats to cover the dark dark gray, I switched to Benjamin Moore.  It seems expensive, but after two coats and I was done.  That’s $70 x 2 gallons versus $50 x 4 gallons… big difference.  

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