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The Best White Paint Colors for Dark Rooms

We love bright clean white paint colors, but they can look dreary in dark rooms.  Since we published the post “Our 5 Favorite Benjamin Moore Whites (and how to use them)”, we had lots of questions about the best white paint colors for dark rooms. This post shares our favorite whites for dark rooms and how to pick them.

About The Color Concierge

We recommend warm white paint colors for darker rooms – either whites with strong yellow undertones or light neutrals (LRV 70-75) with contrasting white ceilings and trim.  Light neutrals such as BM Classic Gray or BM White Duck read like creamy whites and should be paired with a crisp, bright white ceiling and trim for contrast.

*This post contains affiliate links for products I use and love.  If you click on some links and make a purchase, I will get a small commission at no cost to you.  This helps pay for the costs of the blog so I can continue to offer great content to our readers.

9 Best White Paint Colors for Dark Rooms

Click the links below to learn more about our favorite white paint colors for dark rooms from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. Or, keep reading to learn more about what to consider when choosing white paint colors for your home.

  1. Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
  2. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster
  3. Benjamin Moore White Dove
  4. Benjamin Moore Ballet White
  5. Sherwin-Williams White Duck
  6. Benjamin Moore Simply White
  7. Sherwin-Williams Cheviot
  8. Benjamin Moore Snowfall White
  9. Benjamin Moore Classic Gray

Sample the Best White Paint Colors for Low Light

Don’t forget to always sample your paint colors. Use the links below to order Samplize samples for each of our favorite Sherwin-Williams Emerald Designer Collection paint colors.

Samplize offers peel-and-stick samples made with real paint, so you can easily test any color in any space in your home.

Buy 8 samples and get 2 free – no coupon code required! Order today and get samples tomorrow!

Order your sample bundle of all our favorite white paint colors:

Which white paint colors DON’T work in darker rooms?

Don’t pick white paint with blue undertones or clean whites as wall colors for rooms with low light. 

Blue-whites like SW Extra White, BM Decorator’s White and BM White Diamond are all examples of white paint colors with blue undertones that can shadow out in the corners of a room. 

Clean whites like BM Chantilly Lace, BM Oxford White and SW High Reflective White can have a similar effect in dark rooms and can end up looking dingy.

White colors with pink or taupe undertones such as SW Snowbound are also not the best choices for dark rooms. A color like BM Cloud White, which has taupe undertones with some yellow can sometimes work but should be tested carefully first.

Why can’t I paint a dark room bright white?

The most counterintuitive tip is that you need lots of light for crisp white paint to look good. 

When we refer to bright whites, we mean whites with blue undertones and clean whites, all of which can look very bright in rooms with lots of natural light. If you have a dark room, however, this kind of white paint gets shaded in the corners and turns into a dingy gray.

Bright whites are like a mirror.  They can reflect the grass in your backyard or your neighbor’s red siding.

STORYTIME:  I painted my bright south-facing Laundry Room SW Extra White.  It looked glorious until the house went up next door and blocked the light.  The house next door was green, and then so was that room.  Photos can’t describe how awful it was.

If your room is north-facing, the light can be blue, which gives your whites a blue cast.

If you have earthy finishes such as granite countertops, an adjacent blue-white or clean white can look fluorescent.  Use warm whites in rooms with earthy finishes.

One more thing… we do not recommend that you try to paint match colors between brands. Paint color formulas are difficult to duplicate, and whites are especially hard to get right.  Read more about paint matching here.

What type of white paint colors work best in a dark room?

Off-white paint colors with warm yellow (or green) undertones work very well in a darker room.  

This isn’t a very technical term, but it seems as if the yellow in these colors cuts through the dinge, ensuring they look good even in shadowy parts of the room. 

When you use an off-white in this application, the yellow undertones tend to be minimized, or even disappear. You’re left with a lovely soft, light wall color.

What are the best white paint colors for dark rooms?

These warmer white paint colors will still read white in a darker room.  Trust us!  No matter what, we always recommend that you test your paint colors IN THE ROOM.

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee, OC-45

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee (LRV=84) is a classic, much-loved white paint color.  It is creamy, warm, and still crisp in the right settings.  It has enough warmth and pigment that it won’t shadow out in the corners.  I love this color, and so does the North American population.

When I published my blog post about BM Swiss Coffee, it almost broke my website because I had so much traffic.  I had to get a bigger host for the site.   is also a great choice, and slightly warmer than White Dove.

There is an urban myth that Swiss Coffee will flash green.  The only time I’ve ever seen it do that is when you have lots of foliage outside, and it reflects onto the inside.  Also if you are painting over green paint without using primer.

Photo by M. Marceny

Sherwin-Williams Alabaster, SW 7008

Alabaster is one of Sherwin-Williams’ most famous white paint colors. I spent many years resisting this color because it has such strong yellow undertones. But I’ve experimented with it a lot in recent years and have really come to love it – especially as a white paint for dark rooms!

Alabaster is a versatile, beautiful creamy white. I’ve used it on everything from exterior siding and interior trim to cabinets, bathrooms and low-light bedrooms. 

With an LRV of 82, it’s still fairly light but not as bright as many white paints. It has strong yellow undertones but is also a bit grayed out and muted. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a white paint color that won’t look too stark in bright light but won’t look dingy in low light.

I used Alabaster walls in a guest bedroom within my own home (pictured below). Even though the room has low light and small North-facing windows, Alabaster lights up the room and doesn’t shadow out in the corners. I will probably never paint this room again! It’s that lovely.

A guest bedroom with Sherwin-Williams Alabaster walls and colorful accents.
Photo by M. Marceny

Benjamin Moore White Dove, OC-17 

Benjamin Moore White Dove is a lovely grayed-out white paint color, and also a favorite for trim.   White Dove (LRV=85) also works great because it has yellow undertones.

It is slightly brighter than Swiss Coffee.  If you want paint that is 75% strength of Swiss Coffee, just use White Dove.  It’s basically the same thing.

Read about White Dove in our White Dove Color Review.

The room below is painted White Dove on walls, ceiling, and trim with shifting sheens. It is so lovely, it actually glows.

bedroom walls with White Dove BM OC-17 white paint.
Photo by M. Camilli

It looks amazing in the bedroom seating area below.

Here is a great photo of a room painted with White Dove in a basement.  In this case, we painted the trim, walls, and ceiling the same color, but with shifting sheens. This photo was taken in a basement with west-facing windows and natural light.  It still looks amazing and bright.  Even though it has tons of yellow in the undertones, you can’t see that here.

White dove wall, ceiling and trim in different sheens
Photo by M. Marceny

Benjamin Moore Ballet White, OC-9

I used Benjamin Moore Ballet White in this Zen Bedroom specifically because the window had cool North Facing light and a great big evergreen pine tree outside.  Ballet White (LRV=73) was creamy and beautiful and perfect.

The warmth and red in the paint counteracted the green from the outside. This is also a great paint color for homes with earthy finishes such as granite.  The ceiling was painted BM Chantilly Lace, which created a PERFECT contrast. We don’t recommend a monochromatic palette with Ballet White as the ceiling, wall, and trim color because it will look dingy.

Bedroom walls painted with Ballet White OC-9 white paint.
Photo by M. Marceny

Sherwin-Williams White Duck SW 7010

Gorgeous SW White Duck saved the day on the main floor of my new home.  The common areas have lots of windows, but they face east and I have a roof cover over my back porch.  The SW Extra White ceiling and trim color provide contrast to brighten the room.

The light is bright in the afternoon, and dark after 1:00 PM.  The builder originally painted the walls with Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, and this beautiful paint color made my home look like a jail.

A couple of coats of White Duck, and it looks light and bright and lovely!  Since then we have painted the same kitchen BM Simply White, which I also love.

My SEO specialist Danielle also used White Duck in her low-light bedroom. This room has West-facing windows and is very bright in the late afternoon but dimly light in the morning and even through mid-day.

White Duck looks warm and lovely at all times of day in this space and doesn’t fade out in the shadows!

A master bedroom is painted with Sherwin-Williams White Duck
Photo by D. Gagnon

Benjamin Moore Simply White (OC-117)

I added Benjamin Moore’s Simply White after I wrote this article.  According to the rules of color selection, you should never use such a light color in a dimly lit room, but somehow it shines like a beacon because of its strong yellow undertones.  When we first tried it in a house with low light (at the request of the homeowner), we didn’t believe it, but it worked.  Since then we have experimented a lot, including in my house.  I painted my kitchen (shown with White Duck above) Simply White.  Below I show the attached open-concept living room with Simply White walls and an Extra White ceiling.

Originally it was painted SW Agreeable Gray, which looked dingy.  Next, we repainted with SW White Duck (as shown in the kitchen above), which looked nice.  The final version is BM Simply White walls.  Which one is better?  I leave it to personal preference they both look lovely.

Learn more about Simply White in the detailed Simply White Paint Color Review with LOTS of natural light photos to show how the color behaves in low light, brighter light, and artificial light.

Sherwin-Williams Cheviot SW 9503

Sherwin-Williams Cheviot is a newer SW white paint color, part of their Emerald Designer Edition, and I absolutely love it. I believe that it will become one of the best, most iconic Sherwin-Williams white paint colors.

I think of Cheviot as Sherwin-Williams’ answer to Benjamin Moore Simply White. It is clean, crisp and luminous on the wall and looks beautiful in many different spaces.

The LRV of Sherwin-Williams Cheviot is 89, which is considered very light and bright. This color has soft yellow undertones that help brighten up a room with low light (without looking dingy), but still stand up well to bright sunshine without washing out.

Check out the photo below; it was taken deep in the far corners of my studio, and Cheviot still looked great!

An office painted with SW Cheviot paint, one of the best white paints for dark rooms.
Photo by Clyde Plasencia

The room has a Western exposure, with west-facing windows and a view of the mountains opposite the black accent wall. The back of the room stays in shadow most of the day, but Cheviot still looks soft and luminescent. It doesn’t look dingy in the corners as many bright whites can.

An office painted with Sherwin-Williams Cheviot paint with an SW Iron Ore accent wall.
Photo by Clyde Placensia

Benjamin Moore Snowfall White 2144-70

We used BM Snowfall White for this small house with West-facing exposure and tons of trees in the summer.  Even though it’s in the shadows, it still looks warm, light, and airy, and not yellow.   It’s almost as if the cool light neutralizes with the warm yellow undertones.  This photo was taken with natural light, and the shadows in the corners are minimal.  The room looks warm, bright and airy. Read more about this color in our Snowfall White Color Review.

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray, OC-23

We use Benjamin Moore Classic Gray over and over in our practice, and it’s one of my favorites.  Read our Classic Gray Color Review here.

This is a very light greige with green undertones that sometimes flash violet (LRV=75).  It’s a light color but with enough substance that will make it look good in a room with low light.  Use lighter whites such as BM Chantilly Lace or BM Oxford White for the ceiling and trim.  In the photo below, we paired BM White Dove for the ceiling (Flat sheen) and trim (Satin or Semi-Gloss sheen). We don’t recommend a monochromatic palette with Classic Gray as ceiling, wall, and trim color because it will look dingy.

We updated this gorgeous open-concept area with Classic Gray, and it looked like a new house.  The home was surrounded by trees and other houses and had few windows.

Photo by M. Camilli

What is the easiest way to test your paint colors?

We always recommend that you test paint colors in your house because lighting can change a color completely. In the old days, this meant we painted a large poster board with sample pots and a huge mess.

Now we have SAMPLIZE, 9X14″ Pre-Painted peel-and-stick paint samples.    They are EASY to use, AFFORDABLE ($5.95/ea.), and ECO-FRIENDLY –  no messy painting or cleanup without half-used paint samples in your back closet, and they can deliver the NEXT DAY!

Samplize offers peel-and-stick samples made with real paint, so you can easily test any color in any space in your home.

Buy 8 samples and get 2 free – no coupon code required! Order today and get samples tomorrow!

Still can’t decide? Test all the paint colors from this article in your home by grabbing this custom Sample Bundle from Samplize.

Key Learning Points

Want modern white walls in a dark room? Use these tips to help you find the right color for your space.

  • Consider a warmer white paint color. It will read white without the shadows and reflection that you would get from a clean white or blue undertone paint color.
  • Darker whites with more pigment (and lower LRVs) typically work better in low-light spaces than white paint colors with high LRVs.
  • Always test your white paint colors before choosing one. Just because a white paint color should work in a dark room doesn’t mean it will look right in yours.
9 paint swatches of the best white paint colors for dark rooms
  1. White Duck, SW 7010
  2. Classic Gray, BM OC-23
  3. Swiss Coffee, BM OC-45
  4. Alabaster, SW 7008
  5. White Dove, BM OC-17
  6. Ballet White, BM OC-5
  7. Simply White, BM OC-117
  8. Cheviot, SW 9503
  9. Snowfall White, BM 2144-70

Sample all of these white paint colors easily with Samplize. Use the button below to get a sample bundle of all these colors.

 

Online Color Consulting

Still need help picking the best paint colors?  We can help! Discover our Online Color Consultations.


About the Author

Michelle Marceny, principal designer and founder of The Color Concierge, a paint color consulting company in Denver, Colorado.

Hi, I’m Michelle Marceny, founder, owner, and Principal Color Designer at The Color Concierge. I believe a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a space. The Color Concierge was born out of my drive to help clients fall back in love with their homes. My clients trust me to help them find the perfect paint color for their home – whether it’s a whole-house paint color scheme or ideas for a single room. 

Since The Color Concierge was founded in 2017, we have completed over 3000 color consultations, both online and in-person.  I am a Certified Color Expert with 7 years of experience creating interior and exterior color palettes throughout North America.


We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give out specific answers to your paint questions.  If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.

104 Responses

  1. Hi
    Oh my trim is painted and caulk white my walls are painted in a beige tone I would like to paint my ceiling should I paint it in the cloud white or would you suggest something else

    1. Hi Denise,
      Its hard to say without seeing your colors. Basically, I like to paint the ceiling the same white as the trim, or just a bit cooler than the trim. If you pick a darker white than the trim it could look dingy. Hope that helps!
      Michelle

      1. I if I use Swiss coffee on the doors and moldings what color white should I put on my walls? I love white.

        1. Hi Janis,
          For specific paint color recommendations, you can sign up for one of our online color consulting packages. Thanks!
          Michelle

        2. Swiss Coffee on the walls, use different sheens to add dimension and the colors will look different.

    2. Hello,
      What makes BM Ballet White & SW White Duck different from each other?
      My eyes are tired and trying to look for undertones is starting to give me a headache. Thanks,
      Laura

      1. Hi Laura,
        SW White Duck has soft green barely-there undertones. Ballet White has warmer undertones. For example, I use Ballet White in a room with lots of green landscaping outside to counteract the green tones. I hope that helps!
        Michelle

  2. We want to paint our walls bright white with the exception of a dark green accent wall. The room gets little natural light. Is there a white color you would recommend that would give us that effect?

    1. Hi Courtney,
      It is difficult to make a recommendation without having more details such as photos of your room and knowing the direction of the light. One of our color consulting packages would be a great way for us to give you more precise recommendations.

      Thanks,
      Michelle

    2. My kitchen cabinets are sw white duck. What color would your recommend I paint my walls and trim to be a nice complement?

      1. Its hard for me to say without seeing photos, I would encourage you to purchase a color consultation.
        Michelle

    3. I have a low light bedroom with a white painted cedar vaulted ceiling. I was thinking of painting the walls BM Balboa Mist. Would that have the right undertones to not make the room look dingy?

      1. Just chiming in here. I’ve seen balboa mist at my sister’s house and it it beautiful but she gets a lot of light. I have also seen in at my BM paint shop on the walls, where the light is really spotty and it doesn’t look so great. A colleague of mine had it all through her house but she has lightened it at %25 and I think even %50 in some rooms. Balboa mist as a paint chip in my basement looks horrific. Love the color but not sure it works well in low light rooms.

  3. Hi
    We have a small bathroom with no windows.It will have a medium gray tile floor, white cabinet, and carrera top. I’m thinking classic gray for the wall color. Do you think it would be too dark?

    1. Hi Gail,
      I am so sorry, but it is difficult to give specific advice without photos and more information. Please consider one of our color consulting packages. Thanks!
      Michelle

  4. This is a beautiful kitchen that feels bright, even in the low light. What color are the upper cabinets?

        1. Hi Jackie,
          Yes, the Walls are SW White Duck, and the Cabinets are an off-white, similar to SW Pure White or BM Snowfall White or Cloud White.
          Thanks,
          Michelle

          1. Great review for north facing rooms. We are painting now. Picked White Dove as a soft warm white to go through our house on trim and interior doors. Still working on wall color. I have white duck and a few creams, also off whites up now on the walls. Still deciding while my husbands works on 16 doors 😉 I have also consider just painting it white dove also. 1st time I have used this white and I have mad love for it already. It’s so lovely????

    1. Im painting my entire renovated home Ballet White. My kitchen cabinetry is Natural linen and island is walnut. Im wondering what color to paint trims.
      Thanks

      1. Hi Marian,
        I would recommend a lighter creamy white or an off-white to pair with that complex cream. Some options might be Swiss Coffee, White Dove, Cloud White or Atrium White. Don’t forget to test your paint colors, and don’t get the colors matched up to Sherwin-Williams.
        good luck!
        Michelle

  5. Hello Michelle!
    I’m going to paint my whole bungalow white; ceiling, walls, trim, and baseboards. I would like to have some contrast between the ceiling and the walls (no crown molding ). In your opinion, what should be brighter and crisper, the walls or the ceiling ?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Marisela,
      Always paint your ceilings the same color as your trim and doors, or preferable one shade brighter or crisper! In your case, I would pick a white that is brighter and crisper than the walls. Otherwise the ceiling will look dingy. Good luck!
      Michelle

    2. I would suggest painting the ceiling a crisper white than the white walls. Otherwise will look dingy.

      1. Hi,
        This article is so helpful since it’s counter intuitive to not to paint a dark room in a bright white!

        Would one of the white colors in your article work best with dark brown ceiling beams in low ceiling rooms?

        Also, when you suggest one shade lighter for ceilings and trim do you suggest a different color or using the same color as the walls but having it made a shade lighter?

        Thank you!

        1. Hi Marianne,
          I’m glad this is helpful!
          When you are working with dark brown ceiling beams, we suggest that you pick a warmer off-white such as BM White Dove, BM Cloud White or BM Alabaster. The crisper whites will be too harsh.

          What I mean by one shade lighter is to pick a cooler color. For example if your Walls are White Dove, then pick Chantilly Lace.

          Hope that helps!

          Michelle

        1. Hi Sandy,
          It’s hard for us to make recommendations without seeing the space. I would recommend purchasing an online consultation for a one-room consult.
          Thanks,
          Michelle

  6. HI I LOVE Your kitchen. I was just wondering if you could tell me what color the bottom cabinets are painted. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Trish,
      These are Mastercraft cabinets, but the color matches up beautifully to Chelsea Gray! Thank you for asking.
      Michelle

      1. Hi I have a large living room that has walnut stain for the trim but my room can be dark at times because I have a porch off the room . The light doesn’t get a chance to come in . I would like to brighten it up a little. Looking into my kitchen I have van dusen blue with a grey tin on the bottom . What would you suggest I paint my walls !

  7. Hi! I just painted a wall in my living with White Duck. It’s a dark, north facing room ugh slate tile and the paint is reading a cool gray with a bluish tint. So disappointed and a waste of an afternoon. My expectation was more of a warm, off-white. Much like the photo included in this article. Not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Susa,

      I’m so sorry to hear that! It’s hard to see what’s happening without a photo, but I do have a couple of suggestions.

      The first is to make sure that the ceiling is a brighter white than the walls. Unless you have vaulted ceilings or other architectural features on your ceilings, it’s a good practice unless you are painting the ceiling a color, but that is a story for another day.

      Just in case you didn’t test, our next suggestion for the future is to make sure that you test the paint color in the room before you make a final color decision. As a best practice, we always advise in our blog and in our consultations to test paint colors before you paint, and to test with large paint swatches in to see how the color will behave in your specific lighting. Here is a link to our article on how to test paint colors: https://thecolorconcierge.com/how-to-test-paint-colors/

      We also advise not to paint match with other brands – especially with white paint colors, even if the paint store says that they can do it perfectly and that they have a database. Here is our article on paint matching: https://thecolorconcierge.com/paint-color-match/

      Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any additional questions on the contact form in the blog, and I hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Michelle

  8. We have just finished having our very large great room painted in SW Creamy. It is a large space with a very high vaulted dark wood ceiling with original 1917 scissor beams. We were apprehensive about the choice as it faces east & west. The new floors are a varied medium tone wood. Pleased to say that the result is a beautiful space! Guests think the walls are white. The range of color does change throughout the day and in the evening it it truly magic. Only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner! All of our decor really stands out now.

    If you are considering a WHITE space you might consider a choice that “reads” white but is slightly warmer?

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Creamy is a lovely color! It is perfect with warm woods such as yours. We just didn’t have room for all the whites, but this is one I would treat like Swiss Coffee. Great job, your house sounds lovely!
      Michelle

  9. Yikes! I just thought I needed a bright white to lighten up my north facing kitchen cabinets that are too creamy for soon to be installed Minuet quartz countertops. Do you think White Dove work? Only two windows so low light most of the day.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Benjamin Moore White dove, Cloud white or Sherwin-Williams Alabaster could work. Just make sure that you test your paint colors – look at them throughout the day to see how they behave.

      Good luck!

      Michelle

  10. Hi!
    I would like to know what would be the best Benjamin Moore ceiling white to go with Truffle AF-130. I would like to brighten up my living room and dining room. The living room has a cathedral ceiling and faces northeast. My floors are medium oak, my furniture is mostly antiques – so darker woods, my couch and chairs are medium brown. Any suggestions for my ceiling? I may also paint the walls Semoule 5126-1 from Rona’s. Any suggestions without actually seeing my rooms? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Judy,
      Generally we would recommend a warmer white to go with an earthy color like Truffle. We would really need to see your rooms for more detailed advice. One of our color consulting packages would be a great way to do it, and we could also help with your wall color recommendations.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  11. Hi!

    I’m looking at painting my low light hallway pale oak. What finish do you recommend – matt or eggshell?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Annabel, for interior walls, an eggshell sheen is our favorite, especially if you have kids or pets and need to be able to wipe down the walls occasionally. Matte and flat are also lovely, especially if your walls have great looking drywall. Lower sheens will showcase every mistake, and are also harder to clean. Hope that helps!
      Michelle

  12. Hi! I am building a new home – traditional – and I am needing help with paint color for the interior walls, trim, cabinets and ceilings. It’s an open floor plan (living, dining and kitchen all in one room). A friend suggested SW White Duck for the walls, SW Greek Villa for trim, kitchen cabinets, and ceiling. We are wanting a neutral color that is timeless and cozy. Our entire house is only 1859 square feet. I’m overwhelmed by all the paint choices and I don’t want my home to look blah. The back half of the space is shaded (living room/kitchen) due to a covered porch and the front half is sunny (dining room/foyer area). We are also having a hard time choosing counter top, backsplash to go with the White Duck. Please help! We are running out of time as our builder is expecting a quick answer on our colors.

    1. Hi Sue,
      Its hard for us to give you advice without seeing the house. The paint colors that you mentioned would be nice if your finishes are earthy. We do color consultations for these types of situations, so feel free to order a consultation for more details.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  13. I submitted a previous comment but wanted to add that we are not keen on having gray interior wall colors. We feel that color trend will soon be on its way out.

    1. Hi Sue,
      You are right, the darker gray colors are on their way out but lighter grays that read like whites are still a great option.
      Michelle

  14. I would like to paint my low light living room with either Swiss coffee or Creamy by SW. My trim was recently done in white dove and I do not want to redo it. Would either of these colors work with white dove trim? Thank u.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Either of these colors could look good with White dove as trim, but you just need to test them to see how they look in your home. We don’t recommend matching paint colors to other manufacturers, especially whites. I like that these colors are both darker than the trim color, but again, you’ll need to test them.
      Michelle

  15. Hi! We just completely gutted the entire first floor of our split-level home and our contractor needs to paint before the new kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors (weathered oak) are installed. I would like to know the best BM white ceiling color for a high vaulted ceiling that would go with either Classic Grey or Pale Oak walls in an open concept floor plan with mostly north facing windows (tends to be dark). We’ve been debating Oxford White, Chantilly Lace, Simply White, or White Dove. I’d ideally like to use the same white on the trim/doors. The parameter cabinets are white (Fabuwood Galaxy Frost) and the large island is a stormy medium blue with hints of grey (Gale by Medallion). Quartz countertops are LG Encore, which is a light cool gray with warm charcoal and white throughout the pattern. I think overall it’s a fairly balanced light and cool pallet, so I’m not sure if we should go warmer or more neutral with the white? Thanks!

    1. Hi Liz,
      What a great project!
      For that type of situation, I prefer a cooler white than the wall color for the ceiling. Often I pick the same white trim color in a flat sheen for the ceiling, if that helps. Any of those colors would look nice, it just depends on what you picked for tim.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  16. North and East light in the am, then south midday to early afternoon. Using BM White Dove to cover dark goldish beige living room but after the first coat, it looks baby blue in the late afternoon. Do I do second coat or stop now?

    1. Hi,
      When you are covering a darker color, it can take 2 or even 3 coats. The baby blue sounds strange though. Are you using a Benjamin Moore White dove paint, or did you get it paint matched at Sherwin Williams? We don’t recommend paint matching.

      Instead of painting the entire room, I recommend painting a smaller area with up to 3 coats. Are should be about 3 ft wide and 5 ft high.

      Thanks,
      Michelle

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      It’s hard for us to give personal advice without seeing your house in photos or in person. If you would like more detailed information, please order one of our online color consultations.

      Thanks,
      Michelle

    1. Hi Cathy,
      That could be very pretty, but make sure that you test, test, test your paint colors. Also, don’t paint match White Dove to a Sherwin Williams paint. Instead, buy the Benjamin Moore version of White Dove. If you don’t have access to a Benjamin Moore store, then test a similar Sherwin Williams paint such as Alabaster.
      Good Luck!
      Michelle

  17. Your home sounds like mine w/ Eastern exposure and covered porch and woods in back (green reflection)! We get morning light, then turns weird for a while, then gets better in late afternoon/evening. Kitchen cabinets are SW Dover White, trim SW Alabaster and walls SW Accessible beige. Acc. Beige is dingy looking and I want to brighten it up in the open concept kitchen/living room. Would White Duck, BM Ballet White, or SW Creamy, or BM Swiss Coffee work? Our home is all neutrals, creams, ivory, whites, flax, grays, light blue, with Cambria Torquay counters.

    1. Hi Robin,
      I would really need to see photos to give reliable advice, but we did paint the kitchen and living room walls SW White Duck, and it looked beautiful. I’m always experimenting with paint in my house (its my lab), and I recently painted that east facing space with BM Simply White, and it was gorgeous. By all the rules of color consulting its not supposed to be so lovely. Take care though, you can’t have Sherwin Williams copy Simply White because it always comes out green. As always, don’t forget to test your paint colors!
      Michelle

  18. Thanks for this article! I love the diamond-shaped pendant over the kitchen table in one of the pics. Any idea where I could find that?

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Thank you so much! The pendant is the Large Gale Pendant from Circa LIghting. I love it too.
      Michelle

  19. Great article! What is the color of the trim in the “warm hug” room with the Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, OC-20 paint?

  20. My house faces east-west. We have a new covered patio and the house is now really dark. I need to brighten it up. I have creamy color floors and furniture. The kitchen has black granite and a lite brown warm tone cabinets. The house is so dark I have the lights on all day and it is still dark. I have a lot off greenery that you can see through the window. Because of the trees we do not get a lot of sun. Is there a way I could send you a picture? In my mind I thought I had to pick the brightest white.

    1. Hi Sally,
      It’s Counter-intuitive, the brightest white will actually look dingy as described in the article. My house is also East-West with a long covered patio. The best way to help is to purchase one of our online color consulting packages.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  21. I am painting our living room that faces West and the West wall is a lot of windows. I want a white color that doesn’t look dingy at certain times of the day. We have a cathedral ceiling with 2 pecan stained beams.. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Kenlyn,
      Its hard for me to give specific advice about your room other than the guidance in this post. If you’d like a more detailed consultation, please purchase a color consultation.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  22. I recently had our main floor painted and because we face north the grey took on a lot of blue. I don’ like it, it’s cold and depressing! I have a lighter grey on 2 walls and a darker grey (it looks like concrete) on the couch wall. Can I just repaint the one couch wall, to hopefully warm the room up? I think the painter used Deluxe? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    1. Hi Laurie,
      If you like the lighter gray, you can paint the couch wall to match the others. Make sure you test your paint colors.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

      1. I’m doing a hale navy island, cambria Southerland quartz which has an alabaster background and a medium brown wood floor . What color white or off white for cabinets ? Benjamin Moore suggests vanilla milkshake . Is it too creamy or yellow?

  23. I’m thinking of painting my basement walls and trim Swiss coffee. Can I paint the ceiling the same in a flat or should I just do white?

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      You can paint the ceiling the same in flat, or to save money and labor, paint the walls and ceilings all matte.
      Michelle

  24. Hello,
    Just found this post. I am considering painting my open concept great room/kitchen a warm white. My trim is SW Dover White. The room gets a lot of morning sun and very little light after 1:00pm. I have a Persian rub that has. Lot of colors. Berry Red being the main background color. There is a lot of greenery outside. What warm white would you suggest with the Dover White trim?
    Thank you,
    Jeannie

    1. Hi Jeannie,
      I’m so happy you liked the post! Its difficult for us to make specific recommendations without seeing photos of your space. For a custom color consultation, please purchase one of our packages.

      Sincerely,
      Michelle

    1. Hi Helen,
      I suggest that you purchase one of our color consultations. We would need more information to be able to give you a good recommendation.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  25. HI Michelle,
    Oh, struggle is real when it comes to white paint. I am painting my narrow dark hallway where paint colours change every 3 feet. So far my decision is either ballet white walls with white dove trim/ceiling, or going with white dove on the walls, but I am stuck on trim/ceiling whites. I used white heron for ceiling/trim in the room off the hallway and was wondering if white heron would pair well with white dove walls.
    Who knew whites were so stressful?

    1. Hi Martha,
      For more specific color suggestions for your house, please order a color package.

      Michelle

  26. Hi Michelle,

    Could you tell me anything about the chandelier in your kitchen? It would work perfectly for our dining room.

    Thanks,

  27. I have a south facing room that gets light, but my first floor room (dining) gets only mostly indirect light as the neighbors house is close and tall, so it feels like a dark, low-level light, room most of the day. Also, it is painted yellow, so I am very concerned about picking the right white. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi Catherine,
      With a house in the way, I would treat it like a darker room. We would love to help with an online color consult!
      Michelle

  28. My living room has NO natural light. I thought a higher sheen would help bounce the light off and make it look brighter. Is that not right?

    1. If you have NO natural light, the best thing to do is to introduce lots of artificial light such as lamps and other lighting. A higher sheen won’t do anything. If you have no windows, then you need to pick your paint color with the lights on.

  29. I used a sample of BM Classic Gray and painted some spots in my entryway. I wanted a light soft gray. Instead, Classic Gray showed up looking like cream! I just couldn’t see a hint of gray in this color! Maybe I’ll try the Pale Oak? Back to the drawing board! 🙂

    1. Hi Lesa,
      We do expect Classic Gray to read as a creamy white, especially in a dark room.
      Michelle

  30. I’m thinking of using classic gray with simply white trim in a basement bathroom with no windows. The tile is a marble look porcelain. The vanity is white high gloss and fixtures are chrome. Do you think that will work?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Simply White and Classic gray are a great combination, but only if it looks good with your hard finishes. I can’t evaluate that without photos and a color consult package.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  31. So I loved this article and purchased some paint from Sherwin-Williams to go in my kitchen and the rest of my home. I’m doing the gray bottom and white top. Love to know what type of hardware y’all are using in that kitchen if you happen to know.

  32. I am looking to repaint my living room and dining room as I am not happy with the BM Natural Cream color that was recommended by an expert. It is picking up a peachy beige tone and seems too dark. The LR and DR are two separate rooms but are open to each other. The biggest problem is the LR – a large picture window faces west and there are also 2 windows that face south and flank an earthy toned stone fireplace (also have honey oak hardwood floors). In the winter months, with no leaves on trees, the room has very good light but once the trees leaf in May out the room becomes quite dark.

    The DR is open to the LR and has south and east facing windows and is bright in the winter and has average light in the summer.

    Is there an off white or greige that would work for both rooms that would brighten the space and look good when the rooms are dark but also hold itself when the rooms are bright during the winter?

    1. Hi Patricia,
      Although it is possible, I have never seen BM Natural Cream look like a peachy beige. Is it possible that you had the paint matched to another manufacturer’s color? That’s the only time I ever hear the “fleshy” color comment with this family of colors. We don’t recommend paint matching.

      Other similar colors in that family are BM Edgecomb Gray and BM Revere Pewter, but I can’t make a specific recommendation to homeowners without photos.

      Thanks,
      Michelle

      1. Thanks Michelle. The color was not color matched, it is Benjamin Moore paint. I fear that Edgecomb might be too dark (and Revere Pewter for sure would be) in the summer when the rooms darken up so much. I was looking at SW White Duck and SW Aesthetic White hoping one of them would give me the brighter updated look I want. I have SW Pure White trim. Prior to the Natural Cream I had painted it BM Pale Oak (not color matched) and it had pinkish undertones which I didn’t like at all. And yes I did sample boards for both colors and the undertones didn’t show up until it was painted on the walls.
        I guess I have very weird lighting! I will check out your packages. ☺️

  33. I have a dark open dining/living area. Looking at Sherwin Williams Drift if Mist…City Loft…White Duck…Shoji White or Aesthetic White?!?!
    Brown leather sofa with drift wood furniture and porcelain tile (that looks like a Med. brown hardwood) floors.
    Please help me!
    Thanks

    1. We would love to help! Please consider a color consultation through our website. its too difficult to recommend a specific color without having the full picture.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  34. Would love to know how maple cupboards with an orange undertone work with the whites recommended in this article. (Specifically east facing kitchen in open concept family cottage with porch overhang that creates a dark space). After extensive research , White Dove or Cloud White supposedly work well with orange-toned maple wood….

    1. White Dove is a good contender, but you need to test. Cloud White has taupe undertones and doesn’t look good with orange or yellow, necessarily.

  35. Hello. I just painted Edgecomb Gray in my living room and it has south and north facing windows with greenery outside on the north window which makes it look more green. Edgecomb is showing very dark drab dingy almost dirty looking and greenish tan. My ceiling and baseboards were just painted Cloud White so maybe an off white with a different undertone would work. I could paint Cloud White but fear it may be too white or too light so is there a bit darker option. Thank you.

  36. I used to love Alabaster SW in my apartment because we had windows floor to ceiling under the miami sun so there were so much natural light. When we moved to our house more up north, we painted the house Alabaster too, thinking it will bring the same bright effect. Unfortunately our house is surounded by trees, and not a lot of natural light comes in, adding that a lot of my furniture are MCM Walnut color, makes the how look were more cream/dingy than anything. 🙁 I want a white the will look white and bright inside, and I want a monochromatic look (so walls, trim, ceiling same color) which white would you recommend?

  37. I’m moving into a house but I don’t own it. I still want to paint it (1500 sq ft). It has swirled browns and beige colors in the floor tile and I’m not going to paint different colors in each room. Only one throughout the house. I’d like to go with a white but not sure which one. The house faces East. The backyard just has two large palm trees and rocks so there’s no greenery and the living room and dining area are facing west. Got any ideas whether it’s Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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