The White Paint Guide

It’s no secret, I love white. It is often the base color for my designs. At first glance it may seem simple to choose a white paint, but there are subtle variations that make all the difference when selecting the right white. To help you pick the perfect white for your project I have created a white paint guide. I divided the selection for white paints into three categories; cool whites, off-whites and gray whites. The first step when you are choosing a white is to consider your overall design and other colors in the space. Warmer whites (off whites) have a creamer tone and go well in a traditional or transitional space as seen here. For a cleaner, crisp, more modern space pick a cool white. Grey whites go well with blues, greens and gray tones.  If those are the colors of your furniture and big pieces in the room that will be your best choice. This dining room is a good example of grey white paint.  My personal favorite is white with no pigment at all.  When I remodel a kitchen, and give it that fresh new look, I almost always choose “white white.”  It’s the secret to getting the bright white that goes perfect with my favorite white marbles.  When you have an all white look, white paint with no pigment on the cabinets allows the subtleties of a white backsplash or calacata marble come through.  I hope this white paint guide will help you as you are trying to choose the right white for your next project.  See below for my white paint guide. All these selections are from Benjamin Moore except, West Highland White, which is from Sherwin Williams. Have a great day!
White Paint Guide Becki Owens

Cool White
Turquoise Upholstered Headboard
Off White

owens and davis warm White paint post

Grey White
owens and davis tips on hanging lighting

Grey White Dining Room Chandelier on SALE today!!
Off White Room Pendant lights similar here and here on SALE today!

27 thoughts on “The White Paint Guide

  1. Kate says:

    What colors of white do you usually recommend if kitchen cabinets, trim and walls are all going to be white?
    Ex: cabinets-white
    Trim-simply white
    Walls-white dove
    Or are they all the same color with different sheens?

  2. Nikki says:

    What color would you recommend for a small combined kitchen/living room? I want to go with the all white cottage look but not sure of how to get started. I want to paint the whole area, including the one wall of Lowes type kitchen cabinets? And after your color recommendation, would you stick with the same color throughout with different sheens, like flat ceiling, satin walls, and semi gloss cabinets? I also would like to add breadboard, where would you put that…on walls or an island, and would that be flat?
    Any help would be great!
    Thank you,

    • admin says:

      I would stick with all the same color white and changing the sheens, Cabinets, beadboard and trim are usually semi gloss or satin, and walls eggshell, ceilings flat. I hope that helps!!

  3. Erica says:

    I am painting my home a bright white like Ben Moore super white..,I was going to paint my cabinets Ben Moore lacquer semi gloss…would you say I should keep it all the same color and do cabinets super white instead?

  4. Carol says:

    I went to a Benjamin Moore store to get white white – no pigment semi gloss and they called it designer white at the store… Is this the same?

    Thank you for your help!

  5. Lisa says:

    I love your aesthetic!!
    I have creamy kitchen cabinets & don’t really want to paint them. I do, however, want to paint my kitchen walls. White is my favorite, but I’m thinking that crisp white walls will not look great next to off-white cabinets. I want to keep an airy, clean look. Any recommendations for wall color?
    Thank you!!

  6. Abby says:

    I’m building a home right now. And picking white is harder than I thought. I’m using BM simply white for my walls, cieling and trim. I am thinking of using BM chantilly lace for my white kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I have nuvo Quartz as my countertops. And I’m thinking of having a clear glass tile backsplash. I’m using gold/brass knobs and Handels and large brass pendants. Will chantilly lace paint look good with everything? I want the colors to flow, and hopefully feel airy. I would love to know what you think!! Thanks in advance.

    • admin says:

      Well since I can’t see everything in person it hard to say, it depends on lighting in your home etc. I would try and go with a cabinet color that best matches the nuvo, I’m sure chantilly lace would be amazing. My initial thought was why not just do chantilly lace throughout?

  7. Annie says:

    Thanks for such a nice article. So glad you select Westhighland White by Sherwin Williams to be part of your list. Do you have any experience using that color? We live in a north facing apartment with limited natural light, and want to find some type of white that will brightens and warms up the room. I am debating between that or Alabaster white, which seemed to be a popular color as well.

  8. Lissa says:

    This article was so helpful! Thank you! So here’s my question about getting all the whites to match…I chose BM simply white and the painter laquered our mudroom and TV built in. Then the new baseboards were painted BM simply white but in a semigloss and the colors do not match! Help! We had no idea that the laquer would turn out creamier. What do you suggest doing? Should we try and match the creamier laquer paint and redo all the baseboards? Any help would be so much appreciated.

  9. Ashley Garza says:


    First of all I LOVE your sight and every home you design! I am currently remodeling my home and found that I love the KrafMaid Deveron kitchen cabinets but they automatically come in “Dove White” which I am reading here is more of an off-white. What would you suggest I do for the walls? And because I love you style so much… would you ever do an entire house in Dove White? Because its an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all one open room.

    Thanks for everything!


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