Best White Paint Color for Walls and Trim

Everyone wants to know the best white paint color for walls and trim – I get this question all the time!

best white paint color for walls and trim

You all know how much I like COLOR, but there is a place and time for everything. And on occasion, it’s the place and time for white paint on the walls and trim. This space felt choppy and small because of all the color shifts in the room. Notice all the changes, starting from the top of the photo and going down: yellow family room ceiling, white crown molding (in family room), green room header between family room and kitchen, yellow kitchen ceiling, white crown molding (in kitchen), green wall, white countertop, brown island, orange wood floors.

beforebefore

By painting the ceilings, trim, and walls out in white paint, we made the space feel open and larger. Now the same color (white) extends from the top of the photo all the way down to the dark island. Isn’t it much more pleasant and peaceful to the eye?

white dove walls trim
There are other whites I sometimes use, but

the best white paint color for walls and trim is Benjamin Moore White Dove.

It’s the perfect warm white – it has a very slight yellow undertone, but it isn’t discernable to most. It reads like an ever-so-slightly grayed white. Benjamin Moore White Dove is what we used in this space.

Another reason to use white paint on walls and trim is to downplay odd angles and architecture. Although the area beneath the stairs was a very efficient place to tuck in storage and a television . . .

7O3A2860before

it looks so much better when it isn’t outlined by all the green wall paint that was around it previously. The change in paint colors drew more attention to awkward angles, and now the best white paint color for walls and trim make the architecture less choppy.

benjamin moore white dove living room by the decorologistThe Decorologist

I hear designers speak of choosing two different whites in the same room – one for the trim and one for the wall. But do you want to know a shocking secret? When you use the same white paint in two different sheens (eggshell for walls, semi-gloss for trim), they don’t look the same! That’s right, the wall and trim in these photos are the same exact color, only in different sheens. Here’s the why: the higher the sheen, the lighter any color will appear. A shiny White Dove will read lighter and whiter than a flatter finish of White Dove. So in most cases, there is really no reason to do two different whites unless you are looking to get more contrast than this:

white designer family room and kitchenThe Decorologist

You’ll notice we changed out that ugly ceiling fan. The previous window treatments blocked too much of the natural light, so we freshened the windows with new window panels and nixed the roman shades altogether. Here’s the before:

7O3A2861before

White is a great choice if you have a room with lots of natural light. I don’t typically use it in rooms with very little natural light, because it can look shadowy and dull. Fabrics with lighter backgrounds and metallics like polished nickel and wintergold lightened up this room, too.

white sofa

We kept the slipcovered sofa and natural fiber rug, but found a fun coffee table to replace the heavy dark one from before. The new art looks more in keeping with the fresh, new look of the space.

best white paint color in living room

Ok, I know you’re dying to see more of the fabulous kitchen. The homeowners upgraded their kitchen with white cabinetry and marble countertops several years ago, but a few tweaks were needed. The island pendants were super-small and dark:

7O3A2857before

I chose these oversized lantern style pendants to take the kitchen up a notch. My client and her husband were initially worried the lights would be too large.

nickel lantern pendants over islandafter

They’re perfect, right??? Here’s the room from the opposite angle. Notice how all the changes in colors look choppy:

7O3A2859before

But not anymore! Everything blends beautifully in the best white paint color for walls and trim:

marble countertop in white designer kitchenafter

The darker fabrics are about to say goodbye:

7O3A2858before

To make way for white washable slipcovers and BARE windows. With no privacy or light control issues in the breakfast nook, we opted to keep things as light as possible and forgoing window treatments here.

white slipcovered dining chairsafter

Are you all confused now after reading the post dripping with sarcasm about Ben’s and Sherwin’s Color of the Year? Well, like I said before: there’s a time and place for everything, and this house proves it!

So now my clients are moving to a new house, and guess what color they have chosen for their main interior color? White Dove, of course. They must think it’s the best white paint color for walls and trim, too! The new owner made an offer after being the first person to view it after staging, and happens to be a famous author whose book was #1 on the New York bestseller’s list for OVER A YEAR! That’s all I can tell you about that, but let’s just say she thinks this beautiful house has some divine secrets . . .

If paint color fascinates you like it does me, there is SO MUCH TO LEARN about how to use it in your home and the homes of your clients. Let me rock your world with color in my new ONLINE color course – and be sure to check out all the 5-star reviews!!!

after photos by SqFt Photography
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Elizabeth Scruggs
4 years ago

Once again, you nailed it in this space and in the entire home. Thank you for sharing your God-given talent with others….you are doing exactly what you have been called to do my friend, and it shows!

Georgianna Mae May
Georgianna Mae May
4 years ago

That is the most incredible before and after, especially since it consisted almost entirely of simply painting the walls white. What a beautiful home. That coffee table is so cool. Where did you get it, if you don’t mind sharing?

Georgianna Mae May
Georgianna Mae May
4 years ago

Thanks! I wish I could come to a staging class. It would be so fun to learn how to do this from you!

JL
JL
4 years ago

BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Kim
Kim
4 years ago

If white can look shadowy in a room without a lot of natural light, what would you suggest if I want to keep a light palette? I have a north facing bedroom with small dormer windows and to be honest, every color I’ve tried on there has looked different dingy and shadowy including a light yellow. We have Brookline Beige in there now and it has never looked good even when it was in style! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Lara Maira
4 years ago

GREAT example photos Kristie that clearly show the power of white!

Sherry Darlington
Sherry Darlington
4 years ago

As usual….perfection.

Debi Marcum
Debi Marcum
4 years ago

WOW!!! I love it. You do such beautiful work.

Dee
Dee
4 years ago

Could you do a post for the best white for an exterior paint? My house has charcoal roofing and vanilla bean ( which looks creme) painted brick. If I paint dove white will that be too light since it gets full sun? thanks!

Kim Passmore
Kim Passmore
4 years ago

Kristie, Thanks so much for the information. My husband is a general contractor and I am a real estate agent, decorator, laborer and more:) I also LOVE color and always have but I am on a “white” kick lately. I used a SW Alpaca (gray) on our last four projects and I think I am going to venture out and go “white” on our latest purchase to renovate and sell. The interior on this one is not near as open as the houses we build or renovate as I have no walls I can remove. I am second guessing myself… Read more »

Cindy L
Cindy L
4 years ago

Simply gorgeous! I love the transformation.

Jean
Jean
4 years ago

Beautiful! Hard to tell though what color their cabinets are ?One question I have is; do you need to be careful of white dove walls against white stock cabinets? Is it ok to have white dove walls and a stark white or linen white stock cabinets?

Jenifer Bush
Jenifer Bush
1 year ago

Gosh this post was from two years ago, but it’s resonating with me now! We’re painting our dreary beige walls and trim white. I’m thinking about White Dove for the walls and Decorator’s White for the trim and cabinets. Are they too close per your comment above? I’m really nervous about choosing the wrong combo. I want clean white trim (we have a lot of it in baseboards and molding) but a warmer white wall. Thank you in advance!

Jenifer Bush
Jenifer Bush
1 year ago

Thank you, Kristie! I love Classic Gray but really want to go with white. I’ve been thinking (obsessing is probably more accurate) about this article (and re-reading the comments) and have decided to go with White Dove for trim, ceiling and cabinets as you’ve suggested! I feel good about my decision and really appreciate your advice! :))

Jenifer Bush
Jenifer Bush
1 year ago

One final question I promise…Would you choose semi-gloss for the cabinets/trim over satin?

Maggie
Maggie
2 months ago
Reply to  Jenifer Bush

Hi Jenifer,
We are thinking of doing the same thing as you – BM white dove for kitchen cabinets, wall and trim, as we also want white on white. How did yours turn out??

Susan Kirby
4 years ago

WOW! We’re building a new home so you’ll be hearing from me in the fall!

Robin
Robin
4 years ago

Oh man!!! Drop dead gorgeous. All of it. The before and after pics are jaw dropping. It all looks so seamless. I don’t have enough natural light in my home to pull this off (and your tips on who can/should saved many readers from running out to the paint store lol) but I would if I could….Oh! I would!! Now I’m racking my brain to figure out how to make my kitchen/dining area look more cohesive. Great, inspiring, drool worthy post!! lol

Ginny Truyens
4 years ago

Absolutely a stunning and inspirational make over!

Helen Bartlett
4 years ago

Beautiful work again, Kristie, as usual! Thanks for generosity in always sharing to help us all live better and more beautiful lives! Helen

Lorri S.
Lorri S.
4 years ago

This looks so nice and what a transformation! We are about to paint and now I’m second guessing our choices. We thought it would look good to pop the white trim but now I’m wondering. Our home does have a lot of natural light. The color on the walls now is BM Navajo White with a bright white trim (don’t know the color). I’ve always felt like the Navajo was a little bland and too yellowish. We are looking at SW Simplify Beige or SW Sand Dollar. Any advice?

Carol Clark
Carol Clark
4 years ago

Yet another SO gorgeous project. I would have thought those lights would be too large, also, but they are PERFECT! Great job, Kristie, and thanks for sharing it. I learn so much from you!

Heather
Heather
4 years ago

Lovely job as always! Would you share where the source for pendant lighting in the kitchen?

Kelly
4 years ago

One of my go to whites also! Especially for kitchen cabinets. The rooms looks so fresh and modern. Great job as usual.

yolanda
4 years ago

These before and after photos are amazing! Feel and look so fresh and clean. Great job!

Katherine Faubion
Katherine Faubion
4 years ago

What do you think about BJ White Chocolate everywhere? So far it’s just on trim & I’ve got a ridiculous number of colors that have got to go in order to get ready for selling.

Nicki
Nicki
4 years ago

Thank you for simplifying what can often be an agonizing choice, Christie. And I feel extra lucky, since you’ve featured my favorite, White Dove! I love the idea of using the same color, but in different finishes — genius! As a color lover, I’ve been through the stage (pardon the pun, lol) of painting each room a different wall color…but now I want more of a neutral backdrop with colorful art and accessories.

Heather
Heather
4 years ago

Hi Kristine, would you recommend white or ivory as a sofa colour against the white dove? Thank yiu for your beautiful work!

Keti Abazi
4 years ago

One word: GORGEOUS!
You are awesome Kristie.

I love it so much I had to share this post with one of my staging clients who just bought a new house and loves the clean, crisp white look. 🙂

Shawna
Shawna
4 years ago

Great article, I am working on a plan for painting our fairly new-to-u- house. Your Essential Paint Color guide is invaluable! I’m ready to get some samples to test this week. I cannot wait to paint the trim – for some reason the people that built this house chose Rocky Road for all the trim, doors, laundry cabinets and mudroom lockers. It is so icky! Pretty much ANY white would have been a better choice.

J.
J.
3 years ago

advise to paint ceilings the same color too or lighter?

Theresa
Theresa
3 years ago

What if you have a lot of millwork and coiffured ceilings? What finish would you recommend as the ceiling is actually moulding as well?

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3 years ago

[…] The Decorologist […]

Ashley
Ashley
3 years ago

Hey! Thanks for your post! I’ve been debating on doing this color in my dance studio and could not find any information about having two different white or one for the walls and trim. So just to verify, you painted the ceiling, walls, and trim ALL in White Dove? Just in different sheens (flat, eggshell, and gloss?). Thanks again! Looks fabulous!

Gregg
Gregg
3 years ago

Is the ceiling in White Dove as well? If not, can you share the color, please. Forgive me if I missed in the article. I’ve spent two months looking at the nuances of about six whites—and I keep coming back to White Dove. I made the mistake of painting only a small sample on a wall in a couple rooms–and I just focused only on the undertone (as you mentioned can look a bit creamy in some lighting conditions)—and not the overall effect it would have on the room. I see that BM changed the formula of White Dove in… Read more »

Jill Hooper
3 years ago

Hey! BEEE-UUUU-TI-FULLLLLL!! Love it!
I read one of these comments and it sounds like you don’t recommend the all-white idea in a room with little natural light. Is that right? Also, my kitchen cabinets are a cream/towards pale yellow—would the white walls/trim work in there? Thanks! Jill

Kim Gaspari
Kim Gaspari
3 years ago

I’m going to paint my entire interior white dove, walls and trim. Just talked with my painter, who thought eggshell walls and semi gloss trim using Regal BM in white dove are the sheens to use. I’m so hung up on choosing proper sheen for the walls and thought PEARL white dove walls and Semi gloss white dove trim would be better. Please help me get over this ridiculous indecisive detail. Why am I stuck on deciding between Pearl and Eggshell walls? Because I’m afraid the Eggshell/Semi gloss might be too much of a contrast and Pearl/Semi gloss might give… Read more »

daizy
daizy
3 years ago

amazing. very good job. Pls can you give advice. I am painting a house off white and will want to know what fun colour I can use to add light in the sitting room area. pls what do u advice. thanks a lot

Jane
3 years ago

Hello!
Love this, I’m inspired! What is your take on Sherwin Williams Alabaster? Also, is the ceiling painted the same white as well? What type of finish? Thank you!

Sarah
Sarah
3 years ago

This room is gorgeous and just what we would love. I’ve seen so many great white rooms online and usually the paint color listed, but no one ever mentions the color/brand of flooring they use.
Could you tell me the flooring used in this room or one that would go along with this type of room.

Suzanne
Suzanne
3 years ago

I love what you’ve done with white. I’m currently having my kitchen cabinets sanded and prepped for painting. I want to paint the cabinets white. New granite counters are going to be grey/white-ish color. Walls are going to be a true light grey. I’m stuck on choosing the right shade of white for the cabinets. Can’t decide between BM Chantilly Lace or BM white dove. I’ve been warned about going too stark white on the cabinets. But I don’t want the cabinets to look too yellowish or beigey either. Any advice you could offer would be immensely appreciated.

Tricia Johnston
Tricia Johnston
1 year ago

Hi, I’m so glad I found this site! I just booked painters to do dove white in all my walls, but I have white cabinets. My trim is simply white. So should I paint my cabinets simply white or is that too Stark? I saw an Instagram post of someone using Acadia white on walls of kitchen with white dove cabinets and white dove walls everywhere else. My house is open concept so I’m not sure how I’d do that. Totally stuck.

Kate Puls
Kate Puls
3 years ago

Do you use Benjamin Moore Advance paint for trim?

Gogogramma
Gogogramma
3 years ago

So much nicer, however, the darker lighting and (every day living) clutter in the before pictures contribute to a heavier feeling. Would be nice to see the clutter cleared in the before pictures to get a truer sense of change. That said, the rooms look fabulous in white.

Alison
Alison
1 year ago

I know I’m late to the party, but this room turned out gorgeous! In addition to the lighter accessories, I can’t help but wonder if you may have also changed the light bulbs. I often find that the coolness/warmth of light bulbs can make or break the look you’re going for… Were the bulbs addressed in this room’s redesign at all?

Rosalie
Rosalie
3 years ago

What about the color of the ceiling? Dove in flat?

Shelly
3 years ago

Love the before and after! Can you tell me the fabric name you used for the pillow and curtains? I think they’re great!

judy lofgren
judy lofgren
3 years ago

hi Kristie, would your tip for painting the windows black,”macara tecnique”,look pretty with an all white dove painted living room as you described ? also… i was thinking of putting a saphpire colored sectional in the white dove living room, would that match or do you have a better idea? thank you!

Joyce A
Joyce A
3 years ago

Could you tell me the paint company that makes Leeds Castle paint color -you posted on the LP siding company website regarding paint colors that go with gray roofs. Thank you. Love your website .

Cindy
Cindy
3 years ago

Hi,
Would you mind sharing the brand and name of the fabric used on the curtains?

Trish
Trish
3 years ago

I really enjoyed your post and what an amazing transformation! I learned more about color from this post than any other post I’ve read so far. I have been scouring photos and reading blogs trying to figure out what would give my home a more seamless look. My biggest concern is that I have wide oak trim throughout my home and it makes things feel quite “heavy”. I think I have narrowed down the wall color to BM edge comb gray. My doors are painted, not stained however which makes things even harder. Would you suggest painting the doors white… Read more »

Steph
3 years ago

What do you think about all sheens being eggshell? Ceiling, walls, trim. Bad idea?

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[…] It looks fabulous with stainless steel. Carrick comes in either polished or matte. Light reflection from the sheen will make a polished finish appear a bit lighter than a matte (the same is true for paint). […]

Adrienne
Adrienne
3 years ago

Getting ready to paint exterior of new construction home near the ocean and really want to go white on white. It has a blue roof and two cupulas with blue roofs. Do you think Dove white would work? If so what sheens would you suggest? also any sherwin Williams suggestions?

Melissa Freed
Melissa Freed
3 years ago

I typically use eggshell for my walls but recently have started using flat since my walls have the “builder” texture on the walls. I don’t consider this textured look an upgrade and thought I should try to downplay it? I’m currently painting my bedroom back to white -with same white color on all trim work (semi) and ceiling(flat) . Then painting the bottom third of the wall in a flat black topped off with a white Chair rail (semi). So my question is to get the most luxury look and not builders, should I go back to using eggshell on… Read more »

Kirsten
Kirsten
3 years ago

Hi!
Beautiful transformation! Do you have a source for the light above the breakfast room table? 🙂

Kirsten
Kirsten
3 years ago

Hi!
Beautiful transformation! Do you have a source for the light above the breakfast room table? 🙂

Michelle
Michelle
2 years ago

I am torn right now between Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Swiss Coffee. I am painting my entire house (interior) the same color…trim, walls and ceilings (in the different finishes of course). Most of my furniture and bedding is white or ivory/cream and my sofa is a deep brown. I also have some blues in my decor. I will have subway tile in my kitchen and hardwood floors throughout. Which of the two do you suggest? I generally lean towards a more creamy white which is making me think Swiss coffee but I still like white dove. I am so… Read more »

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