How to Choose the Best White Paint | The Ultimate Guide

by Ashley

Choosing the perfect white paint color can be tough in 2019! Who knew there could be so many different shades of white?

Are you stuck trying to decide between Benjamin Moore White Dove and Swiss Coffee? Can’t decide between Sherwin Williams Alabaster and Benjamin Moore Simply White? Don’t worry – I got you!

This white paint guide will help you find the perfect color for your home.

Best White Paint Colors

popular white paint colors

Let’s break it down and talk about what makes each shade of white paint unique.  To help you pick the perfect white paint, here’s what you need to know!

1. Benjamin Moore White Dove (OC-17)

White Dove – LRV: 85.38 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

white dove paint color by Benjamin Moore

White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore White Dove is my go-to white paint color! I love that it is a warm off-white with a very subtle hint of grey. Its creamy white gives a calming vibe that makes a home feel more inviting.  This white paint color is perfect for interior walls, trim, doors, or even a white shiplap accent wall if you’re feeling brave!

White Dove has sophisticated color nuances, and looks great in all lighting conditions. I’ve found that certain off-white hues are less appealing in the warm natural light of the morning and evening, or under artificial light.

This is not the case with White Dove; it’s appearance remains constant throughout day, and in different rooms of our home.

Benjamin Moore describes White Dove as:

Unerring style defines this classic, softly shaded white. Light and luminous, it is a favorite choice for moldings and trim.

It looks good on moldings and trim, but White Dove is a versatile color that also looks great anywhere! All of the white walls and trim you see in my home are painted with White Dove. It’s my #1 choice for many reasons, but the most important reason is it looks amazing no matter where you put it!

See how the Benjamin Moore White Dove paint pops against the natural tones of the wood accent wall in our master bedroom.

a master bedroom painted with Benjamin Moore White Dove

Wall Color: White Dove by Benjamin Moore

a master bedroom painted with Benjamin Moore White Dove

Wall Color: White Dove by Benjamin Moore

Pssstttt… Want a step-by-step guide on how to pick the best color for your space?

I created a FREE step-by-step guide that will teach you how to everything you need to know – from undertones to why the direction your home faces makes a HUGE difference. Sign up below to become an expert at choosing the right shade of white for any room in your house!

 

2. Alabaster by Sherwin Williams (SW 7008)

Alabaster – LRV: 82 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

Alabaster White Paint Color by Sherwin Williams (SW 7008)

Alabaster (SW 7008) by Sherwin Williams

When I was deciding which white paint to go with in my own home, Sherwin Williams Alabaster vs Benjamin Moore White Dove was my toughest decision.  Although I ended up choosing White Dove, Alabaster was a close second.

Alabaster (SW 7008) was the Sherwin-Williams color of the year a few years back, and for good reason.  Jackie Jordan, the Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing describes Alabaster as:

A hue symbolic of new beginnings, Alabaster (SW 7008), is Sherwin-Williams… Color of the Year. At a time of interconnected commotion and overstimulation, Alabaster offers a sense of personal solace and revival to weary minds. It is the true neutral to set the tone…

Compared to White Dove, Alabaster is less creamy and more of a true white.  This makes it a great option if you are looking for a naturally flattering hue with little undertone. I love how the Sherwin Williams’ director of color marketing describes it, “Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white.”

Check out the cozy living room below, painted with Sherwin Williams Alabaster.

a room with white walls and a wooden dresser in the foreground

Wall Color: Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (Image from Pinterest)

3. Simply White by Benjamin Moore (OC-117)

Simply White – LRV: 91.7 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

Simply White (OC-117) a white paint color by Benjamin Moore

Simply White (OC-117) by Benjamin Moore

If you do any research about white paint colors you will probably come across the color Simply White by Benjamin Moore. It was the  Benjamin Moore color of the year in 2016, and for good reason! This color is a crisp, clean, and bright white. Simply White’s fresh finish makes it a great option for bright trim, doors, or cabinets.

Benjamin Moore describes Simply White as:

Fresh as the first snowfall, this clean, crisp, multi-purpose white is a perennial favorite for trim, ceilings, and walls.

Simply White has a LRV of 91.7, which is the highest of all the paint colors on this list.  The high LRV means it is the closest to pure white. This is as close to pure white as I recommend going; any whiter and the colors start looking cool and sterile.

The sitting room below is painted with Benjamin Moore Simply White.

A bright room with natural light and white painted walls

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Simply White (Image from Pinterest)

4. Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore (OC-45)

Swiss Coffee – LRV: 83.93 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

Swiss Coffee (OC-45) a white paint color by Benjamin More

Swiss Coffee (OC-45) by Benjamin Moore

Are you sensing a trend here? Benjamin Moore is kiiiiind of my favorite when it comes to paint, and this Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee is just another reason why. I mean, can you really go wrong with a name like Swiss Coffee? Fun fact: my mother-in-law actually puts a lot of significance in the name when choosing a paint color, and I think she might be on to something!

Here’s how Benjamin Moore describes Swiss Coffee:

This color is part of the Off-White Color collection. Inherently sophisticated and endlessly versatile, the Off-White collection offers subtle nuances of whites that suit tranquil, serene environments as well as creates color-enhancing accents for dynamic spaces…

Like White Dove, Swiss Coffee is part of the off-white collection, but it is both creamier and warmer. Additionally, it has a slightly yellowish-grey undertone. If you’re looking for a white paint color that is a little more warm and creamy, then Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee might be the perfect choice for you!

The warm inviting entry room below is painted with Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee.

mud room with ship lap walls an ceiling painted white

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee (Image from Pinterest)

5. Silos White by Magnolia Homes

Silos White paint color by Magnolia Homes

Silos White by Magnolia Homes

I couldn’t write a post about paint without including one from the Magnolia line. All of Joanna’s colors are beautiful (just like everything else she creates), but my favorite white from her collection is Silos White.

Joanna Gaines describes this color as a warm white with beige undertones. I tend to lean towards the warmer whites (or off-whites) because I love the bright and airy feeling they give off without the stark and sterile vibe that a pure white tends to create.

The dining room in the image below is painted with Magnolia Homes Silos White.

a dining room with white painted walls and wood table and chairs

Wall Color: Magnolia Homes Silos White (Image from Pinterest)

6. Super White by Benjamin Moore (OC-152)

Super White – LRV: 89.09 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

Super White paint color by Benjamin Moore

Super White (OC-152) by Benjamin Moore

Super White by Benjamin Moore is the most basic, classic color on this list, but that isn’t a bad thing! I love the simple, clean white because it appears very pure without coming across as blinding.

Benjamin Moore describes super white as:

A brilliant, almost sparkling white, this clean shade suggests clarity and simplicity.

Super White has less beige, creamy undertones than all the other white paints I recommend. Many true whites tend to be overly cool and bright, but not Super White. How does it do it?

With a LRV of 89.09, so it accomplishes the ‘white as snow’ look without making you feel like you just checked your phone in the middle of the night with the screen set on max brightness.

The walls of the great room in the image below are painted with Super White by Benjamin Moore.

a room painted with super white by benjamin moore

Wall Color: Super White by Benjamin Moore

7. Creamy White by Benjamin Moore

Creamy White – LRV: 72.35 (LRV, or Light Reflectance Value is a scale commonly used by design professionals where 0 = absolute black and 100 is pure white.)

Benjamin Moore Creamy White

Creamy White (OC-07) by Benjamin Moore

Creamy White by Benjamin Moore has the lowest LRV, and the most off-white undertones of all the pain colors on this list. While most of the colors included in this white paint color guide are close to true white, this is not the case when it comes to ‘Creamy White’ – it’s more of an off-white.

The color might be for you if you’re interested in a more sophisticated color compared to pure white, but don’t want to go full-on beige or grey. With Creamy White (OC-07), you can still expect a clean looking off-white color.

Here is what Benjamin Moore has to say about its Creamy White color

This color is part of the Off-White Color collection. Inherently sophisticated and endlessly versatile, the Off-White collection offers subtle nuances of whites that suit tranquil, serene environments as well as creates color-enhancing accents for dynamic spaces. A compilation of 152 white and off-white colors.

The warm vibes of ‘Creamy White’ would be an excellent color choice to make a residential bedroom feel extra inviting and cozy.  

Tips For Choosing A White Paint Color

  • Before you make a final decision on a paint color, make sure to buy a small 8 oz sample of paint, and have it mixed in the color you want to test. This way you can test it in the room you plan to paint. This is especially important because paint can look different under certain lighting conditions. You want to see it on the walls of the exact room you plan to paint.
  •  Make sure to examine your test area of paint during different times of the day to see how natural light affects the color throughout the day. Additionally, try checking out the paint color with the lights in the room on, and off. 
  • If you don’t want to paint test sections on your actual walls, try buying poster boards and essentially make gigantic paint swatch cards. This will help you to get a better idea of what the paint color will look like in your room.
  • To make a bold paint color statement in a room, I recommend painting all the walls white and choosing only 1 wall to make an accent wall. Another option is to install a wood accent wall. To learn more about wood accent walls, check out my blog post called: How To Build A Wood Plank Accent Wall.

How To Get A Great Deal On Paint

Did you know that you can use budget friendly paint, and have it color matched to premium Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams paint colors? At Joyfully Growing Blog, we always uses Glidden Premium paint from The Home Depot.

Glidden Premium rivals the quality of the top paint lines from Behr, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore.

Any paint store, or home improvement store with a paint section will be able to match colors from most major brands. This means that you can select one brand of paint, but get it mixed in the color of another brand.

In many cases, affordable paint like Glidden Premium can be up to 50% cheaper than the ‘name brand’ competition which can save you a ton of money!

Painting Supplies

I recommend ‘Pro Grade’ paint brushes – they’re the perfect budget friendly option. The brushes are high quality, and a much better deal than what is typically offered at home improvement stores. You might be surprised how cheap this 5 Paint Brush Set is on Amazon (it’s less than $10!).

Paint brushes and paint rollers will get the job done, but for serious efficiency and productivity, you cannot beat this Graco Magnum X5 airless paint sprayer (Amazon). I personally own this paint spay, and have used it on tons of painting projects.

It’s an excellent quality sprayer, and powers through any painting projects in a hurry. We used to dread painting, but now with the airless sprayer, it’s actually pretty fun! Painting with an airless sprayer makes it easy to complete projects in much less time.

airless paint sprayer

So there you have it, all my favorite white paint colors! Which one was your favorite? Looking for more ways to brighten up your home? You’re gonna love this post where I share my best tips to brighten any space.

Don’t forget to grab my FREE paint guide all about helping you choose the right shade of white for your space! Just fill in your information below to get the guide!

Save this post for later by pinning the image below to your Home Ideas board on Pinterest!

how to choose white paint

White Paint Color Guide

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38 comments

Rochelle August 31, 2017 - 6:40 am

I think I like the Swiss Coffee best! It sound homey and yummy…and it is pretty. Like mom says, “If you don’t like the paint color name, you won’t like the paint!”

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Ashley Carpenter August 31, 2017 - 10:08 am

I agree, I love how it looked in that mud room! If I didn’t have leftover White Dove to use up I think I would try that in our laundry room. Someday I will try it out tho! And yes, your mother is a wise woman πŸ˜‰

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Kasey August 31, 2017 - 8:05 am

I’m planning to paint almost half my house white and have been wondering which whites were best, so this was a big help to me! THANK YOU, Ashley! : ) Two questions: did you paint your ceiling the same white as your walls? And what ‘finish’ did you paint your walls (eggshell, semi-gloss)?

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Ashley August 31, 2017 - 10:11 am

Oh yay, I am so glad! This was perfect timing then πŸ™‚ I didn’t paint my ceilings, they ended up looking fine with the White Dove wall color (I was prepared to in case they clashed but am so glad I could skip that step!). And I went with a semi-gloss finish because I wanted it to be easy to clean since it was such a light color, I love how it turned out! Good luck painting!

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Carey September 16, 2019 - 3:52 pm

Hi! I wanted to get your thoughts. I’m designing our house Scandinavian/minimalist…I was thinking of going with the white dove. Should I paint the ceiling (they’re low with some wood beams), doors and trim/baseboards Super White or keep it all dove? The hardware will be flat black. It’s a smaller house so I want to make sure it feels open, bright, yet cozy!

Thanks so much!!! ?

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:39 am

Hi Carey! I think for a more minimalist look I would stick with all the same shade of white. And White Dove would look great on ceiling and trim (that’s what I did in our old house!). Love the idea of wood beams and black hardware too!

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Kathy Carpenter September 6, 2017 - 10:26 am

A friend of mine once painted her living room with a paint called “Brown Paper Bag” and of course she hated it…that was when I learned that the name of the paint is significant when choosing colors!!!! I’m gonna have to try out the Swiss Coffee…I like that name…not only does it look good it sounds good!!!! Ha…silly, but it works for me!!!!

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Ashley September 7, 2017 - 4:18 pm

I like your wisdom! I kept it in mind when I decided on White Dove πŸ™‚ Brown Paper Bag made me chuckle, ha!

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Marilyn January 3, 2019 - 1:21 pm

Hi. I’m having difficulty choosing a Ben Moore white/off white for my kitchen cabinets. I have Cambria Ironsbridge countertops. Cambria recommends White Opalescence and I can’t figure out why. It doesn’t seem to work at all.
I’m going stark raving mad trying to decide. Suggestions please!

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Ashley January 10, 2019 - 4:31 pm

For cabinets I would probably go with Benjamin Moore Simply White (or Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is good too!). These are both really pure whites that aren’t too stark. And I think they both look good up against off white/creamier shades of white too. Hope that helps!

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Deb July 18, 2019 - 11:45 am

Help! Please! The 500. Paint Consultant picked colors We hated OMGOODNESS. Soooo lesson learned. The new house has BM Simply White trim, it’s staying. We picked SW Modern Gray for the walls. She now wants to paint cabinets Snowbound but we think it looks dirty with the Modern Gray. Should we just match the cabinets with the trim BM Simply White or a softer white like SW Alabaster or BM White Dove. Any advise would be an answered prayer. ❀️???

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Ashley July 19, 2019 - 12:03 pm

To keep it simple I would match the cabinets to the trim color, BW Simply White looks really clean! But if you wanted to go with a softer white, I think that Alabaster or White Dove would both look great against the SW Modern Gray. You can’t go wrong with those options!

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Rebecca garrabrant August 6, 2019 - 11:47 am

Please help? I ordered riverbed oak from pergo and my walls we painted by the previous owners in agreeable grey but with the flooring everything looks a lot more peach or pink and I am wondering what you would recomend..alabaster or Swiss coffee or light french grey? or anything else actually? thank you for your time!

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Ashley August 8, 2019 - 9:59 am

From the photo of the Riverbed Oak online it looks like it pulls a little more green, so I would recommend a white that has little to no undertone like Alabaster. Swiss Coffee might make everything look a little to yellow/green. Hope that helps!

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Dawn August 9, 2019 - 4:47 pm

We are redoing my Kitchen and I am struggling between SW Alabaster and BM White Dove. Depending on the different natural lighting during the day the alabaster tends to pull gray or darker. the Dove White is nice and clean in all lighting. I want to paint EVERYTHING in the same color. Cabinets, walls, trim …. different finishes though. Would that work with White Dove?

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Ashley August 13, 2019 - 4:35 pm

Yes I think White Dove would look great on everything! We have used it on walls and trim and it looked so polished – I love the idea of painting the cabinets the same shade of white as the walls and trim. Go for it girl!

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J October 6, 2019 - 7:20 pm

Hi!
Does BM White Dove convey well in North and South facing rooms? I have a 2BR/2BA condo. Great room and kitchen in the center, which will be White Dove.
If not White Dove throughout, I’m thinking of BM Glacier White for the North and South side BR’s. For trim, ceilings and millwork, BM Simply White, inless you think White Dove on everything isn’t too much?
Many thanks!

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:51 am

Hi! White Dove will look a little different when comparing North and South facing rooms, it will look warmer in the south rooms and possibly pull slightly green in the north rooms. I think I would try out the White Dove first and if you don’t like the undertones, then you could go over it with Glacier White in those two bedrooms. As far as the ceiling and trim, I don’t think it looks bad at all to stick with the same color as the walls (when using white paints), but choosing a pure white like BM Simply White also looks great. Hope that helps!

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Cheryl Recko August 12, 2019 - 8:55 am

I’m planning on painting my living room 1 of these colors, not sure yet which one. My question is, if I paint the trim the same color do I paint it in a different finish ?

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Ashley August 13, 2019 - 4:36 pm

You don’t have to! I have done both and either option looks good. When I painted the walls & trim the same color in our old house they were both in eggshell finish. If you want to mix up the sheen, I would add just slightly more gloss to the trim.

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Adriana August 13, 2019 - 1:25 pm

Hi Ashley! What kind of interior paint would you recommend for high traffic areas (living room, hallway, kitchen, etc)? I want to paint our entire house Alabaster White by Sherwin Williams, but I’m now sure what paint to pick! Right now, we have a medium gray flat color on our walls and it stains SO easily and is not really washable. I’m looking for something that is *somewhat* stain resistant and/or washable but also not shiny, if ya know what I mean. Thanks in advance! πŸ™‚

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Ashley August 13, 2019 - 4:45 pm

That’s a great question Adriana! I recommend using Glidden Premium paint from Home Depot. Glidden is Home Depot’s generic brand of paint but choosing the Premium option gives you a high quality that’s still affordable (compared to buying name brand paint). When it comes to easy clean up/stain resistance the sheen or finish of the paint will make a huge difference. Most interior walls are painted with an eggshell finish but to make it a little easier to wipe up and keep clean I would go 1 or 2 levels up in sheen. There are quite a few options available that don’t look super glossy. I’d recommend having the paint technician at your local hardware store show you paint swatches that have the different finishes. Hope that helps!

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Ramali Pinto August 24, 2019 - 10:45 am

hi,
We have Quick step- Providence Oak laminate flooring in our kitchen and living room. Our kitchen counter tops are Calcutta quartz ( with the gray veins)
We are going to paint the kitchen cabinets and walls a shade of white. I can’t decide between Benjamin moore’s White dove and Simply white?

Thank you

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Ashley August 31, 2019 - 10:31 am

Hi Ramali! I honestly think you can’t go wrong with either of those shades of white, but if I had to choose between the two I would go with Simply White. That shade of white is really crisp which looks great on cabinets and trim!

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Pam August 28, 2019 - 4:41 am

Hi Ashley! I noticed that the Glidden premium doesn’t have an eggshell finish. Have you used the satin? Also, it doesn’t have great reviews. Have you had a good experience with this paint? Thank you!

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Ashley September 25, 2019 - 11:58 am

Hi, maybe your local home depot was out of stock or something? I’ve had excellent results with Glidden Premium. We’ve used it on numerous projects, always with great results! Here is a link to Glidden Premium Eggshell.

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GS September 6, 2019 - 7:49 pm

Hi Ashley, Same issue as everyone else here. Which white?? in my case for kitchen cabinets. I want a soft white but not yellow. Our floor is a warm gray with green undertones and our appliances brushed SS. The granite is called White Delicatus. It has some gray green undertones and off white in it – no stark white which is why I think I need a soft white on the cabinets. All the trim throughout the rest of our house is SW Pure White ( we had color matched in BM paint bec the SW version was quite yellow. I should also mention we have 3 windows in the room – one window ais adjacent to my neighbor’s house which they just painted Robin’s egg blue ( not kidding) so it effects that side of the room – other 2 windows have western Exposure so they reflect warm light late day. Cannot decide the cabinet color – considering either SW Alabaster or BM White Dove but getting scared off both by reading they can both appear creamy yellow. But I think the other whites are too stark/bright and Swiss Coffee seems too warm. We are also considering a couple of rich warm grays for the wall color such as BM Tyler Gray or SW Skyline Steel. Also want to mention all the trim throughout our house is SW. Pure White only matched in BM paint ( less yellow than the SW version). We are being pressured to decide the cabinet color and I am really stumpedβ€” Also should we carry the same Pure White trim color into the kitchen or use the cabinet color there? I think Pure White would be too white for the cabinet color. Help please – so stressed out over these decisions and time running out!! ☹️

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:30 am

Hi there! I think SW Alabaster would be a good choice, it doesn’t pull yellow/green as much as White Dove and I think it is extremely versatile. If you’re still thinking of going with a gray, I love BM Pale Oak – that might be a good compromise since it is really subtle and almost looks like an off white! Hope that helps!

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Jane September 8, 2019 - 11:06 am

Thanks for the great advice! I am trying to pick an off white for the exterior of my single story ranch style house with some brick siding, a brownish roof and dark bronze window frames. Our area is ag country so there is a bit of dirt blowing in the air frequently so I was advised against white.

What do you think of Benjamin Moore Swiss coffee for my choice and what possible accent color would you suggest?

Thanks so much!

What do you thi

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:32 am

I think Swiss Coffee would be a great choice – you’ll still get the white look that you want but the warm undertones should help it to not look dirty quickly with all of the dust in the air. I personally love white houses with black trim and have had heard great things about BM Wrought Iron. Hope that helps!

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Charlotte Black September 9, 2019 - 10:46 am

I’m painting mu condo white – my favorite white is White Dove but my painting contractor only uses Sherwin Williams. Should I ask him to match White Dove or do you think he should use Alabaster. Not a lot of natural light in my condo and I’m have plantation shutters installed in white. The trim of course will be a bright white. Any suggestions? Thanks

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:33 am

I don’t think it would hurt to ask him to paint match the color you want, it should be fairly easy. But if that isn’t an option, Alabaster is a great option! I love both of those whites!

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Jennifer September 10, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Hello!
I love your blog Ashley!
So I see you recommend Glidden, which is great, but what color would be similar or the closest to BM White Dove?
thank you

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Ashley September 24, 2019 - 1:11 pm

Thanks so much Jennifer! You can have Home Depot match any color of paint (no matter the brand) and mix it with their Glidden brand. So just grab a can of the Glidden paint and ask the person at the paint counter to mix up BM White Dove. Easy peasy!

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Jesse September 19, 2019 - 4:16 pm

Hi Ashley! So we are planning to paint our walls White dove Benjamin Moore If we wanted it to stand out would you suggest painting the casings and trims and ceilings a different white if so what do you suggest Please help! Thx

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Ashley September 24, 2019 - 1:14 pm

I personally love the look of everything being the same shade of white, however if you’re looking for a crisp contrast I think BM Simply White looks great on trims/baseboards. Just know that it will make the White Dove color look more off-white up against the pure white trim.

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Beth September 26, 2019 - 9:56 am

My comment is similar to the one above! We currently have off-white cabinets in our kitchen, off-white crown moulding that’s a similar color…if I paint my walls a different off white will it look weird? We are currently gray and trying to brighten things up!

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Ashley October 17, 2019 - 10:42 am

I think I would try to color match to one of the existing off-whites in the space so that things don’t start looking too mismatched.

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