share post

The Best White Paint

by | Feb 16, 2012 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

The Best White Paint

White Paint

I know people are always looking for the right paint to use, and the perfect white is no exception.

At my old house I used a Ben Moore custom formula of Antique White on my kitchen woodwork and cabinetsIt was a perfect, buttery white for an old house. I loved how warm and inviting it felt. Somehow pure white just seemed wrong in a nearly 80 year old aging house.

But in the new house I live in now, we already had white wood work and windows. So when we went to paint our new board and batten trim work in our kids’ bathroom, we assumed we’d just use the same white we had everywhere else.

Unfortunately, we found out that the white in the rest of our house was NOT the right white for our bathroom.

We discovered the white already in this house had a…..wait for it……pinkish hue to it. Yeah. Swine-y hue. Our builder must have been quite fond of pink. Alas, I was not prepared to repaint my entire house of woodwork when I’m still busy eliminating the swine walls. Cut me some slack, PLEASE, Mr. Builder! He has no idea the pain and suffering he has caused.

So as we discovered, the pinkish toned paint previously used on our wood work was HID-E-OUS with the turquoise walls. HID-E-OUS. So bad. Each paint illuminated the other and they both looked TERRIBLE together.


Now, I know some people like pink. I like pink. And some people like pink and blue together. I am not judging your taste. It is JUST ME who doesn’t like it at my house. Just me. And it is my house so I am just saying what I like. You can use pink and blue and it is not a bad choice. Is that enough of a disclaimer?

So, because the original trim paint color was making me ill in that bathroom, I had to repaint our bathroom woodwork.

I tried several shades of white before I decided which one was my favorite for my trim work. And because you are my friends, I’m going to share it with you.

The Best White Paint

Benjamin Moore, Satin Impervo White Dove.

It was a dream, people. A dream.

The color is gorgeous, and I thought the paint finish was divine. The price will probably make you choke (that is what I did when they told me how much I owed). Now I hear there is a new Ben Moore paint, Advance, that I haven’t tried yet but I hear it is really awesome. Definitely worth checking out! I firmly believe that a good quality paint is a must, especially for woodwork.

Now, will I say White Dove is the BEST most PERFECT white out there? For me, it is a very lovely white.

But the only way to find the BEST WHITE for you is to try it in your own house. No one in blogland can tell you what the perfect white is at YOUR house! But it is one of MY favorites!

The Best White Paint

White Dove is my white cabinet color and trim color.

You need to look at paint in your own home, your own light, with your own woodwork and furnishings. It is amazing what a different environment can do to paint! Even white can look entirely different in someone else’s home! So I caution you, always try samples. Live with them in all light. Walk around your home and think about it for awhile. Then, you can decide what the perfect white is for YOU.

But it does help to have a starting point, and if you need to start somewhere, I would say White Dove is a lovely place to start your search for your perfect white!

Do you have a perfect white paint?

The turquoise walls in this room are Lagoon by Martha Stewart.

The gray walls in the potty room and much of my house (which you cannot see in these pictures) are Behr All In One Studio Taupe.

The bathroom makeover can be found here!


  1. Patricia Whitney-Jones

    My favorite white paint for years has been ‘Behr’ Cottage White. It’s not too stark…more soft.

    • Patty

      I’ve been using cottage white too and it’s been good everywhere but my new place. Lucky the painters had just started when I check per on them. The color clashed so badly with the old travertine floors. The floors are from the 80s and a swirly brownish peachy beige color. I’m sure that description is wrong because I couldn’t find any white paint color that went with it. I settled on Navaho white which ironically I remember from the 80s as a common colors for apartments. It has auburn in it which is prob why it kind of matches the floors. It’s awful and depressing. I want to repaint the condo in a more fresher color. I’m going to try this dove white.

      • Patty

        Wow this post is 3 years old. :)

        • Patty

          Oh it was behr Navaho white

  2. Tracy

    Melissa – I LOVE White Dove, and recommend it all the time! It’s amazing on kitchen cabinet uppers with a dark color on the lowers. I would agree, it’s pretty close to a ‘perfect white’. The runners up IMHO are (BM) White Heron & Oxford White; no “off” undertones…I’ll never understand why the only white ever getting any press is CC-20!

  3. Jo Ann Davidson

    My favorite white for our Colonial house is a creamy white- Benjamin Moore Navajo White.

  4. Grace

    I agree that white’s are so hard. I used the advice on Maria’s blog (Colour Me Happy) on selecting white paint for kitchen cabinets and it worked out very well – I chose Chantilly Lace and I love it. Here’s a link to her articles on white kitchens, but I also know she has posts on which whites are best for trim.

  5. lesli

    I LOVE the Martha Stewart colors, esp lagoon and in the green dept lily pad makes me weak. I HAVE used the advance and all I can say is thta you will never ever go back esp when painting furniture and wood work. It is unbelievably easy to work with and clean up. great bathroom…

  6. Kim Moore

    Before painting, especially changing from one white to another, try changing light bulbs. Some have a pink tone that makes your beiges look pinky and then your tans look gren. A warmer yellow toned bulb changed the look of my hallway woodwork and carpet!
    It doesn’t work every time, but the many new bulbs there are do cast different tones.

  7. Jenny

    I was amazed by this, too, when painting our house! I hadn’t realized how many different shades of white there are. I love all of your paneling!

  8. Eileen

    I JUST bought white paint at Benjamin Moore today. I went with Chantilly Lace. I haven’t put it on the walls yet, so the verdict is still out. I got a whole gallon and it’s pricey, so I’m determined to love it.

  9. Mimi

    The first time I looked at a Benjamin More chart I was shocked to see how many different colored whites there are. I have used Dove White which I like and Antique White. It really does depend on the project I’m doing. I love a good pale pink, but if it’s white you seek, it’s white you really need.

  10. Jamie

    I am a big fan of Benjamin Moore paint. We picked Vanilla Wafer for our bathroom and it’s perfect – it’s almost buttercream in color and it ties everything together. I definitely recommend taping paint sample colors to your wall for a week before going any further so you can see the color in all lights – it makes a big difference!

  11. Sharon

    As an Interior Painter I just used White Dove on the last job. Lovely color and we’ve used it before. The Satin Impervo is also very nice though with a beautiful finish, but like you said, the price is high, and many people prefer latex over oil. We used BM’s latex Regal which goes on horrible! It shows every brush mark. We’ve yet to try the Aura, which is also latex, but it’s supposed to go on quite nice. We shall see on an upcoming job.

    Over the years I’ve used a lot of whites and one of my favorites is still Sherwin-Williams Dover White. I have it through my whole house (except the kitchen) as well as on the outside trim! How I dislike a paint with a pink hue.


    • Kristy

      Why not Dover white in the kitchen? The house we are purchasing has white cabinets and cobalt blue granite counters… I am thinking of painting the entire kitchen/dining area white so as not to compete with the bold countertops and using pops of hot pink and gold. I’m not wanting “buttery”… I want white… but not stark, rather soft.


      • Sharon

        Hi Kristy,
        I did paint the kitchen white but it was more of a super white as opposed to the creaminess of the Dover White. The only reason I did it is because the appliances are stark white and I didn’t like the contrast. Why not try BM’s White Dove? Hot pink and gold, you have a daring streak! ; )

  12. Pat

    The room looks great!

    It is interesting to note that I had a reputable painter to my home recently and he informed me that the paint companies are struggling for business in this area (Dayton,OH). I recently got some paint for my basement walls so I could do them and I was told that the line of paint I wanted they did not have in stock. It was a Benjamin Moore white paint called Cloud White. The formula can be done in many different BM lines. I requested the lower VOC paint,Regal but chose to get the other line rather than wait. When my painter came to do another room he ran into the same problem and called both BM places in the local area and neither one had it. The one store said they could get it in a day. The other option was to use the paint I got for the basement or get another line. I split the difference and used the trim that I had bought and got the Aura line for the wall. The price was $10.00 more than the Regal line which the painter used in the rest of the house. The painter also informed me that the local Sherwin Williams place has been calling him and asking him to purchase from them. The point is that often on blogs we find things that we cannot get where we live. I thought it worth mentioning about the paint as this might be an issue elsewhere since it appears to be economy driven. Also of note, I did have sticker shock when I first purchased BM paint. It was more than Sherwin Williams. I also understand that the price went up this year. I too love the paint. I have an open floorplan and most of my rooms are Quiet Moments. It is a gorgeous blue grey which at times depending on the lighting can have a subtle green tone. When I chose the color I was told it was considered one of the new neutrals and a grey. I initially said I did not like grey. Believe me this paint does not look grey. Another point of note is that if you find a color that you like and have in your home make sure you keep the formula. It is normally written on the top of the can when it is mixed. If possible too keep the paint strip sample as that can also help. Recently I learned that a furniture store was painting their walls to change the display. They used BM paint all the time, but that is when I learned that Sherwin Williams is less now and about the BM price increase. They had Sherwin Williams match the desired BM color.

    • Irma

      Interesting that you were looking for Cloud White paint. I don’t know if that’s still currently touted by Canadian interior decorators but for many years Canadian top interior decorators promoted/raved about how perfect this white is. A nice,softer white that does well in many differently lit interiors.

  13. Aili

    Melissa, you are doing such a wonderful job with this site. It is my go to site every morning and I always leave refreshed and inspired! God bless you and your family.

  14. NanaDoll

    I like Swiss Coffee by Behr, but I admit that I am partial to Valspar paints generally. But finding that great white paint is a chore…especially when you change you wall color and the white is just not the right one. ugh.

    • michelle starling

      I love Swiss Coffee as well. In fact, that’s what I painted my kitchen cabs. I think I poured over white swatches for 6 months and my husband said ” it’s all white, what’s the big deal?” But I’m very happy with my Swiss Coffee.

  15. Heather

    For me, it’s been BM Cloud White for many years now. It’s warmer white works so well in my older homes and matches the earth tones that I tend to use throughout. But I’m getting tempted with all the White Dove I’m seeing out there in blogland. It seems to be the “go to” white of choice.

  16. Dana

    Our perfect white, isn’t. It’s a bit yellow, creamy, antique. I tend to go more yellow in my colors. And, yeah, I dislike pink, too :)

  17. Diane

    Yay! That is the best feeling! Stepping back after all that work and loving it!! So happy for you. I too am a huge fan of Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo. It’s fabulous. This summer I did some painting “professionally” – I was paid well, so that makes it professional – HeeHee. That was the paint I used and it was beautiful.

    Many years back, when we had our house in Michigan built, we (I) did all the painting. That was a huge job. Especially with all the windows and those 6 panel doors. At that time we didn’t worry about environmental issues quite so much. I used the BM Alkyd version of Satin Impervo. That was so gorgeous(and yes I sanded between coats with the black sandpaper) that a friend came over and said, “Your windows and trim are beautiful!!….is it some sort of coating? It’s so perfect.” Music to my ears. All that to say….the money is worth it. It does cost more…but how much is a pillow cover and we change those up more frequently than paint. And I must add….because I couldn’t find a BM dealer when I first moved to NY I bought Behr’s satin trim paint…they told me it was like Satin Impervo. It’s not! It has a hard finish where all the brush strokes show and a garish shine. Just an FYI.

  18. Cyndia

    Good job on changing that trim color! It looks wonderful. My favorite go-to white is Pearly Gates by Behr. I use a lot of greens and blues in my interiors and it looks wonderful with those. It’s a lovely creamy white. And I always use a semi-gloss for my trim.
    A little known fact: if you find a BM or SW color you love, but can’t afford them, go to Lowes. They have the matching formulas and can match those colors really well. I had several golds mixed by them last year and I ended up liking the creaminess of them so much better than the original.

  19. Kim

    I just finished painting a bunch of trim in our house. I choose Cloud White because it works with the house and it’s similar to what was already in the house which is a good thing since there is still a bunch more to paint. And I like it. Although I used a Ben Moore colour, I actually had it mixed at Canadian Tire (My Canadian-ness is showing!) because, well, it was way cheaper. I find their top of the line paint to be good quality, but cheaper to begin with, plus I got it on sale ($8 off/gallon, plus $10 gift card for every 2 gallons, plus Canadian Tire $ – every Canadian has a stash).

    • Kim

      oops! chose instead of choose! I’d fix it, but I don’t know how!

  20. Amy

    I was paint shopping yesterday and I came across the Better Homes and Gardens Arctic White. It’s a lovely, bright white that will contrast nicely against the soft celadon greens I’m planning on painting my kitchen and living room. I wanted something stark to contrast enough so you could really see the green.

  21. Lisa~

    Ugh! White paint was my nemesis until I discovered Restoration Hardware’s Right White. So far it has been perfect in every room I have tried it. I’m in an old farmhouse too (or like you used to be anyway) and it is hard because the light does weird things. Not enough windows for SURE! But it is inconvenient because there isn’t a RH store nearby and I have to drive a long way to get the paint. So I will have to try this Benjamin Moore paint you speak so highly of. Thanks! Lisa~

  22. Tiffany

    It’s funny how whites look different in different rooms and with different light. We lived in a house that had the trim painted BM China White. It was kind of a dirty looking white which I didn’t love. I know people who have used BM Decorator’s white which has kind of a blue cast. So many undertones to these whites which makes it hard to choose.

  23. mary timmers

    My favorite white paint, for trim, at least is Benjamin Moore’s Vanilla Icecream. It’s a warm white which I like. I think you could paint your house all different shades of white on walls, trim, and it would look so good! And not boring in the least!

  24. Shary

    Hubby and I have been painting trim all week. When we moved into this house 2 years ago each room had a different color trim. Each was some variation of white, except the room that had wood grain. There was a can left in the garage of the kitchen trim, and it seemed to be perfect. Until I found out that it has a bit of yellow in it. It was a Sears color that has now been color matched at Home Depot.

    Now the first floor has mostly been done. The 2nd floor hallway is done. Because we will be needing to sell soon, we won’t worry about each room because the white in there is fine with that room. What a process.

  25. Karen

    White paint is such a challenge for me. When we first moved into our house 30 years ago I used Vista Paint Antique White, high gloss on all the woodwork…it was a trend to use high gloss with flat paint or wallpapered walls. Then Vista changed the formula and the color no longer matched. We switched to the new antique white…not a good color for our house. So, we found a new white, Porcelain white by Vista. I’ve since found other whites I like better but we have so much wood in our home between a very large entertainment center in the family room and crown molding, base and doors and casings…it would cost a fortune to have someone paint it and it would take us months if we did it ourselves.
    If I hit the lotto I’ll try this Dove white and put it on everything if it looks good with our rooms.

  26. Bonnie Jean Fulcher

    I am one of those pink fans, but I truly do get not liking certain shades of it or any other color including white. I worked in NYC in one of the most prestigious design firms in the country at the time… they eventually split and went their separate ways… but I still keep in touch with many of the architects and designers from that company. When I worked there I learned soooo very much about the importance of using the best paint and materials. They never used anything but Pratt & Lambert or Benjamin Moore. In my own experience, I have watched my friends try to get by with some other brands but in terms of both quality, ease of use and longevity of wear… there is nothing to compare. Except for painting my wrought iron outdoor furniture, I use nothing else. I have three large files of my “favorite paint chip colors”… so I should write a book… just on paint colors. My rules of thumb… in a kitchen, it should look good enough to eat. In a bathroom, cleanliness is key. So white somewhere in that room is very important. In bedrooms, it is what soothes and comforts. That is all personal. Personally I rarely choose very dark colors except for small portions of space… people tend to get tired of them more quickly. Or, on a cloudy day they can be very depressing. When they were young my sons wanted a teal room and a red room… I tried it and it was horrendous. I hated it (the red room) before I even finished painting it… and I even left the ceilings and trim white. It was just tooooo much for me. To me a home should be restful. Dark and bright colors are better for accents like pillows or lamp bases or small objects that can be moved out or changed around or replaced. How awful that room was… it never seemed warm and cozy and relaxing. My son with the teal… well as they say in The Wedding Planner… “Teal is the color of gangrene” (not to pick on your teal bathroom… the white more than balances it out and I do like color… even teal)…. but the whole room in teal was too much. Now we have totally different color schemes… but no more all bright or dark and the colors are softer or muted or left to pillows or curtains or something that is not a large 15′ by 20′ wall of a room. My sons spent most of their time in my master suite… except when they were sleeping… and it is all “Dove White”…. and natural woods… with white sheers… as is the master bathroom with accents in blues and greens and taupes…

  27. Beth

    I’m an interior designer, and I have to say that I don’t have one right white for trim – it always varies by what color is on the walls, the lighting, etc. But I do seem to have one favorite white for walls – Behr Whipping Cream PWN20. It’s bright without being cold or stark, warm without being yellow.

  28. Vee

    Paint choices just drive me bonkers. I am happy to take your word for it. Just as I was happy to allow the Sherwin Williams dude select the exterior door color here. Whatever! Just don’t make me do it.

    The white you’ve shown here is very nice. And, did you do something to the pink white? Because I really can see it this time and you know what trouble I had with the pink beige. ;)


    Great advice and Dove White by BJ is one of the best whites out there. I use swiss coffee my another manufacture which is very much like Dove White and always looks fresh an warm at the same time. Kathysue

  30. A.D.

    Another vote cast for BM Navajo White….

  31. Tonya

    I’m going to be getting some white paint in the next few days and hadn’t thought of the different tones of white! I have to do the entire house so I don’t have to match it up to any other white trim. I’ll have to pay close attention to tone when I’m looking. Thanks for the info!

  32. fitzwoman

    White Dove has been my favorite paint for my 120 yr. old home for the past 16 yrs.

  33. Andrea . Charcoal & Crayons

    My favourite white paint colour is also Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. It is the colour of the trim throughout our house and I absolutely love it.

  34. Whitney R

    Bejamin Moore’s White Dove is my fav as well! Love it!

  35. judi

    All the white “colors’ overwhelm me. I cannot see undertones in paint colors – which has led to some awful rooms. It’s obvious it doesn’t look right but I can’t see why. So, my favorite white, regardless of brand is
    marshmallow fluff. Yes, I actually tell the paint person I want my white to look like marshmallow fluff – not just the color but also the “shiny wet” look. Amazingly enough, they usually get it right:)

    • Melissa

      Oh, marshmallow fluff? That is a great visual!! I like it.

  36. Jenna

    Here I am searching for the “perfect white” and I had just been thinking “what about White Dove”? I really appreciate this post. I just might have to swing by the paint store {was already there this morning…lol} and pick up a paint chip. Picking a white is hard! I personally love Behr’s Popped Corn, and have that in my bedroom. But I need an oil-based paint for what I’m working on now {vanity for the powder room} and I’d prefer not to have to color match. Anyhow! Love the Lagoon!! That’s what I have in my kid’s bathroom too! It’s such a happy color!

  37. Denise

    OK… I have been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for 4 years, but I can’t pick the white for them. I have a cream, linen and sand color scheme. I hate my Ash cabinets and want to paint so bad I dream about it in my sleep. Would the White Dove be a good choice?

  38. Tamara

    Jenna wrote that Behr’s Popped Corn is her favorite white. It’s mine too. It’s a really beautiful bright creamy-white. Although I like the full-strength version of the color, I had Home Depot mix it with 1/4 of the normal amount of tint because I wanted it to be very near white. I am using it for my ceilings and trim throughout my apartment.

  39. Paige

    Should I use the same color for white walls and white trim or should they have different undertones? Out of curiosity, about how many painting projects have you all done in the last 2 years? I am very inexperienced and am wondering if anyone has tips on how to simplify the process (my house needs a lot of work!)? Also, where do you buy your paint?

  40. Kate

    I have the same question as Paige did. I currently have white trim and want to paint our walls white. I don’t mind repainting the trim but should I paint them the same color or something different?

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      With white, I would do the same color for both the trim and the walls. Whites can vary so much with different undertones, so they can clash pretty easily. They’ll look consistent and lovely painted the same shade of white! Good question!

  41. dee

    i just finished painting exterior of ranch style house, beautiful color white dove, it was perfect, with black shutters and door

    • Maury Sparrow

      Hi, Dee! Finally, a post about White Dove on exterior brick with a black door! I’m in the middle of a gut reno on an 1897 Victorian that currently has this hideous kind of reddish painted brick. I can’t wait to brighten it up, but these whites are making me crazy. I think I’ve finally landed on White Dove. The window sashes and storms will be black, along with the double wooden doors. The window trim may go slightly deeper toned than White Dove for dimension. Would you possibly share pictures of your house with White Dove and black?

  42. Vivien

    In my old farmhouse, I loved BM “White Down”. I had wide trim and the darker white looked beautiful with the darker muted wall colour. In my new house, I have narrower, more modern trim and lots of big windows, and used BM “White Dove”. It’s still a soft, warm white and better with cooler wall colours.

  43. Neil Gregory

    I have been painting our very old cottage in Fort Collins Colorado .With big debates about which white.
    I have noted our house to be 80 years old .The lounge room is small,as it is an old cottage . As I am an old painter ,
    I can recount so many ladies requesting a darker shade of whites ,like a khaki or a tan ,or the many grays ,with a contrast
    White.Only to be told later that they didn’t like it.It was either to dark or to brown or to yellow or to gray .
    You would suggest a change and suggest antique white ,or cloud white. either way much lighter colours .
    At present my two sons girl friends are requesting dark colours such as khaki or. Gray .I. Feel this is not a good choice in a small. Lounge room . My choice is antique white .I feel I have heard it all before.

  44. Rachel

    I know this is an old post. But can you please share the wall color of your bathroom in these pictures?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox