Choosing The Perfect White Paint

We are currently in the process of renovating our new home which needs a lot of work. I love its layout and location but it needs a lot of work so I’ll be documenting the progress of my first big home improvement project- my findings, experiences, bloopers and tips.

Before I begin, some of my inspirations

John Kramer and Sons via Houzz

John Kramer and Sons via Houzz

The French Mix Design via Houzz

The French Mix Design via Houzz

Burdge and Associates

Source: Burdge and Associates

I’ve had beige walls, taupe walls and recently, gray walls but I think I’m finally ready to experiment with various shades of white. Every home inspiration I’m pinning these days have white walls so despite my trepidation of possibly making the wrong choice, I’m going to be courageous and go for it. I’ll be using white throughout the entire home including bathrooms and the kitchen.

Paint samples from Home Depot & Benjamin Moore Paint samples from Home Depot & Benjamin Moore

After hours of research, I narrowed down my choices to four colors. All are from Benjamin Moore because research tells me that it’s worthwhile to use better quality paint than Behr or Valspar (from Home Depot and Lowe’s respectively.)

I used both brands for the purpose of my sampling process and I found that Benjamin Moore’s colors went on easier with better coverage. The Behr one felt “watered down” compared to Benjamin Moore. I’m no professional but even I was able to tell the difference.

I used both Behr (Home Depot) and Valspar (Lowe’s) for the purpose of my sampling process and found that Benjamin Moore’s colors went on more smoothly with better coverage. The Behr paint felt “watered down” compared to Benjamin Moore.

1. Simply White- OC 117

2. White Dove- OC-17

3. Decorator’s White- PM-3

4. Chantilly Lace- OC-65


Testing colors on a ugly taupe wall

Like many DIY blogs will tell you, whites all “look” like white out of the can but when you actually put them on the wall, they look vastly different with various undertones.

To complicate matters even more, the paint colors all take on various tones in different lighting situations, time of day and colors of light (i.e. warm light, fluorescent light) used in the room.

Some words of advice:

1) Do try out the colors first using samples

2) Paint different parts of the house and look at them during different time of the day.

3) Consider the rest of your furniture

4) Consider the overall “feel” and “warmth” of the home

1) Do try out the colors first using samples

2) Paint different parts of the house and look at them during different time of the day.

3) Consider the rest of your furniture

4) Consider the overall “feel” and “warmth” of the home

This is my third time choosing an all-over color for my home (First time I used light taupe, the second time I used light gray) and I’m learning that the colors that other bloggers and decorators recommend are usually NOT what I end up going with. Instead, I end up using #2 or #3 of my list.

I think this is because every home has its own overall feel and warmth and this should ultimately be the determining factor.

For example, when choosing the right gray, I was so certain I wanted Revere Pewter and found that it was too dark for my home. I ended up using Edgecomb Gray which I absolutely love. It turns out that the home I was living in has plenty of warm natural light, which made Pewter Gray look too dark, cold and dramatic. Read more about it here.

This time, I thought I wanted Decorator’s White but I’m going to choose White Dove instead. I thought I’d like a cooler stark white better than warmer creamy white but my eyes keep going back to White Dove on the walls throughout the house. It’s a little more creamy than I originally wanted but it feels just right in this home.

So here is my recap after two days of sampling paint colors and hours of painting, looking and painting some more.

1. Simply White: Warmer true white

Simply White has a similar undertone as White Dove but tad lighter, meaning truer white. It’s a very pretty white.

2. White Dove: Warmer White

White Dove has an elegant warmth to it that I love. It looks totally white out of the can but once it’s on the wall, it takes on a rich creamy feel. In brighter rooms, it looks more true white. In darker rooms, it takes on a light gray or greige undertone. Not as white as Simply White.

3. Decorator’s White: Cooler white

I usually prefer cooler colors than warmer colors so I was excited to try this color but it looked almost gray on my walls. It’s muddy and not as complex. To me, it looks more flat than Simply White or White Dove.

4. Chantilly White: Cooler True White

Chantilly White is stark white with little depth in my opinion. Compared to Simply White, it has cooler undertones. I think this is a great color for trim, windows, doors, ceilings as well as modern, minimalist spaces.

I’m actually thinking about using this color for trim and ceiling throughout the home for some contrast.


I’m still debating but leaning towards White Dove because it feels warmer and just looks prettier in person. After some experience of choosing paint colors, I find that going with my intuition usually yields best results. So when in doubt, go with your gut feeling!

When in doubt, go with your intuition!

My only reservation is that it looks slightly “yellowy” in some parts of the house (like in the kitchen) but looks really pretty throughout the rest of the house. I don’t want to use various shades of white, but want to find that ONE perfect white that works in different rooms.

More DIY posts to come soon, I hope you find them useful!

Read Part 1 of home remodeling series

Update 5/2016

I decided on White Dove throughout the home and love the results. It’s a soft warm white that reads gray or ivory under different lighting conditions. At times I wish I went a tad lighter (I painted one room in Simply White ) but 99% of the time I’m glad I chose White Dove because white paint is difficult to maintain with children.

(*I don’t know how those Pinterest and Instagram-celebrity moms maintain such crisp white walls with growing children. I find it hard to maintain and I spend more time than most moms cleaning.)

See how White Dove looks today in our dining room.




6 thoughts on “Choosing The Perfect White Paint

  1. Leslie Erni

    You said your dining room is Dove white. What color is your trim and ceiling? I want to paint my whole basement dove white. Just not sure what to do with my ceiling and trim. Thanks in advance. ?

    1. Angela | Mommy Diary Post author

      I used a regular white trim paint (the generic kind without a specific paint color name) and generic ceiling paint. Both colors don’t have a name, the kind you buy in larger cans at any Home Depot or Lowe’s. It makes Dove White pop against the white, dove white looks more off white next to it. I hope it helps! 😉

  2. Julie Schulz

    We are doing our basement in various places with Edgecomb Gray…if there is no natural light, just can LED lighting, do you think it will be darker? In our game room there are two huge windows with barn wood on walls, thinking White Dove in that location and then connected kitchenette (Simply White cabinets with sueded black granite counters) will have more Edgecomb Gray. Our floors are wood and stained provincial (on the dark side), am having trouble picking a carpet color for living/bedroom areas….what are your thoughts on this? Any thoughts would be vastly appreciated.

  3. Andrea

    Great post! Thanks for all you insights on the subtle color differences . We just bought a place that’s dark taupe and lilac, planning a white out!!

  4. Diane edwards

    I really like white dove but it goes a little grey almost dirty
    I’m thinking g of painting my entire house chantilly lace at least all the doors and trim but tempted to do the entire house
    Do you see any blue in this color


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