I’m going to broach the well-loved millennial topic of white paint. And I’m probably going to take a controversial stance – while we all have our ‘go to’ whites, there’s truly no way to tell what paint is going to do until it’s physically on your wall.

I’m also going to let you in on something scary – in hotel design, we pick a tiny square from our fan deck, write it in the finish legend and then it’s installed in 400 guestrooms or up an 8 story atrium wall and I don’t even think twice about what I chose being the right decision. There is never a ‘testing it on the wall and let’s study it’ phase.

But WOW did my decisiveness change when it came to my own home. If you’re deciding on the backdrop of a space in which you’re going to spend basically all of your time, this white has to set the stage in all the right ways.

For the past two years I’ve paraded around recommending SW Snowbound – usually a failsafe. It is now the paint color in multiple hotels, my mom’s entire home, my twin brothers, my Nanas, my friend Morgan’s DC townhome and many others in response to the constant stream of “what’s that favorite white paint color again?” texts I receive from family and friends. And it really does look incredible in each of those instances.

Fast forward to buying our first home and SW Snowbound absolutely NOT working in our space. As it happens, the month I was deciding on paint in my home, we were also deciding on color for my mom’s dining room, and an upscale condo renovation that I’m helping with. I think between the three, we probably painted samples of 16 colors in the white and gray family. It was basically a crash course in residential neutrals and I’m here to share my favorites.

Mom’s Dining Room: 50% Repose Gray

Winner’s Circle:

  • Our Home: Benjamin Moore #OC-117 Simply White
  • Mom’s Dining Room: 50% Sherwin Williams #7015 Repose Gray
    • Reminder that using 50% of a color pigment you love is always as option!
  • Upscale Condo Reno: Benjamin Moore #OC-23 Class Gray with Sherwin Williams Snowbound #7004 Trim and Ceiling

Other neutrals I love & have used successfully in past projects:

  • Sherwin Williams #SW-7004 Snowbound
  • Benjamin Moore #OC-17 White Dove
  • Benjamin Moore #OC-27 Balboa Mist
  • Farrow and Ball #274 Ammonite

Paints that didn’t work or have been an oops in past projects:

  • Eider White (a little too pink)
  • Marshmallow (a little too pink)
  • Alabaster (a little too yellow in low light – caveat: I have seen this work beautifully in highly lit interiors or exterior settings)

My hope is not that you would take one of these and say, “that’s the one!” running out to the hardware store to buy gallons of paint, but that this would help curate a short-list of options for you test in your own environment. The light in your home, the stain on your floor, the trim color (if you’re not changing it) will affect everything. Please I beg of you, if you’re painting a sample, paint it on multiple walls around the room – the color will change depending on what kind of light it receives. I’d also recommend living with your samples for a day and studying in morning, noon and evening light.

TYPICAL PAINT FINISHES:

  • Typical Rooms: Eggshell walls, Semi-Gloss trim, Flat Ceiling
  • Bathroom: Satin walls (More durable and shinier), Flat ceiling

I want to empower you that you are every bit as capable as I am in picking out your perfect white. Just give yourself options, study it in relation to your surroundings and then trust your gut!

Oh, and NEVER trust the teenager behind the paint counter when he tells you to buy the more expensive paint because “you’ll only need one coat” – THREE COATS LATER, I’M STILL HERE BUT MY ARMS BARELY MADE IT. Should have seen that one coming.

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