White is the New Gray (Paint)!


Do you have a huge fear of something as it relates to designing a space?  Do you ever worry that when you make a design or home decor decision that it will be the wrong one and then you’ll either end up being stuck with that decision or have to go to the time and expense of fixing your mistake?  Well if you are normal, I would say the answer to both of these questions is a big fat, YES and that is why I am here today to discuss why White is the New Gray (paint)!

I also want to chat today about what (in the past) has been one of my absolute biggest fears in decorating (and I suspect maybe yours too since you’re reading this) and that is using white paint on walls!  I have always been a color girl and I mean all kinds of color from anything neutral to just about all colors on the color wheel but white is a wall color I have always shied away from.  Of course I have used white paint on doors, cabinets, and trim (you can read all about my favorite white paint HERE for those 3 items + my favorite gray paints) but I’ve never used white on walls.  All shades of gray have been in now for years and some of the darker grays are really in right now but it’s time for white to take center stage for a while and I’m loving it, believe it or not!

The main thing that inspired this post was two things…#1. Despite my fears I plan to step out of my comfort zone in our new build (you can read all about our Finally Home Project HERE) and paint the walls white because I’m loving this classic trend and #2. We are currently renting while designing and building our dream home this year and the walls are white in our rental and guess what…I’M IN LOVE!!!

zdesign at home summer home tour blue vintage inspired rug white slip covered couch white walls white linen drapes black fur stool black and white pillows leather pillow-6

large abstract art floating frame baskets for blankets with lid pink peonies summer home tour zdesign at home-1

white linen drapes brass rod with crystal ball minted art gray lamp with brass base teal bar cabinet with brass accents black concrete floors console table styling-5

shop this look of this gold mirror and marble table lamps and fur stools

I always thought that white would be way too stark for me and that warm whites would ALWAYS come off as yellow or tan but the key I believe with warm whites I’m figuring out is to not only find the right white (which as you may know can be a daunting task) but to use pops of color, texture, and nature to make your space come to life (I talked a lot more about this in my summer home tour HERE).

So what am I looking for?

I’m looking for a non-stark white (the white in our apartment is a tad stark but strangely I still love it) with no hints of yellow, blue, pink, green, lavender and you know, the list goes on and on with the undertones you can find in white paint!  I mean white paint should just be white, right?!  Wrong;).

With that said, soon I’ll be testing out all of my white paint choices that I’ve narrowed my selections down to for our new home and I wanted to share them with you as well but first, here are a few white rooms that also inspired my decision…

This white room works because of the beautiful brass, perforated pendant all the way down to the textured rattan chairs that create interest and contrast in the space.  This room is major inspiration for the casual dining space in our new home and I am really looking forward to recreating this situation for our family to make many memories in for years to come!

transitional dining space oval tulip table brass perforated chandelierPhoto credit: Jessica Glynn | Designer:  Ashley Waddell & Courney Whatley, Olivia O’Bryan Design |

Source: House & Home May 2016

This white room works for a few reasons from the dark painted beams and door to the furnishings and immense texture in the rug, not to mention the pops of brass and gold decor in the space.

The best warm white to try on walls Zeke Ruelas for Brady TolbertPhoto credit: Zeke Ruelas | Designer: Bradly Tolbert

All of the pretty pops of pink and gold in this space by Studio Mcgee draw your eye in to the decor and make this white room work beautifully!

Best white paints for walls studio mcgee foothill drive projectSource:  Studio McGee Foothill Drive Project

The beautiful moldings, dark sofa, pops of gold and natural wall hanging all make this white room pop and come to life!

the best warm white wall colors anthropologySource:  Anthropology via MyDomaine

This white space works so well because of the added color and texture the beams bring to the space, not to mention the color and texture of what appears to be a iron pendant and sconces.  We’ll be using natural real beams in our living/kitchen/dining space as well that I couldn’t be more excited about and is something I’ve always dreamed about having in our home.

the best white paint for wallsSource:  Luxe Interiors + Design via Pinterest

So much to love about this white space from the large tree in the corner to the textured chairs and layered rugs, to the iron curtain rods and white drapes with black trim that all work in harmony to make this white room scream cozy!

the best warm whites to try for wallsSource:  Studio McGee – Mountainside Remodel

Here is another room (and photo inspo for our casual dining space ) that works well in white due to the large hanging basket and rattan chairs, not to mention the perfect light that streams through the space…wouldn’t you just love to sit down right here for Sunday brunch, my friends?!

best white paint colors for wallsPhoto credit:  Laure Joliet | Designer:  Erin Fetherston |  Via Domino

Now, I haven’t tried all of these just yet but, as soon as I do I will report back to let you know which ones I like best and which one I have chosen for most of our new build but after all of my research over the past several months these are the top 9 I’m going to try.  On a side note, BM Cloud Cover is one of their 2017 Trend Colors for the year.

Pin this image

The Best Warm White Paints by Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams

*BM Chantilly Lace | BM Simply White | BM Steam | BM Swiss Coffee | *SW Nacre | BM White Dove | BM White Wisp |

BM Cloud Cover | *SW Pure White

*BM = Benjamin Moore, SW = Sherwin Williams

This is SW Nacre and doesn’t look a thing like it does in the sample above but I’ve seen this in person on more than one occasion and it’s a fabulous white that will be a strong contender for my quest to find the perfect white paint!  This is the home of my friend Kristina Leigh who is the designer of this space and author of the book Building Your Home:  A Simple Guide to Making Good Decisions.

Photographer:  Robert Reck  Designer:  Krsitinia Leigh Wiggins

If you are considering white walls hopefully this has taken some of the fear out of white wall syndrome for you too!  I hope you will leave here feeling inspired today to try this classic trend like I have and that you can use my top choices to help guide you through making a white paint decision.

Also, remember before painting any of your walls any color to always do a sample board (which is what I’ll be doing for each and every one of these colors).  You can find the process for how I do paint sample boards right HERE.

Please sign up for my news letter HERE at the top of the page if you haven’t already and thanks for stopping by this week to visit the blog!



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I do not know the white paint color of the walls in our rental…so sorry!

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  1. We did our first all white room last year. However, we painted the ceiling black. I absolutely love It! We went with SW Alabaster. The last thing I wanted was yellow undertones. I believe this has green undertones, but that is not visible in the room at all. We chose this color because it was a perfect match to our pottery barn desk that was going in the room. It is the perfect milky white. Check it out here if you want http://www.ourcorneroftheworldblog.com/the-official-mudroom-reveal/

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Jalene! I popped over to look at your space and LOVE it! The black ceiling was a brilliant move…love it all!! xo

  2. We painted our kitchen and living room BM White Dove and it looks so beautiful and warm without being yellow. Bonus: it looks good in any lighting, natural or artificial!

    1. Hi Tara, I’m glad to hear that because I’ve sampled white dove before and it seemed to have a yellow undertone to me but I’m going to try it again since before I was looking at it for cabinets. Thanks for the input and for stopping by!! Xo

  3. Ok I’m about to take the plunge on the kitchen. The cabinets should break it up so I’m pretty sure it will be ok. But what about the trim??? I have white trim everywhere. Does it look weird with white walls and trim??

    1. Diane, I plan to do the same color on the trim and walls, and probably the ceilings as well so not sure if you feel like you want to use the same color on the walls as your trim but if you don’t you’ll just need to find a white for the walls that compliments your trim color. Xo

  4. You should check out Maria Killam’s blog Color Me Happy. She is a color expert!! And she has an e-book called White Is Complicated. It’s a very understandable guide to picking the perfect white.
    Me personally…I love seeing pictures of white rooms. I’m afraid that living in it would seem like the walls are primed but not painted.

    1. Hi Mary! Yes, I’ve heard of the book just haven’t had time to read it yet and I am absolutely certain at this point that white is complicated!!! Thanks for popping in!! xo

  5. Love white walls ! It’s so bright and cheery. Also, your rental is absolutely beautiful. You always make design look so easy. ?
    I love the white curtains that you used. I recently redid living room and dining/kitchen (open concept). I’m wanting to be use white drapes in both spaces for a cohesive look but my dining room chairs and rug are more cream/offwhite. Would you recommend still using white or something different ? I have white accessories scattered throughout if that helps. Mixing whites are hard ! ?
    Also my walls are colonnade gray. Thanks !

    1. Hi Michelle, I think white drapes will be just fine in both rooms with what you’ve described! Thanks for stopping in to the blog! xo

      1. Love your blog! How do you know if a white paint is warm ? My new house is being painted cottage white* SW but I really didn’t think about “white” having undertones etc.

        1. Hi Jessica, That’s a tough one to explain but I would say that if the paint feels stark and cold then it’s probably not a warm white. If it feels cozy and soothing to you when you look at it and/or when you are in the space then it’s probably warm. Like this article i’ve attached for you, I also think it has a lot to do with how you style the space as you can always warm up any room or design with color, texture and contrast. I hope that helps a bit but if not, please check out this article written by a color expert:). Thanks for stopping in to the blog! xoxo

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