Is It Time to Paint a Room or Three?

I know I have the itch to tackle some projects around the house at the moment, and maybe you do too. Any painting projects on the horizon?

Serene white kitchen with Belgian linen and window seat by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

As home renovation DIYers, my husband and I have worked on more than a dozen houses, which adds up to hundreds of walls requiring interior painting! For most of our projects, it made financial sense to do the interior painting ourselves and for a few, it was wise to leave the job to professionals.

It’s true that paint will transform a space dramatically, and our Chicagoland fixer upper had been freshly painted top to bottom in an unfortunate shade of “pale margarine yellow.” What a shame all that effort and expense was spent just in time to be erased entirely! The paint color chosen not only dated the place, it cast a yellow tint on everything we brought moved into the home. So we only left one room alone (the media/family room in the lower level) and painted over every other wall and ceiling surface.

Affiliate links in this post and won’t cost you extra while I may earn a small commission.

Belgian style modern farmhouse living room by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Concrete lamp. (This is the exact lamp in my living room.)

How about you? Have rooms to paint? Wondering whether to paint walls yourselves or to hire a pro?

You’ll find a few straightforward considerations to mull over as well as images of spaces we painted.

A Few Considerations

Time is Money. Will you have enough time to do it yourself? Hiring a professional may save you time, labor, and headache.

Let’s Avoid the ER…Oui? Painting walls is a physical workout…do you have physical limitations, vertigo, shaky hands, or issues impacting your safety and health? Allowing someone else to climb the ladder is money well spent, and your joints will thank you.

Ballerina etching and rustic sheles - Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Scaffolding Woes. If you have high ceilings or a whole house of rooms which require paint, it’s likely a job to leave to a team of professionals with the proper equipment and expertise. When we built our prior French Country home, we left all of the interior painting to a team of professionals who used high tech sprayers and knocked out the job in no time.

Money Talks. Have a budget to pay for the the work to be done by professionals? Lucky you! Go pro, mama.

French Country romantic dining room by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Great White Paint Colors

Oh the elusive Just Right White Paint Colors! Even though we know choosing the right white paint color for your interior is dependent on all sorts of factors such as natural light and various interior design elements, it seems that the best white paint color remains a hot topic.

Modern farmhouse bedroom. Photo by Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #modernfarmhouse #bedroomdecor

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors. See this modern farmhouse RIGHT HERE.

And I am all too happy to dive into the topic.

French farmhouse bathroom with Farrow and Ball French Gray painted trim, Strong White on walls, clawfoot tub, beamed ceiling, and antique terracotta floor tiles. Vivi et Margot. #vivietmargot #frenchfarmhouse #bathroomdesign #clawfoottub #farrowandballfrenchgray

French farmhouse master bathroom. Flooring is reclaimed antique terracotta tile. Wall Paint Color: FARROW & BALL Strong White 2001. Woodwork paint color: FARROW & BALL French Gray. Clawfoot Tub: Hudson Reed: FIND HERE. Find more LOVELY TUB OPTIONS RIGHT HERE.Design: Charlotte Reiss of Vivi et Margot. See her French farmhouse near Bordeaux RIGHT HERE.

With thousands of white paint color possibilities, it’s important to note the white a stylish blogger used for her modern farmhouse kitchen may look all wrong in your home. Your room’s: amount of natural light, decor plan, finishes, and even geographical location all factor into the equation. So do personal preferences.

White Paint Color on Walls (above): FARROW & BALL Strong White 2001.

Farrow & Ball Strong White. #farrowandballstrongwhite #strongwhite #paintcolor

FARROW & BALL Strong White 2001. A grey based white. This cool white is both strong by name and strong by nature. One of our Contemporary Neutrals, the subtle urban feel of its light grey undertones add a contemporary twist to period homes, while staying in keeping with modern properties. Pair with Skimming Stone, Elephant’s Breath and All White in any combination for an effortlessly cohesive scheme.

Trim Color (above bathroom)

Farrow & Ball French Grey #farrowandballfrenchgray #frenchgray #paintcolor

FARROW & BALL French Gray. A soothing green grey. French Gray is really much more green than grey, but characterfully flits between the two depending on the light and time of day. Taking inspiration from French design and wallpapers used in the 19th century, it creates the most relaxed of rooms. This soothing hue is perfect for exterior woodwork and a particular favourite for front doors in our matte Exterior Eggshell, or garden furniture where it sits seamlessly amongst the greenery.

Serene white kitchen with window seat and BENJAMIN MOORE White paint color on walls. #hellolovelystudio #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #windowseat #benjaminmoorewhite

My kitchen with BENJAMIN MOORE White. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Round wood dining table with farmhouse style.

Find a similar round dining table RIGHT HERE.

My opinions here pertaining to the quest for the just right white paint relate to: (1) my personal experience with flattering, beautiful white paint colors, (2) design wisdom concerning the process of choosing the best white paint color from smart design sites, and (3) guidance from talented designers and serial decorators we have come to trust.

Hello Lovely Studio's serene white kitchen with window seat and dining room with lantern. #hellolovelystudio #interiordesign #kitchen #windowseat #serenedecor #whitedecor #benajminmoorewhite

Our white kitchen with window seat and dining room with lantern. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Linen slipcovered chair

Linen slipcovered chair: FIND HERE

Agda Classic Elegant Traditional Upholstered Dining Chair

Louis Style Dining Chairs: FIND HERE.

Jonesboro Outdoor Hanging Lantern

Similar lantern: HERE.

Sophisticated, traditional, yet modern for your living room! #Wing Chair

Wing Chair: FIND HERE

Just Right White Paint Colors

1. Best White Paint Color Smarts – From Me.

I have decades of experience as a serial decorator for dozens of homes for myself and others and a trained eye for color as an artist. What I know for sure is the best white paint color for one particular space may be all wrong for another. For example, the light here in Northern Illinois is completely different than the light in the Southwest. So keep in mind you’ll need to narrow your search for the right white paint color to a handful of tones and then try samples of them on the walls.

Bonjour pillow

Bonjour Pillow: FIND HERE.

My Favorite White

In my own home which we have completely renovated ourselves, I tested about five white paint color contenders by painting large swaths on the walls and observing how each color changed throughout the day. All of the whites I chose had very subtle undertones, but a clear winner emerged. We painted all the walls BENJAMIN MOORE “White” which imparts: a modern gallery-like feel, coolness with minimal undertones, crispness, and no yellow cast.

Can you believe the simplicity of the name of this white paint? Yes, it’s WHITE! There’s no chance of forgetting this one, and it was the only white I found which worked with the intense yellow natural light flooding our North-South exposure home. We painted ceilings with the same white color and also the trim (in satin). What a world of difference it made!

Romantic French Country bedroom with knotty alder door and shiplap wall #hellolovelystudio #romanticdecor #FrenchCountry

My bedroom wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Mirror Paint: BENJAMIN MOORE Revere Pewter. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Rustic three legged stool.

Rustic 3 legged wood stool: FIND HERE.

Hello Lovely Studio's kitchen

My Kitchen paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Mixed Messages About Choosing

BEWARE. There are color experts who recommend that we NEVER look to photos online for guidance choosing a paint color and others who insist this is the only way! Why the disparate views?

Here’s my two cents: Reviewing photos online (where the name of the white paint color used is supplied) seems a great place to start and can be more helpful than viewing a small swatch from the paint store!

If you don’t already have a Pinterest board devoted to best whites, create a board and PIN THIS POST so you’ll have paint names at the ready when you head to the store to buy samples to try on your walls.

Here’s an infographic with a few more of my favorite white and neutral paint colors from BENJAMIN MOORE (including Classic Gray which we used for walls in a new bathroom we added at the fixer upper):

Just right white paint colors. Ultimate Guide to Best White Paint Colors! #bestwhite #whitepaint #choosingwhite

PIN ME!

Hello Lovely Studio's living room with egg chair upholstered in Belgian linen and Benjamin Moore White Sand paint color on walls. #hellolovelystudio #livingroom #whitedecor #benjaminmoorewhitesand #eggchair #belgianlinen #serenedecor

BENJAMIN MOORE White Sand on the walls in our former living room. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Tried & True Pretty White Paint Colors

In our prior French Country style home, BENJAMIN MOORE White Sand was my favorite shade of white paint for walls, and BENJAMIN MOORE Dove Wing went on all the doors and trim. BENJAMIN MOORE White Dove was used to paint my family piano and various furniture.

Dove Wing by Benjamin Moore for a beautiful #whitepaint color for trim

BENJAMIN MOORE Dove Wing…Best White Paint Colors

Hello Lovely Studio bedroom with Stikwood (Hamptons) statement wall, cottage style furniture, and Belgian linen slipcovered chair. #hellolovelystudio #stikwood #sthiplap #bedroomdesign #cottagestyle #belgianlinen #frenchcountry #interiordesign #bestwhitepaint

Paint color on furniture: BENJAMIN MOORE Revere Pewter. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Paris apartment with Louis dining chairs. Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #parisapartment #diningroom

Hello Lovely Studio. Color on door is similar to BENJAMIN MOORE White Dove.

2. White Paint Color Advice from Pros.

I turned to Country Living to discover the white paint colors Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines tends to favor and use in her projects. Her go-to white? SHERWIN WILLIAMS Alabaster, which she used on the walls in her own home as well as many of the homes she and Chip renovated on the show.

Joanna's five favorite Fixer Upper paint colors - #paint #bestwhitepaint #whitepaint

SW Alabaster: Joanna Gaines’ Favorite White

For a soothing grey paint color, Joanna likes Wedding Band from Kilz.

Kilz Wedding Band paint color

Kilz Wedding Band…Home Decor Ideas: Ultimate Guide to Pick Best White Paint Colors!

Is it any wonder, another white paint favorite of Joanna’s is known as “Shiplap?”

Kilz Shiplap paint

Kilz “Shiplap”…Home Decor Ideas: Ultimate Guide to Choose Best White Paint Colors!

View of hall in country cottage with Benjamin Moore White walls and European inspired farmhouse style interiors by Hello Lovely Studio

My home: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Everybody’s Hungry For the Perfect White!

Since I am asked about white paint and white decor more than anything else, I have concluded a ton of home decorators get stuck. I turned to a panel of some of my favorite design friends to offer their favorite white paint color picks.

Interior Designer Leanne Ford Gives Us a Tour of Her Renovated Farmhouse

Design: Leanne Ford. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

3. Just Right White Paint Colors: Picks from Experts.

Greet of Belgian Pearls (See her own Belgian home RIGHT HERE)

“It is hard to name a favorite white as using the right color of white is dependent upon the room that has to be painted. Is it a small or a large room? Is there a lot of light coming in or not? Another factor….fabrics to be used in the room for curtains and upholstery. But I often turn to FARROW & BALL Pointing White or White Tie.”Farrow and Ball "Pointing"

 

 

POINTING…Farrow & Ball. This fresh and uncomplicated white is named after the colour of lime pointing used in traditional brickwork. One of our Red Based Neutrals, Pointing has a warm undertone to it which creates the prettiest of spaces when used on walls and always softens the feel of a room alongside strong, traditional colours.

 

 

 

 

Panelling in Blue Gray by Farrow & Ball and wall in Pointing

Wall paint: Farrow & Ball: Pointing. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Farrow and Ball White Tie

WHITE TIE…Farrow & Ball. Our prettiest white is named after the old, pre-brightened, starched cotton used for white tie jackets. One of our Yellow Based Neutrals, White Tie brings a gentle warmth to any room and is deepened with a touch of black pigment. Combine with Matchstick, String and New White for a delicate scheme with reassuringly creamy undertones.

 

 

 

 

Maiden Home: Custom, handcrafted sofas for a fraction of the showroom price. #whitelivingroom #minimaldecor

Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Lauren DeLoach of Lauren Deloach Interiors:

Joanna's five favorite Fixer Upper paint colors - #paint #bestwhitepaint #whitepaint

 

 

 

ALABASTER…Sherwin Williams. Sherwin Williams named this the 2016 Color of the Year. Alabaster creates an atmosphere of ease and contentment for many spaces.

French country kitchen by Hello Lovely Studio. Benjamin Moore White Sand paint color on walls. #hellolovelystudio #frenchcountry #kitchendesign #benjaminmoorewhitesand #whitesand

Our prior kitchen. Wall paint: BENJAMIN MOORE White Sand.

Megan Pflug of Megan Pflug Designs:

 “My favorite “white” wall color is FARROW & BALL Ammonite. It is a fantastic changeable color. It looks more like a stone material than a flat wall color. Its a great alternative to a standard white.”
Farrow & Ball Ammonite
AMMONITE…Farrow & Ball. Ammonite is named after the treasured fossils often found on the Dorset coast. It has a fantastically understated quality, and sits effortlessly with our Easy Neutrals. Neither too warm nor too cool, its subtle grey tone creates a hushed and calming feel in homes both old and new. Try pairing with All White to accent its light grey feel.
Sustainable Kitchens - Bright Open Plan Family Kitchen in London. Oak shaker style cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball Ammonite with built in spice racks on both sides of the Smeg range cooker. The worktop is Bianco Fantasia.

Cabinetry paint: FARROW & BALL Ammonite. Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Benjamin Moore white paint color in a gorgeous modern farmhouse kitchen with coastal decor. Design: Lisa Furey. #modernfarmhouse #kitchendesign #benjaminmoorewhite #coastalkitchen #coastaldecor #lisafurey

Paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen with coastal style. Design: Lisa Furey. See more of this cottage RIGHT HERE.

 Trim Color for both bathrooms (including shelving, baseboards, doors and door trim) for both bathrooms Benjamin Moore White Dove - Trim

 

Is anyone surprised at all that WHITE DOVE still reigns!?!

Sherry Hart of Design Indulgence, Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips and Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home —>WHITE DOVE…Benjamin Moore. Unerring style defines this classic, softly shaded white. Light and luminous, it is a favorite choice for moldings and trim.

 

 

 

 

Coastal kitchen design with Benjamin Moore white paint on cabinets and walls. Design by Lisa Furey. #coastaldecor #kitchendesign #lisafurey #coastalcottage

Paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen with coastal style. Design: Lisa Furey. See more of this cottage RIGHT HERE.

Simply White by Benjamin Moore. Crisp, clean, but not too stark a white. No surprise undertones.
Amy of Maison Decor —-> SIMPLY WHITE…Benjamin Moore. Fresh as the first snowfall, this clean, crisp, multi-purpose white is  a perennial favorite for trim, ceilings, and walls.
Knotty alder door in serene white bedroom by Hello Lovely Studio #whitewalls #BenjaminMoore

My home. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE “White” – Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

My go to whites: In our prior home, we had most of our walls painted Benjamin Moore White Sand, and here at the fixer upper, the bright white that worked best was Benjamin Moore White (yep, that’s right, W H I T E…the folks at the paint counter are destined to make you repeat the underwhelming mono-syllabic name of this color!).

Marble topped bathroom vanity - Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors. Abstract on wall by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio.

If DIY painting is new for you, here are 6 SMART TIPS to keep the stress level low and the WOW factor high.

  1. Remove furniture, lamps, and objects from the room or move them away from walls. Remove outlet and light switch plates to save time and effort taping off those areas.
  2. Cover the floor with a dropcloth.
  3. Prep work is important when you want to execute it like the pros. Repair any wall damage, cracks, and holes with joint compound or spackle. Allow to dry completely, then sand and smooth. Remove any dust by wiping down and vacuuming wall surfaces.
  4. You will most likely need to mask off with painter’s tape those areas you don’t want painted (trim, light fixtures, etc).
  5. To cut in, use an angled 2 1/2″ or 3″ quality paintbrush, using light pressure and smooth strokes. Move around the room, along the edges, as fast as you feel comfortable, keeping a wet edge. First cut out the wall – ceiling, then corners, then around outlets, then windows, then vents, and then the wall – floor. When the room is cut in entirely, you’re ready to roll.
  6. For rolling, start at the top of the wall and work your way down. Load your roller with paint and roll it on the wall in a W pattern. Then, fill in the W area with paint. Work quickly and keep a wet edge moving along the wall. If you notice you missed a spot, let it dry, keep moving, and go back later for touch-ups.
White kitchen with marble subway tile and window seat - Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

How to paint walls more like a pro 6 tips - Hello Lovely Studio

Pin me to save for later!

Modern farmhouse living room by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

If you are feeling extra geeky and game for a few BONUS painting hacks, check out these brilliant ones:

This is Tray Smart. (See what I did there?) Line your paint tray with a disposable insert, aluminum foil, or a plastic bag for easier clean-up and less paint down the sink drain.

Glove Love. Consider wearing disposable gloves to avoid messy hands and to store paint brushes that you don’t want to dry out.  And don’t forget a mask…your lungs will thank you.

Not Just for Laundry. For easier paint brush cleanup, add fabric softener to the water in which you soak brushes to prevent dryness and hardening of the bristles.

Modern farmhouse interior with white oak wood floor by Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Knotty alder rustic front door - Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Diptyque candle on rustic wood stool in white bathroom - Hello Lovely Studio

Hello Lovely Studio. Tips for painting rooms in your home. Ideas for the best white paint colors.

Diptyque Scented Candle - Oyedo 190g/6.5oz

Diptyque Oyedo Candle. Ingredients: Grapefruit, Green tangerine, Yuzu, Cedar, Thyme.

Rustic French Farmhouse Table
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Teak 3 Leg Stool
Bonjour Pillow
French Linen Upholstered Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Rustic Wood Candleholders
French Linen Dining Chair Set of 2
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Beachy White Slipcovered Armchair
Antiqued French Lamp
STOCKHOLM Framed Print
PARIS Framed Print
Light Grey Rattan Chair
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
Oak Accent Stool
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute ARea Rug
Leather Club Chair
French Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Magnus Table Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
White Honeycomb Mosaic Tile
Fireclay Farm Sink
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Your turn: HAVE A PAINT TIP OR WOE TO SHARE?

Peace to you right where you are.

~michele

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4 Comments

  1. Connie
    November 4, 2018 / 4:58 pm

    As a seasoned painter I’d like to add two more tips/hints 😉

    7. NEVER expect your paint to cover in one coat even if it says “One Coat Coverage” on the can. Any professional painter will tell you the same thing. The reason behind this is one coat will not give the depth of color as will two coats (or more if using a dark color.) There is one ‘exception’ to this: If you are using the same color that is currently on the wall you will likely be able to use one coat successfully. Do keep in mind, however, that if it’s been several years since you painted that color, time and sun-bleaching may have altered the original color.

    8. If you don’t have any fabric softener you can use white vinegar and water to soak your brushes for easier cleanup.

    It is lovely that you listed so many white paint options. White is such a difficult one to get right and every blog post about white is a blessing. Thanks so much.

    • michele
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 5:30 pm

      Those are golden – please write for this blog!!! Absolutely, you cannot cover in one coat – great pro tip. I didn’t know about the vinegar and am going to do that. Thanks so much for your expertise, friend. xox

  2. Mary
    November 4, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    Hope that you are feeling well, Michele. I love your posts all about paint. Have not painted the walls here yet, because every other day we decide to move, but then, decide to stay. Talk about fickle! I am kind of into Alabaster right now, too. And, I love your gorgeous floors. Such a lovely color…serene. So…here in the South, summer ended just last week. It is now only seven weeks until Christmas. I enjoy Autumn so much but get so little of it. This is why I might need to move. North-ish. Is there a humble castle for me in some land just North-ish of way too hot? I would be happy to find it, paint it, (probably Alabaster or Pointing) and then cherish it always. Peace to you.

    • michele
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 5:29 pm

      We are twins then! Because I am always on the fence about the next project since I’m always thinking about moving on gypsy style. I moved so much as a kid, and that spirit of moving on just never leaves I guess! I can understand your love of autumn. I wouldn’t mind moving south so let’s meet in the middle! Alternatively, if you want to buy our place in Northern Illinois (that’s wayyyy north!), let’s talk! ha! Peace to you, friend.

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