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Colour ConsultationHow to Choose White

A Consultation on White Benjamin Moore Trim

By 07/18/2010February 21st, 201741 Comments

Tammy called me in a panic. She was about to have 10 interior doors sprayed with a new colour and she couldn’t decide between the 140 whites in the fan deck. She found my blog on-line and immediately called me for an appointment.

Photos by Maria Killam

Her existing trim colour (OC-126) was way too creamy and she wanted to go lighter because her entire house was decorated in black and white. She didn’t want to go too white on the hallway doors because then there would be too much contrast between the existing trim colour and the new one and she wasn’t committing to painting all her trim—look at all the shutters!

When I arrived and had the tour I walked back into her stairwell after I’d just been in her master bedroom (above) and promptly declared that the trim in the stairwell was a lot lighter. Ha ha, guess what, it was exactly the same but it sure looked much lighter in the bright sun (below)!

Here’s the trim in the master bedroom close up (below), which was the same in the rest of the house including the kitchen.

Here’s her walk-in closet, her entire house was so perfectly styled I asked if I could show it on my blog.

Here is a close-up of the trim in the stairwell (above). You can see compared to the ceiling white that it really is just as creamy as the rest.

So back to the tour. Here is her living room.

See the mirrored chargers on the dining table? They are mirrored tiles from a hardware store with little round plastic discs in the corners to protect the table from scratches.

See the art? It’s my lovely client, such a great idea for inexpensive art, here’s a better photo:

This fabulous white-on-white bathroom is the reason she was repainting all her doors in the house because she had bought nicer ones. “I love this bathroom” Tammy said “Angels are born in this bathroom” and I agreed.

Here is the gray and white guest room:

See the circle theme repeated in the chair, vase and the mirror? It was inspired by the mirror which she found from Homesense.

Actually my client informed me that most of the accessories in her house came from Homesense. There aren’t many stores in this town [Vancouver] to find accessories so if you stop by weekly and are patient, eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for.


Photos by Maria Killam

We decided on OC-38 which is slightly more grayed and less yellow than the existing colour. Still in the cream family (over white or off-white) but won’t make her doors like like a yellow banana which was her fear 🙂

Update, email from Tammy: “The colour is working really well. We’ve finished installing the 10 doors and they look FABULOUS! Spraying them is the THE way to go. They look so high end.”

So I’m doing a poll, what colour is your woodwork? And/or if your kitchen cabinets are white, what is your countertop?

Need help choosing the right white? My White is Complicated: A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White eBook will help you get your whites right for your cabinets, trim, ceilings, and walls. This eBook also includes my Bonus book of Whites which will take the guesswork out of your decisions.

You’ll need them both if you have an entire house of whites and neutrals/colours to choose, get them here.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.

Related posts:

The Best Trim Colours; NOT Cloud White

The Best Exterior Trim Colours; NOT Cloud White

White Kitchen Cabinets

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  • Sally@DivineDistractions says:

    A timely post for me. I've spent the weekend painting my walls SW Macadamia and my trim SW Dover White. I haven't had white trim for 8 years, so it feels really different.

  • Pam Kersting says:

    Beautiful home. I enjoyed the tour so much! I also love visiting here often! My wood trim is poplar. My kitchen wood is anegre and my floors are brazilian cherry … and I also have white walls!

  • Anita@GoingALittleCoastal says:

    I have been trying to find a white to paint my brown wood kitchen cabinets. I have already painted most of the the stained trim with Valspars ready mix white.The kitchen has granite but I'm not sure on the name. I think it might be Crema Bordeaux, or something similar. I also have tile on the floors. I want it brighter in there but know I can't go with a bright white on the cabinets due to counters and floors. I have so many samples I've gone mad!

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    All my trim is Ben Moore Ivory Tusk, creamy white and my kitchen cabinets and a couple walls are manequine cream. I love the combination. My coutertops are granite and a tiger print look, we didn't pick them out.

  • Three Men and a Little Crazy says:

    Oh, geez! I'm still so confused! (It's me, not you.) 🙂 I've read all of your posts on white, trim, beige, etc. and I still can't decide on my trim, cabinet, and wall colors. Ugghh!!!!

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    My woodwork is BM Mascarpone (AF-20) … because you told me to! 🙂

    (And I love it!)

  • Kat says:

    The trim color I have used is B.M. OC12 Muslin. I find it looks great in this old house. My counters are non existent right now and the color for the cabinets is going to be Putnam Ivory, and the island is
    HC-89North Hampton Putty. Keeping my fingers crossed. They are being painted this week.

  • Samantha says:

    BM White Dove…I'm slowly repainting all the mismatched trim, bit by bit…

  • Vanessa@decor happy says:

    My trim is BM Cloud White (she says in a timid voice:) I have off-white cabinets (close to BM White Down) and my counters are black laminate. As the budget allows, will change it to a greige quartz.

  • Karena says:

    Maria, it is white and I couldn't tell you the shade because it was already done!! It needs repainting soon!

    Art by Karena

  • Val Short says:

    My trim is all BM White Dove. Doors are all clear birch. I have a more prominent base moulding (by choice) and very minimal window trim with a nice sill. Very clean and modern. My floors are ebony stain — love the way they look; so dark and rich in contrast to my trim. Maria: on that note you should post on black floors. Love the way they look in photos and immediately after they are damp mopped. But once the dust settles (which is quickly) show every hair, dust, barefoot print, kitty paws.

  • Añil says:

    My counter is red with white cabinets. I also have one red cabinet too.
    Here is a picture:

  • heather @ whats blooming this week says:

    Beautiful home, Maria. I have a question for you – I want to gt my kitchen cabinets sprayed. What kind of professional am I looking for? I know I'm looking for a paint contractor, but exactly what kind (in the yellow pages what am I looking for?)

  • From This Perch says:

    This post is the perfect example of why a Color Consultant is crucial to the process of home design. Thank you for this glorious example of the impact of light on white.

  • thewelcomehome says:

    I used Behr in Thyme (maybe Oregano). I chose a deep green because we are surrounded by trees and the green trim helps the eye travel out the window and brings the view into the room. My walls are warm colors. The Family/dining rooms are a faux finish that varies from a warm yellow to a light orange depending on the light. I was inspired by the colors of spices in an outdoor market.

    My kitchen cabinets are white and my countertops are stainless steel. It is great because it is indestructable and works well for cooling baked goods. My walls are a shade of red with a brown undertone (not tomato).

    I also paint my ceilings a non-white color. Most are a shade of pale yellow that was derived from my wall color.

  • LA in Kansas says:

    Thanks for the photo tour! She makes black and white really interesting. I've been reading your blog for months now trying to find the courage to redo my 80s kitchen cabinets in white. Keep the inspiration coming!

  • pve design says:

    super white or simply white are my faves~

  • Dale at Hospitality Re-Defined says:

    140 shades of white? That's crazy… How could anyone tell the difference? (I guess that's what designers are for).
    Beautiful house…

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Her kitchen is so creamy compared to the rest of the house. I love her master bedroom. I have started to covet a serious bedroom over my kitchen now. A haven to sleep in. How great would that be?

  • Kim says:

    Currently living in a rental but have a vacation home a couple hours away that we're working on. I'm painting the cupboards an off white, and all the trim will be the same color throughout the house (pretty much everything needs to be painted so its a looooong project since we don't get out there too often). Countertop is staying the same since it's a nice granite installed a few years back. It's pretty dark but I think it will look just fine (and there's not a whole lot of it anyway since this is a small kitchen due to it being a vacation home). But I have found the perfect granite I'd like to use when we build our own place (in the town where we live) and the lighter colors, including a cream, will work great with the white cabinets I plan on having. Going to go for a country kitchen look.

  • thelennoxx says:

    What a gorgeous home! Maria, you're so lucky to visit all these fabulous homes as a part of your work, must be awesome! And I agree with your client, her bathroom is drop dead gorgeous =)

  • Jen says:

    I'd take white trim over my boring oak trim any day!! I just don't want to have to change the entire house. But my next house? You better beieve it'll have white trim throughout! 🙂

  • DesignTies says:

    Tami's home is stunning – she's done a marvelous job on each room! My trim, wainscotting & fireplace surround colour = Cloud White. It's everywhere!!

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    What a stunning home! Good thing she found you, there is a lot of different whites in that house, which could have led to a costly mistake!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    Tami's home is beautiful! Never thought I would like a black and white theme..but she pulls it off flawlessly! I am going to have my trim and doors repainted in a high gloss white.. am now nervous due to this post! LOL! you are so talented Maria..! The original paint color was not left behind by my original owner…so… i will have to start from scratch..YIKES!
    I think Tami is going to be one happy camper when her project is done!

  • Ava says:

    I want to paint all the trim (including doors) SW 7005 Pure White which is similar to BM Super White. It matches the existing color. This is the one color I chose differently from what my designer recommended 🙁 She wanted to go a little darker but I'm not so sure she considered the white in the wood blinds and the white in the cabinets.

    Shouldn't the white trim match the cabinets (or the blinds)?

    We are stuck with greyish-brown coutertops.

  • Christina - The Diva's Home says:

    What a beautiful home! My trim is painted a very pale gray, but in the living and dining room it is stained to match the hardwood floor. It was that way when I bought the house. Someday I will change it! 🙂

  • Donna says:

    I can see why she called you Maria. I never realized until we were picking colors for my house that there were so many options for white!

    I can see how easily you could end up with a yellowish look. My molding is wood but I'm really excited about doing it in the Moonlight White from Behr. I think my very white kitchen cabinets will look so much better in the color you suggested for them. The bone white they are now makes the blue counters look yellowish to me.

    Great post! Oh, and thanks so much for visiting Maria. I've got four visiting college age boys celebrating my 18yr. old to celebrate his birthday. They'll be up all night. I'm so glad the house looks more 'put together' thanks to you.

    PS. Tim wants to buy a new counter top and sinks! Oh my! :o)

  • Laura Bielecki says:

    I want that closet and kitchen!!! Thanks for sharing great clients homes.

  • Steph@TheGraniteGurus says:

    I would like to marry this house, it's so beautiful!
    I think whites are often the hardest "color" to work with, so I think it's great that your client understood the need for you. Great job and great post.

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG! Love your closet, details pretty please?

  • Jeanne says:

    Our trim and all of our woodwork is crisp, crisp white – Dunn Edwards No.1. This white is not as stark as Benjamin Moore's Super White but it's probably quite close (just a touch less gray). My previous house had creamy white trim and I disliked it immensely.

    Thanks for your great blog!

  • Lynne says:

    Dear Maria,
    Thank you for the depth of effort and height of positive energy that you have put into your blog. It is a visual delight, and a rich resource of information. Beyond that, it brims with joy and generosity. I'm working on making my home a happy place, and your work has been a great aid to me. I'm very grateful for your talents, and for the open spirit in which you share them.
    Most appreciatlvely,

  • Ideezine says:


    Great snaps so we all get the picture of the situation. Great space, light, and depth with great flow. Tami was smart to keep your number close by for the HELP she needed. Designers love to help by solving situations that arise out of the woodwork.

    My woodwork is creamy beige and my kitchen counter tops are white.


  • EAC says:

    First, your client's house is fantastic. Second, your poll. The trim moulding in the downstairs is Pratt & Lambert seed pearl, except the crown moulding in the dining room that I recently painted BM hazy skies (high gloss) to match the walls. It visually added 6" to the ceiling height. Downstairs doors except the entry are slowly being converted to real wood and painted FPE gloss black. The upstairs trim is moving to super white as it is replaced with more substantial moulding & real wood doors. I chose super white beacause it was the closest match to the tiles in my daughter's newly redone bathroom- I didn't want the tiles looking dingy, and there is more color upstairs than down- the super white seems to work best with the majority of colors up there (BM love & happiness, potpourri, & coral spice).

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Heather,
    Most custom cabinet makers have either a spray booth or outsource it to someone.

  • Charlene Austin says:

    That is such a beautiful home!!

    My trim is white. We had all the trim sprayed (on site) with lacquer. It was so worth it and they are so incredible. I touch them all the time because they are smooth as glass.

    My cabinets are white and the kitchen counters are a white quartz. My Brookside Moss island turned out better than I ever dreamed. I just posted the most recent update the other day on the reno if you'd care to take a look.

    Love your blog Maria. Now I want to go to Home Sense tomorrow! LOL.

  • Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess says:

    I love love love the trim in this house… so flat and minimal and gorgeous. This is inspiring an upcoming post…

  • carol wiatrak says:

    Maria, Your clients home is stunning!! How does she keep it so clutter free? Perfect gorgeous home. What is the color used on the walls in her office? Please, please, let me know. I want to redecorate right now in black and white.Have a great weekend!

  • LizH says:

    Anyone know which stone is on the bathroom floor? On my monitor, it looks light and creamy, which is hard to find.

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