Shades of white, and how we chose our wall color

My friend at work has been house-hunting for months and made 6 offers before finally having an offer accepted last week! I am so happy for her and we've been talking about houses and DIY projects and decorating for ages and now she has a place to implement her ideas and good style. We started talking about paint colors and turns out I blew her mind (her words) about choosing it. Read on, this may be something you didn't know, too!

My friend said her mother-in-law loves paint colors and was excited to help them choose, but they were going to go with plain white so she thought she might disappoint her. I said, well, she can still help you choose which shade of white!

My friend was confused. "There's more than one white?"

I explained what I know from my limited knowledge of color theory, and how there are undertones to whites that can make them look bluer, yellower, etc. in different settings. I explained, the original 1960's hardwoods in her house were a warm tone, so if she chose a cooler white it might look pretty blue in contrast. I said ideally you'd try several paint colors in the room, in artificial and natural light, to see how they really look.

(I know this from choosing greys, too, greys are so hard! When we chose the color for our townhouse walls and ceiling it was really helpful to see it in rooms in other homes (online) first. The color we went with (Sherwin Williams Snowfall) looks almost brown higher up on the card, but reads as a comfortable, pale grey in person, rather than a blue-grey or purple-grey as are common.)

Anyway, I told my friend about how I chose the white we used alllll throughout our house. We sprayed our paint on in about 5 hours and did every wall and ceiling the same color. We chose not to use a ceiling paint for the ceilings, even though it's cheaper, because we were using the sprayer and didn't want to change the paint out. We used an eggshell finish so it works well on walls and ceilings. 
Walls: "White" by Benjamin Moore in Eggshell
Trim: "White" by Benjamin Moore in Semi-Gloss


When I chose our white, I looked at the colors my favorite designers were using, ruled out the designer ones, and thought about what might look good everywhere in the house. (Some colors look better in natural light, others work well in windowless rooms, etc. but I wanted a versatile one.) I also wanted something that would be universal and work on walls and trim. Basically, I didn't want to have to put too much work into it since I don't have a team of people helping me with moodboards for each room and just wanted something that would look generally good everywhere!

Probably my fave designer/firm right now is Amber Interiors. Here's their guide to white paints. I skipped the Dunn Edwards section and went right to Benjamin Moore, since we bought all of our trim paint at Orchard Supply Hardware and they carry it. I like how this list talks about pairings of wall and trim paint.

Source

I also love Studio McGee, and they also shared their favorites whites. That post is nice because it shows the paints in rooms. And they look so different in this palette, all next to each other!

I sent my friend those links and she and her husband both floored. I don't know which shade of white they'll pick yet and I hope I was helpful instead of confusing!

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