Welcome to a brand new series entitled, Renovation Round Up! I have been working on this little bit of fun to share with you all for quite some time and I am kicking things off with paint colors. In this series I will be sharing all the little details that went into renovating and designing our home, from light fixture selections, to color theory, to countertop ideas, to flooring. If you have any questions along the way, drop them below! I think it’ll be lovely to have this dialogue here, as opposed to DM’s on social media which tend to get lost in the fray. Without further adieu…
Let’s talk paint! I should have titled this post, “In Defense of White Paint,” because I feel like everyone is crapping on white paint and neutral hues these days. But why? Why does a color, or its absence rather, have to be controversial? I think white is really beautiful, and muted colors in the brown and gray families, comforting. To me, they whisper calm and airy and fresh, all the while, offering the opportunity for subtle warmth and coziness. I think it’s more than possible to achieve a warm atmosphere using neutral colors, because it’s all about the layering and the textures you bring in around them. I have a post coming up about how to do this in greater detail, so stay tuned.
But more importantly, if you like a color or the way something looks, who cares? Your home and how you choose to design it should not be up for discussion, as it’s a reflection of you and the personal expressions of all who live there. It’s your sacred space, so paint accordingly, I say! Because at the end of the day, no matter what’s trendy right now in AD or elsewhere, or no matter what interior designers say, your home should offer you respite, inspiration, nourishment, or all that you need it to be. This differs greatly for us all, as some are homebodies and happen to work from home (hi!), while others hardly spend any time there, aside from a place to rest their head a night. Neither is better and neither is more important.
This post is about paint, neutral paint to be exact, and the specific white and neutral paint colors we chose for our new home and why. Because there are a million shades of white out there, and because each one plays differently depending on the time of day, sheen, and barometric pressure (kidding), the “why” is important. I am also very much a why person, and the meaning behind everything is deeply important to me (see this post), even white paint. So naturally, I tested all of these out and then some. I may have carried around color cards in my purse for over a year, seeing how ones I like looked depending on my mood. There’s nothing like opening up a sample of paint to get me giddy.
Alas, next to light fixtures, selecting our paint colors took me the longest amount of time. There are just so many options! They needed to work from room to room, to feel cohesive yet distinct, and most importantly, to truly evoke the feeling we wanted to experience in each room in our home. Designing this home was an incredibly long project and all details were considered. Being a highly sensitive person, also just a person, color affects me greatly. The use of color is deeply important when it comes to affecting how we feel in a space, and taking this into consideration is worth it if your goal is to go beyond simply decorating your house, and to make your home feel like yours.
My hope in sharing this post with you is that I’ll not only offer some helpful suggestions on what white and neutral paint to use, but perhaps more importantly, help you begin asking questions about why this color versus that one, nudging you in a direction that inspires you to make a home that feels like a haven. Maybe, for the first time, you’ll consider how the dancing light across the walls affect a certain white, or how a certain color gray can make you feel inspired or ready to curl up with a book. Paint can assist us if we follow our intuition and let our feelings guide us.
My Five Favorite Neutral Paint Colors
Simply White | Benjamin Moore | It’s effortless, warm, easy, soft, and true to its name. Like your favorite pair of everyday jeans, this color white feels right no matter the time of day, unless you’ve just had a giant burrito, in which case feel free to unbutton. It is a bit warmer than your basic white, but not too warm to fall into the cream category whatsoever. I chose it because of its timelessness and how it looked at all times of day. Some white shades fall on the creamy side at night, while others look too blue. Not this paint color. It’s warm but crisp, a perfect white for walls if you are nervous to take the white leap. I love how it looks in the rain, in the sun, in the spring, and in the snow.
I chose it mainly for two reasons, the aforementioned dependability, and because I knew I wanted to incorporate some fun colors on the trim of many rooms to evoke a Shaker and New England feel that I adore so much. I did not want to bounce around with different shades of white from room to room, so all the walls in our home are this lovely color. It feels like a drop of sunshine without being yellow or dingy. It just so happens that it pairs well with everything, and works well as an exterior color too! We used it for the wood trim outside our home and it looks lovely alongside the brick. Below you can see it on the paneling in our kitchen in the morning light.
Where we used this color…(I should say, where didn’t we!) PS. Each of these spaces will be getting their own spot to shine, so if you have specific questions about them, you might find them in this series as I continue to share.
- Hallway Walls
- Playroom Walls + Limewash
- Mudroom Walls
- Kitchen Walls
- Primary Bedroom Trim
- Primary Bedroom Walls + Limewash
- Primary Bathroom Walls
- Stella’s Bedroom Walls
- Boy’s Room Bedroom Walls
- Jack & Jill Bathroom Walls
- Girl’s Bathroom Walls + Limewash
- Andrew’s Office Walls
- Loft Floors + Deck Paint
- Guest Room Walls
- Loft Landing Wall Tongue and Groove
- Living Room Walls
Pairs well with…
Schoolhouse White | Farrow and Ball, Modern Eggshell | Not too gray, not too yellow, just right creamy white that feels nostalgic and warm. We used this in our last home in the kitchen and entryway and I fell in love with it. It surprisingly matched the existing color in our old kitchen to a T, which made it the obvious winner when selecting the perfect white. I knew we’d want to bring it into our new home somewhere, and when I saw a sample on the kitchen cabinets I knew it was meant to be in this kitchen too.
I chose this color for our kitchen and as the trim accent in our main living areas because as I mentioned above, I love white. I used deeper and more saturated colors in spaces that we do not frequent as much, and used varying shades of neutrals in the spaces we use more often. I love how this color looks on our cabinetry in the kitchen and in our Primary Bathroom on the vanity and trim. There’s something nostalgic about it for me, and the name, well that was just icing on the cake!
Where we used this color…
- Kitchen Trim and Cabinetry
- Living Room (Circle Room) Trim
- Stella’s Bedroom Trim
- Primary Bath Trim & Vanity
- Primary Closet Trim and Closets
Pairs well with…
- Creamy yellow
- Brass hardwear
- Cornflower blue
- Pine wood
- Shades of white
Stony Ground | Farrow and Ball, Modern Eggshell | Muddy beige with hints of earthy green depending on the light. I went back and forth about what to paint our Mudroom/Bootroom, bouncing from green to gray to brown. I found the perfect blend of the three with this color, and I have zero regrets. It is warm and rich without being too red, and cool enough to let some olive green undertones through.
I chose this color because of neutrality and warmth. I think it would make a lovely kitchen cabinet color too, but I love how it pairs alongside the soapstone countertop and different metals in our Mudroom as you can see below. If you like sage but don’t want to go green, this color is a wonderful option.
We used this color on our…
- Mudroom Trim & Cabinetry
- Loft Bathroom
Pairs well with…
- Blue gray
- Earthy green
- Grey accents, like soapstone
- Brass and copper
- Terra cotta
Lamp Room Grey | Farrow and Ball, Modern Eggshell | Rich, full-bodied, and warm with blue/green undertones. Andrew really pushed me to go darker for the trim in this space, to embrace the fact that this room is, without question, one of the darker parts of our home. I think it’s wonderful when you lean into the architecture and try not to force a space to be something its not. Because we were building a library, a warm, timeless gray felt right, so I leaned in that direction first. After sampling many grays, some darker, some lighter, Lamp Room Grey felt perfect.
I chose this color because of it’s timelessness and hint of green in the afternoon light, which you can see below. I love how cozy it makes the library feel without being too dramatic. A great option if you want to add a neutral color with a lot of depth. I decided to add olive green accents to bring out those undertones, and some aubergine colors here and there to add a little floral fun to the space.
We used this color on our…
- Library Trim, Wainscoting, and Bookcase
Pairs well with…
- Olive green
- Black accents
- Walnut wood
- Brass hardware
- Aubergine or lavender
Stonington Gray | Benjamin Moore | Crisp, airy, classic light gray that has a slight light blue cast. We were thinking this could be the perfect gray for the library at first, but it ended up falling too close to the blue we chose for the dining room (more on that soon), so I changed it. It pairs beautifully with the Simply White floors and walls in Andrew’s loft home office, a room that feels like a treehouse as its up high, surrounded by birch trees. I am thinking of incorporating this color in our kitchen at some point, as our chairs are in dire need of a paint job. This color would be lovely painted on the floor as well.
We used this color on…
- Andrew’s Office Trim
Pairs well with…
- Crisp white
- Earthy taupe
- Walnut wood
- Bronze hardware
- Spring green
If you have used any of these colors in your home, let’s hear where and how you like it so far? What have you paired this color with, and how has it impacted the way you feel in that space?
Kelly - Did you color match the F&B paint or purchase from F&B? And what sheen did you do?
admin - Kelly, we used Modern Eggshell with all F&B colors mentioned above and did not color match. They have incredible quality paint and I highly recommend going with this brand! Xx
Kelly - thank you!
Melissa - This post was so beautifully written, Amanda! The very best homes are deeply considered, and always bring you back to the reminder that home is sacred. You’ve done this and so much more!!
admin - Melissa, thank you for dropping such a lovely note here. I cannot wait to see your home after the renovation soon, it’s going to be MAGICAL. Xx
Andrea - Thank you for sharing all this! Such a thoughtfully considered home and it sure shows in all the photos you share. I have a question.. Is your kitchen window above the sink a new vinyl window? Did you also paint that with your kitchen trim colour? We have mostly white vinyl windows throughout our home (though gosh I wish they were wood), and I’ve been wanting to paint the trim and woodwork around them something that would contrast nicely with our white walls, but I wasn’t sure how that would look with the window remaining white while the trim around it is different.. thoughts?
admin - Andrea, you bet! So the window we put in is, yep, and we had that painted the same color as our trim! I love painted trims and think you should go for it! Xx
Angelina - My entire home is Simply White! It truly is a great white (although with our experience, was sheer and needed three coats. Not sure if that is the same with everyone) but I am so happy with it otherwise.
admin - Angelina, it’s such a comforting white! Glad to hear you love it, too. Xx
Bethany - Thank you for sharing! I’ve been looking forward to this post :). I was wondering what sheen of Simply White you used on your walls. I usually do a matte finish but I read a comment by someone who said that Simply White showed up more yellow in the matte finish than the eggshell/satin/semi-gloss finishes. Can you share which sheen you used? Your choices are beautiful!
admin - Bethany, I too would recommend an eggshell finish! I think the matte is too matte for my liking. That is the sheen we used on all our walls! Xx
Jesse Riley - I can’t thank you enough for sharing about your renovation! Please keep them coming!! You inspire me to really think about what I want so we don’t rush into decisions we will regret. Our last home Reno was after a devastating flood and although it looked beautiful in the end it was hell in the process, lots of rushed decisions based simply on need. Now, We just purchased a dreamy 1929 home on 10 acres! I am so excited to make it truly ours. We have similar taste and your recommendations help narrow down some of the time and guesswork so I can also work on other projects.
Mary - Love all of your color choices and your views on matching and pairing them! Thank you for sharing! Would you be able to share your mud rooms floor tile brand? It pairs so nicely with that earthy brown (non-white) color! It looks like a blue tumbled limestone perhaps? I’m trying to stick to stone tiles in our remodel and think it would be perfect with that French style tile layout.
Nicole - What type of sheen did you use with the Benjamin Moore Simple White?
Stephanie - What is the color of paint you used in the old house on the cabinets? What is it schoolhouse white? I haven’t really been on social media in the last couple of years and so I don’t know what your new house looks like but I know that I had seen pictures of your previous kitchen many times. Would love to know what color and finish you used.
Amy - This post has been such a wonderful resource as we are finishing up our renovations. It’s hard to imagine some of these colors in a room based on a swatch but to see them in your home, along with your description of how they can act with different light has been wonderful! I will soon be sampling simply white to see how it works in our space. I can’t wait to learn more about the other colors in your home!
Lisa - Hi Amanda,
Did you have the kitchen cabinets painted on site? Was it brush painted or sprayed? We are going with F&B as well and are deciding between spraying or or brush painting them (on site vs at our cabinet maker’s workshop). How has the paint held up?