Hi again design lovers!

Today I’m talking paint.  White paint.  Let me say up front that I’m not evaluating my like or dislike of any 1 color over the other mentioned in this post & there are no affiliate links.  Just my direct opinion & experience with each.

Y’all know I love color.  And if you’ve seen any of my posts here or on Instagram, you know that I hate flat paint & builder beige because…

  1. Flat paint just falls flat, literally.  No depth, no light, no dimension.  But more important, it can’t be cleaned unless you wanna see bare drywall. And dirty walls suck.
  2. Builder beige is NOT a color.

You might be thinking “If you love color & hate dirty walls, why are we talking about white paint?”

It kind of happened by accident really.  Remember this room?


Well let me remind you.  If you haven’t seen it already, here’s the short story.

When we moved into our current home, this was the dining room (see the pics below) – it was built (2012) to be the dining room & the previous owners used as a dining room.  I didn’t like it as a dining room – the size & the location were ALL wrong – so I changed it.  To a media room for the kids to hang out in.

The previous owners painted the room grey.  It was fine.  I didn’t hate it.  I didn’t love it either – it was a flat finish & just kinda dull.

On top of that, I didn’t have a sample or color name or can top or formulation to use in case of touch ups.  And there are always touch ups.  Plus I really hate color matching – it’s never quite “perfect” enough for my anal mind – unless it’s to repaint the entire room/wall.

After the paint started showing wear, I let all the kids that ever stepped foot in the house to “sign” 1 wall.  I knew it was going to have to be repainted anyway, so why the heck not.  Have some fun, go balls to the wall crazy!

When I finally got the inspiration I needed for this room, I needed to go bold & graphic.  Enter navy lettering on white walls.

Here’s that little story in pictures…

When I painted this room, I cared about 3 things:

  1. That it’s inspirational & functional for my kids & their friends (turns out we adults use it just as much – BONUS!)
  2. That we all love it
  3. That the walls could be wiped clean.  Kids (big & small) are dirty little things. 😉

Since it’s at the front of the house when you first walk in, making over this room almost forced me to do something with the entryway.  The crisp new white made that builder beige in the entry look like dirty sand.  ¡No es bueno!

Here’s the thing… I’m all about convenience.  When I started with the white in the Kid’s Media Room I was already on a HD run.  I decided while I was there to pick up a couple of gallons of the purest white they had.  Even though it was on a whim, I had already been looking at my fan decks at home trying to decide on a white – from the Behr brand it was Ultra Pure White in Satin.

If I had thought ahead, I would have just bought a 5 gallon bucket.  I had just enough of the Behr paint to get through our small entryway.  This always happens – I OVERplan for clients & UNDERplan for my own home.  Oh well, on the bright side I wouldn’t have been able to share this comparison with you if I had planned things out so well.

You’re welcome.

Back to the story…  I set out to makeover the kid’s media room.  That led to a mini makeover in the entryway.  So mission complete, right? {BTW, I am seriously re-considering the ceiling in the kid’s media room.  I love the navy ceiling in the entry & dining room (more on that in a later post) so much that this now feels… incomplete.}

Not so fast my friend.  The universe just would not be itself if painting the entryway didn’t make the long wall leading into the rest of the house look like even dirtier sand!

Plus there were other issues that had been driving me bononos since the second I saw them & every single day since we moved in. Things like why on Earth anyone would do this…

By this time, I’d run out of the Behr paint & was too lazy to go back to HD for more.  Instead I headed over to my local Sherwin Williams.  2 reasons:

  1. The original color that inspired all these changes was SW Naval.  We used it all over the house including the {actual} media room & every hallway & niche & it’s the color of the lettering in the kid’s media room.  I needed a slightly brighter version for the inside of the door, dining room accent wall, & ceilings – just so that it would catch a little more light.
  2. It’s closer & I was feeling hecka lazy.

Only 1 problem – I needed the white to be as “pure” & inexpensive as the Ultra Pure White without having to color match.  So… SW Extra White it is!!  I used that all over the dining room except on the window wall.  It is a tad more grey than the Behr, but you tell me if you can see the difference.

Even taking into account lighting & shadows, I’d say it’s pretty dern close.  As a matter of fact, the only reason I noticed the difference is because I made a lazy attempt at touching up a small spot in the entry next to the light switch & I could then clearly see the slight grey undertone of the SW Extra White.

Last but not least is 1 of my favorites – Benjamin Moore Simply White.  I don’t have a direct comparison of it on my walls, but I recently did a kitchen makeover for a client that shows just how pure of a white it is.  It has a little more of a yellow undertone, but even with (NON builder) beige walls – whether under ambient light or natural sunlight – it reads as a very pure & natural white.

So in the end…

I Tested 3 White Paint Colors & Here’s What I Found Out

Color, undertones, & tint are pretty important when you’re choosing paint color.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called to “correct” a color that was supposed to be Taupe but looked green in the morning, grey midday, pink in the evening, and sickly any other time.

So yes you really have to pay attention to undertones & tint – sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not.  That’s a discussion for another time – this post is about whites.  Here’s the most important stuff.

Note:  my “tests” are based on the following conditions:

  • using the lower grade of each brand.  Typically the higher up you go on the scale (i.e. Benjamin Moore ben vs. Aura vs. Advance vs. Regal), the better the paint performs in each criteria.
  • All walls/cabinets were primed with KILZ.
Behr Premium Plus – Ultra Pure WhiteNeutralExcellentEasy – 2 coat
Benjamin Moore ben – Simply WhiteYellow – very slightExcellent (but I prefer Advance cabinets/doors/trim)Easy – 2 coat
Sherwin Williams Super Paint – Extra WhiteGrey – very slightGoodEasy – 2 coat

At the beginning of this post I said that I’m not saying whether like or dislike of any 1 color over the other.  What I will say is that based ONLY on what I needed for my original purpose – durability & clean-ability – Behr has served us well.  I’ve had to wipe a couple of hand prints off a wall or 2 already – Behr has held up quite well, even before it was fully cured.

On the other hand, I’ve had to do a little touch up on SW in the dining room already.  That might well be my fault though – I’ve been moving things around to put the room back together & just might have scraped the wall in the process.  Oops. ?

One last note, Benjamin Moore has stood up well to my client’s kitchen shenanigans – even through holidays & gatherings.  So that says a lot.  If I end up using ben on a wall or 2 here at home, I’ll definitely keep you updated.

In the meantime, I hope this helps if you are considering a light bright white room – feel free to pin this for your future reference.  If you’ve already gone white, please share your experience & your favorite brand/color.

White Paint - Compared

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