I Went White

A little less than two years ago, I painted our family room Favorite Tan.  It’s a lovely color and after living in white rentals for 3 years we decided it would be ok to paint some walls in our current rental.  Nope, we didn’t ask, we just picked colors that we knew would work with the over all flow of the house {and our stuff as well} and tried to do a decent paint job knowing that if the owner insisted, we would just paint the walls back when we left or, forgo our deposit.

Then a few weeks ago I finally gave into something I’d been considering for the past six months.  Going white.  It’s no glory, hero, staged, finished photo I’m still tweaking…ok, I’m never done tweaking but, you get the idea: MY WALLS ARE WHITE, PEOPLE!

Many times I found myself sitting on the sofa staring into the breakfast room back there {ok, so in this picture I’m talking to my friends but, I may have been a little captivated by the crisp white that is calling me to come sit at the table}.  See how fresh and bright and clean and simple that white is off in the distance?  I also started a white walls pinboard at Pinterest.  Then I started noticing that the majority of the rooms I pinned were white walled–even on my pinboard called Color–many of the walls were white.  I decided to listen to what my pinning was telling me.

cozy minimalist

This house came with pinky white walls.  About two years ago I painted the breakfast area a true white: Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in Eggshell which I unabashedly copied from Trina from A Country Farmhouse.  The best part about this color?  I painted the little bit of trim this builder grade house offered the same color.  So I didn’t have to be careful with the transition from wall to baseboard which ranked up there with getting a shopping spree at Home Goods.  Over the past few years it has been so easy to do a few touch ups and freshen up the trim with the paint I already had. I first used the eggshell finish in the kitchen and breakfast area and assumed it would be weird in the family room but, it really doesn’t have much of a sheen at all and the fact that I could paint the trim with the exact paint convinced me to use the eggshell finish in the family room as well.

One of my favorite parts {and the scariest part} about going white is that your stuff has a lot of room to speak.   Which means if you hate your art and furniture, there’s a good chance you’ll hate it more when it’s surrounded by white.  I learned that from apartment living.  White is like a big arrow that points to everything in the room it’s all “Look over here, now here, see this thing?”.  That can either work for or against you.  Me?  I was ready to actually be able to see my stuff for awhile.  And last year was such a …I hate to say it…it’s my least favorite word…BUSY… year that white somehow helps balance out the craziness that can be life.  Sometimes I’m in a stage where I need cozy, moody, depthy, embracing walls, sometimes I need bright, slow, hushed white.  White walls are the ultimate quieting of the house.

So, the walls look a different color in every photo–that’s just like in real life, every wall looks a little different depending on the natural light it gets.

I took my time with this room.  I did one wall per day over the course of a week or so.  I started with this wall to see if I would even like it.  After each wall I waited to make sure I still liked the color.

My boys helped.  I didn’t ask my husband, I know he doesn’t get the same enjoyment out of the finished painted product as I do so I try to save up my asking him to help me for things that I really cannot do by myself.    I also didn’t really ask his permission. In our family we kind of have an understanding and after 17 years he trusts me with paint colors and I trust him with when to buy tires and change the oil and charging my phone.   He thinks nothing of being surprised with a new paint color.  Actually, for the first time today I asked him if he liked it.  He said yes.  That’s about as involved as he gets with paint colors.  And for that I  am forever grateful.

After the first coat I moved the tv/dresser and stuff back just to see how it was coming along.  It was scary, what if I hated it?  Oh, wait, if I hated it I could just paint it back.  This wall took a total of an hour or so to paint two coats.  Painting is fast.  And cheap.  and contrary to what we tell ourselves, it’s low risk.

The best part about going white?  You can add in just about any pop of color and then change your mind the next day and pick a different color.  In many ways, white is super low commitment.    You know I love me some honeysuckle and copper.  And white doesn’t dictate any undertone like my green Favorite Tan

One problem area with white can be that is doesn’t show off lots of millwork when painted the same color.  Lucky for me we don’t have that so for transitional house styles like mine it’s a great fit.  We do have a fireplace so I painted that two shades lighter than Favorite Tan–Rice Grain.  I’m not crazy about putting a white mirror on a white wall so that’s an issue I’ll deal with over the next few months.  I’m in no hurry.   And I had to un-attach our cable wire and paint it to match–I’ll hot glue it back this week. It’s lasted a year so far and the hot glue peeled off like a dream without damaging the old paint job.

Remember my gallery wall?  I confessed on instagram how many nail holes I filled on this wall.  83.  EIGHTY-THREE NAIL HOLES.  83 Nail holes on one wall and no one came and arrested me and it took me 6 minutes to fill the holes and about 3 minutes to sand them after the filler stuff dried and I left the ones that I was currently using for the wall so I could rehang everything and I totally get that if you have plaster walls you cannot do this but I have drywall so I have no excuses to be afraid of a eensy weesnsy wittle tiny itsy bitsy nailhole or 83 and I have zero regret for making so many holes to visually see my gallery wall even though yes, I know Young House Love is brilliant and makes a template for their walls because they are smarter than I am patient and pin holes don’t bother me.  I cannot stress enough how EASY it is to repair, wait, I refuse to even use the word repair because that sounds like something is broken–it’s so EASY to fill a nail hole.  A nail hole doesn’t represent something broken that needs to be repaired, it represents opportunity and just about the lowest entry level risk taking possible in life besides getting no whip on your coffee or something.

Please, for the love of all that is lovely don’t be afraid to make a nail hole.  Whether you are a templater or not, just make the hole, hang the art, I beg of you. I beg of you.

Forgive me, I got a little carried away….

I admit, I’m a sucker for change, if I painted my walls purple, I’d probably like it for at least a few hours just because it’s different.  So far it has been a week or two and I’m still happy with white as is my husband.  He’s pretty easy to please, when I’m happy he’s happy.  Or so he says and so far it seems to be true.

My favorite thing about white walls is the feeling of the room.  You know how when you get that first snowfall of the season, you walk out onto your porch and you notice a few things–it’s bright,wow, you can see things better and I also ALWAYS notice how quiet it is.  White seems to quiet things down a bit and I’m thrilled to report that it had the same effect in our family room.  It’s like a bright, clean hush has fallen over the space and that’s something I didn’t expect but am now addicted to.

On the downside, I can really see how dingy my white slipcover looks in the new brighter room.  So I guess I’ll be washing my slipcovers a little more often than every 6 weeks or so.

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  1. Hi- Where did you get those adorable shoes (in the ‘staring into the breakfast room’ photo)? Love this spot!


  2. I love love this post! I too want to paint my once loved butter yellow walls crisp white! Do you still love the white walls?

  3. Thanks for your post. I am currently trying to pick the white for my walls and am leaning to this Ben Moore color. It was great to see it in a house. It was helpful! I like the color!

  4. Hi – I have mostly white walls but oak trim. What do you do with that? I don’t want to paint all the trim in my house (it’s a lot) but it seems to pop out and take over everything! Bam – there’s the trim!

  5. Sorry I know this is a really old post but I just stumbled across it. Interested if you are still happy with your Simply White? I went through 3 whites before landing on Simply White. Right now I have BM White Dove in my bedroom and Simply White in the hallway. It’s driving me crazy how yellowish the bedroom looks compared to the hallway. – Brandy

    • I LOVE simply white. But, I do think if you put two whites in rooms next to each other you’ll start seeing a difference in your whites, I only have one main white in my house so it just looks, well…Simply White :}

  6. Hi – what colour is your hutch/buffet?

  7. I LOVE your house and style. I was wondering where you were able to find those adorable striped curtains. I cant find them anywhere??

  8. I stumbled upon your blog and just wanted to say two things: 1) I LOVE the change to white! I’ve noticed the same thing about my own pins; I’ve been pinning an alarming number of white-walled rooms for someone whose husband owns a paint store (yikes), and 2) your writing style is awesome & hilarious! I’ll be back :)

  9. humbleotter says

    Just went white in living room this week. Beige-y cream I thought was neutral looked so dingy after painting shades of grey in kitchen breakfast nook and dining room, also this week. Room looks unexpectedly smaller but I love love love the brightness even though it’s been gloomy all week. Can’t wait for a sunny day to see how light plays. You are so right about my art speaking louder! It’s screaming like circus music at a jazz festival. My beloved handmade glass platter collection wall is coming down along with my own colorful mosaics. I tried loving it for a few days , because I love them (and let’s face it, I spent quite a bit on them) but it’s just too much. I have a huge storage headache in my future. On the other hand who doesn’t love to shop?! Big white accessories, assorted plate hangers, and 2 large canvases to paint on my list for today. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. I’ve been working up to going white for over a year now. I have the can of paint sitting in my living room. I just need to go do it because I know I will love it. Thanks for the post. :)

  11. Thanks so much for this post. I want to paint our existing vacation home white too, but each white looks a different color up against the woodwork. I think you’ve solved my problem. BM Simply White and maybe I just paint the woodwork too. Such a relief. I also obsess over paint so I understand your process. Again, THANK YOU!

  12. did you do your whole house white? or i guess i mean all the living areas?
    i am debating whether to go a light greige or just go white. i am so torn!!!
    i wonder if all white is too much, but my house is so open it would be hard not to do it all one color.
    curious on your opinion. :)

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  14. You said in this post that you don’t ask your landlord before painting the walls, and I was wondering if you’d have the same mentality if you we’re doing something more drastic? Painting the vanity in the bathroom white rather than oak? Just curious since we’re headed into another rental and we’re hoping to be there for a while. Am I cursed with an ugly bathroom?? :)

  15. Early morning older post blog reading here. :) funny how I am thinking of more white after 16 years white wall free. We lived in military quarters alot over our 20 years adn moved a lot! But now…white or sofe linen is calling out to me.

  16. Loved your post about the painted grandfather/mother clock. I have been searching the web for an item like this after looking at pictures of Monet’s home in Giverney.
    Can you tell me where to get a clock like that…and how do I paint it? I have all white walls in my great room and would love a clock like this to pick out some dominant room colors and go for it.
    Any advice?

  17. Hi. I am wondering where u got ur curtains from. I love them!

  18. Loved all your post, thank for sharing! http://ariesblinds.com/

  19. Dorothy Macnak says

    Is your white a true white or is it an oyster or some other white? I want to go true white on my walls, but keep hearing about that being “too cold.” However, the white I have presently is sort of dingy (even looks a bit green). Please advise!

  20. Oops — just now saw your breakfast area is true white. Is there a sort of blue tinge to that? I’m wondering if Benjamin Moore’s Simply White actually has a bit of brown or something else in it. Is it really true white (as in trim white, refrigerator white, or switch plate white)?

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