Painting Your Walls White–Tips & What to Know First

So for a long time now I’ve been thinking about painting our walls white. I know that probably doesn’t come as a surprise, seeing as how I like to paint everything white, but it’s been something I’ve gone back and forth on for a while. I always hesitated because loved the color we already had on the walls, but I wanted a change. You know how that happens every now and then, right? There’s really no reason for it other than I wanted something new and fresh. And I was dreaming of white walls.ย Well I finally got up the nerve to do it and I can’t wait to show you guys how it turned out. I also have some thoughts to share on the whole process, so I’m going to chat about a few things you need to know if you’re thinking about painting a room white in your own home. Ok, let’s get to it, shall we? Just to refresh your memory, here’s an old photo of our dining room from earlier this year:

This is Autumn Blonde by Sherwin Williams. I really have loved this color for a long time. But it was starting to look a bit too bright to me and I wanted to tone things down in this room. Ok, here’s how it looks now:

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

Quite the difference, right?! I’m always amazed at how white paint can transform just about anything. But let me tell you, choosing the perfect white is much harder than you’d think. There are about a gazillion choices and each one can look different depending on whether it has a cool or warm tint, undertones, lighting, trim color, etc. I did quite a bit of research on the best white paints and ultimately I went with Alabaster White by Sherwin Williams. I love this color because it’s a warm white with a bit of a gray undertone, I don’t notice any yellow or green tint in it at all. Plus it’s definitely not a bright white, which is what I wanted for this room.

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

The trim is Cloud White and beadboard is painted with Ultra Pure White by Behr, which you can see is a brighter white in comparison with the Alabaster. I was a little nervous about how the different shades of white would play against each other, but I think they all work nicely together. I’m actually glad there is a little variation in the whites. I don’t think I would have liked them all to be the exact same color.

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white. What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

Painting Your Walls White–Tips & What to Know First

  1. For this project we paid extra for the “fancy” paint. I was told we’d only need one coat, but that definitely didn’t happen. We ended up doing two coats of paint to cover the cream color underneath. So lesson learned–it will probably take more paint than you think when it comes to whites.
  2. Immediately after we painted the room I honestly felt like it looked a bit cold. Sure, it was brighter, but it didn’t have a real cozy vibe, which was my biggest fear going into it. It wasn’t until I started adding the decor back in that I felt the room soften, if that makes sense. I’m still figuring it out, but I think a white room needs more texture and layering in order for it to really come alive and not feel so sterile.
  3. White paint is super tricky and can look different depending on how much light your room gets throughout the day. I’ve noticed the walls in our dining room seem to look the best during times with lots of sunshine. It just looks very fresh and vibrant. But when it’s darker I tend to notice the gray undertones more and I don’t feel like it looks as good. Lighting can really impact how any white paint looks, so this is just something to keep in mind depending on how much natural light your room gets.
  4. Now that our room is white, I love how all my decor seems to compliment the walls. One thing that always bothered me about the cream color was how it looked against all my vintage decor. I never felt like the two blended with each other very well. But the white walls let all the focus be on the decor and it makes aย great canvas for any color scheme.
  5. I think the the variation in the different shades of white between the trim, beadboard, and walls really help to pull off this all-white look. They’re all working together to give the room more dimension, which is important when it comes to whites.

What to Know Before Painting Your Walls White. Lessons learned from painting our farmhouse style dining room white.

Well after going through the process of painting ours walls white and living with it for a few weeks now, I can honestly say I do LOVE it. Especially when the sunshine comes streaming in–the whole room is so bright and happy. It’s been a fun change and I’m glad I decided to go for it. And I hope this post was helpful if you’re thinking about going the all-white route in your own home. I know it can seem a bit scary, especially since there are so many darn whites to choose from, but the fun thing about paint is you can always change things up without much time or effort.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I’d love to hear what you think of my new white dining room. And please let me know if you have any questions at all, I’d love to chat!

Shop the room:

PIN FOR LATER:

Painting your walls white--tips and what to know before going white!

Leave a Comment

60 Comments

  1. Shaz Isaac wrote:

    I love your all white dining room, Sarah. It turned out beautifully. I know what you mean about it being hard to choose a white. There are so many whites to choose from. Aargh! I am lucky though in that my walls are already a warm white. It’s only if I want to paint something that I have the problem of choice. Are you going to paint any more rooms white? Can’t wait to see more of your kitchen makeover. Love a farmhouse sink!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Shaz! I’d actually love to do white in the other rooms with this beige color, but it would just be so much work and time because I’d want to cover it all so the white continues throughout the house like the beige does now. The dining room was nice because it’s kind of over by itself, so it was easy to do alone. But all the other rooms connect so it would be a ton of work! I’m definitely not up to it at the moment, but maybe one day soon I will tackle that. Too many other things happening like the farmhouse sink!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  2. mary surchek wrote:

    hi sarah,

    we just moved into our new home and need a new chandelier. where did you buy yours?

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  3. Marilyn S. wrote:

    Love the white – I agree that the original beige color just got to the point that it “didn’t go” with all the changes and decor you’d made. We recently painted our kitchen cabinets Cloud White , you aren’t kidding when you say white paint is super tricky! I didn’t realize it until we started comparing different swatches…., but we are very happy with the undertones that the Cloud White has. Love the new look -table , Gather sign and white walls … so fresh .

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh I LOVE Cloud White, that’s what is on our trim and doors. It’s such a beautiful, soft white. Great choice Marilyn. Thanks for stopping by today!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  4. Cecilia wrote:

    It does look fresher and brighter – not that the old color looked bad, mind you! But it does look softer. Your decor stands out more too! Very nice!
    When we bought the farmhouse, the majority of the walls were yucky brown paneling. I painted them all Swiss Coffee which is a nice creamy white. It does have a bit of yellow undertone but it works since there’s not a ton of natural light coming in. The trim is BM’s Simply White which is a brighter white. I like the contrast of the two whites together.
    ๐Ÿ˜ŠCecilia

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      That sounds beautiful Cecilia! I agree, I think the different white actually work together and give it so much more dimension.

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  5. Donna wrote:

    I am in the process if going white! The painter will put three cors on thr walm today so we can pick carefully! I felt pucky doing tjis untill si read uour pist… thanks! Your room looks beautiful!!!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Good luck picking your perfect white Donna! And you’re not picky at all, it’s definitely a tough choice with white and different for every home.

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  6. Renee wrote:

    Love the white walls!!! Great choice!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thanks Renee, I’m loving it so far!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  7. Ann wrote:

    I love how it turned out. It looks so fresh and clean. It makes your decor pop too. I love your gather sign…where did you get it.? ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  8. Lorrie S wrote:

    Your room turned out great! White has always been my go to, it’s colors that make me step out of the box. You are right about tints. I have chosen a color scheme for my new house and the white has a blue undertone that only shows in the morning when the sunlight is on it. White is a good backdrop if you like to use colorful accessories for the changing seasons.

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      It’s so interesting how white paint can show different tints in different lighting. It’s so tricky! But I agree with you, it makes a great backdrop for colorful accessories. Thanks for dropping by today Lorrie!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  9. Sheila Sanchez wrote:

    It looks so fresh and clean. I definitely agree with you on the different variations of white. It doesn’t take away from the decor and gives the room dimension. We are in the process of painting our open concept kitchen, dining, and living room a lighter color as well. I can’t wait for the fresh and airy look to make the area look even bigger. Thanks for sharing as always!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      That’s exciting Sheila, sounds like you have a big paint project going. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  10. Elaine wrote:

    Sarah I love it! Very fresh and the perfect backdrop for your vintage beauties

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Thank you so much Elaine! I’m so happy with how it turned out.

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  11. When I first read that you had gone to all white walls I thought, “Oh no – I love the beige color.” But I really love the way it turned out and I agree, your decor just “pops” against the white.

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh wow, thank you so much Sandy! I was a bit nervous going white. I really wasn’t sure how I would like it. But I think it was a good change for this room!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  12. Paige wrote:

    It looks awesome! I’m getting ready to paint my walls white too. Would you mind sharing the type of paint you used? I’m curious if you went with SW or had it color matched. Sometimes Alabaster looks yellowish and here it looks perfect!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I went with SW actually. We have one of their stores nearby so I just went there. And I got it in Satin!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
      • Paige wrote:

        Thanks so much! We have a store a couple minutes from us as well, which might be a bit too convenient, judging by the amount of paint samples I have collected. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  13. Jessie wrote:

    Looks great! Was wondering where you got your love grows best sign?

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  14. Angela Servello wrote:

    A+++++++++++, love it. Love the table and all your accessories. Perfect!

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      haha thanks so much Angela!!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  15. Ivey wrote:

    Thanks fr the helpful tips. We are slowly painting our rooms white, at least most of them. I plan to leave a few in a soft to strong color like dark gray. I love gray to. Your white colors in your dinningroom is fabulous.

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      That’s sounds awesome Ivey! I love gray too, but it’s about as tricky as white paint. So many different tints and undertones!

      Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  16. Sherri wrote:

    Sarah, You know I love it! But how do you choose different shades of white for all of your decor so that it all goes together but doesn’t all run together? You do it beautifully, but it really confuses me how to pick that also

    Posted 9.25.17 Reply
  17. Mary Kaiser wrote:

    Looks Beautiful! You are always such an inspiration to me, thank you for that.

    Posted 9.26.17 Reply
  18. TxMom wrote:

    I love how your dining room looks, it’s beautiful! We have always had all white walls throughout our entire homes. When we were considering selling our current home, we had a real estate agent tell us, it’s much easier to sell a home with white walls than colored because the buyer can picture their home furnishings fitting so much easier. When my husband and were looking to puchase our first home many moons ago, we turned down many homes due to colored walls. The real estate agent tried convincing us it was just paint. After spending $$$ on closing cost, real estate fees, bank loans, etc., the last thing most do not have is the extra $$ to spend on paint.

    Posted 9.26.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I agree with you, paint can be really expensive and it takes so much time if you have to paint every room. Definitely something to consider when you’re buying a home!

      Posted 9.28.17 Reply
  19. Tammy Ganci wrote:

    Hi, We are on the same page!!! I also never ever used white paint. Everthing was cup of cocoa by Behr or green tea by Behr or always some other mid tone or pastel. Well that has all changed due to JoJo Gaines and you!!! Its now all white everywhere you look in my my house. Now the best part is I think I have an obsession with beadboard!! Yep I do!!! The only problem I am having is that most of the rooms other then the bedrooms are all together, not many walls. So I am not sure if I should do the whole flow of the house or just try to seperate it by using the beadboard to define the rooms/areas. I of course want it everywhere, and I think I am going to put it on the ceiling in our master bedroom!!! Oh help!!!

    Love your blog friend,
    Tammy

    Posted 9.26.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh my goodness, I LOVE the idea of putting it on your ceiling in the master bedroom….now you have me thinking if I can do that! I say put it everywhere. If you love it, I say go for it Tammy!

      Posted 9.28.17 Reply
  20. Kathleen wrote:

    May I ask is there a lot of light in this room? My living room faces south and I was curious as to your opinion on choosing the same paint color you did.

    Posted 9.26.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      There is quite a bit of natural light in this room. We also have a south-facing window in here, so that helps. I think Alabaster is a great option for rooms with lots of light!

      Posted 9.28.17 Reply
  21. Deedra wrote:

    Sarah- your dining room looks just beautiful! But it honestly was beautiful before too. I will say your warm warm color and your style of decorating really drew me to your blog. There seems to be so many homes going all gray or all white, that they just start losing warmth and looking the same. Like I said your dining room looks really pretty all white. I guess I’m in the small group that hopes you don’t go all white. Great post!

    Posted 9.27.17 Reply
  22. Deedra wrote:

    After rereading my comment, I realized it may not have sounded very encouraging. You have such a wonderful talent for decorating, that whatever you decide to do in terms of paint color will be lovely!

    Posted 9.27.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh no worries Deedra! I know you didn’t mean anything hurtful! And I actually agree with you. I don’t have any plans on going to all white walls in the entire house It’s just fun to do here and there! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted 9.28.17 Reply
  23. Sheila Nokes wrote:

    Your dining room turned out great. I have been contimplating painting ours in a lighter color. Right now it is sage green and a dark table and gets very little light due to covered entry way. Is there a rung in your dining room? If so what color. Thanks for the great ideas.
    Sheila

    Posted 9.30.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Sheila! Our dining room doesn’t have a rug in it right now, but I’d love to add one some day. Good luck deciding on paint colors for your dining room!

      Posted 10.2.17 Reply
  24. Shani wrote:

    OMG my little Sarahkins…you have no idea how much you’ve made my day! I just literally…today painted my living room Alabaster based on all the great reviews and pics I’ve seen. I had NO IDEA you painted yours the same color until today. (Where the heck is there a jumping for joy emoji!!!) Omg I was nervous as heck when I saw it go on wondering if I made the right the decision then I jumped on my computer and came across this post (which just so happens to be my fav blog might I add ๐Ÿ˜‰ confirming that it won’t feel sterile once your farmhouse decor is incorporated. I just about fell outta my chair from excitement! I can’t thank you enough for your blog and honest feedback. It is truly therapeutic in so many ways!

    Posted 10.29.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Awww, I am so happy to hear that! Alabaster is really a great white and I’m sure your living room will look AMAZING. And you’re right, there should totally be a jumping for joy emoji. Thanks for brightening my day! xoxo

      Posted 10.29.17 Reply
  25. Amanda wrote:

    What color and paint did you use on the dining room table and chairs. I have the same set and have wanted to paint them for awhile now. Beautiful room!

    Posted 12.31.17 Reply
  26. L. J. wrote:

    Remodeling also… everything is white … cabinets, paint…. my favorite white is primer!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚ warm Kahrs oiled hardwood, calacatta chiara marble countertops ( not yet in… canโ€™t wait to see them!), and my old brick fireplace ( which my contractor wanted to take out! ( trust your own instincts!) Going for that fresh, happy, yet warm cottage look. Will have tons of textures. Glad Iโ€™m not alone in the โ€œboringโ€ (no way!) white world!

    Posted 1.19.18 Reply
  27. Debi wrote:

    Thanks for sharing Sara ๐Ÿ™‚ Your vision was concise and you stayed true to your vision. . . You mentioned you aren’t crazy about the look of the new paint in the evening, have you considered changing out your light bulbs? I know it sounds silly, but they really do make a difference. Lowes has a display of lighted bulbs showing the difference in lumens etc. Your house is beautifully done! ! ! ! (PS is the date off on the comments section? I thought I saw September??LOL)

    Posted 2.9.18 Reply
  28. CAZ wrote:

    Hi Sarah I am loving all your rooms in your house ๐Ÿ gorgeous…. which white did you do your dining table and chairs??

    I want my house to look like yours ha ha

    Caz

    Posted 6.18.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Caz! That was Old White by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

      Posted 6.18.18 Reply
  29. Janey Pie wrote:

    Thank you for this article!!! I love the details. I’m going back to white too. I’ve had several colors over the past 10 years. I feel like it’s emotionally cleansing.

    Posted 8.19.18 Reply
  30. Heather wrote:

    Love it! What about the ceiling? Did you paint it? If not, any thought on what directyyou would go with the ceiling given the alabaster walls?

    Posted 11.29.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      that’s a good question Heather! We didn’t paint our ceilings although we desperately need to. I think a brighter shade of white would be a great option with alabaster.

      Posted 11.29.18 Reply
  31. Ann wrote:

    I have those same color walls now and want to go white too. We have an open floor plan. Our trim is alabaster white high gloss which I luv. Do you think alabaster in eggshell on the walls would look good with alabaster in high gloss trim? I want my vintage to pop too and so tired of the yellow. Any thoughts ? I donโ€™t want that builder white look just some warmth with whites. Thanks for any advice๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

    Posted 1.6.19 Reply
  32. Some good ides here. Pics are looking nice..

    Posted 5.10.19 Reply
  33. Thanks for your helpful article

    Posted 5.12.19 Reply
  34. Theresa wrote:

    I am in the process of painting our family room with the alabaster white. Getting a little nervous that it is too bright. Love the way yours looks though, so clean and fresh. We have the wood trim not white. Was thinking about going to soften up the white but your house looks so clean and fresh, exactly what I am looking for. Why is white so scary?

    Posted 6.13.19 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      White is scary at first! And I bet the dark trim next to the white walls is making it appear brighter…Try to get some decor on the walls and maybe it will help soften things up!

      Posted 6.13.19 Reply
  35. I really love that you mentioned that it is impressive the effect white paint has on a room. My brother and I own an apartment together, and we are trying to paint it and fix it up before we rent it out. I am thinking white for the living room would be the best option, and we will have to call a professional to come and do the job for us.

    Posted 9.5.19 Reply

Follow on Instagram

  • Busted out the Santa hat & my little elves are happy as can be ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Theyโ€™ve been SO excited to start decorating for Christmas & I promised weโ€™ll start soon. Trying to hold out for one more week! ๐ŸŽ„ PS: I shared a huge toy gift guide on the blog today & everything is under $50!! All of my finds are from @walmart & pretty much everything is on sale right now ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป The link is in my profile if you want to check it out. Iโ€™m also linking some of my favorite finds here: http://liketk.it/2GY6q #liketkit @liketoknow.it #Ad #Walmart #AmericasBestToyShop
  • Made pancakes for dinner + changed into PJs before 6pm #winning ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป The isnโ€™t the most glamorous photo Iโ€™ve ever posted, but itโ€™s these simple nights that I love the most. THIS is what I want to remember forever โค๏ธโค๏ธ I did a little Q+A chat in stories this afternoon & I just want to thank you all for being here. Grateful for this space everyday! ๐Ÿ˜˜
  • Played around with this cozy spot in the basement today + Iโ€™m kinda loving how that little shelf came together ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Itโ€™s legit the smallest shelf in the world, but still a fun spot to style. PS: that chair is marked way down today & I shared more about it in stories!  http://liketk.it/2GSAG #liketkit @liketoknow.it
  • Word on the street is the IG wizards are up to some trickery & taking away likes this week ๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‹ We had a little chat about it in stories today & Iโ€™d love to hear what you guys think. Yay or nay?! PS: I also shared tons of great skincare gift ideas in stories! http://liketk.it/2GPVo #liketkit @liketoknow.it
  • This is totally normal, right? ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป I mean, who says a 7 foot inflatable Santa Clause has to go outside anyway?! I think putting him in the living room is perfectly reasonable. And even though I havenโ€™t started decorating for Christmas, this is sure getting me in the mood! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ… I shared a little Christmas decor shopping in stories today & I also forgot to mention that my third annual menโ€™s gift guide was on the blog yesterday. The link is in my profile if you want to read it! http://liketk.it/2GNks #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKholidaystyle #LTKholidayathome
  • I officially found the dining table of my DREAMS ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Seriously, this is a life long keeper for meโ€”I plan to have this table til Iโ€™m an old granny because I love it so dang much. I shared a little decorate with me video in stories today as I was styling this space, but I couldnโ€™t wait to share it here too. This is the Francis dining table from @arhaus & itโ€™s made from reclaimed pine + barnwood ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป The large white pitcher & bowl are also @aruhaus finds! Linking up everything here: http://liketk.it/2GKVp #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKsalealert #LTKhome #arhauspartner #LTKholidayathome

Follow Me!