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Why I Decided to Paint My Living Room White

If you’ve been around here for awhile then you know I’ve railed against boring blank white walls in rentals. I’ve complained about how rentals with white walls have no personality. I’ve suggested painting your walls even if you’re in a rental to make your place feel more like home. And then…

I painted my living room white. And actually, not just my living room but my kitchen too.

Let me explain.

When we moved into the Florida house a year and a half ago I had picked a very neutral paint color for the main living areas just to bring the house back from the fringe. I wanted to erase the unicorn purple walls so I ended up selecting a beautiful creamy color.

Gorgeous fall decorating inspiration in this fall home tour. The painted pumpkins are my favorite.

Our living room last fall

In photos, the color looks okay. It’s a warm off white that obviously has some yellow undertones. The color would probably be perfect in a home with lots of natural light.

DIY Entryway Organizer

That’s the key. Lots of natural light. One thing my living room does not have. Our living room is long and only has natural light coming in from the french doors on the far end of the room. Because of the lack of natural light, the paint color comes off very yellow (like butter – guys) most days. I couldn’t take it any longer.

I learned a very valuable lesson. Not all whites are created equal. Paint colors have different undertones and with different light they can pull different colors. I learned this the hard way when I painted my entire living room a shady of yellow-ish cream that I hated. When I told Matt that I wanted to paint again he thought I was nuts. I bought tons of samples and he still thought I was nuts. Then, I started painting and you could see a huge difference and then he got it.

Summer Home Tour

The new white paint color is Ben Moore Chantilly Lace. It’s the perfect soft white that doesn’t look too stark or cold but it honestly completely warmed up our space. It makes the room look lighter and brighter.

Summer Mantel

In the paint can the colors look so similar, on the wall it’s a huge difference!

If I could share one paint color tip with you it would be to really consider you lighting situation. Where are your window? Do you get a lot of natural light or very little? What about artificial light? Are there lamps or a ceiling light and what color is that light putting off? Lastly, when you swatch paint colors be sure to do in several areas of your home. Close to the natural light and in the shadows.

So, that’s my PSA for the day – all neutrals are not created equal.

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  1. I love white walls, forever and ever amen. I got talked out of them in our current house and I’m kicking myself. I went with a white/greige that is totally neutral, but my house is filled with natural light (floor to ceiling windows kind of natural light) so I just wish I had trusted my instincts and gone with all white so that it would look much bigger than it really does. Ah, hindsight is 20/20 eh?!

  2. After reading your post I’m starting to re-evaluate our living room paint color too. We DO have lots of afternoon natural light but after reading your comment about “butter yellow walls” that’s all I can see in our room now. We have the same color. And it’s gross! Time to re paint!

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  4. I am a big fan of the white colours: neutral and make any room look more spacious. Not only that, but you can add more colours (paint or ornaments) without any colour-match restrictions, because white goes with all tones. For example, the way you added pictures with blue tones. Looks perfectly natural.

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    1. Who knows! The ceilings need to be painted for sure – but first we want to scrape the popcorn. That’s on the list.

  6. Hi was this matte chantilly lace . What finish would you recommend . I am currently in a rental I was thinking matte ?

    1. Hi Ria – I decided on a satin finish. I have two little girls so being able to clean the walls frequently is a must.

  7. What other white colors did you consider and how did you ultimately choose Chantilly Lace? Our living room also does not get a lot of natural light and we are considering BM Cloud White, BM Simply White, and the Chantilly Lace.

    1. We did not consider the other two that you mentioned. We had White Heron in our kitchen and that was reading a little green so I knew I didn’t want that for the wide open living space. I had seen Chantilly Lace in another home so I thought it would be a good option. This house has a long and open living space with only one light source on one side. I like the creaminess that Chantilly Lace provides while still reading true white. White can be tricky because you don’t want it to feel cold. Hope that’s helpful.

  8. Hi Chelsea,

    I am considering Chantilly Lace and Simply white and I cannot make a decision! We have a small 600sq condo and it is south-facing, so we do get lots of sun. I had simply white and Chantilly lace swatch on different walls and compared it during night and day. Chantilly looked soooo nice during the day when it was sunny, but at night, it looked super super white at night and I am not sure if I’m reading too stark when it’s dark outside …Or if it just seems like that because I painted the swatch next to simply white… simply white looked alot softer…. but Chantilly lace looks so amazing on everyone else’s home so I cannot give up on it yet. Any tips? Could Chantilly lace look good in every house?

    1. Hi Jennifer, I love Chantilly Lace and I can’t wait to buy again so we can put it in another space. Our living room was rather dark we had some natural light but only on one side of a long room and it was so dreamy and warm. I think if you love the color in natural light then consider getting a table lamp for some soft light that well soften that stark white that you see at night.

  9. Hi Chelsea! I love the calming coastal style of your home! My decor is similar and I am feeling inspired! One question: it looks like the wall with the door is lighter than the wall with the couch…is Chantilly Lace the color on both walls, or is that a different accent color you are using over the couch?

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