Vancouver Interior Designer: The Truth about Cloud White


I think it’s kind of funny that one of my most read posts is one of the first five that I wrote when I started this blog almost three years ago,  “The Best Trim Colours — NOT Cloud White.” Since then, I always have to heavily explain why I’m specifying it when I do. My clients are like, “WHAT, you’re giving me Cloud White? I read that post Maria!”


So here’s the thing, Cloud White is an off-white so this means it’s not stark white and it’s not ivory or cream. So if your house does not:

a. Have a fixed white which dictates the trim colour,


b. Is filled with rich earth tones (which means you’d need something creamier),


c. have dark colours which can look too stark with white,


d. have Carrara Marble throughout (in which case off-white would be too creamy),

Style at Home Houzz

then your trim should probably be CC-40 Cloud White or OC-117 Simply White or any other off-white in that category. As a designer it’s still a colour you will specify 75 – 80% of the time. However, if Cloud White is your go-to-everytime colour, that’s when you’ll look like an amateur.

The woodwork in your home should coordinate with the fixed white in your space. So if the tile in your kitchen — floor or backsplash — is creamy (for example) and not white, then your cabinets/woodwork should be cream.

Just this week I consulted with a client who had painted all the trim and cabinets in her house OC-85 Mayonnaise. And she wanted to bring a sofa she had recently purchased (which was in her master bedroom) into the living room. The problem was that it was teal and white.

So, if your trim was off-white and not so creamy, it’s easier to switch over from the earth tones from the past 20 years to the new white/gray/black trend.

Sarah Richardson source

It also presents a strong argument for designing your house around a whiter trim colour because painted trim can last 20-30 years while trends change every 10 and it’s expensive to re-paint. Much like taking out tile really. Walls you can re-paint, but re-painting every single door and molding in your house? Not something you want to be doing often.

What colour is your woodwork?

Download my eBook, It’s All in the Undertones. If you have a computer, you can download my book!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

The Best Trim for Bathrooms; NOT Cloud White

The Best Exterior Trim Colours with Brick NOT Cloud White

The Best Trim Colours–NOT Cloud White

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  1. Hi Marla,

    We have a 100 year old house with nicely refinished fir flooring (oiled look). The trim throughout the house is BM OCC133 Ancient Ivory. I would love to NOT repaint it, and we are looking for a white to paint the walls. Would you recommend the reverse scheme here of painting the WALLS Cloud White to go with this trim? Any other colour suggestions? We really want to avoid beige/cream, and to a degree grey without the halls looking too stark.


  2. We are in the midst of a renovation involving replacing all of our trim from a stained pine to white more modern profile casings, boston header,crown molding and base. I am holding up the project trying to choose the perfect white for the trim. I realize that whatever I choose is going to be it for many years as the project is so labour intensive. I am looking for a white that is not stark, too gray or too yellow. One that will still offer a cozy feel in our home yet will be modern. Help!

    • Your white should be chosen based on the fixed white in your home whether that be your white cabinets, white tile, something. If you don’t have one and don’t ever plan to have white countertops, tile or anything else than Cloud White is just fine. Maria

      • Thank you for your reply. My apliances are stainless and really no fixed white in our home to base from. Hardwood throughout the house is White Oak. Possible choices for wall colors are Rocky Road (kitchen), Cabot Trail (dining room), Inukshuk (halls), Raindance or Piedment Gray( 1/2 bath and laundry) Greenbrier Beige( family room). This is just the main level with Ranchwood, Olive Green and Revere Pewter currently painted upstairs that will not be changed. I am down to choosing between Simply White and Cloud White for trim (I have a can of each right now painting pieces of casing to move throughout the house). Within the next 24-48 hours, a decision must be made as our painter arrives tomorrow. As mentioned previously, we have installed crown molding throughout. Should our ceilings be standard ceiling white or because of the crown molding against them should the ceiling paint be tinted the same as the trim paint. If so, will the contrast of finshes, flat on ceilng and pearl on trim give it enough of a contrast. My concern is that the crown will look dirty against a pure white ceiling. On a humorous note, making friends with pure strangers at the paint store because we all seem to feel each others pain! How can painting require therapy. I make decisions in my job every day with ease but cannot decide on a paint color???? Really appreciate your input. I noticed that you had used Simply White in one of your homes which led me to look at it as a second option.

  3. I had decided to paint the exterior of my saltbox circa 1680 cloud white. The front of the house is clapboards but the sides of the main house and other additions are shingled. The front of the house has full exposure to the sun throughout the day. I was excited to use cloud white but now am thoroughly confused because there are so few posts about the use of exterior white on clapboards and not just trim. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • If Cloud White works for your exterior than you should use it. This is not a post that says Cloud White should be outlawed forever. Maria

  4. I am so confused about white. I have read and reread your informative posts. Thank you for them. I haven’t chosen a color for my kitchen cabinets and trim yet. We have a bathroom cabinet freshly painted with Sherwin Williams True White. The paint looks very white next to the newly painted walls. Whiter than the new creamy white vanity top. I have 8.5 x 11 cardstock swatches painted and taped to my kitchen cabinets and the paint looks like it has yellow undertones and seems too dark. I just can’t decide. Planning to shop tomorrow for white samples for the kitchen. I want to get this right!

  5. Maria, how do you choose a white for trim throughout the house when the fixed whites vary? The current impetus is the installation of a new Kohler suite in the downstairs bath, which will still have the 1938 caramel and cinnamon tile. The kitchen appliances are vastly different, including the original creamy white Wedgewood stove and contemporary white refrigerator. The existing oil-based trim paint has yellowed significantly and now looks dirty (except one bedroom that is BM Light Khaki with Mountain Peak trim). Most furnishings are warmer, almost gold tones. Don’t ask me how that happened; I’ve never liked gold. One advantage in older homes is that walls separate rooms, so subtle changes in trim color aren’t as obvious. The walls… well, as you say, walls are easy to change.

    • If it’s not possible to have it all be the same then you need to coordinate with what is in the space which sounds like that is what your house requires. Maria

  6. What’s the best white for trim to use with white wood blinds from Home Depot? I would say the blinds are more a soft white, maybe even ivory, not stark white. We have white wood blinds everywhere in the house and would like to paint out the maple trim around the windows. Can you recommend a soft white for window trim colour?

  7. We are doing our house in BM Revere Pewter and BM Gray Owl, I was looking at doing the trim SW Snowbound. Our kitchen cabinets are bright white however so now I’m not so sure… Do you have a better trim color idea or does Snowbound sound okay.

  8. I chose SW Snowbound by chance, not having read this blog. It is a gorgeous white and found that you can see colors in it, and paired it with SW Worldly Gray. Many compliments! The problem is, I love this new, more modern look but now don’t know what to do with the rest of the house, with walls a decidedly warmer ivory. One thing is for certain: I will never be without Snowbound — it makes me feel happy!

  9. Hi Maria

    I’ve decided to paint all my trim and kitchen cabinets Chantilly lace so now I’m wondering what is best kind of paint eggshell satin or flat?


  10. I am at the starting phase of buying a new-build house. We had our first visit with the kitchen cabinet makers — interestingly, one of the “white” options is BM Cloud White. The designer said that since so many people asked for it, they made it part of their standard line. My question is that if I go with Cloud White cabinets, would that be OK with a light grey quartz like Cabria “Darlington”? I want a grey-white look in general, with warmth to it. likely will do a medium grey tile floor.
    Furthermore, if they put in standard “builder white” trim, would the cloud white cabinets look OK to too yellow? Thanks, Jen

  11. Hi Maria,

    Came across your amazing blog in a panic. My builder says I must have my final decisions into the painter in 48 hours. Yikes! Any advice you could lend would be greatly appreciated. My kitchen will have white quartz countertops with mirror flecks, chrome kitchen faucet, soft gray backsplash that has an arabesque design in a very very light taupey white color, and warm medium brown-gray hardwoods. I am torn between BM White Dove and BM Simply White. I want a soft but still bright kitchen so I was leaning towards White Dove but have read that it can read dirty and too gray in some spaces. Then I leaned back to Simply White but thought it may be too bright in this application. Please Help! Your advice would be appreciated more than you know.

    • Is the rest of your house white? No? Then it will never look right to paint your walls white? Match the colour to the backsplash. Hope this helps, Maria

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I apologize for not explaining that I am torn between the White Dove and the Simply White for the kitchen cabinets and interior trim.As far as paint color on the walls and ceilings I currently have selected BM Balboa Mist but that can change to if you think it is necessary. Again, I appreciate any help you can lend. I cannot believe what a hard decision I have to make so soon. Thank you so much in advance.

  12. Hi,
    I’m currently redoing our main floor. We have an older house with stained red oak trim throughout, and coffered ceilings in our dining room. We are taking down most of the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We are going to put in new flooring (red oak or else white quarter sawn oak, not sure which is best) in a light-medium tone (probably a neutral brown with maybe a bit of yellow to it). I wanted to have some warm greys in the living room/dining room walls. I also wanted to have white cabinets in the kitchen. Can you please suggest white cabinet colours for me? It is a south facing kitchen. I’m not sure about the counters yet, but am leaning towards quartz, possibly a warm grey fleck but we havn’t chosen yet. We were hoping for something timeless as we may move in 5-10 years.
    Many thanks

  13. Maria–your articles are amazing. Thank you! I’m dealing with a house with aquaglo white trim throughout. I can’t change everything but am redoing the main floor. I’m working with an IKEA kitchen, which is pretty close to BM Cloud White. I can change the trim in the kitchen to cloud white and then either carry that through into the main room (there are no walls with trim that run continuously from one to the other, only one perpendicular wall) and then switch back to a simple white so that the main room has a closer match to the rest of the house. Or, do I carry the cloud white all the way through? And what about the ceiling, which is contiguous from the main room and kitchen? Any advice would be so appreciated!!

  14. I love your blog. Can you please advise me. I have just had new kitchen cabinets installed in white cloud. Love them. What color would you suggest for my trim ceiling and french doors. My subway tile is beech and my wall color is wick ham grey and my counters are praa sands quartz.

  15. There was a big trend for a while in my area for builders to use mid tone colors on trim, with a lighter wall color. Going back in to consult on these rooms, it’s always a challenge to recommend wall colors. To keep any contrast, you’d have to go super-dark on the walls. And as you well know, you’re at the mercy of whatever undertones are in the trim color. For that reason, I never advise a customer to use mid tone trim throughout a house. One “man-cave” or media room, perhaps. But not everywhere.

  16. Help. whenever I see cloud white in pictures, etc., i see it whiter than my kitchen cabinets-which are cloud white… why do i see my cloud white cabinets somewhat ‘creamy’ almost ‘ivory’ ? How can i get more white in my kitchen/family room? we have yet to paint the trim, walls, doors, get window coverings and countertops! my sofas are a medium charcol gray

  17. I’m wondering if you can help me with a BM color that we have tried a sample of. Cabot trail 998. It would be for the larger portion of wall in our family room. The room has a lot of natural light with 4 large skylights and windows. We have BM Caliente on the lower portion of the wall. I’m worried about the darkness of the color although we would like to try to go darker. We have been looking at color cards and have purchased 3 samples so far… my husband really like cabot trails… I just picked up bm card with Cotswold AF 150.? it’s a lighter? But?Any help is really appreciated. Thanks so much.

  18. Hi Maria,
    Thank you for your helpful posts. I bought a house with cloud white kitchen cabinets and trim and grey walls and white subway tiles. We would like to go to all white walls (primarily south facing light). Can I choose a slightly whiter white for the walls or must I stay with cloud white because the trim will look yellow? I think repainting trim would be okay but not cabinets and doors- would be insanely expensive. Thanks for your help. sorry you keep getting these crazy white questions. I feel sort of bad asking.

  19. Hi, Just painted bedroom BMwhite bone paint. The room has cherry French Provençal furniture . Not sure if this was a good choice. Does white cloud paint for ceiling and trim be a good choice to paint.