The California Boho Chic look is trending everywhere and personally, I can’t get enough of it! It says laid back cool while inviting you to get comfy. Shea McGee at Studio McGee has the look mastered in this living room. The white walls and furniture are clean and crisp while the woods, leather, and textiles add that comfy warmth that makes you want to stay a while.

In my post Is the Gray Trend Over Yet? I talked about the color trends moving toward white walls and the California Boho Chic look. The clean white walls are a major element of the style.

It’s amazing how many different colors of white there are out there! So which one should you pick?

One King’s lane

One King’s Lane


Which of the thousands of white paint colors is the right one for your walls?

It depends on the undertones of your hard finishes.  Your hard finishes are things like your floors and counter tops. Your color choice also depends on the colors you want to use for your furnishings and fabrics.  One of the things I like so much about this style is the balancing act it does.  The cool colors – whites, indigos, grays and blacks balanced by creams, browns, oranges, reds and pinks.  My post-Complimentary Color Harmonies explains why certain color combinations work well together. White is considered by many to be a neutral color, but there are undertones to every white.  If you are wanting cooler walls that will relate to the indigos and gray and you have cool, blue-gray, undertones in your hard surfaces you may want to use a Blue- Gray white. These whites will read crisp and clean.

Benjamin Moore Pure White OC-64

Benjamin Moore Decorators White OC-22

Benjamin Moore White Diamond 2121-60

If you are looking for a white that is a little less stark and that will play well with the warmer colors such as the earthy tones in woods and your hard surfaces have warmer undertones you would want to look at one of these off whites.

Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17

Benjamin Moore Cloud White 967

Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117

Benjamin Moore Snowfall White OC-118

If your hard surfaces are from the “Tuscan” trend and you have dark brown granite or travertine marble that you are not going to be changing you will need to look at cream colors.

Benjamin Moore Mascarpone AF-20

Benjamin Moore Ivory White 925

Benjamin Moore White Down 970

So now that you have narrowed your wall color choices down, what white goes on the ceiling and trim? Again so many whites to choose from and you don’t want the beautiful white you have chosen for your walls to suddenly look dank or dirty against the trim or ceiling, and you certainly don’t want to have the ceiling be too dark and look like it’s closing down on you.  The real answer depends on what you already have that is not going to be or can not be changed at any point.  What color trim is in the rest of the house? It should be consistent throughout your home, with exceptions like your office is painted in a color from the crown moldings to the baseboards.

Another thing to consider is your kitchen cabinets. If you have white cabinets your trim color should be the same color as your cabinets.

Becki Owens

Just like on your walls for your trim you need to consider your hard surfaces and the undertones. For the trim, if your hard surfaces have a gray/blue  undertones a true white is a good choice.

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65

Sherwin Williams Extra White 7006

If your hard surfaces have warmer undertones like that of Calcutta Gold you can use one of the off whites listed above, if your hard surfaces is like that of travertine and you are trying to achieve the clean and bright look but are going with a cream color because that’s what works with you hard surfaces you should choose either a lighter cream or one of the creamier off whites.

There is also the option of painting your trim the same color as your walls, this trend is becoming more and more popular. I am a big fan of this look,  and it sure simplifies things!

For your ceilings remember that whatever you put on your ceiling will be darker on the ceiling than it is on the wall, so you will want to go a full category lighter in most cases. If you are using creams on your walls, the ceiling is an off white, if you are using off white you will want to use one of the true whites on the ceiling.  The trickiest one I think is the blue-gray whites, you are the end of the white spectrum, you could do a lighter blue gray white, but I like to use Chantilly Lace as it is a true white, this will really depend on the light in your space.

Light is something you should always consider.  If you have a very dark room the white will never really seem white and you should go with a color or a greige(which is another topic for another day!) It is always a good idea to prime all the walls and then paint a large section or wall in the white you are choosing before painting the entire room to make sure you like the color against your hard surfaces and your fabrics.