The Best White Paint You've Never Heard Of
My mom recently asked me the question that I have heard (and had myself) more than once. Her question was , “Do you know of a white paint that is actually just white?”
The question is simple enough, but if any of you have had the experience of selecting a white paint, you know it is far from simple. There you sit, immersed in paint chips, each a slightly different shade of white and your head spins. You think to yourself, “This one looks yellowish; this one gray; this one looks blue; I am pretty sure this one looks like lavender, wait, maybe gray." Finally, after putting them up on the wall, against the baseboards, up by the light, and in the shady corner, you withdraw from your pile what you know to be the winning chip…only to find that it doesn’t seem white at all. You begin to second think yourself, your lighting, your walls, your life…wait, well…maybe not, but you get frustrated.
Defeat over choosing a white paint is one of my least favorite first world problems. Sure, we have bigger fish to fry with our lives, including almost anything that is more important than paint. However, you are talking about living in a space that you want to love and also spending the time and money to paint it. It can be frustrating to use your resources on poor decisions and things that don’t work well. Making a good selection is important and does matter, but we do need to keep it in perspective.
So where does that leave us? I would like to introduce you to the best white paint I know and you have probably never heard of. It’s the same white paint I told my mom to ask for at the paint store. This white paint is not something with a fancy name like “white dove”, “iced mountain”, or “creamy marshmallow.” It is not fancy, but like your favorite pair of jeans, just seems to work every time. This white paint is the secret of the contracting world. In fact, if you cannot quite seem to find the perfect white paint match to the trim that was in your house when you bought it, it’s probably because you don’t know about my favorite secret paint. That paint is B2.
B2? Yup. B2. I know - what on earth is B2, you ask? B2 is simply white paint with a drop or two of black added into it to “make it dirty”. The black paint is subtle and it takes the edge off of the white, but does not compromise the crisp white color. B2 is like a soft neutral white. It never reads “yellow” or “gray”, it doesn’t seem to take on its surrounding colors. It is not too warm, nor too cool. B2 is simply just white. It looks white, it reads white, and it is white (well, dirty white anyway).
Here’s the real life secret. When my mom walked into the paint store and asked for B2, the man helping her replied, “Welcome to the club,” when she placed her order. She was now part of the secret society, the elusive contracting club that knew about B2. They all had a good laugh, but when my mom called me later that day, she was so happy that her cabinets where just white! She wanted white and she got white…..B2 was her new best friend.
All of the photos I have listed in this post are using B2 white paint. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s trustworthy. You can use any brand, any sheen, and any level of paint and simply ask for B2. Find a brand/type of paint you love and trust, and then simply ask the store for B2. They should know what to do from there.
I have a lot of great shades of white that I used in my decorating. Some of my favorites are Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, Sherwin Williams Pure White, and Sherwin Williams Extra White. They are all great and have their use in certain places. However, when you just feel stuck and want to ensure you end up with a pure clean white, you can always fall back on your newest trusty friend, B2. I hope you will give B2 a try the next time you are looking for a basic white paint. It’s loved for a reason - probably because it just works. My mom is the newest big fan. I’d love to hear about your experience with B2 if you do decide to try it. Hopefully this at least helps unravel the white paint mystery and gives you focus!