Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (2024)

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (1)

This post is in partnership with Lowe’s.

When we nixed the crumbling white tile in favor of awarmer wood-look tile for the floors throughout the garden unit, we knew we’d want to complement that massive overhaul with fresh paint onevery last surface, too. The current wall colors, while fine, feel a little too cool – especially for a below-grade garden! – but more importantly, the drywall waspatched, repaired and written all over during the initial construction process. Small splashes of mortar, pencil markings and sanded down joint compound litter the walls, so one of the very last steps of this renovation will be a complete overhaul with paint.We get excited justthinking about it! The powers of paint never, ever fail.

Soon after we moved into our own home, we cleaned up this apartment and priced it accordingly before our former tenants moved in. They were looking for an inexpensive place to live in the city, with the idea that they’d be here for sixmonths to a year and move on. None of us knew it would turn intofour years, but with us being busy with our own renovations, it was a blessing in disguise. We’ve been able to put endless energy into making our home a place we love, and the timing of their move couldn’t have worked out better to dive into the garden apartment once and for all!

Although the walls in this unit were painted all those years ago, one thing wedidn’t do was paint the ceilings, baseboards and door trim.We’ve been working with Lowe’s to choose the colors throughout the unit – you’ve seen Sea Salt in the laundry room and Ultra White in the bathroom – and now, we’re diving deep into choosing the perfect off-white for the living room, bedrooms and kitchen! After installing a whole ceilings of recessed LED lighting during the construction phase, this space is brighter than ever, and it can handle a warmer toned gray-slash-greige-slash-white. To kick off the decision making process, we rolled on big sections of Valspar Reserve’s Ultra White in an eggshell finish on several walls, the same color that will eventually be used on the ceilings and trim (we’ve already done the doors):

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (2)

First, imagine those big swatches of white on the ceiling! We actually did a test swatch of the Ultra White on the kitchen ceiling, and it made their current statelook downright dingy. The day that thosefirst rolls of clean, white paint hit the ceiling is going to be an exciting one for the garden apartment!

Okay, ready to squint?

We grabbed close to fifty paint swatches of warm whites and grays at Lowe’s, and eventually, we narrowedthose down to, like, twenty-ish. The top contenders were tapedto the Ultra White, and as a group, we were able to immediately see the undertones of each. When placed all together, you can see the pink, greens, yellows and purples stand out from the crowd:

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (3)

As we continued to work on other projects in the garden over the course of the following days, we slowly pulled off swatches, one by one, until we found our top three. Above, we have 1) Basalt Powder, 2) Agreeable Gray and 3) Origami White. While all of these colors are from the HGTV HOME by Sherwin Williams color line, we had them mixed to Valspar samples (just $3 each!) since we knew we’d eventually have the winning color mixed to Valspar Reserve. We’ve been using Valspar Reserve more and more throughout our home, and we continue to be impressed with its quality and coverage.

In the past, we’ve painted our sampleson foam board and moved them around the room, but this time, we paintedthem right onto the walls. We chose three different locations, swiping the samples on areasthat get light from the south and west, and one cornerthat doesn’t get much light at all.

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (4)Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (5)

Before the paint had even dried, we both pointed to our favorite. We scrutinized the three colors in both natural and artificial LED light, and in both cases, we were sold on Basalt Powder. It was the clear winner!Above and below, from left to right: Basalt Powder, Agreeable Gray, Origami White.

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (6)

Basalt Powder felt like the happiest marriage of gray and white, with more than enough contrast to pop off of the white trim. We’ve tossed around the idea of having it tinted at 50-75%, lightening itjust a touch more, but of course we’ll let you know how that goes if we choose to do so!

With one more decision knocked off our list, we’re feeling more excited than ever about the direction of this apartment. We spent the 4th of July weekend up to our eyeballs in kitchen cabinets, and we’re weeks away from sticking a fork in this guy! Is it too soon to start counting down? We just can’t help ourselves.

Choosing the Right Off-White Paint for the Garden (Squint!) - Yellow Brick Home (2024)
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