IN CASE YOU MISSED IT | painting with white

When I see someone who doesn’t know what color to paint something, they almost always default to white.  It’s neutral.  It’s easy.



I will admit that it is hard to go wrong with white.  I love white and mix a lot of different whites in my home.  All three of the whites from the MMS Milk Paint line are represented.

Ironstone on the dining table base and chairs…


Linen on the jelly cupboard…


…and Grain Sack on the 1800’s marble-topped dresser and Gustavian sofa frame to point out a few.


So, I’m a fan.

But, white is actually one of the hardest colors to paint with.  

It doesn’t matter what kind of paint it is, white just doesn’t cover as well and almost always requires more coats.  This is especially true with milk paint, since it’s thinner than modern paints.  


Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years when it comes to working with white paint…


If it’s your first time painting ever, I would suggest starting with a white that is slightly off white.  That little bit of color can make a big difference in coverage and ease of use. In the MMSMP line, I would suggest Grain Sack, which has gray undertones or Marzipan, which has warm almond undertones.

marzipan Collage

Another option…  If you want better coverage, but a bright white finish, paint the first coat with an off white or even a mid-tone gray, yellow, green, pale pink or blue and then finish with a bright white.  You’ll find that a base coat of a pale color with help the white cover better, with fewer coats.


   If you’re using a liquid paint, like latex, oil, enamel, acrylic, chalk-type, etc, I would suggest using a primer under white.  It’s not so much for adhesion, but for better coverage.  It’s not always necessary, but if you’re changing a piece from dark wood or red paint to white, it’ll save you some time and money.

I’ve said it a lot, but use a good brush, roller or applicator pad.  It doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, but you will get better coverage and less streaks with quality tools.


If you are working with milk paint, mix it a little bit thicker than other colors and let it sit a little longer before use (30 minutes or so), to allow the limestone to fully absorb the water.  You’ll end up with a smoother finish and fewer coats.


Lastly, since you know you might be in for more coats, make sure you buy a little more paint than you think you need.  You’ll be glad you did, so you don’t run out mid-project!


And, speaking of whites, I just developed a yummy new white for the MMSMP line.  I’m hoping to launch it in January along with a couple other colors.  More on that soon…

2 thoughts on “IN CASE YOU MISSED IT | painting with white

  1. Terri

    Marian, I love your milk paint and have all of the colors. I see that you plan to launch the new white in January and am wondering if it is already in the stores/available?

    Also, I love your new house and how you are making it a home! Congratulations!


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