BM Swiss Coffee, Linen White or Timid White? Help!

January 8, 2015

I have been lurking on this forum for a while and have learned a lot about paint. But not enough, it seems, to be able to select an interior color for our new build! We narrowed it down to the three listed in the subject heading but I am open to more choices.

Since I have no pictures, here is a little bit about our house. We have east, west and south light. Windows have large overhangs so we get limited direct light - mostly in the morning. Floor plan is open. Floors will be Expanko Heirloom cork medium color, ceilings will be SW No Tint White. We live in Hawaii so intense sun and lots of green outside our windows. Furniture is neutral; beige, golds, greens and slate blue with red accents. Our art is our decorating focal point. Medium to large oils of the surrounding ocean and mountains by noted local artists. I notice that our art really looks good when the walls have a slight yellow tinge (happens in our bedroom morning and afternoon). It really makes the subtle yellows in the art jump out. But I don't want to go too yellow.

1. Will Swiss Coffee look dirty after a few years? This is DH's pick and it looked great last night as I moved my brush outs around our current house. But not so much this morning during natural daylight and I am a little worried how it will hold up over time as far as turning dingy. Is this more of a builder's grade color?

2. I am leaning toward timid white with Linen White a close second. Any issues with Timid White?

3. Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cork Flooring Medium Color

Comments (24)

  • tibbrix

    I think the Swiss Coffee is a bit murky, and the Linen White seems somewhat peachy. I think the Timid looks best for what you've described you're looking for. Also look at BM Mayonnaise and BM Capitol White, which I think looks like the "cleanest" white with some yellow undertone in it of all of them. For me, it would be between the Timid White and the Capitol White.

  • hvhay

    We have BM Swiss Coffee throughout almost our entire house and I love it. Our trim is a much brighter white (I think BM Decorator's White) and I enjoy the contrast between the two. In ordinary lighting I really don't notice the color of the Swiss Coffee at all and I just find it a pleasing and unobtrusive backdrop for the art on the walls, but when the afternoon sun comes in and hits the walls you can really see how warm the color is. I don't have any experience with the other two colors, however. I have not found it to become dingy over time, although we haven't had it up all that long (we had it up for 2 years, then did a big remodel and repainted it all earlier this year).

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  • sas95

    We have both BM Swiss Coffee and Linen White. The Swiss Coffee is in a West-facing room and is beautiful. Not murky or dirty looking at all. The Linen White is in East facing rooms and I hate it. It looks really dingy in our light.

    It's impossible to get good advice about off whites from a forum, as IMO, whites/off-whites vary so much with your particular light. Will you have the opportunity to test out swatches in your rooms before painting?

  • cat_mom

    Not to confuse this issue in the least, but wanted to suggest that you check out BM's Mascarpone (Affinity color for Aura paint). Slightest of yellow tinges in an off-white/cream-white.

  • LeeMiller

    We bought a house that was painted BM Linen White throughout. We don't get as much light as I thought we might because of some trees and where the lots faces but overall I like the color. It does have a certain warm look to it. But really it is very hard to tell which white works for someone's house on line IMO.

  • tnfarmhousefixin

    I have a sample of Timid White in my kitchen right now and it's reading slightly green. I do like the color although I couldn't use it because of clashing undertones with the granite.

    If you are also looking at creamy whites I would recommend Ivory White/Arcadia White (same formula at my local Ben Moore store). It's a very pretty, rich, soft color on my sample. I think that will be my next trim color unless I go a bit brighter.

  • Honu3421

    Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I understand how difficult it is to give advice on white/off white in a forum setting. I think the most I can ask for is other people's experiences and try to relate that to what I am seeing on my walls.

    Tibbrix: Thank you for mentioning Mayonnaise and Capital White. I will look into both. My hairdresser has Mayonnaise in her house and loves it. I thought it might be too white but maybe it will work in our bright sunlight. I will pick up a sample of both recommendations today.

    Hvhay: thank you for posting your experience with Swiss
    Coffee. This is still a top contender and glad to hear it hasn't gone dull on you.

    LeeMiller: I appreciate your input. It is starting to sound like I really can't go too wrong with any of these whites. Confirming DH's opinion that once furnishings get installed and life begins again, the paint color will be less important.

    Sas95: Thank you for the info on your Swiss Coffee in a west facing room. Our kitchen/dining/family gets a lot of South light so your experience is helpful. I am still loving your kitchen by the way!

    cat_mom: hahaha. I've been thinking of Mascarpone but didn't want to add one more color to the problem. I'll pick up a sample today, thanks. ;)

    JuddGirl: Arcadia white was another one that I've been thinking about so I'm adding one more sample to the mix.

    I added a picture of the three samples I painted yesterday. L to R: LInen_Swiss Coffee_Timid White. The reflection off the concrete sure doesn't help things! I have a meeting with the painter this afternoon and will go over all the other ideas and samples. He will help me narrow this down and paint a few walls for me and then I will report back.

    Thank you all again for your generosity of time and your thoughtful responses.

  • tibbrix

    Just want to make sure you get the right samples.

    It's actually Acadia White (not Arcadia), and Capitol White, not Capital.

    In your pic, Not sure about the other two, but the Linen White looks very peachy

  • Honu3421

    Hi Tibbrix: Thank you for the catch. I am heading to the paint store now. So far, in the bright morning light, Swiss Coffee is the front runner. IRL it has more substance than in the pictures. Linen has pretty much been eliminated and thank you for giving me the reason why - you are spot on, it is peachy. I just knew it was not working. I will try to post a picture later today with the new samples.

  • Honu3421

    I'm back after a very difficult time. I put samples of Mayonnaise (turned electric yellow on south facing wall), SW was not able to mix Capitol White for me, Acadia White is a possibility and Mascarpone was too light.

    Then my contractor's painter threw me a curve ball by putting up a wall of BM Muslin. Wow. It initially reads as shocking against the primer drywall but it is a luscious color any time of the day. I am just not able to visualize the whole house painted in this color. It seems so intense. And I wonder if it will compete with our oils and other art on our walls. Does anyone have experience with this color for a whole house? Or, does anyone have a suggestion for a secondary color that works next to Muslin?

    So now I've put the following samples on 2x2 boards: BM White Sand; BM Muslin at 75%; and SW Patience and am heading over to the house to lay these against the Muslin wall so that I can post photos.

    But even more important is the trim color. The painters need this like, yesterday. I tried Simply White and it reads very yellow. I'm considering BM Swiss Coffee since I've seen this used quite a bit for trim on Houzz. I know I need to pick paint first but we are getting down to the wire.

    I know it sounds like I am all over the place (ugh) and I am pressured to make a decision. Any comment or help is appreciated. Thank you so much.

  • Honu3421

    BM Muslim on the wall. Linen white on the crown. Swiss coffee on the board to the left. I may not have gotten enough coverage. It's a tad lighter on the board than on my wall sample.

  • kidrowlam

    Well Swiss coffee although is a decent color but yes it will be dull if you don't have enough sunlight in your home. Cream color has been my favorite always giving a calm and serene ambiance throughout the year. What about another addition? Teal or ivory will also be cool.

  • callie25

    I painted our bedroom BM Muslin (maybe 10 yrs ago?) I've never tired of the color & it goes well with all the different bedding I've used over the years. If you think it might be too intense throughout your home, maybe 50%? Another color that worked well for us was BM Monroe Bisque. We've used that as a full color; as well as 25-75%.

  • Honu3421

    Kidrowlam: Thank you for your suggestions of teal, ivory (did you mean ivory tusk?) and cream. Which cream are you referring to? Also, this room is south facing and gets a lot of light. so much so that at certain times of day the Swiss Coffee washes out to white and yellow undertones just jump off the wall. I never thought this would be so hard.

    Southergal25: I'm so glad to hear from someone who used Muslin. I really think I will go for it. What direction does your bedroom face? And what color did you use for trim? I have to have my trim by this week!

    I never thought I would be in this position. Thank you both for your replies.

    I think I will go with Muslin in the family/kitchen/dining room and then cut it either 25 or 50% for the living room, stairwell and upstairs hallway. If anyone else has a suggestion for trim for Muslin please chime in. Linen white is shown in the photo above but that reads too yellow for my liking. Also, the Muslin might read a little peach in the photo but I see no peach IRL.

  • Homebody

    I'm wondering which white u chose. We r considering Swiss coffee. It will go in living n din rooms since they r almost like one big room. But we have a tan color carpet that sometimes I swear looks a little gold in color (hate it).

    Im really feeling frustrated over all the white colors available. :(

  • Honu3421

    Hi Pat: I ended up going with maritime white! Trim is BM white dove, or dove white. I never remember the order of these names. I like the maritime white. It is a good back drop for my oil paintings and other art. I certainly hear your frustration. Overall, I am pretty happy with the paint and everyone who comes to my house loves the color. Good luck on your search!

  • Homebody

    Can u tell me if it is a warm or cool white? Hubby just painted one bedroom with a white from Behr paints. Looks ok but seems a little bit to white. Lol. I can't win! :(. So I really need to get this right for my liv room etc. rest of the place. Just wondering. Any help is Very much appreciated. :)

  • Honu3421

    Pat: This paint is definitely warm and does not read white at all. This link gives a good representation of Maritime White OC5. You can see the different shades. Low light under the windows reads darker and bright light in the corner brings out a yellow tint. Although, I would not say this paint "reads yellow" at all. I think the bright light brings out the warmer hue. I hope the link works for you. If not, google BM Maritime White OC5 and you will get a lot of photos.

  • Homebody

    Thanks so much for ur response. Will def look into this n I guess it's back to the paint store for more samples. Ugh.... Lol. :)

  • PRO
    Karens Design Concepts

    hello..your island art im sure is saturated with colour as well as your furniture..if you want warm white that can handle heavy furniture and feels strong enough to carry weight of wood ..the most wonderful white for your room i think is BALLET WHITE Bm...its beautiful and stays true to colour ..good luck

  • abbeyld

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading through these posts as I am in the process of trying to pick a warm white. I have narrowed it down to Swiss a Chocolate or White Dove.

    Homebody, hope YOU found what you were looking for. Yes, YOU is spelled you, not u.

  • emlouhall

    Any pictures or updates on Swiss coffee or other warm whites? Our trim and cabinets are a bright white, and I'm looking at colors like CM Pale oak, Swiss coffee, edgecomb gray, feather down, etc. Would love to read about/see what people have selected!

  • Ann-Marie Beck

    We have bm swiss coffee all through our home up and down. Love how clean yet warm it is. Goes amazing with all the art and pops of color throughout the house. Eggshell for the walls and satin for the doors and trim. Very clean. No regrets!

  • Julie Miller

    Maritime White is a beauty. Believe it or not, it's considered to have a pink-beige undertone. It is a perfect choice for those who are stuck with pink-beige hard fixtures and/or pink beige carpet and want to update with something fresh. You cannot tell it has any pink in it as it reads as a warm fresh off-white.

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