O white it is a versatile neutral and one of the most popular shades for interior design, offering a clean canvas that light up dark spaces and makes even the smallest rooms look like spacious and airy.
So you might think that this, for sure, must be one of the easiest colors to decorate, right? Wrong. This you will discover when you go to the decoration store and discover infinite different white paint cansall claiming to do slightly different things to your walls.
But don’t worry, we are here to help you. Here are some tips on how to choose the best white paint for your environment:
How to choose the best white paint
“The way we interpret whites now is very different from the idea of pure white,” explains Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball brand ambassador.
“White can range from limestone to cold, icy blue to muddy, but wonderful greenish/gray white. The best way to select your white is find the shade that best fits your style and your home and, most importantly, the appearance of your bedroom light“, he told Ideal Home UK.
The best white paint for your walls will depend as much on your natural preference for warm or cool toneshow much of the look of the room you’re painting – so whether the windows face north, south, east, or west.
Cool whites, which are generally recommended for south-facing rooms, contain splashes of blue, green, or black. While warm white paints – often chosen for darker north-facing rooms – contain red or yellow undertones.
These hues are amplified by the type of natural light a space receives and can even be affected by the content of a room, which reflects off walls and changes the appearance of the paint hue.
For this reason, testing your paint choice before committing to an entire decor project is critical. Judy Smith, color consultant for Crown, advises:
“Whites can change shades dramatically from room to room in the same house, let alone a paint shop for your own home, so always use test pots to check the exact tone. Test at different times of day and night to see how the paint looks in natural and artificial light.”
Read on to find the best white paint for you:
Best white paint for small, light-filled rooms: bright, clear white
A staple for painters and decorators, the pure bright white is devoid of any pigment. This means that it reflects almost all the light that hits it, reflecting any natural daylight around the room to brighten dark corners.
Bright white ink is a good choice for small environments with a healthy source of natural light, but generally should be avoided in north-facing spaces where it can reflect blue tones and make a room feel cold and drab.
Pure white can also be a great accompaniment to deeper off-whites when used on wood and ceilings to create a fresh, calming look.
Best White Paint for North Facing Rooms: Warm White
Rooms facing the north tend to get much less sun throughout the day, so they are naturally darker and prone to shadows.
This means they can reflect a greater amount of blue and gray tones, so using a pure white or white paint in cool tones can result in a much darker hue when it’s on the walls – and potentially a little somber.
” soft whites and with yellow base will build a room facing north,” advises Patrick O’Donnell of Farrow & Ball.
“The shade of a white will determine the feel and atmosphere of a room, for example rooms where we spend time relaxing, at night we tend to want it warmer and cozier so we can relax so the added dose of red or yellow will do this”.
For this reason, warm white inks with shades of yellow or red are generally recommended for north-facing environments, where they will look much less “creamy” than painted in a south-facing room.
“After a lot of deliberation, I’ve just painted my light-deprived hallway in Jasmine White by Dulux. It’s the ideal white to maintain a warm quality in a dark-shaded space, thanks to the pink tones. I wanted to avoid shades of gray because the color highlight in the room is a blush pink,” says Tamara Kelly, editor at Ideal Home UK.
Best white paint for south facing rooms: cool white
A south-facing room gets lots of natural light and can often be bathed in golden sunshine for much of the day.
This means that any underlying warm tones in a white paint – such as yellow, red or brown – will be amplified, causing a seemingly innocuous pale ivory white to suddenly look decidedly yellow once on the walls.
As south-facing rooms are usually the brightest in the house, a bright white paint can look quite harsh, reflecting even more strong light.
Consequently, if you want to achieve the look of true white in a south-facing environment, it is best to opt for cooler toneswhich balance the warmth of natural light.
“Cool whites have accents of gray, blue, green and violet and create a calm and airy look, perfect for a room that gets lots of light and sun,” says Marianne of Dulux.
How to decorate with shades of white
As interior designers know, a white room painted entirely in a solid shade can look flat and featureless. instead try combine subtle variations on walls, wood, cornices and ceilings to improve the proportions of a room.
“Always consider the light aspect of the room you plan to paint and all other elements incorporated into your room, such as fabrics, furniture and artwork,” advises Patrick O’Donnell. “An easy way to do this is to create a mood board to see all components in one place, this will give you more context for the result”.
“Identify the colors you’re drawn to and then simply work through your selected palette to find an off-white shade with a hint of your chosen shade,” advises Jenny Luck, color consultant at Little Greene. “This will contrast the color of the wall while also having a smooth transition from the walls to the wood and ceilings. Much smoother and more pleasing to the eye.”
What white color is best for ceilings?
When choosing the best white for your ceiling, consider which option best matches your home interiors, wall colors, and furniture.
For a modern look, you can completely move away from the traditional white ceiling and paint it with a striking color – this also goes for the walls to create a really cohesive feel or a different tone.
*Via Ideal Home UK