White is white, this surely has to be one of the easiest colours to decorate with, right? Wrong. You’ll discover this when you head to your local paint store and are confronted by tin after tin of white paints, all claiming to do slightly different things to your walls. Use these four tips to help you choose the exactly right white to create the feel you are going for.
1. DO YOU WANT WARM OR COOL WHITE
First things, first - do you know if a cool white or a warm white will best suit your project? When selecting white paint there’s a fine line between a fresh, relaxing vibe and looking like you’re living in a stark science lab, so you’ll want to work out if it’s likely to be a cool white or a warm white that creates the feel you’re going for. Cool whites will be brighter and warm whites will feel a little more cozy, so it really depends on the feel you’re going for.
Cool whites are great for adding a modern or minimalist edge to a space. They often carry blue or grey undertones and are useful in softening bright light. These colours are softer to the eye and will give you a feeling of a larger space within the room.
Warm whites often carry subtle peach, pink, or yellow undertones. These variations invite a relaxed warmth into your home and can help soften spaces that don’t get a lot of sun.
White paints can come with bluish, reddish, yellowish, and even greenish undertones. To see the variety, head to your local paint shop and ask for help spotting whites with a variety of undertones and compare them side by side. Or take the suggestion of interior designer Ellen Hamilton and hold the samples against a plain sheet of printer paper. This will help you determine whether the white swatch you have is a warm white (red, yellow, or orange undertones) or a cool white (blue or gray tones).
3. CONSIDER NATURAL LIGHT & DIRECTION
Look at Lighting – Again, look at the coloring from every angle and especially at different times of day for lighting purposes. Lighting can drastically change your paint undertones with the bright sun versus a setting sun.
4. TESTING TIME
Testing your paint choice before committing to an entire redecoration project is key. A white that seemed warm on a smaller paint chip may suddenly look too pink or sallow. Or a white that looked crisp and modern may feel way too cold in a larger application. Test at different times of the day and evening to see how the paint looks in both natural and artificial light. Rinse and repeat this process inside and out and you’ll be a paint picking pro in no time!
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