What is the “right” white?
What are the best white paint colours?
Look at a paint chart, no matter which paint company you decide to use, and you will find quite a few whites and creams. White paint is by far the most popular colour, from DIY’ers, to professional painters, to architects and interior designers, we all love the ‘colour’ white. That is because it can add light to a dark room and make even the smallest box room look spacious. White walls will give you a blank canvas so you can add colour through your furniture, curtains, art and flooring.
Whilst white is really versatile when decorating, totally white rooms can look a bit lifeless. Although this might not make sense to start off with, try layering different shades of whites. Use different shades of white on your ceiling and woodwork to your walls to give your room more of a modern minimalistic vibe rather than it looking cold and sterile, which is always a risk when decorating rooms totally in white.
Not all whites are the same, there are usually subtle tonal differences and when picking your white it is important to look at it in natural daylight rather than under room lighting. Whilst pure brilliant white is just that, many whites have undertones that can vary from grey, yellow, red and blue and which one you pick is dependent upon the location of your room and how much natural light it gets.
A south facing room is usually a lovely bright room as it will receive most of the sunlight and so you can use any white in this room, however, you will find that any undertones within the white will be shown more clearly in this room so it for the most, a pure white which has no pigment is often picked or white paint with a cooling feel to them, such as those with a slight shade of grey or blue.
A north facing room is usually darker and may feel a bit gloomy as it will receive the least amount of sunlight. It can have quite a cool feel to it, therefore picking a white with yellow, red or brown hints would work well to add a bit of light and warmth. Grey or blue undertones need to be avoided as they will cool the room.
East and west rooms have changeable light throughout the day, with east facing rooms having most light in the morning, so it will be darker in the afternoon and west facing rooms darker in the morning. However, neither of these rooms will be as dark as a north facing room. Which white you use should be dictated on when you use the room. So, if you use an east facing room in the morning you could follow picking a white for a south facing room, however, if you use it in the afternoon then follow guidance for a north facing room. If you use a west facing room in the morning then follow guidance for a north facing room or if you use it in the afternoon, then follow south facing room.
Before you buy any colour, we would suggest that you buy a sample pot to try. Rather than painting straight onto your existing wall finish, try painting it onto a piece of A4 white cardboard or paper. This means that you can move the sample around the room as the daylight shifts and you will be able to see it in areas of shadow as well as direct sunlight, which will give you a better idea of how the white will work in your room. Try different shades of white to find out which gives your room the feel that you are looking for.
Have a look here to get the “white idea”!
From pure white to white with subtle undertones, warm and cold, we have the shades you need.