JUST PAINT IT WHITE.. RIGHT?
White is an incredibly popular choice when it comes to finishes and for many good reasons.
One of those being the fact that white bounces light, so it helps a space not only look but be lighter.
It is versatile so it's a very safe choice to pair with colour.
It's fresh and clean.
White, depending on what its paired with, can assist in creating contrast due to the fact it is not actually a colour, like black, white is a tone, so it amplifies its neighbouring hue.
Sounds good right?
Now whose gone down to the paint store and found this:
Well this is quite a refined list. Usually there is many more options than this and it is usually the point where I get the email to book a consult.
White has undertones.
These undertones can be as simple as a blue undertone which creates a very stark and cool version of white, to whites that have a neutral grey undertone (meaning there are 2 or more undertones) and don't get me started on beiges, they deserve a blog post on their own.
So at this point, let's break it down to what you want from the space.
Is there ample natural light generally? Or is it the darkest room of the house that gets next to no natural light? If the answer is yes it gets ample light with big windows, you are better off going for a cool, pure or neutral undertone white, to harness the natural light and create that clean and fresh look. Step away from the yellow/brown based whites.
If the answer is no the room doesn't get much natural light, you are better off pulling in natural light with the warmth of a brown, beige or yellow undertone white, neutral can work here too, but step away from the stark blue based or pure whites.
Now you find yourself in either the warm, cool, or neutral sections of the whites list.
This is a good time to review choices already selected and work with pairing to existing finishes.
For example, if this is for a living room, what are the floors? Are they concrete tile, light oak timber or charcoal carpet? Yes it is also worth identifying the undertone of these finishes too. Interior Design is fun isn't it!!
The undertone of the floor needs to compliment the undertone of the paint, essentially you are working with a minimum of 4 colours here. This is why choosing a white is so much trickier than people initially realise, so don't feel bad if you are one of the people who have come to pick a white and found themselves confused and overwhelmed.
The key word here is compliment, an easier way to understand that is, do they simply look nice together?
A dark Oak floor can look lovely with a brown undertone white, it can also look wonderful with a grey or stark white. Use your discernment and trust yourself. If you can't, advice is cheaper than regret.
It's very possible you have got to this point feeling more confused about your white choice, but you are informed and this will prevent you from choosing the wrong white, which is a solid win.
It's also important to remember to trust the process of your project, try to enjoy it as much as possible, this is not life or death and you are after all, undertaking an improvement of your living space and that is a cause for gratitude and celebration.
Have a fabulous day, designing your life.
Lauren Shiels - The Healing Spaces Project.
Brown based white
Blue based white
Grey based white
(Images from Pinterest)