White is a beautiful stark backdrop to statement furniture pieces, large-scale art, or any decor pieces you wish to accentuate. However, one white is not like another. Despite being a non-colour, (or all colours, if we're talking about light), like grey, there is an entire spectrum of tints that can transform this non-colour into a shade that suites your home perfectly. So how does one choose?
When choosing a shade of white for any interior space, keep in mind that if it's not sufficiently tinted, it can make a room glow like a fluorescent tube, and not like the warm radiance of a candle. An exception might be a basement or a room with little to no natural light. But when painting above ground, choose a paint with enough depth to the shade.
Similar to the principles explained in our Great Greys article, when choosing a white for a space with cool northern exposure, choose a warm white, like Benjamin Moore's Dune White or White Wing. Although cooler greys are recommended for southern exposure, in the case of white, both cool and warm whites can work equally well.
Courtney Wotherspoon's Toronto home, HGTV.ca Original Home Tour
For a more modern feel, go with a cool white like Intense White or Pure White. For a softer, warmer shade, try Cloud White, or Cloud Cover.
One thing that's inescapable with white walls is the maintenance. Unless it can be kept clean 24/7, a white wall will get shabby in no time. Try keeping white walls to lower traffic areas where you won't be eating daily meals or taking your shoes off. But if you must have white walls in high traffic areas choose a premium quality washable base like Benjamin Moore Aura, or a high-gloss finish instead of a matte.
Did you know? To customize your paint you can mix your own! Mixing paint can be tricky, and very hard to replicate if a touch up is needed, but if you are willing to take a chance, purchase a white base paint and use one of the existing colours in your home to pull in a matching undertone. The end result will be a unique colour that will be softer than any tint available on a paint sample chip. Just make sure you mixed enough! (An experienced painter or paint store associate can give you a pretty accurate estimate.)
How to Mix Your Own Tinted White:
1. Start by adding one tablespoon of your undertone colour if it is dark, and two tablespoons if it is light, to one gallon of white base
2. Mix in well with a stir stick first, then close the can and shake for 2 to 3 minutes (your local paint store can do this for you.)
3. Try a swatch on the wall during daylight hours
4. If the white is not 'glowing', you have added enough paint
5. If the white still seems fluorescent repeat steps 1 to 3 but only add one teaspoon at a time.
Would you be brave enough to try it?