Which White Paint Should You Use?

decision-making design Jul 06, 2023
Which white paint should you use?

Selecting a white paint for your home might seem like a simple task, but if you’ve ever done it before, you’ll know how daunting it can be! The options can make your head spin! But fear not – here are some valuable tips and considerations to help you narrow down the right white paint colour for your space. 

Understand the undertones

White paint colours can have subtle undertones that greatly influence the overall look and feel of a room. Common undertones include cool (blue, black or gray), warm (yellow, red or beige), or neutral (balanced mix). Consider the existing colours in your space, such as furniture, flooring, finishes  and textiles, to determine the undertones that will complement them best. If you have a home with warm timbers or brass hardware with a living finish, you might want to opt for a warm white. However, if you plan on using black accents and light-coloured timbers, a cooler white could work better. 

Consider the style of your home

White paint colours can evoke different moods and atmospheres in a room. Cool whites create a serene and contemporary feel, while warm whites promote a cosy and inviting ambiance. Bright whites make spaces appear larger and more vibrant, while off-whites add a touch of warmth and depth. Think about the style of your home and select a white paint colour that aligns with your vision. In Courtney’s 120-year-old home, she chose a warmer white paint colour (Dulux ‘Natural White’), while in Natalie’s more modern home, she chose an untinted white (Dulux ‘Vivid White’). 

Test in different lighting conditions

Natural and artificial lighting can significantly impact how a white paint colour appears in a room. Before committing to a particular shade, test samples on different walls and observe how they look during different times of the day. Pay attention to how the paint colour interacts with light to ensure it creates the desired effect.

Choose the right sheen

Different paint finishes, or sheens, can have varying effects on the appearance and durability of white paint. High-gloss finishes create a sleek and reflective surface, but they can also highlight imperfections. Satin or eggshell finishes are more forgiving and provide a subtle shine. Matte or flat finishes offer a smooth look but may be less resistant to stains and wear. Consider the functionality and desired aesthetic of the space when choosing the appropriate sheen.

Remember there are different strengths and intensities

Paint colours also come in different strengths or intensities, such as double strength or quarter strength. Paint colour strength refers to the concentration or saturation of the colour pigment in the paint, which determines how intense or muted the colour will appear on your walls. If you are looking for complementing white paint options, for example, you could simply choose a double strength for a stronger white colour, or quarter strength for a more subtle colour. (Courtney chose to paint her timber kitchen cabinets in double strength ‘Natural White’, to ensure the white paint complemented the walls which were painted in regular strength Vivid White’.) 

Test samples

It’s important to understand that paint swatches that you pick up from the hardware store are colour printed so they only represent the colour. Nothing beats painting the colour directly onto the wall to get a real feel for how it will look. Always paint two coats because the colour becomes richer after the second coat. Test the colours in different parts of the room, and see how they look at different times of the day too. (You might want to consider double-strength colours for outside as they can appear lighter due to the amount of light that is reflected on the surface.)

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We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nations, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.