White paint is a tough color to pull off.
If it’s too bright, it can appear sterile like a science lab.
Too dull and it looks like a rental apartment.
But believe it or not, there is an in-between.
And it’s absolutely gorgeous.
The beauty of the right shade of white paint really sets the tone for a room.
A cozy off-white brings warmth without darkening spaces and making them feel small.
It’s still bright enough to give a room life without weighing it down.
White is also great for highlighting architecture and character in older homes.
It makes lines look a little straighter, corners appear a little crisper, and moulding seem a little more defined.
It’s commonly used on trim, and that’s purposeful.
The clean look of a bright white color creates beautiful shadows between the designs and brings out the cuts in the wood.
If you’ve ever compared stained wood trim or black painted moulding, you’ve probably noticed the decorative cuts are harder to distinguish.
That’s because the dark colors don’t allow for shadows, so you can’t see the true depth and dimension of the woodwork.
Another great aspect of white paint is the way it creates contrast.
When white walls are paired with natural woods, heavy metals, thick textures, and dark colors, the effect is especially eye-pleasing.
Interior design is all about appealing to our senses.
So by adding a smooth, clean, crisp coat of white paint to your walls, you’re building the base for layers of textures within the furniture and accessories.
White paint should be your very best friend.
It serves as the perfect background for colorful hues in fabrics, artwork, accessories, and metals.
Have you ever noticed that most websites display their products in front of a white background for almost all of their photos?
The reason behind this is white has an awesome superpower of bringing out the best of other colors.
Pinks look pinker. Blues look bluer. Patterns look sharper. Textures look more touchable.
Why wouldn’t you want this same effect in your home?
You shell out tons of cash for furniture, wall art, and decor, right?
Take a note from retailers and display them to their full potential.
So with millions of shades of white paint on the market, how in the world would you even know where to start?
A basic rule of color is that shades are defined as cool or warm tones.
A cool shade of white will have a bluish grayish purplish tint.
A warm shade will have a yellowish tannish orangish pinkish tint.
(Excuse my made-up color descriptions…that’s the best I’ve got for ya)
To get a little more technical, here’s the truth about white.
Very few whites are actually white.
But honestly speaking, the true whites are pretty stinkin’ boring.
They’ll make your room go flat almost instantly.
Experiment with cool and warm tones to find out what works best for the lighting, decor, and architecture of your home.
Ready to head out to the paint store now?
Here are my six faves in cool, warm, and true white shades for every budget and location availability.
Do you love white paint? What are your favorite shades?
I’d love to hear your opinions! Get in on the conversation below and share your knowledge.
And P.S. If you’re crushing on those gorgeous photos as much as I am, check me out on Pinterest @newhouseblog to see more beautiful spaces, design tips and tricks, and perfect color combos. I add new content every single day and I’d love to connect with you!
And P.P.S. Cream In My Coffee is what’s in my living room and dining room in my own home. It changes color about five times a day based on the lighting, and all five colors are absolutely stunning. It’s by far my favorite paint color ever. Personal bias. 🙂
I just did BM’s Pale Oak in my mudroom. With a whiter white for the trim. Thinking of using just the Pale Oak I’m in the laundry room for everything.
That’s a great choice Heidi!
Sandra gandy says
great advice. I love all the photos of the rooms.
Thanks Sandra! I love them too!