Design of the Times – Let’s talk white paint

Let’s talk white paint! Painting a room white can inject that space with new life. White paint is bright, refreshing, and sharp. With the stroke of a brush, a room can be completely transformed.

If you are considering a white room, look at it from this angle – white walls create a beautiful blank canvas. That canvas can be accentuated however you see fit. By making the walls ‘invisible’ or ‘blank’ other features in the home can stand out and shine bright! The attention is turned to key features of your choice. If you make this change, you are deciding to take control of the wall colour to room feature proportion. Wall colour can be soft or bold. It either accentuates pieces in the room or dominates the room. Both scenarios can be gorgeous, but they are completely different.

So, where do you start? Exactly which white paint do you choose?

Once you decide to update your current wall colour choice and start looking, you will notice there is no end to the white paint choices! Before you venture to the paint section, we have a few critical questions to work through:

  • What shade of white do you want – warm, cool or pure? Even with white paint, this constant paint question arises – ‘Is this a warm shade or cool shade?’ Neutrals can also be categorized into these two groups based on their undertones. There is also pure white. A white with no undertone that looks amazing in every room! The wall colour can set the tone for the room, so choose wisely! Balance is key. For any given room, your theme does not have to be on one side of the colour spectrum, or the other. You can venture off into the décor wilderness once your wall colour is set and you have a plan!
  • How much natural light is in the room?The amount of natural light you have in your room will dictate how warm, cool, and white your paint really is. Ample natural light brightens and whitens no matter the undertone. The less light you have available, the deeper your colour will look. To open up a dark area, the lighter, the better!
  • What colour is your trim?If you are updating a space by painting the walls light, but not painting the trim, pay close attention! It is important to take note of the trim tone before you pick the main paint colour. If your trim is warm, with a yellow or brown feel at first glance, your wall paint should be warm as well. If your trim is cool, with a blue, purple or gray feel at first glance, your wall paint should be cool. If you have cream tone trim, and gray tone walls, that trim looks old and yellow. If you make sure your wall colour is the same undertone, that trim will stand out and define the space, as it should! Tip: Hold a piece of printer paper next to your trim. This will help you see the colour undertone. Does the trim look yellowish or brown? Warm. Does the trim look bluish or gray? Cool. Does the trim look the same as the paper? Jackpot! It is pure white and this, my friends, is fair game for all the wall colours you love! The colour palette is your buddy!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking! White paint will look terrible when my kids and dogs run wild! Well, I speak from experience when I tell you white walls are very forgiving to the 3-foot-high collateral damage marks. A gentle scrub won’t leave the noticeable wash marks on the wall. I know, small miracles. From my experience of staging homes for the real estate market, I’ve noticed that the more colour on a wall, the more noticeable the scuffs and scratches. Don’t get me wrong, actual wall colour is a beautiful addition to a home! But for this article, it is my job to tell you all about the fabulous pros that come from painting your walls bright and white!

Now that we have the colour figured out, lets talk about the finish! This is where you really need to think about what you want. This is as important as the undertone of your white paint. In high traffic areas, we need durable paint. Generally, the glossier the paint, the more it can handle. It’s washable and it’s resilient. Flat paint is more forgiving to wear and tear, but generally doesn’t wash well. These two finishes are on opposite sides of the spectrum though, aren’t they? Usually, we drop somewhere in the middle. Durable, but not too much shine screams eggshell. What if I told you that you can have washable flat paint? It is the real deal! It looks fantastic and can take a pounding. My favorite is Benjamin Moore REGAL Select Interior Paint – Ulti-Matte (552)

My go-to white paints in a (washable) matte finish are:

  • Pure White: Un-tinted paint – It is that simple. No undertones, just plain white. It is sharp yet unassuming. This is my go-to whenever possible.
  • Warm White: Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117. It’s white but wrapped in a cozy blanket with a cup of tea. Gorgeous!
  • Cool White: Benjamin Moore Decorators White CC-20. This paint colour is pretty much pure white, but with the tiniest touch of gray. It looks fantastic!

Most importantly, when you are revamping a space in your home, look at the big picture. Take a minute, stand back and remember what you’re trying to achieve. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but it’s the overall look that you’re trying to attain. As long as you keep that in mind, you will be happy with the end result! Current trends call the shots, but it’s your home, so make it personal.

Selling your home? I’ll always leave you with a quick tip to help in the process of getting your house real estate ready. Today’s Tip: The most cost effective and quickest way to update your interior for the real estate market is by painting it a light refreshing colour. White is a great place to start!

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by Megan Callahan