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White Paint - How Do I Choose The Right One?

White Paint. How do you get the perfect white? You may think it is easy, white is white, but as is the case with all the colours, there is a spectrum of whites to choose from. If done right, a white will look really good. However, if done wrong , your white room can end up looking a dirty cream that really needs a new lick of paint!

Photo: Pinterest

White is the trickiest colour to get right, yet it is used in so many aspects of the home: interior, exterior, cabinets, trim, ceiling. The reason it is so tricky is because of the many undertones that it holds.

To get a white that is as white as the crispness of an A4 piece of paper is incredibly difficult. In addition, with years of its use as a painted surface white is a colour that very much discolours if the brand uses natural pigmentation, looking stained yellow in the long run, so repainting does need to be done. If you look at a paint chart, or on a screen, or place the colour in front of a piece of paper, with the large spectrum of white paint available on the market, you will look and think that the colour is not true white. It is white but what you are seeing is the undertone of the paint colour.

Every colour has undertones, but with white it is the most noticeable. These undertones can range from warm to cool and be peachy, yellow, green or blue in colour. These undertones can really change the colour of the white paint and create different feelings and vibes in a room. With artificial light, the colour will also completely change, often the true undertone coming out making it look completely different to what it looks like in broad daylight.


Sometimes, it is a good idea to look at the paints on top of a piece of white paper as you can really see the undertones and if it is a warm or cold white and which would be best in your home.

For example, do not go for a subtle yellow if you are not a fan of cream. It will appear yellow in colour at night. Same goes for subtle pinks, it will look peach or orange in artificial light. If you want to play it safe, go for a white that has very little undertones to it. There are a few on the market ranging from designer to high street brands. These colours tend to be the branches favourite and most popular because they are guaranteed to work with decorators always choosing this colour.

These specific white paints are known as Pure Brilliant White’s reflecting back all light that hits it. The purity of the colour bounces light and shadow lifting the entire space. Some colours include: Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, Dulux’s Pure Brilliant White Matt Emulsion, Crown’s Breatheasy Pure White Brilliant White Emulsion.

Photo: HomeBound

Don’t stray away from the white paints with undertones however. These can look really beautiful in the right light. Painting a small dark room a cold white would not work because it would make the room feel unwelcoming and dark. A warm white would look good in this situation: Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, Dulux’s White Cotton.

Photo: HouseAndGarden

On the opposite side, a room with lots of natural light wouldn’t look good in a warm white, unless you want the cream look because it can turn out looking rather yellow. Good colours include Dulux’s Cotton Breeze, Farrow and Ball’s Strong White.

Photo: HomeBound

If you have a white kitchen, it is a good idea to paint your cabinets the same white as the trim. This will bring the whole room together and make it more in sync. If you are wanting an all white house, it is a good idea to use different whites in different parts of the home. A grey white is popular for the bedroom, while a bright neutral is good for the living area.

It is always a good idea to paint a large section in the room with a tester pot of paint. This is the best way to see if the colour will work well in your home. Sun light is a huge factor when it comes to the look of colour in the home. You may have seen a colour in your friends home but if your house is south facing and theirs was north facing, the colour will look very different so always good to do a tester in your own home.

In terms of finish, matt will look great on walls, and satin and eggshell finishes work beautifully on woodwork. A semi-gloss is normally used on trim.

The colour white looks beautiful and clean. It can be both warming and cooling as well as simplistically lovely. Reminiscing the beauty of the Greek cave houses dotted along the island’s fronts, it is a colour that will look good as a base for the rest of the room as well as looking beautiful on its own.

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