Linen white, sail white or bone white? You might think that white wall paint is just white, but there are plenty of shades of white!
Getting the right shade for your home’s walls is important, because it’s such a large surface area, and every variant conveys a different mood and feel.
Before you dive into browsing the different shades of white, here’s a checklist to go through before choosing white paint for your home:
- The room’s main function
- Shortlist your wall paint colours
- Patch test paint on wall
- Consider other furniture & decor in room
- Warm vs Cool white wall paints
1. Consider the room’s function
What’s the space for? For a bedroom, look at more relaxing, calming tones of whites. This usually leans towards slightly creamier or natural hues. A pure, bright white is great for the kitchen, which can be too vivid and contrasting for a bedroom.
2. Shortlist wall paint swatches
Go to a paint store and pick up small sample swatches, moving around to see them under different lights. Put them side by side and you’ll notice that one of them suddenly appears quite green or blue. Then, shortlist two or three that you think works best.
3. Test paint directly on the wall
To get the best comparison, paint circles (at least 15cm wide) of the different whites next to each other on at least two walls of the same room, with one near the window.
Check how they look in the morning and afternoon, as well as when the lights are on and off. Don’t forget to label the circles so you don’t unknowingly mix them up!
4. Consider other furniture & decor in the room
Bring and place a few key design and furniture items and colours that you’re going to have in that room, such as fabric samples, laminate swatches and artwork, against them to help you narrow down your options.
If you have a feature wall, consider how the shade of white would complement it, rather than dull it down or becoming too bright when placed next to it.
5. Warm vs Cool undertone of your white wall paint
To figure out the undertone of white paint, so you can match it with other hues in your space, hold a swatch or paint chip next to a sheet of white paper.
White paint is not exactly white — it contains traces of other colours, known as undertones. Generally, cool whites have blue undertones, while warm whites have yellow or brown undertones.
Paint generally absorbs the light and colours of furniture placed around it. That’s why the paint you chose always ends up looking different in the interior designer’s showroom vs your real home.
Best Dulux White Paint for Interior Walls
Yes, there’s 50 shades of grey, but there’s also many shades of white.
Choosing paint colours can be a pain, especially when you’re confronted with a palette full of different shades that look almost the same to you!
Dulux Cool White
We got some professional help and asked paint professionals at AkzoNobel for some expert tips and advice on how to choose the right shade of white paint for your home.
“Although it’s hard to go wrong with a white base, picking the right shade of white does make a difference,” they say. “Look closely at a wall painted in a cool white and a wall painted in a warm white, and you’ll immediately notice that the two aren’t alike at all.”
Warm White Wall Paints
If you want to create a welcoming atmosphere, choose warm whites that have a little red or yellow in them.
These hues create a soft and relaxing atmosphere, so they are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms.
North-facing rooms generally have weak, cool natural light, so you’ll need to compensate by choosing a warm white. To make your living room feel cosy and welcoming, try using honey white or primrose white.
Warm mauve and lilacs are also wonderful relaxing colours.
If you’re dreaming of having soothing bedroom ambience, choose a hue like violet white or blueberry white. But if you’d prefer a warm, sunny look throughout the day, then pick a white with tones of cream and peach.
If you want your room to appear larger, then choose a white that tends towards a warm blue, perhaps with a hint of purple.
Dulux Light & Shade wall paints would be a good place to start as it contains the Lumitec technology that reflects twice as much light as compared to normal emulsion paints, and is available in a lovely range of pastel-hued whites.
Cool White Wall Paints
Cool whites have blue, grey or green undertones, making them look crisp and clean.
For a serene, contemporary look, try using cool whites to create strong silhouettes and sharp lines. You’ll find that they also do a great job of showing off striking accessories and artwork.
South-facing rooms usually have plenty of strong light from sunshine, so you may find it helpful to choose a cool white that balances glare.
If you’re looking to create a lively atmosphere, choose a cool white with a hint of orange or gold. If you want to evoke a relaxing ambience, then add a little bit of calm green, such as sage, into your white.
Calm greens and blues are perfect for encouraging a good night’s sleep. If this is your priority, choose a white with a hint of teal or moss.
But for a revitalising lift to get you out of bed in the morning, pick a white with a touch of gold, such as light caramel.
To make the most of a small space, it’s best to choose a cool white such as pearl or almond.
Or for an understated, contemporary look, pick one with a touch of green or blue, such as cool duck egg blue.
Most Popular White Paint for Walls in Singapore
In Singapore, the most popular Dulux white wall paint for homes is actually an off-white shade – the Dulux Wentworth White 90YY 83/036.
If you are getting Nippon paints instead, you’re best getting a white paint from the washable Nippon Vinilex and Odourless Premium All-in-1 ranges.
Difference between White vs Off-White Paint
Generally, pure white paints can appear to be very bright and cool (sometimes blue) to the naked eye. Off-white paints refer to all the other white paints that are not pure whites, and they tend to be softer on the naked eye, and may look like the regular “white” that you expected in your head.
Off-white paints may be more suitable for homes, living rooms etc. living spaces where you’d expect the overall renovation and furniture set up to give you a cosy and homely feeling.
Off-white wall paint names may sound like:
- Stowe White
- Berkshire White
Will I Regret Painting My House White?
Yes, and no, Home & Decor’s editor shares.
“Maintaining pristine whiteness is stressful. So I decide not to take it so seriously.
Full disclosure: I dislike the colour white. Can we even call white a colour? Some said yes, because whitelight comprises all hues in the visible colour spectrum. Others say it’s a shade, not colour. Personally, for me, it is a non-colour.
White reminds of school uniforms and how easily they get dirty. White reminds me of homogenous floor tiles that make you think you are getting bald for the sheer number of hair strands that are starkly visible against their whiteness.
White, for me, is stressful.
Are White Houses Hard to Keep Clean?
Yes, it demands constant maintenance, and I have neither the patience nor the resources to adequately maintain it. White makes me feel like an underachiever.
But, after living in my own place for more than a decade, I have come to accept the inevitability of white. That white is like the rice that makes the flavours of all the colours in the material palette sing.
Why? Well, you can’t have a wardrobe consisting only of statement pieces; you also need basic, solid coloured pieces to let each statement piece pop.
Even one of the tenets of maximalist design is to leave some room upon which the eye can rest. And a solid white surface is a necessary visual break in the feast of colours, patterns and textures.
And not only have I come to accept the inevitability of white, but I have also mastered the art of choosing the right shade of white.
How to Choose the Right Shade of White for Your House?
The key criteria? Low maintainability and room for patina and imperfection.
White is synonymous with stark minimalism, purity and hygiene, but today the word cloud association has expanded to include tranquillity, and wellness – which means: don’t stress, don’t take white too seriously.
Thanks to a slew of next-generation materials, today’s palette of whites also includes light neutral shades like blonde wood, pale sandstone, veined engineered stone, or tinted solid off-whites that blend seamlessly with wabi-sabi and rustic aesthetics.
These softer shades of white-adjacents are allowed to change and gain patina with time while still providing that breathing room in any design.”
Part of article first appeared on Singapore Women’s Weekly.