Decorating Master Class - How To Select The Right White Paint

One of the most common questions I'm asked as an interior designer is, "which white paint should I use"?  It sounds so simple... how hard can it be?  You select white, white or white... right?  Wrong!  Choosing the correct shade for your walls is probably the single most important decorating decision you will make.  Not only will it set the tone for the entire scheme, but it will effect every other component of the interior.


Step 1: Choose a tonal family

There are hundreds of different shades of white on the market so you need to narrow the field.  Broadly speaking, whites fall into three main categories: pure whites, warm whites and cool whites.  When you look at a colour chart, you will probably be instinctively drawn to either cool or warm tones... on the whole, warmer tones work best in more traditional interiors while cooler tones suit a more modern space.  The pure whites are great for trim (architraves, skirtings, doors etc).

Step 2: Look at shades in-situ

Once you have figured out which tonal family suits your needs, start picking out particular shades that you like and then paint a test patch on the wall... this is a critical step as different lighting conditions will have a tremendous impact upon the look of the paint.  If you are choosing colours for a new home that has not yet been built, order large brush-out samples from the paint manufacturer (large A4 sized colour chips) and look at them in similar lighting conditions - you will be amazed at how different a shade looks in a big piece!

Step 3: Create a colour board of all finishes

The easiest solution I have come up with throughout my years as a designer is to select everything at once... choose carpet, tiles, timber colours, laminates and other key items at the same time as you choose the paint.  Never choose anything independently.  This way, you can change things as required once you see them all laid out together... believe me, it's far easier to alter a paint colour (of which there are endless options available) rather than change a carpet colour that you love.

My Current Top White Colour Schemes

I have specified these Dulux colours for recent jobs with stunning results.

Warm White Colours:

Left: Hogs Bristle Quarter Strength P14D1Q (walls)
        Fair Bianca Half Strength PW2S6H (trim)

Right: China White PCWC8/73571 (walls)
           Natural White PCWF5/73711 (trim)

Cool White Colours:

Left: White Duck Half Strength P16B1H (walls)
         White on White PCWF8/78065 (trim)

Right: Grey Pebble Quarter Strength P14B1Q (walls)
           Vivid White PW1H9 (trim)


P.S. If you would like further advice, please don't hesitate to contact me for an online colour consultation.

Photos by me
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Decorating Master Class - How To Select The Right White Paint
Decorating Master Class - How To Select The Right White Paint
Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5