“White Noise” – White Paint Tips from a Colour Consultant

Are you embarking on a house renovation or wanting to freshen up your walls including white paint? Chances are, you’ve visited your local hardware store and left feeling more than a little overwhelmed at the colour selection. With Dulux housing over 160 neutral and white paint colours alone (we haven’t even started on “colour” yet!), you aren’t alone in your cries for help in your search for the “right white” for your home.

Fan deck of Dulux whites and neutrals for paint colour swatches interior design
Dulux Whites and Neutrals Fandeck

Colour consultants are skilled professionals who understand the nuances between the myriad of white paints available through the various paint companies. Colour consultants are learned in implementing whites and neutrals in any given space.

Here’s my White Paint 101 to help get you started.

Warm Whites or Cool Whites?

So, you’ve decided on a white paint palette for your interior space. Whether for your main interior walls or simply the trims, it’s important to take stock of your primary surroundings. Take some time to look at your fixtures (think kitchen, flooring). Are they a warm or a cool white? If you aren’t sure, I suggest taking two white paint colour swatches from your local paint shop or hardware store, one depicting a true warm with brown/ red undertones and one depicting a true cool with blue/ grey undertones. For this exercise, I would recommend Dulux’s Antique White USA (warm) and Lexicon Quarter (cool). These two colours offer strong hues of warm and cool tones, giving you an instant visual of whether the white paint colour swatch marries or jars with your fixtures.

Deluxe Paint Colour swatches
Dulux Antique White USA and Dulux Lexicon Quarter Paint Colour Swatches

Another good rule of thumb: warm whites work well with older style homes and cool whites work well with contemporary homes.

Do you have a small space? Warm whites will lift a small, darker space.

Fancy some eye candy?  Check out this Pinterest sourced image of white interiors done well here.

White Paint as Your Secondary Colour

Using your evaluation above, keep the tone mutual by bringing in either the cool or warm colours to compliment the rest of your home. The same will go for your chosen feature wall colours. Using your white paint colour swatch against feature colours is your best tool in determining warm and cool colours. You can still have dark blue that is considered a warm colour, just as you can have a deep red that is considered a cool colour.

White Paint as Your Trims

This is where I’m going to throw a spanner in the works. Often, if I’m working with a large space with warm hues on the walls, I will bring in a cool contrast in white for the trims to help define the space. It’s sort of like looking at a colouring page. It looks stark when you see a page yet to be coloured with the black outline, however, once the picture is complete, the black outline makes sense and is needed to define the image. Your trims are a sort of “outline” of your coloured project. If you are working with a smaller space, by keeping with a warm or cool in line with your wall colours, you are kind of blurring the lines between spaces and not making them as obvious.

Whites and neutrals in home interiors
Working with Whites and Neutrals

White Paint in Your Decor

Once you have worked with the fixtures of your home, your decor will start to fall into place. The hard work has been done and now it is your individual style that can come through to really make your house a home. You will likely feel more confident with understanding cool and warm tones and notice what accents in each piece will work best.