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White Is Just White, Right?

By Rachel Wallace

There’s something absolutely satisfying about crisp white walls.

But often this is the default choice, with many people not realising the important role that white plays as a canvas for colour in the home and how different whites can influence the vibe.

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So, if you’re wondering what white to choose for your dream home, here’s everything you need to know, according to Porter Davis’ World of Style expert interior designer, Antonia Anderson.

White is always a winner

Using white paint is a ‘safe choice’, but it’s also a sensible one, according to Anderson.

“If colour is not your thing or you’re not sure what colour to apply to a space, white will always work,” she says.

“It is clean, fresh and is a great base palette for all the other colours, materials and finishes that it may come in contact with, such as flooring, furniture and decor.”

The secret to white

However, home builders are often perplexed when asked what type of white they’re using. After all, white is white, right? Wrong.

“The common misconception is that white only means pure white,” says Anderson.

“White comes in a magnitude of tints and tones, all of which give you the feeling of white, but with a slight tweak that means it sits seamlessly into its surroundings.”

It’s not just about colour — tints and tones can create a big impact.

Colours differ because when the paint is made or mixed, pigments are added. These pigments create either a warm or a cool undertone, which can have impact on its own, or enhance other colours used in the home.

“Cool whites will have a hint of blue, green or grey/black, while warm whites will have touches of red, brown, yellow and pink to them,” says Anderson.

“These tiny amounts of colour alter the temperature of the paint, which makes a huge difference to how they look on the wall and how they make the space feel.”

Which white is right?

Choosing a white can be tricky.

Firstly, think about the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve, Anderson recommends.

“For an ultra-modern look, a true bright white with a touch of coolness can look minimalist and chic,” she says.

“For a classic style home, a white with a touch of a warm-based grey can give you all the freshness you want from white while keeping the space feeling warm.”

Warm greys can add something a little different to your home.

She also recommends gauging how much light is coming into the room and considering whether you want it bright and white, or subdued.

Don’t forget you can vary the whites in different areas of your home to achieve different effects.

“Bright warm whites for the dark hallway are ideal to lighten the space and make it feel larger,” Anderson explains.

“In bedrooms, tone down the white, so it is not too stark with a warm white or white with a touch of beige.”

In larger spaces, don’t be afraid to push the boundary between a true white and colour, she adds.

“Greige (grey-beige) is very on-trend at the moment and is ideal as it still gives you the lightness you want from a white, but makes it more interesting.”

Pictures are courtesy of Porter Davis.


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