Pick the Right White Paint

White sitting area designed by Kresswell Interiors

Diana & Kristina Say…

Let’s talk white paints, shall we? Whites can be the most beautiful paint colors for a room but can also be the most difficult color to choose.

There are pure, crisp and bright whites that are great for modern minimalist spaces or eclectic rooms where you want your bold patterns or colors to pop but if you go too cool, your room could end up looking feeling cold and clinical.

Bedroom Design by Kresswell Interiors
Design by Kresswell Interiors

Warm whites have yellow undertones and can warm up a space, making it feel both bright yet cozy but veer too far and you end up with a buttery yellow.

Cool whites have a slight blue undertone and are admittedly, a bit colder looking and not nearly as inviting as a soft or warm white and then there are the whites with a brown or grey undertone that really don’t count as white as all compared to a true white…how do you even begin to choose?!

There are whites with purple, green, pink, blue, yellow and all kinds of undertones that, if you’re not expecting them, can really make for a bit of a shock if you think you’re about to paint your walls white and end up with a purple looking room instead. If you’re looking to pick a white or off white paint color, here are a few of our tips to keep in mind…

Living room and mudroom Design by Kresswell Interiors
Design by Kresswell Interiors

Compare to white paper

When you start to look at white paints it helps to have a true white to compare to. When you’re just looking at a sample you might miss a particular undertone unless you can place it next to a sheet of white paper as a comparison. This is really helpful for making sure you don’t end up with an undesired undertone to your white.

Use daylight

Again, to get the truest sense of the white you’re looking at (or any color really), it’s best to look at the paint in daylight. You want to check the colors in the room you’re planning to paint but always check your paint colors in true daylight (take them outside!) first to catch all of the subtleties in your colors.

Study and living room Design by Kresswell Interiors
Design by Kresswell Interiors

Grab tester

The tip we ALWAYS tell our clients is once you’ve picked your color or narrowed it down to two, spend the few dollars and go buy a tester sample. Paint chips are never 100% true as the finish on a sample swatch is different than the finish of paint so the color will show differently on your walls versus on the chip. With whites, these slight differences can be crucial so for the few minutes it takes to do a couple of swatches, it’s worth the piece of mind before you get started on painting a whole room or house!

Check the colors throughout the day

Once you’ve painted your test swatch(es), check in on the color throughout the day. It’s totally normal for your paint colors to look different in the morning versus the afternoon and into the evening, not to mention how it looks in natural daylight vs your interior lights. Make sure you don’t love how your color looks in the morning but hate it when it’s dark outside and all you have is your interior lighting. Especially if you’re painting a whole room or house, these tips make a big difference and can end up saving you time and money if you have to repaint!

Foyer and bathroom Design by Kresswell Interiors
Design by Kresswell Interiors

Final thoughts

It’s amazing how the subtleties in white paint can make a drastic difference. When you see the differences in a larger scale between similar shades of white the subtle variances really stand out. If you’re planning to paint a room in your home a white or off-white shade, remember: don’t rush your decision, consider your lighting and invest in the small cost and time to paint a few samples.

Kitchen and living room design by Kresswell Interiors
Design by Kresswell Interiors