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Painting Your Walls White? Consider These 7 Tips First

Painting the interior of a home white is one of the best ways to transform it into a new home with a fresh, clean look. We’ve even had some of our clients paint their walls before their boxes arrive at their new house – just a few days after they purchased it!

There are many aspects of white paint that make a room seem magical, but that same white paint can make another room seem terrifyingly cold. As with all colours, white is associated with a number of different characteristics, including temperature, mood, light reflectivity, style, and more.

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind when painting with white, and if you ignore them, your seemingly crisp and fresh white paint will seem very off. But don’t worry – it’s really easy to add a little colour for a touch of warmth or to tone the white down.

Before you paint your walls white, consider these factors:

Photo by Canamould Extrusions Inc

1. Consider the Natural Light Source

Before you paint a room white, you should identify its orientation. Bedrooms, gyms, and studios with rooms that face away from the noonday sun receive gray-blue light, making them ideal rooms with consistent lighting. You can maximize the light in these spaces and still keep them cool at the same time with a clear white paint.

Photo by Peter Eskuche, AIA

If you lived in a north-facing family room, though, the same white colour would not work. During a winter in Vancouver, the white from the windows would be quite chilling in contrast with the snow and ice outside.

In places where you are likely to eat, socialize, and linger, you may want to consider tinting your white with red, yellow, or orange or choosing a color from Benjamin Moore’s Off-White Collection instead of white.

The warm colour pigments replicate the warmth of sunshine and will increase blood pressure, activity, and a positive vibe with company in rooms that do not receive sunlight throughout the day. They will also increase the level of activity and the positive vibe you wish to give company to.

Researchers have demonstrated the physiological effects of colour using MRIs, confirming what artists have long believed to be the truth about the power of warm colours to make us feel warm!

Photo by Rufty Custom Built Homes and Remodeling

The west-facing rooms receive the most direct sunlight during the day. On a sunny day, your west-facing room will be illuminated by a bright yellow-red glow.

In order to keep this space cool, white walls will do the trick. The paint can also be adjusted so that the glare can be addressed with pigments. Gray, for example, has a softening effect on white, and it will help quiet the living room if there are large windows bringing a lot of light into the room.

You will begin to notice that one colour option cannot possibly control all the different situations associated with diurnal or seasonal lighting. However, if you take a closer look at the times of day when your rooms are most used, you will realize that generally these times correspond to certain seasons.

The walls can also be conditioned by adding colour to either radiate or dampen what naturally comes in. The off-white collection from Benjamin Moore has 140 whites arranged by hue so you can choose between a cool white (one with blue, gray or green tones) and a warm white (one with red, orange or yellow tones).

For a true sense of the underlying hue for each white option, check the fan deck included as part of your favorite paint brand’s product information for the white in each colour range (Benjamin Moore provides this information for its OC White Collection).

Photo by Anderson Nikolich Design Initiative

2. What’s Outside Affects What’s Inside

Observe the foliage outside the window to determine whether it helps or hinders your use of it. The sun will shine more in the winter and shade the house in the summer if a deciduous tree is placed outside.

It is a good idea to add colour to white (known as “dirtying the white”). As the sun drops below the horizon following the winter solstice, gray-green trees will lose their brightness. A whiter tree will reflect too much light from this angle.

With that said, rooms with ocean views feel more spacious and inviting, while white walls seem to bring the cool water closer.

Photo by NB Design Group, Inc

A colour’s coldness or warmth explains why we identify it based on its warmth or coldness due to the concept of transference, which describes how we feel cold when we see something cold.

We consider white the coldest colour (aside from blues, grays, and greens), because it evokes the feel of ice and snow. The truism of vision is that we see what we expect to see, and colours associated with heat or cold can affect us as well.

In a place where the temperature differs greatly from year to year and the view is ever-changing, white can still be a suitable choice for a year-round shoreside house.

By framing the coolness outside by bringing the architecture forward and visually retaining the ocean in the background, a creamy white with a small amount of yellow-orange pigment frames the coolness outside and frames the architecture. 

Photo by Studio Sarah Willmer Architecture

The trim of your home should match your white walls if you already have them. With white paint, you will be able to maintain the frameless appearance of your landscape, which will expand the view’s presence in your home by eliminating the delineation between the walls and woodwork. The strategy (painting both walls and trim white) is most effective with white due to its reflectivity, but it can be used with any colour.

Photo by Brittany Stiles Design

3. Reconsider the Gallery Look

A gallery does this for a reason: It gives out the architectural details and enables attention to be focused on the artwork instead of architectural details on the walls. The same principle also works for homes.

A white wall can seem stark and uncomfortable as a backdrop to family chaos and clutter if you don’t have a noteworthy collection of art or a breathtaking view in your home. White tends to show imperfections, marks and disorder. In many cases, young families end up putting off the pristine white that they desire in favour of khaki, which hides a multitude of bumps and bangs that you might otherwise be able to see.

Photo by Sarah Norwood Interiors

4. Pay Attention to History

In terms of style, white is classic, formal, refined, and restrained. If you are planning a Greek revival or federal interior, it is highly likely that white will be used for trim and walls in the kitchen and bedrooms. In the event that you paint everything white, your house will look like it is a builder’s “flip.”

If you want the colour selections in your home to support your architecture, you have to respect contextual requirements. Nothing says “wrong” more than white painted trim paired with walls painted a saturated colour.

Photo by Clawson Architects, LLC

5. Use White to Expand Spaces

White walls can create an illusion of spaciousness by amplification of light. Shadows and edges are also reduced in a white room as well. When choosing your colour scheme, it is important to remember that cool white is reflective of light and can be used to enlarge and open up small spaces.

There is, however, a reason why spatial perceptions and navigation habits are enhanced when successive rooms on one floor are characterized by subtle changes in hue, rather than stark contrasts, when they unfold. You can decrease the size variation from one room to the next by choosing a white that becomes deeper in colour as the rooms get larger.

Choose a white on the fan deck of the paint company you are using that you like. Then, paint the walls of the smallest room with the darker value. Enlarge or reduce the overall size of each space depending on the value of the colour (darkness or lightness). Your guests will not be aware of the change from room to room, but will compliment you on the calm and comfortable home you have created.

Photo by ReVision Design/Remodeling

6. Add Texture to White to Avoid That Sterile Look

A white wall, trim, countertop, cabinet or fixture would look cleaner in a bathroom or kitchen. White is often associated with cleanliness, so it is ideal for preparing a house for sale and wanting to make the best first impression.

You can, however, make a bathroom look sterile, even boring, by reducing its design elements to just one colour. If a room is whitewashed, it can have some drawbacks. A simple addition of textured wall surfaces like beadboard can often make the reduced palette pop by adding enough interest.

Photo by Smith Firestone Associates

7. The Closets Don’t Need to Match the Room’s Walls

In most closets, there are no windows. Furthermore, the lighting in closets is usually an afterthought, which creates, to put it mildly, a poorly lit and poor viewing space – not ideal when you are trying to choose that best outfit for your next big company meeting.

LRV numbers are on the colour cards at your local paint store where you can find out how reflective your white is. Light will bounce more off closet interiors when the number (accompanied by the initials LRV, for “light-reflective value”) is higher. The best way to treat closet interiors is to paint all surfaces with light-reflective white.

In a gallery, white highlights the various colours that are surrounded by it, allowing you to pick out the colour combination for a well-dressed day.

It is not necessary to paint your closet interior the same colour as your bedroom walls. Instead, tint the interior of your closet with a percentage of your bedroom walls.

Photo by REEF Cape Cod’s Home Builder

In the world of paint, white is both simple and sophisticated. It’s crisp appearance satisfies our desire to give our homes a new look and look.

Painting a room or a series of rooms in this cool, calm colour is like taking a leap of faith, like you have to do when you cut your hair short.

Take an adventuresome approach to your home’s design by looking at its site, taking into account the light, and making a confident jump into a fresh, clean-cut interior design by taking a sure foot.

To find out what colour works best for your home, get in touch with our team of painting professionals today for a free consultation.