Tips for Picking the Perfect White Paint

White. Just the name brings to mind words like clean, simple, fresh and uncomplicated, but if you have ever tried to paint a room white, you know just how complicated it can be. Sharon Grech, a color design expert at Benjamin Moore Paints says, “it’s harder to choose white than any other color.” Here are some tips to help you to pick the perfect white for your home.

The first thing we need to consider is the amount of natural light in a space. The reason designers select white to highlight architectural features is because white reacts dramatically to light. If we take away the light we are left with grey. Even the warmest whites will appear grey in the absence of natural light.

The second thing to consider is the direction the natural light is coming from. Sunlight from the South/West casts a warm, yellow tone, whereas sunlight from the North/East casts a cool, blue tone. For a room with South/West exposure, select a warm white with hints of yellow or brown. If your room has North/East exposure, you will want to select a cool white with blue, grey, or lavender undertones.

Another consideration when picking the perfect white is the color scheme in the rest of your home. If you prefer warm, rich, earth tones then you need to select a warm white. A cool white in your home will feel too stark and sterile. If your home is filled with bright, pure, vivid colors, a cool white will feel clean and fresh. A warm white in this scenario would feel dreary and dull.

Now you are ready for a trip to the paint store! Try to narrow your favorite selections down to your three top choices. Remember the more natural lighting you have in your space the brighter the white will look. Purchase a test pot of your top three choices and paint large swatches on the wall. After living with it for a few days, observing how the color looks at various times during the day, you’re sure to have a winner!

Here are the most popular whites by manufacturer-

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  • 2003 Pointing, Farrow & Ball – good for rooms with North/East exposure
  • 912 Linen White, Benjamin Moore – good for rooms with South/West exposure
  • SW6385 Dover White, Sherwin-Williams – good for rooms with South/West exposure

Can you tell us which of these whites is used in the living room pictured above?

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