Edit or delete

Being white on track

by (not verified)
30 July 2018

Introducing white to your interior walls creates an immediate ambiance of sophistication, freshness and timeless style. However there are many shades of white and the choices can appear endless, especially when the white you select appears to look different on the wall.

Henley is helping make the choice easier for home owners by providing tips and tricks in how to select the shade of white that works well for you and your new home.

Keep it cool

Cool whites are perfect for more contemporary and open plan settings, with a hint of grey, blue, blue-pink, green or even black undertones.

“When neutralising bright light, cool whites can work extremely well in rooms that have big windows and receive a lot of sun coming through.  Timber and concrete floors are well suited to cool whites and can create the feeling of more energy within the room,” says Henley Design Showroom colour and design consultant Heidi Schwieters.

Consider Dulux Vivid White TM, Dulux White on White, Dulux Lexicon Quarter and Dulux Lexicon.

Warm whites

With yellow, brown or red undertones, warm whites are used to inject a cosier feel into a room and complement furniture and fixtures that have warmer hues, such as timbers. 

“Warm whites tend to suit more traditional homes and are perfect for smaller rooms with less natural light such as bedrooms.  Avoid cooler whites in these smaller rooms as it tends to make the room feel a little cold,” says Heidi.

Consider Dulux Natural White TM, Dulux Snowy Mountains, Dulux Whisper White and Dulux Grand Piano Quarter.

Getting the lowdown on the undertone

The undertone is the subtle colour appearing through the main mass colour. It can often be quite distinguishable but in whites the undertone is often subtle. In fact, until it is paired with other colours or in certain lighting, it’s sometimes not even apparent. The undertone is how we separate cool or warm colour tones. Comparing whites with other whites is the easiest way to distinguish undertones.

“It is important to identify the undertone of a white because selecting colours with harmonious tones is the secret to creating an effective scheme,” says Heidi.

Test out a patch

Ending up with undertones of grey or blue on walls after choosing the wrong white can be frustrating and demonstrates the need for colour sampling and comparisons of the colours.

An effective way to determine your preference of cool or warm white is to trial a test patch on a decent part of the wall or paint a narrow selection of chosen paint colours on a piece of board to compare whites.  Give it time to dry well before you decide and ensure you have done two good coats.  You will find the shade of white appears to change depending on the time of day, the amount of natural light coming in and with surrounding colour such as floors, furniture and accessories.Henley strongly recommends testing your colours with sample pots or A4 samples to ensure your perfect result.  

Which white with what style

Cool based whites can look sharp and extremely bright so they work well in modern contemporary, minimalist or Scandinavian inspired homes, where bold architecture or raw materials and contemporary furnishings are the focus.

Homes with feature trims, heritage design or neutral colour schemes pair well with warm-based whites to create a more classic interior style.

“Saying this, unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule with using cooler or warmer whites in connection with specific Interior styles or Architecture,” says Heidi.

“A Hamptons style home with a more modernised cool white and grey scheme would work just as effectively as a more contemporary home design with warm whites and earthy neutrals. What our focus would be here, as colour experts, is getting to know our clients. What feel do they envision when they are living in the space? What types of furnishings/décor do they want to surround themselves with? Then, couple those elements with their home design and colour scheme to suit.”

White out

The expert team at Henley Design will guide you through the array of white hues on offer for your interior walls. 

“There are so many nuances of white, sometimes you need an objective voice to give you the rundown of what is on offer and handpick the whites that will work well with your new home.  Try and stay clear of trends and opt for a white you love and that suits the space you are creating for you and your family.”

“In new build situations such as at Henley Design, the wall colour is actually the last selection we make internally, as by then we have a great overall picture of how the house feels, with a real life flat lay, so it’s actually quite easy to choose the perfect white that fits with every selection,” says Heidi.

Once you decide on the white you want, you will see how versatile it is in bringing out your chosen decor and creating the perfect blank canvas to any interior style.

“Having a white backdrop is often a perfect balance to larger elements of the home such as flooring and cabinetry.  It also enables the furnishings or décor to be changed easily from season to season, as the inspiration changes,” adds Heidi.