Choosing a white paint colour
Natural white, Whisper White, Lexicon Half, Linen White, Infinity White, Nearly White, Antique White, Sorta white but a bit greyish… Choosing a white paint for your home
can be is the hardest design decision you will make.
After painting three of our homes in different whites I have compiled a few tips to getting it white (see what I…yep you did)
Pictured Below: Our master bedroom in house # 2, (Builders White- White with a few teaspoons of black!)
Choosing by name
You know, I know we’ve done it all before. Case # 1- our very first home, an over confident me announces to G “I have found THE ONE”. Ocean Pearl- I live for the ocean and pearls are my favourite, it’s destiny. We buy the paint, paint the walls and then return to the paint shop the next day to find a paint that actually suits our place.
Hint: Don’t do this
Pictured Below: Image from Haymes paint showing Organic 1, house by Simone Haag ,Images Derek Swalwell
Now that you’ve decided “kick arse unicorn #2” is likely the wrong colour for your home we can now move on to factors that ACTUALLY influence the decision making process of choosing a white paint colour for your abode, cue lighting.
Natural light will play the biggest role in what your colour actually looks like. The same use of colour in a well lit room compared to a dark room will look very different, keep this in mind if you are choosing a bright crisp white in a well lit area- it may reflect the light creating a wearing sunglasses inside type scenario. On the contrary if you are going a darker shade with not much light it will accentuate it and may feel a little…well dark.
The colour of your lights also play a huge role in what your colour will look like, most places where you will be looking at sample cards will be under high lumen white lights, if you intend on using warm white lighting your white will look softer with a more yellow tone.
Hint- test samples in different natural light and under your choice of warm or cool ceiling lights.
Pictured below: Taubmans “Snow Drop” from Home Beautiful Magazine Images Chris Warnes. House by Three Birds Renovations
Ceilings, skirting and architraves
Do you go matchy matchy or try to contrast? It depends.
In our last home we went a fairly standard white (white with a couple of teaspoons of black), we opted to use a standard ceiling white . Because the wall and ceiling whites were both very similar in tones you can’t visually notice the change in colour and it works. On our current house we are building we’ve gone with a deep creamy white with light beige undertones, our painter Barry suggested to use the same paint for all walls, ceiling, architraves and skirting. Due to the off white nature of our paint selection it would have being too much of a contrast using a ceiling white. Using the same colour throughout favours the minimalistic look and it’s easy on the eye. Barry (the painter) said now days about 80% of his clients opt for the same colour on all.
Hint- If going for a soft minimalist atheistic don’t contrast ceiling, skirts and archs try choosing a white paint colour that is the same throughout.
Pictured Below: Haymes Paint “Refuge 2”
Test, test, test.
It’s un-likely that you’ll be choosing a white paint colour successfully via the paint sample isle in your local hardware store there and then (although everyone has fun collecting 100 white cards and getting home to wonder what you’ll actually do with them all).
If you have the ability to go and paint a wall in your home beforehand, do it. Nothing will tell you more if it’s a winner or not than actually testing in situ on a bigger sample than a 10cm card. If test painting isn’t an option for you I’d suggest ordering a larger sample card, they are usually available in a4 size. Fun fact: on our second house we re-painted about a third of the façade as I’d picked the colour from a 10cm sample card, learn from my mistakes!
Hint- test the paint!
Pictured: Three Birds Renovation The Hamptons House for Adore Magazine
Other handy hints
A few other hints on choosing a white paint colour for your interiors.
If possible check in on progress after the first coat (if you’re using a painter). Deciding you hate it at this stage is a lot easier to remedy compared to once all coats are finished or you’ve moved in.
Colour consultants are a good idea. Most brands or painters can offer colour consults, the cost of this is usually taken off your paint order so it’s a worth while investment, especially if you were leaning towards “Kick arse unicorn #2”.
Mood boards are also a great way to check that all your colours will compliment each other, it’s easy to do and gives a great overall picture.
Colours on different bases can vary so stick with the same brand paint as colour. We found this on our first coat of our façade recently, we then painted the colour side by side on two different brand bases and the difference was quiet significant (especially when you’ve gone through this whole process of choosing your white paint colour!)
Popular Australian Brand White Paints
Dulux- Antique White U.S.A , Hog Bristle, Lexicon, White On White.
Taubmans- Crisp White, Snowy White, White Illusion
Haymes- Organic 1, Iris White, Bond White, Modesty White
Wattyl- Wattyl White,
Porters- Popcorn, White Sand, Irish Linen
Resene- Albescent White, Black White, Apricot White
Hint- Rockcote have a great range of zero VOC paints (good for the environment and air quality).
Do you have a favourite white? Or a story from choosing a white paint colour for your home? Let us and your fellow white paint lovers know below in the comments.
I enjoyed reading your blog.
I’ve gone for a crisp white look and used Dulux Lexicon Half.
I have just finished getting our upstairs area done in Dulux Lexicon half, and I am not liking it as mine is quit a light blue tinge all through, I am wondering if your through to a blue tinge? I really don’t like it as I needed it to throw a grey tinge
Hi there, I was wondering if there was a lot of natural light in the room you used Lexicon half? This is the colour I have chosen for my new home build.
Thanks for sharing! A great read & invaluable tips for me.
Lexicon Half is a very popular colour and goes with a lot of different styles, I’ve seen it used in quiet a few projects and it looked great, quiet a crisp and fresh look. Sounds like you are onto a winner for your new home build.
Good luck for your new build, exciting times!
So timely to read this blog, we’re going through the white paint selection process at the moment Sarah
Really white color is one of the best and classic color for the house. Next time I would rather paint my house with the white color. By the way thank you so much for the blog and please keep sharing the blog.
Hi there, we agreed with our builder to use Dulux Vivid White for our ceilings as it matched the 1/4 and 1/2 Narrow Neck beautifully. He has gone with Resene Builders White. To me there’s a difference, he says we’ll never notice it. How much of a difference do you think is there, and do you think we should make him follow the colours we signed off on? Or are we wasting our time. Thanks so much for any advice you can give us. It seemed hard enough to get a white that looked right without our builder arbitrarily changing our selections. Grant & Donna.
Hi Grant and Donna,
It is a really hard one. If it’s not too late painting two samples side by side up on the ceiling would be the best bet. This way you can see if there is a difference and if you are happy with the difference or not. Choosing whites is a tough gig and you’ve obviously spent a fair amount of time choosing some great combinations- I personally would stick to my guns with what I wanted and had signed off on. Good luck. H
I’ve just had the whole interior of my house painted Taubmans Snowy White. The ceilings and cornice are in ceiling white. I used the full gloss Snowy White for the trims, skirting and doors. The result is beautiful. The white really opens the whole house up. I replaced the ten feature walls in my house with the white. Best thing I could have done.
Isn’t white just such a refreshing colour, it can really make all of the difference in making spaces feel fresh and open. I’ll have to try Snowy White as I haven’t used that shade yet. Thanks for your tip! Hailey
I want to say that about this blog it’s a very amazing blog about painting for our beautiful home. It,s so useful to us. Thanks for such a great information provided to us.
Hi, we are building with McDonald Jones and have to use Taubmans Illusive White on the ceiling. Apparently we’re not allowed to change it. As I wanted an all white house, I’ve chosen the same colour for my walls, doors, skirtings etc. Is this going to be OK do you think?
Hi Amber. Did you end up going with taubmans illusive white all over? I am wanting a really soft nutural off white that doesn’t throw any blue/ yellow/pink.. and think I like illusive white..do you like it in the end?
Huge fan of Diamond White. Our ceilings and walls are painted in this colour and you can’t tell that it’s the same colour. I love how the colour changes in depth with the amount of light in the room throughout the day.