Artists and scientists continue to debate whether white is a color, but when it comes to home painting, there’s little doubt that it is one of the most versatile design and decorating options.
Classic bright whites are an important part of the exterior paint palette, perfect for use on everything from picket fences to porticoes. And clean-looking bright white is de rigueur on courthouses and other public buildings.
But it’s inside the home that white comes into full bloom, design-wise.
To begin with, white is not just a single “color”. Many paint manufactures offer an entire white paint palette with dozens, even scores, of variations to choose from.
Often, these white paints are infused with hints of other colors to provide depth and style. Some of these modified whites evoke nature’s own colors that appear in things like sand or seashells. Other times, the whites have a hint of something unexpected – a touch of pink, beige, or grey, for example, each of which can be employed by the skilful designer to create a special mood in a room.
When incorporating a white paint into your home decor, it’s useful to consider whether the paint has an underlying tint that can help unify your color scheme. As an example, if the room you are painting has blue furnishings or accents, think about using not just a pure white paint, but rather, one that contains a touch of blue. The subtle shift in color can make a big difference in the appearance of your walls.
Sometimes, the trace of color in a white paint is either hard to detect, or difficult to identify. If you are in doubt about which white to use, ask the paint salesperson for assistance. He or she can tell you which pigments are present in the paint, and that, in turn, will help you make the right color choice.
Over and above color, white paint pattern can also be used to create visual interest in an interior color scheme.
White-on-white striping, for example, can be very elegant, especially in formal areas like dining rooms, living rooms, and entranceways. The key is selecting two variations of white that resemble each other, but are just different enough to inform the eye that there is something interesting about the walls.
Likewise, white-on-white color blocking in a checkerboard pattern can add texture to walls. Visually interesting results can be had with large blocks of color (12” by 12”, for example) or very small blocks measuring only a few inches square. As a general rule, the smaller the blocks, the more textured a wall will look, but be forewarned, applying very small blocks of color requires patience.
So, the next time you consider using white paint, don’t dismiss it as merely a safe choice. Approach it as one with enormous potential. White can be one of the most interesting colors to work with. All that’s needed is a little knowledge and a lot of imagination!