Four Tips for Selecting a White that Wows
You may think that selecting white for your new kitchen, bathroom, or family room is the easy way out. Whether it’s white cabinetry, tiling, or paint, you’re confident that it will look clean and crisp. You may even think that it won’t require much thought, because white is white, right? Our In-house Designer, Courtney Wall warns, “Not quite!”
“There are actually more shades of white than gray,” she adds. Here are her designer tips for selecting a white that will give you the look you are dreaming about:
1. Look for Undertones
Some whites have a warm tone while others are cooler. What is your goal: a warm space to read your next novel, or a cool space to powder your nose? Think about the lighting that you’ll want in the space: Are you drawn to a softer look or a brighter feel that will flood your space with light?
To see the subtleties of the undertones, you will need large sample sizes. For cabinetry, select samples that are large enough to really see the undertones – a door sample rather than a trim piece. For paint, look for samples larger than the tiny standard chip. There are lots of options available. You can purchase oversized samples at paint stores for a nominal fee or buy a pint to paint directly on your wall. Companies like Samplize.com will mail peel-and-stick paint samples from multiple manufacturers like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams directly to your home. There’s no better way to select the perfect white than to see it on your wall at different times of day, where natural lighting impacts its hue.
2. Mix Whites Carefully.
While the allure of white pulls you in, don’t disregard the trim! Your trim can have a specific shade of white which may compete with your white wall color. The result can be a subtle contrast that is slightly off, which can be distracting. If your cabinets or tile is white, then a white wall can also be a miss if you aren’t taking all of your whites into account. Make sure everything works together for an overall cohesive look.
3. Add Interest Through Sheen.
The sheen of the paint (eggshell, flat, semi-gloss, etc.) can add interest and depth. It creates its own feel, so don’t leave this decision to the last minute. For practical reasons, you may lean toward a glossier finish for a high traffic area, but think through the trade-offs to the overall look and feel.
Don’t necessarily shy away from a glossy sheen when it works with your other whites. Check out this glossy subway wall tile which nicely offsets the eggshell finish on the cabinetry in this beautiful Wellesley kitchen.
4. Take Advantage of the Neutral Backdrop with Pops of Color and Texture.
We love that white provides a neutral backdrop to let you be creative. You can express your own style with interesting pops of color and texture through selecting these unique pieces:
- Fixtures (e.g., pendants above the island)
- Islands (Color in your island is not just a trend; its decade-long appeal shows this design expression is here to stay.)
- Focal pieces (e.g., copper, chrome, or wood range hood)
- Area rugs/runners
- Floating shelves
With a neutral backdrop, you can use color sparingly to draw the eye to design elements that you love. Adding color to pieces that can easily be swapped out gives you the freedom to change the room’s look as often as you’d like. Your options are limitless.