White paints: how to choose the perfect shade

A fresh coat of white paint is one the easiest ways to make a room look and feel brand
new! Whether you’ve just moved into a new home that needs a refresh, are preparing to sell or just feel like a change, adding a coat of white paint is a quick and cost-
effective solution. However, with so many different shades of white paint available, what first felt like a simple project can suddenly seem daunting. To help you make your choice, British Paints’ Product Manager, Nick Walsh shares his expert tips for picking the perfect white paint every time.

  1. Learn to distinguish between ‘cool whites’ and ‘warm whites’

Understanding that white paint isn’t just white paint is the most important factor in achieving a brilliant end result. Each shade of white has a different undertone, and this will influence whether it is a ‘cool white’ or a ‘warm white’. Cool whites tend to have grey, blue, green or even purple undertones. These whites will create a crisp, modern look and are well suited to contemporary homes and rooms that get lots of sunlight. In comparison, warm whites will have yellow, peach, pink, red or brown undertones. These whites add warmth and cosy vibes to a space. They’re well suited to older homes, like Victorian and Edwardian styles, as well as spaces that don’t receive as much natural light.

If you’re finding it difficult to tell the difference between whites, start by holding a sample against a sheet of white printer paper. This will help you see the undertones of the colour and how it contrasts against a pure white.

2. Consider your home

Before you start selecting shades and testing out samples, pause for a moment to consider your existing home and the look and feel you’re hoping to create. White paint is a great choice as it will go with just about any flooring, but it is important to also think about your existing cabinetry, furniture and artwork as the colours here will play a role in the exact shade of white you select. If your space is already very colourful and bright, then a cool white may work best. Alternatively, if the room is fairly neutral or slightly darker, then opting for a warmer white may be more suitable.

3. Test, test, test

There is no such thing as too many sample pots! Head to Bunnings to pick up samples of your top white paint colours. If you’re unsure whether a cool or warm white is better suited to your space, now is the perfect opportunity to try both. Once you have your sample pots, paint a large piece of paper in each white and adhere to the wall or surface you are painting. Observe the different shades multiple times throughout the day and in the evening to see how your favourite colours look in different lights.

4. Washable whites win

Unlike darker colours, white paint can more easily show marks or mess so choosing a resilient washable white paint is really important!

-Nick Walsh is a Product Manager at British Paints, an Australian paint company that has produced high quality products for more than 80 years.

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