We can't tell you how many times we've walked into a home where the trim was painted pure white, the kind of white where they didn't even bother adding colour to the can. I cringe just thinking about it.
Although many may think that white is white, choosing the perfect hue of white is difficult since each shade has a subtle undertone to it, making it harder to see with the naked eye. However, once compared amongst each other, the evident undertones appear and the decision making comes to play.
White should be chosen with caution, taking into consideration all of the other fixed finishes in the home, however here are a few of our go-to whites to help narrow down your process.
SIMPLY WHITE OC-117
Simply White was Benjamin’s Moore color of the year in 2016 and we understand why. It is one of our favorites because it is fresh and bright. It’s subtle warm yellow undertone, makes it a warmer, more appealing white. We typically use this color for our kitchen cabinetry and walls. This would probably be the whitest white that we would put on walls before the walls start to look too stark or sterile.
CHANTILLY LACE OC-65
If you’re looking for a pure, bright white, Chantilly Lace is the one for you! It is best used for trim, frames, doors, mouldings and also kitchen cabinetry. Considering this color is the closest to a stark white, it will never look unclean in comparison to other whites. Chantilly Lace falls under the category of cool whites, due to its slightest blue undertone.
CLOUD WHITE CC-40
Cloud white is loved by many designers because of its warm undertone that makes it a creamy white. However, if placed in the room as being the only white, it looks like a pure white. Cloud white needs to be used with caution when paired with crisper whites. It can very easily look too creamy. This is a great white when paired with more muted colours or neutrals with warmer tones.
INTENSE WHITE OC-51
Intense white appears slightly grey. It’s green undertone balances the warmth making it a great choice to use throughout an entire space. It gives off the perfect contrast paired with Simply White or Chantilly Lace trim. This is not however a colour we would use on trim. Albeit the name suggests it is a white, we would probably categorize Intense White as a very light grey.
This feature wall is a combination of Intense White & Simply White, which really shows you how greay it is.
In this example, the Intense White walls actually look white next to the concrete grey ceiling and lack of white trim. If you spot the baseboards, that's where you can see that the walls are in fact light grey.
THINGS TO CONSIDER;
- Sample Viewing - Get a larger sample of your colour swatch! It is very important to see a larger scale of your color to help understand their undertones. We use 11" x 14" large painted colour samples that make identifying undertones simple and almost obvious - even to our clients who have no experience with colour.
- Natural Light - Colours can vary immensely from room to room. Therefore, knowing which direction your room is facing can either pull out a warmer (south side) or cooler light (north side). This can play on how evident the undertone will be once painted.
- Finishes - Make sure you pick the proper finish for your paint colors. Eggshell walls for a matt look, but somewhat washable. Doors, frames, and mouldings should be painted semi-gloss for dirability and washability. Finally, ceiling should be painted matte since matte hides most imperfections and will give you a seamless surface.
- All white everything - If your walls and trim are white, the idea is either to go one shade brighter on the trim to create some contrast or to keep the same colour throughout, however still in different finishes.
Understanding and identifying undertones is important to create a clear flow within your home. Choosing colour can be extremely stressful - I get it - which is why hiring a True Colour Expert will give you the confidence you need when picking out the right colors for any space. If you are lacking confidence, we highly suggest to consult our website's colour page and ask for our expertise to guide you every step of the way !
By: Melinda Recine