Make a cup of tea or grab a glass of red -
this is a long one!

The more I tried to condense this post the more it grew -
there is so much that goes into choosing any color,
but especially white.

If you manage to make it through let me know what you think!!!

Those gleaming white spaces dazzle us all.


White walls offer a clean backdrop, showcasing furnishings and art beautifully.


White highlights architecture, and wrapped onto the ceiling, enlarges your space dramatically.
So how to import a little of this white magic into your home?

There are a few important factors in achieving those perfect white walls.

Most importantly, 
do you have good natural light in your space?

If your answer is no, stop and consider this.

The reason white highlights architecture so spectacularly is that it reacts dramatically to light.
Color is light reflected, and white is every color in the spectrum reflected,
so remove the light and white becomes grey.

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That means if you put white in a space with limited light, darker areas will always become grey,
 no matter how warm the white.
That means the proportions of the room are highlighted,
and if your desire is to "brighten up" a small, dark space
white will have entirely the opposite effect.

 Is your home a bustling mecca of children, visitors, or pets?

If yours is a home filled with these,
be aware white is a bit of a diva - she requires maintenance.

Use the BEST quality paint, buy extra and skip the matte finish -
you'll be washing and touching up those walls frequently.

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Finally: what condition are your walls in?

White reflects the most light of any color, and will highlight any surface imperfections.
Usually going white means doing some terribly boring prep work, 
but if you are willing, the results will be worth it.

If after all this you still want white all that's left to do is choose the perfect one :)

I'm not going to give you a proven formula, because it doesn't exist!
There are infinite combinations of conditions that all combine to
point in the direction of a specific white.

I will however, tell you how I go about it.

First off, you need to determine the exposure of your room - 
that is which direction the light is coming from.
I explored this in an earlier color post,
This is the number one deciding factor as to whether you will need a warm or cool white. 
Next you will need to consider the existing finishes
 and furnishings in the room.
The undertones in these help to determine which white work best.
If you want to enhance your existing finishes without making the color more intense,
choose a white with some of that color in it.
For example, if you dislike that green sofa, but it is staying,
using a white with some green in it will minimize contrast.

If you would like to bring out the color of your existing furnishings/finishes
choose a white that contains it's complement on the color wheel.
For example, if you want to make your oak floors appear richer,
 a cool, blue-based white will pull out the orange tones.

Beiges will have a red, orange or yellow undertone.
Greys will have a blue, green or purple undertone.

The existing finishes and sheen level you choose will also determine reflected color.
Rarely considered, reflected color is a huge factor with white.
Consider the use of the space,
 it will help you to decide how much color you want your white to contain.
Is this somewhere to relax or somewhere to entertain?
How do you want this space to feel?
Some people embrace the energy of a brilliant, pure white,
and some people prefer a white that borders is almost a neutral and embraces softly.

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Next you want to consider placement in the home.
This has to do with flow.
With very pure whites, I prefer to see continued use throughout the home.
One intensely white room in a home filled with color can be jarring.


If your home is based in muted ("dirty") color,
then a warm white will prevent the walls from appearing stark and cold.
Conversely, if you have filled your space with clean color, 
a cooler white looks fresh (whereas a warm white would look dingy).
If you'd like, read this post about creating flow with color
 to determine whether you are working with clean or dirty color 
(less naughty than it sounds, lol!).

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If it sounds like a lot of work that's because it is :)
but you're almost done!
Once you have determined whether you need a cool or warm white, 
and then gone on to determine the undertone that you would prefer,
make yourself a cup of tea and congratulate yourself because you've finished the hardest bit!

 Now comes the fun part:
finding that
or a

All these different "whites" are, in fact, very pale colors.
Bring home a heap of the largest white paint chips you can in your chosen brand.
A really great trick is to lie them out on a piece of white bristol board,
which allows you to see clearly what undertone each has.

You can arrange them into a sort of color wheel, 
and it will be easy to spot the cool whites (blue, green, purple and grey tones)
and the warm whites (red, orange, yellow and brown tones).

I would suggest choosing three - one that you feel is ideal,
one more lively and one more subdued.
Bring home some sample pots and go to town. 
Be sure to look at your choices during different times of the day,
and simply choose your fav!


Some inspiration...

Color appears very differently on a screen than it actually does on your walls,
so I would advise against choosing a color based on something you've seen online.
However, here are some stunning examples of the most popular BM whites...
(see how differently they appear in each picture?)

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I am a big fan of the new Martha Stewart paint line at home depot.
The range of choices is smaller,
but each and every color is something that could actually be used in an interior.

I LOVE how Martha does white!

I used her "Popcorn" in my master bath,
 which isn't quite accessorized to the point of being photographed,
but I will show it to you once it get's there :)

The color is absolutely gorgeous - a very pale grey-white with just a hint of yellow.
I will recommend this one again and again.

Her Picket Fence and Tailors Chalk are classics in my book.


Mention white walls at a dinner party and watch the opinions fly!

It seems we either love them or hate them...

What side of the fence are you on?

I'd love to hear about your success stories (and your battles) with white paint.

and yes, I'm done now :) if there's anyone left, thanks for reading!


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