Decorating 101: How to Use White Right
If you’ve ever been in white-paint-swatch limbo, you know white can be tricky to work with. Here’s how to get the fresh look you’re after
By: Laura Gaskill May 2, 2016
White has long been beloved by architects and interior designers for its versatility and freshness. But as anyone who has ever tried to choose from among hundreds of shades of white paint can attest, decorating with white isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’ve pulled together the best tips — starting with how to choose that perfect paint color — so you can decorate in white with confidence and style.
How to choose the right white paint. Why is it that the same white paint that makes one room look fresh and crisp can make another seem stark and cold? It all comes down to the light. By working with the natural light in your space, you can find a shade of white that enhances your room’s best qualities.
- Before painting a room white, identify its orientation to the sun.
- Use a clear white paint (neither too warm nor too cool) in rooms that face away from the noonday sun.
- If you have a north-facing room in an area like New England (with snowy winters), clear white will feel too chilly; try a warmer off-white instead.
- South-facing rooms (in the Northern Hemisphere; north-facing in the Southern Hemisphere) receive the most intense sun during the day; use a cool white with gray undertones to reduce glare.
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