Choosing Pure White Walls: Three Tips

PURE WHITE: Three things you should know before you choose it!

May 27, 2017


This little spot of white on orange is Beauti-Tone’s, “Here Comes The Bride.” Don’t you love the name?  What else can spark memories of white better than the visual  of a white wedding! This is their pure white. And pure white seems to be on people’s mind these days. People want white.  But then people have always wanted white.  White is the biggest selling colour.  White is the hardest colour of all to get right.  Mostly it is wrong!

It was everywhere in Paris at Maison & Object two years ago. White on white with pops of colour. It felt so clean and bright and uncomplicated.

But white is tricky and there are a few things you need to know.  There is no such thing as plain old white.  You can look at thirty different white paint chips and they will all be different and they all serve a different purpose.  A few years ago my son in law made beautiful shelving unit to surround the fireplace and house the TV.    My daughter said they were painting the woodwork white. Of course I enquired as to what white they would be using and she answered that her husband had come home with a can of paint declaring,  “white is white!”



And true to form his white cabinets always looked grey and out of place for me because they had a warm colour on the walls.  A pity because he had put all that hard work into them.

So here are the three things you should know before you choose a white:

1.  WHITE DOES NOT BRIGHTEN A ROOM. A room with white walls must be flooded with light. There is no such thing as too much light for a white room. Pure white will always look grey if there isn’t enough light. And I can hear you saying…….” but if I have a basement with no light won’t it be brighter if I paint it white?” The answer is NO. It will just appear grey and cold and lifeless.

2.   YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF YOU HAVE A PURE WHITE UNLESS YOU COMPARE IT TO OTHER WHITES.  Always compare your whites or ask the paint dealer which is their whitest white and what is in it. It takes a good eye to see a pure white. The easiest way to double check is to take other white paint chips and compare them. But your paint dealer will know for sure. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy a tester and paint a large (minimum) 12 x 6 inch sample. Make sure that sample does not turn grey in the room and see how artificial light affects it at night. White reflects other colours and it will be influenced by lighting, the floors,  fixed features in your room, light coming through the window. If it appears grey then you need to go to another white.

3.  WHITE IS NOT WHITE IS WHITE.  Huh? Many whites have undertones and            will reflect that undertone according to what you pair it with. Whites can be warm or cool. If your white is to be used for trim then make sure you know if the wall colour is warm or cool. Putting a warm white with a cool colour or vice versa will just feel wrong. In the picture below the carerra marble is enhanced with cool pale grey walls and then Here Comes The Bride lights up the cabinetry and trim.

So if you have decided on white then make sure you test it in the space and look at it throughout the day and into the night with the lights on.  White is the hardest colour to get right.    There are more  blogs on white with lots of tips.


If you want to love where you live and need some help I do e-consults or in-person consults. Please do not hesitate to contact me!  Contact me me at 416-577-4944 or by email at

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