White is by far the most popular and important "colour" used in interior design today.
Although white is not really considered a color, technically, it’s all colours in the spectrum combined! White comes in warm, cool, and neutral tones; it can be vivid or soft, and can lend sophistication, purity and life to a space. White is versatile, but it is also complex, which is why you need to choose the right shade of white that will allow you to achieve the desired effect.
Off-whites can have cool or warm undertones. Creamy whites with yellow or red undertones work beautifully in bedrooms or any space that you want to feel soft and comfortable. They also look great with natural wood. Whites with blue or black undertones produce cooler shades and are ideal for a space that you want to feel new and modern. They pair well with stainless steel and glass, making these shades perfect for a modern kitchen decor.
When matching whites, always consider the undertones. If a particular colour scheme doesn't work, it's usually because the undertones of the combined colours aren't the same. The easiest way to identify the undertone in a white is to compare it to pure white; this will automatically reveal the subtle hint of colour. Use this simple trick when comparing fabric samples, paint swatches, and different materials.
Light can change the appearance of any paint colour, even white, therefore always take into account the different types of light found in the room. For example, sunlight releases a warmer shade of light in the morning but a cooler shade by midday. If your room faces north, you will receive a bluish light throughout the day but if your room faces south, you will receive a reddish light. East-facing rooms receive a yellowish shade of light before noon, while west-facing rooms will receive an orange-red shade of light at this time of the day. All of these factors will invariably impact the colour's overall appearance in addition to the undertone.
In terms of artificial light, incandescent bulbs generate yellow light, halogen bulbs produce white light, and fluorescent bulbs generate a cool, blue light. The best thing to do when deciding on any colour is to view it in all applicable forms of light before making your final decision.
White is a highly versatile colour that adds style and personality to any room. All you have to do is find out which white is right for you!
[Main photo via Elements of Style]