What You Need to Know About the Different Shades of White Interior Paint

Do you want to open up a small space, add brightness, or create a uniform interior? White paint is a classic, simple way to go. But like other paint colors, you won’t find just one shade. If you want white walls, take a look at what you need to know about your paint color options.

How Many Shades of White Paint Are Available?

The answer to this question depends on the brand of interior paint you choose. Every brand has its own color palette and a variety of choices. Some brands carry well over a hundred different shades of white. While the colors may look similar at first glance, after more in-depth inspection you’ll see the subtle differences — especially in a larger area, such as a wall swatch.

What Are the Differences Between the Shades of White?

In general, white is a neutral color. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely pure. To create different shades, paint manufacturers add tints or create undertones. These almost imperceptible hues can change the total color of the white paint.

To understand the differences between white shades of paint, it’s easiest to break the color palette down into two main groups — cool and warm tones. Cool-toned whites tend to have more of a blue hue, while warm tones are yellowish.

Think of the different types of white Christmas lights you see around the holidays. Some give off a cool bluish light and others are almost golden. Similar differences are found in white paint colors.

Along with the two main tone categories, each color may have a varying degree of coolness or warmth. This creates an almost endless number of white paint colors that vary subtly in the blue to yellow spectrum.

How Should You Choose a Shade of White?

There’s no universal answer to this question. For some homeowners, the choice centers around personal preference. Maybe you’re drawn to the fresh, crisp feel of a cool white wall — or maybe you prefer the cozy warmth of an almost golden tone.

If you want a wall color that specifically matches the rest of the room’s décor, think about the existing color palette. A room with generally cool hues (such as a moss green rug or grey cabinets) may need a cool white. But if the room has light yellow bamboo flooring, orange accents, or gold-plated picture frames, a warm tone is a better match.

Can You Mix Shades of White?

You have the freedom to choose whatever colors of paint you want. But if you combine two or more shades of white (on accents walls or as trim colors), you may create an odd or off-balance look. The same color in two similar shades may confuse the eye and make the room seem disjointed.

Does Light Affect White?

You may think you have the shade of white nailed down based on your preference and the other colors in the room. But there’s another variable you may have forgotten. Light, both artificial and natural, can dramatically change the look of any interior paint color. While you aren’t likely to have the same quality or quantity of light in one space 24 hours a day, you can make a choice based on the overall look or feel.

The impact light has on the actual appearance of the color makes it almost impossible to know how a small swatch you view at the paint or hardware store will look on your walls. If possible, paint a larger sized area onto the wall before you make a final decision. This allows you to see the interaction between the white color and artificial or natural light.

If you don’t like the way the white paint looks in the room’s light, you may have options to fix that (provided you don’t want to simply pick another paint color). While you can’t do much to change the way natural light affects the paint color, you can switch out light bulbs to create the cool or warm tones you want.

Do you need help with your next interior paint project? Contact Fagan Painting for more information.

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Fagan Painting LLC

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