Monday, January 9, 2012

Which white is white and which white isn't?

As you may know,  I don't mind throwing a bit of paint on the walls...but getting the colour just right can take a long time

Number 10 is the fourth house I've painted/renovated and I've always played it safe as far as colour goes. That's mainly because I'm not good with colour. I find choosing colour can be hit and miss because it's difficult making the right choice from a small colour card you get from the paint store. In fact, that's been the experience of a friend who's had a couple of rooms painted grey and who hates them because they're so dark now, but her husband says they're only getting painted once and he's not paying the painter to do it again.

There are so many darn "whites" out there that paint companies produce brochures dedicated to them...but you really have to ask yourself if there's a hint of tint in it, is it still white?

I started off, many years ago in a former life, painting the walls of my home at Number 3 a Bristol colour called "Clay". It was what I thought at the time was fairly neutral, because it was light... but at different times of the day you could see it taking on a real pinky/mushroomy tinge.

The exterior was always White though. Can't go past it for weatherboards.

Then I started having "Clay" toned down to half still had that pink undertone, but it wasn't too bad

Much better

Then at Number 10, I moved on to Antique White USA, which looks lovely with just about anything: linen, white, darker tones like black and brown...even blue. I loved it.
In fact I loved it so much, I even used it for some of the old chest of drawers I rejuvenated so they blended in with the walls and made the rooms look bigger.

Then I started half strength on that.....less creamy, more just a hint of colour.

The main bedroom drawers and walls - all A-W USA half strength

Now though, I'm leaning towards another white that has really caught my eye. It's been used in a truly gorgeous, just-renovated home I saw recently and I have to say it makes everything "pop" and complements the dark stained timber floors in the hall and living areas and the almost-latte brown carpet in the bedrooms.

It's "Builders White" and all it has is a drop of black in it to take away the "starkness of that straight-out-of-the-tin-white

That's what I'm after. A non-colour that doesn't bring out the undertones of the things around it.

What it also means though is apart from the walls, I'll have to paint all the chest of drawers...but at least I have the time on my hands to do it now


  1. I LOVE white. I paint everything white if I can. I also love different shades of white in the same room. I like the look of tone on tone.

    I don't feel I'm good with color either and don't know how to apply it to look complimentary. There's a book I'm trying to get a hold of Can't Fail Color Schemes by Amy Wax that might help.

    I love white. The End. :)


  2. I have 1/4- 1/2 strength Antique White USA in my house - but it does tend to yellow over time and pick up any warmth in the surroundings.

    I've got some painting to do and might just go through and do the whole house again (!!) so will look at that colour you mentioned.

  3. There are so many whites out there. Builders white sounds interesting. I've always been a fan of stark white, but if we ever paint again I'd probably play with a different white. xx

  4. It's confusing, isn't it? I hope to renovate our hallway this year and want it to be white. I quite like the sound of a half strength AW USA. Too difficult!

  5. Melissa, I've found the AW-USA also yellowing a little here. It is annoying because I really thought it was going to be my "final" colour.

    Brismod, Builders White is still very white, even with the drop of black in it, but it does tend to give it depth. I really like it and I feel that drop of black makes it even "whiter" if that makes sense

    Sarah, half strength AW-USA is quite nice, but like Melissa said, it can still yellow a little over time. It is one of the better "whites" though

  6. I love all the whites and I love them mixed together...white on white on white!!

  7. White is hard to pick, the are so many... I have used antique white USA many times, and I love it. I never thought to use it at half strength though, great idea! It is the perfect backdrop... Love your styling on your beside table! X

  8. Yes Julienne...white upon white upon white. Layering all those whites is lovely. I really like that sort of texture!
    Tiff, half strength AW-USA is quite nice. Just a hint of tint.

  9. Funny, I am normally *not* afraid of color, at all. I figure paint is the cheapest quick fix and easiest thing to change in your house. But lately, lately...all gray and white for me! I love how you broke down all these shades!

  10. Lauren, you're right. Paint is the cheapest way to change a room/house about, I'm just not too good with choosing a "colour". I do love lots of different whites and textures though.


I love to hear your thoughts.