Which White? Trade secrets for the best interior white Dulux paint colours
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
It's the most asked question, "what is the best white paint colour for my interior?"
Ironically, it's also probably the hardest question to answer, as there are so many variables associated with choosing the perfect shade of white for your interior. But, there are tips, tricks and professionals favourites which will help you cut out the confusion, and find that perfect shade all the easier.
So, I have compiled my favourite interior white paint colours, as well as a how-to guide for selecting the perfect white. In the interests of simplicity, I have narrowed the field to Dulux colours as they are true to colour, well priced, and all professional painters are familiar with the tones.
Step 1: Choosing a white
Cool, Warm & Neutral tones
Choosing the right white can be very overwhelming for most people, with the sheer array of choice available. And unfortunately selecting the wrong colour can be a very expensive exercise, so it's important to get it right the first time. Different paint undertones will have a dramatic effect on the way the colour is received and felt in the interior.
Generally speaking, Warm whites work best in character spaces or where there is a lack of natural light, and pair beautifully with timber accents. They help to soften an environment and add atmosphere.
Cool whites can create a sense of space and complement other cool hues such as grey. They tend to work best in more contemporary spaces or where there is a lot of warm natural light already.
Step 2: Colour selection I find myself continually using a small array of white colours over and over, as they not only compliment my clients homes, but always look beautiful.
Depending on the interiors natural light, the homes architectural style and my clients aesthetic, I adjust the selection to best suit.
The below whites are the tones I constantly use, as they have the ability to transcend trends and enhance any space.
Natural White My favourite white, warm and inviting with just the right amount of crispness (no visible yellow undertone which can tend to look cream and dated) It is completely versatile, as it works with both contemporary and traditional interiors equally well.
Whisper White The most perfect ivory. A clean, warm white which works beautifully with all kinds of colour schemes. It creates a welcoming atmosphere in the home and works particularly well with period properties given it's depth.
Lexicon Half A versatile bright cool white with a subtle grey undertone. Crisp and fresh in appeal, it helps to open up a space and is the perfect backdrop for artwork.
Casper White Quarter Lovely and fresh with a hint of grey
White on White A cooler toned white with blue undertone, which makes a beautiful background to a layered interior and warm elements.
I like to Pair a warmer white wall with a cleaner white for trims & details, as this creates a classic look and helps accentuate the beautiful architectural details often found in traditional spaces.
White Exchange Half & White Exchange Quarter I love this colour in both the 1/2 & 1/4 strengths for a modern take on a traditional white.
Natural White & Whisper White are also gorgeous in more traditional home interiors.
Trims, Skirtings & Architraves
Vivid White It is the purest white you can get and is fresh and crisp.
White on White Has a cooler undertone which helps makes details pop.
Lexicon Quarter Is a beautiful, stark white which works especially well in contemporary spaces.
Step 3: Brush-outs & Sample pots are a MUST
So you've narrowed down your favourite tones and are excited to see it on the walls immediately. One word - wait.
Paint colours, especially whites, are largely affected by their environment. Therefore, how a colour views in a particular light may not be how it appears in another. And actually, I find that the colour usually varies between different areas of the one interior. That's why it's so important to paint large brush-outs on the walls before committing.
I always purchase sample pots, and use a roller to apply the colour to at least two different walls in the interior, preferably in opposite ends of the space. Dulux has all their most popular colours in a 100ml pre-made sample pot, however I don't usually find this is enough to do multiple large brush-outs. So I generally get a 250ml pot made up in the paint shop - this is enough for at least 2x 1m x 1m areas to be painted.
So, where to paint the sample colour? Well MDF board is fine, but I find the most accurate and easiest way is to paint is directly onto the wall. Do not use cardboard under any circumstances - the colour will not read true and it will be a huge waste of time.
Once the brush-out is done, allow it to dry, then view it at different times of the day. Natural light will always affect the way a colour tone appears, so it's important to assess the colour in the morning, noon and and evening environments.
Step 4: Other things to consider
Paint colour is a great opportunity to balance out the interior light, and tonally correct the variances. Think about the mood and atmosphere you want to create in your interior, and not just what is "on trend".
Using Full Strength, Half Strength, and Quarter Strengths of the same colour in different areas of the interior, can create subtle interest and help to link the spaces.
Think about the best paint finish for your particular needs. I generally like subtle finishes with a matt product for the walls and a semi-gloss for the skirtings, doors and trims which need to withstand more wear and tear. However the product you choose needs to best reflect your needs, so give it some thought.
Step 5: Paint Plan
If your having the painting done professionally (and even if you're not) it's always important to document the selections in a paint specification plan, so everything is crystal clear.
Usually a very detailed document is submitted by an interior designer, however you can make it as simple as you like. What is important, is to document the specification and location of paint colours for walls, trims, ceilings and other items, as well as the finish. With interiors having a myriad of variations, it keeps everything clear and ensures everyone involved is on the same page.
I hope this information has been helpful in giving some clarity to what can often be a confusing topic. Keep it simple, try before you buy, and most of all, enjoy the process :)