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Interior Design Tip: How To Select The Right White Paint

Posted on: Saturday, August 4, 2012

One of the most common questions I'm asked as an interior designer is, "which white paint should I use"?  It sounds so simple... how hard can it be?  You select white, white or white... right?  Wrong!  Choosing the correct shade for your walls is probably the single most important decorating decision you will make.  Not only will it set the tone for the entire scheme, but it will effect every other component of the interior.


Step 1: Choose a tonal family

There are hundreds of different shades of white paint on the market so you need to narrow the field.  Broadly speaking, whites fall into three main categories: pure whites, warm whites and cool whites.  When you look at a colour chart, you will probably be instinctively drawn to either cool or warm tones... on the whole, warmer tones work best in more traditional interiors while cooler tones suit a more modern space.  The pure whites are great for trim (architraves, skirtings, doors etc).

Step 2: Look at paint colours in-situ

Once you have figured out which tonal family suits your needs, start picking out particular shades that you like and then paint a test patch on the wall... this is a critical step as different lighting conditions will have a tremendous impact upon the look of the paint.  If you are choosing colours for a new home that has not yet been built, order large brush-out samples from the paint manufacturer (large A4 sized colour chips) and look at them in similar lighting conditions - you will be amazed at how different a shade looks in a big piece!

Step 3: Create a colour board of all finishes

The easiest solution I have come up with throughout my years as an interior designer is to select everything at once... choose carpet, tiles, timber colours, laminates and other key items at the same time as you choose the paint.  Never choose anything independently.  That way, you can change things as required once you see them all laid out together... believe me, it's far easier to alter a paint colour (of which there are endless options available) rather than change a carpet colour that you love.


P.S. If you would like further advice or would like to arrange a colour consultation, please contact me at Angela Steyn Interiors.

Photos: Angela Steyn


  1. This is brilliant advice, thanks

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  3. You have shown Nice collection.I should really appreciate you for sharing best interior designs.These can help me to select best designs for my home.I also found best interior designs at Interior Land


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