How to Choose the Perfect White Paint

How to Choose the Perfect White Paint

It seems an obvious choice to many, to simply paint their interior walls white. Painting walls white is a blank canvas upon which you can craft your interior, white can brighten dark spaces and make even the smallest room feel spacious. However, if the wrong white is chosen, white can make a room feel cold, unwelcoming and perhaps even clinical.

Then you start looking at all the different whites that are available in the colour charts… and there is a seemingly limitless spectrum of white shades all with slight variations.

Who would have guessed that choosing a white for your walls could be such a complexing decision? ‘Just paint it white’, is often suggested. But, with so many different white shades to choose from, how can you find the perfect white hue for you and your interior?


Holman Specialist Paints are here to help you to find the perfect white for your interior walls. 

Follow our 5 simple steps to finding the perfect white for your interior:


1) Discover the Undertones in White Shades
Very rarely is a white just a plain white – with no other colour influences. Most whites have other variations of shade which influence the colour.

For example: For a crisp, modern and cool shade, choose a white with blue or green undertones
Or, for a warmer, creamy hue, choose a white with yellow or orange undertones.

Decide whether you are looking for a warm and cosy interior space, or a cooler more modern design. By determining this, you can begin narrowing down your selection of white shades.


2) Choose a Shade that works with Other Items in the Room
Not only do you need to consider the shades in the white, but also consider what colour themes you have (or will have) in the room which you are painting. Pick a paint that works with what you’ve got, as your furnishings will affect your perception of any paint.

Let’s put this in context: If you have brighter bold coloured furnishings – try using a cooler more neutral white shade. Or, if you have a more neutral furnishing palette (think Scandi chic) try using a warmer white shade to harmonise the interior.

*Extra Tip* Not every interior wall paint is a good choice for every interior wallsome walls demand higher quality paints than others.

For example, hallways or kitchens may require a more durable coating to resist knocks, scrapes and scuffs and be suitable for washing down.

Or perhaps for a bathroom/wet room you may need moisture resistant wall paint system

Whatever interior wall you need to paint, view our range of interior wall paints here.


3) Acknowledge the Effect of Light
Our perception of colour is all based on light. So, when choosing a white shade take note of the colour at different times of day, like in sunlight, natural light, evening and artificial light.

Our perception of colour can change with different lights, a colour you love in the morning may look a completely different shade by the time evening rolls around. You can work with the light level of your interior space, to find the perfect white paint hue.

For instance, if your room gets loads of natural light, work with this by choosing a cooler white shade. Choosing a warm shade when bathed in sunlight can really bring out the yellows and can make the paint colour look more cream than white.


4) Consider the Paint Sheen Level
Choosing the right sheen level can also affect your perception of a white paint shade. The more matt the finish of your paint, the more light will be absorbed. Conversely, the more sheen the paint has like a satin, soft-sheen or eggshell, this will reflect light more.

Furthermore, as with any painted finish, consider what kind of environment you are looking to paint. Ensure that for higher-traffic environments, like hallways or kitchens that you choose a more durable paint finish. Very flat matt finishes have a tendency to show up scuffs and marks more and if you do have a soft-sheen this will be easier to wipe down.

We highly recommend Tikkurila Feelings Interior, a highly durable matt finish for interior walls. Feelings Interior is wash and scrub resistant. Find out more about the Feelings Interior Here.


5) Test your Chosen Paint Colours
Found a white shade that you like? Always try at home, and in several places on the walls.

If you don’t want to paint your sample on the wall itself, paint a large swatch on a piece of plain card instead. This will create a movable sample that you can relocate to different walls.

Remember to view your test samples at different times of day – to see how/if the colour changes with different lights.

Testing White Paint Samples on Interior Walls, Tikkurila Feelings Interior Wall Paint

Common White Paint Colour Descriptions:

Bright White: You can often see ‘bright white’ paint advertised and sold in your local DIY store. Also known as a ‘brilliant white’. Bright White often has a special additive included which gives the paint an almost iridescent effect. With hints of blue undertones, bright white shades are cool hues that can affect the aesthetic warmth of an interior space. Creates a crisp, white, modern finish.

Snow-White: Snow-White shades are a bit warmer than the often seen ‘Bright White’, and can complement a clean contemporary interior. Great for use on walls as well as painted objects such as kitchen cabinetry or furniture.

Off-White: It’s hard to pin down exactly what is meant by the shade ‘off-white’ as this can suggest many different shades to different people. Suggestions for this shade include a ‘dirty white’ with elements of yellow or grey hues.

Warm-White: A warm white shade is leaning to the creamier hues of the white colour scale with consistent undertones of yellows, reds and oranges. Often goes well with a more neutral interior where a cosy, warm, and welcoming atmosphere is to be created.

Antique White: Antique Whites are very traditional shades, and can be made to work in many home living spaces. With rich shaded undertones that emphasise creams and browns that instantly create a warm lived-in feeling. Be wary when using an antique white in a small space, as this shade can make a small room feel smaller.


Want to get started with choosing your Perfect White Paint Colour?
Visit our Online Colour Chart Section Or, order your FREE Paint Colour Cards Here


For more information on any of the advice given above,
Or for guidance on choosing an interior wall paint,
Contact our friendly and knowledgeable sales team
Call us on 01793 511537 or email

Posted on 02/11/2017 Home, Interior Painting Advice 0 838

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