For me, there has always been a sense of space, openness and spirituality associated with white. White walls are like art for the soul -- something to be revered and admired. In my imaginings, an all-white interior is well-manicured, tailored and pristine, with little to no clutter. It is the representation of new beginnings, faith and purity -- a canvas backdrop that supports all that is contained within.
Architectural White welcomes the light in this room designed by Collins Weir Design for the 2019 San Francisco Showhouse
Though I have selected every version of white paint you could possibly imagine, I’d like to offer a word of caution to those that feel the word white infers “simple” and painless in its selection. Think again, my friend. White’s infinite range and numerous undertones confirm the complexities of working with this shade, reminding us of the mysteries it possesses. At the same time, white reconfirms one of the most basic (and important) design elements: light. So if you take the time to select the perfect white with the right undertone, make sure your selected lighting accentuates the design. I like using carefully curated bulbs and fixtures to create an inviting atmosphere and building layers of light that blend well together.
Design note: put everything on dimmers so nothing is over illuminated.
If white walls have you conjuring up images of antiseptic hospital environments, it’s time to expand your horizons. Far from clinical, the right white will provide the perfect canvas for any major statement, whether that be artwork, furnishings or accents. From bright whites and decorators’ white to chalky, calm or cool, each shade comes with an arsenal of descriptives that seem to confuse the multiple choices out there. Before you commit, make sure to sample and experiment.
C2 is known for its strong selection of whites, which helps take the headache out of trying to decide between these often indistinguishable hues.
Designer Peter Cohen artfully used America's Cup (C2-612) to accentuate the art and architecture in this open space.
Personally, I like to work with a grouping of whites, to create a flow of subtle shade changes and expand on layering perspectives. This breaks up any monotony of over using a single colour, and adds fluidity and continuity while still narrating a soft colour story. However, there are others who would entertain nothing else than a single all-encompassing white on their walls. I am often in awe of those spaces, (“gobsmacked” as we Brits might say) at this purist approach to design.
Often, I'll suggest enhancing and all-white design with a custom feature, like in this kitchen. I wanted to bring in the blues of the tile marques to the island to add interest -- and a little drama! Once again, using C2's Architectural White and a custom blue.
Top 3 Tips for Choosing the Perfect White Paint Color:
Consider the Undertones - Blues and cooler tones tend to lend themselves toward a modern aesthetic while warmer, more yellow undertones make the area look richer and cozier.
Look at the Light - Considering the light is one of the most important factors in choosing the right white. Full spectrum brands like C2 Paint are perfect for areas with limited lighting since they represent the full spectrum of light.
Test your Options - Make sure to test your favorite whites first, either with a wet sample or with a large scale color memo, like C2's Ultimate Paint Chip - a 17" x 24" color sample that allows you to view a large area of the color and can provide a perfect area to see how the light reacts with the color throughout the day.
Some of My Favorite White Paint Colors:
- Architectural White (C2-516) - a pure white that’s a favorite of designers and architects. Also adds a crispness to trim and mouldings.
- Sheer (C2-804) - a soft off white that has no undertones. Just warmth. Perfect for ceilings when a white- white is too stark.
- Chit Chat (C2-964) - offers a richer white that compliments all neutrals perfectly.
- Milk Moustache (C2-692) - a modern, versatile white with a subtle warmth that illuminates any room and adds an air of elegance and timelessness to any space.
Mixing and pairing with white
Like its black counterpart, white is timeless, elegant and always on trend. Extremely versatile, it showcases all other colours well. Black being a current trend favourite for a stark contrast, though I still swoon at white paired with natural wood, and a more neutral accompanying palette
This project I worked on for Diane Keaton's The House that Pinterest Built used a custom C2 white paired with large, uncut wood beams and oversized black industrial lighting. Stunning!
Designer Tineke Triggs uses Whistler White (C2-756) to create a dramatic bathroom design.
When working with white, start with confirming your PERFECT white selection and placement, then build the palette up from there - moving from light to dark.
Blue and white is also a classic, timeless colour pairing. Try vivid brights with white for bold drama. Neutrals and nature-inspired tones present a calm, tranquil vibe. All white is masterful, and I hope you have a daily cleaning crew.
Many designers are known for their commitment to white as their signature colour: The master of white, Vincente Wolf, along with Brian Patrick Flynn and Leanne Ford, to name a few…
Image courtesy of Vicente Wolf
The Meaning of White
In western countries, white is the traditional colour worn by brides, to signify purity and innocence. In eastern countries, the colour white is one of mourning and funerals. In certain cultures, white is the colour of royalty or of religious figures, as angels are typically depicted as wearing white or having a white glow.
The color white affects the mind and body by aiding in mental clarity, promoting feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal, assisting in cleansing, clearing obstacles and clutter, and encouraging the purification of thoughts and actions.
White gemstones are believed to help create new beginnings, remove prejudice and preconceived notions, to see the innocence in others, and to clear emotional clutter and silence the inner critic. Like selenite, pure crystals or apophyllite.
I love this nourishing morning white energy drink.
White Breakfast Smoothie recipe by trainer Harley Pasternak
- 5 raw almonds or finely pre-ground almonds (1 heaped spoonful)
- 1 red apple - unpeeled, cored and chopped
- 1 small banana, frozen
- 4 fl oz natural greek plain yogurt
- 6 ½ oz skimmed milk or milk substitute
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Blend almonds until finely ground. Add apple, banana, yogurt, milk, and cinnamon. Blend to desired consistency.