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How to Choose the Right White Paint

Choosing the right white paint for your home

When choosing the right white paint for your interiors, it helps to understand the science of colours and the connection of light.

Understanding the science of colours

Scientifically, colour is an expression of light. Materials absorb and reflect specific wavelengths of visible light, which result in objects taking on a certain colour visible to the human eye.

White is a combination of all colours in the colour spectrum. It has all the colours of the rainbow. Black is the absence of light. Nothing can be pure white or pure black, except unfiltered sunlight or the depths of a black hole.

But in a technical sense, black and white are not colours, they’re shades. White and black may be the most important “colours” in design, as they’re integral to expressing light and shade.

The presence or non-presence of light is why choosing a white to paint your interiors can be tricky. Tiny variations between white paints can give a vastly different effect on your space.

Popular white paint colours

Dulux warm whites

White paints can come with undertones such as reddish, yellowish, and bluish. Warm whites often carry subtle peach, pink, or yellow undertones. Warm whites can help bring warmth to rooms that don’t get enough sun.

Popular Dulux warm whites include:

  • Dulux Antique White USA
  • Dulux Natural White
  • Dulux White Cloak Quarter


Cover Photo: A warm white colour scheme at Burrawong Street, Mosman painted by 3 Colours in Dulux Natural White

Dulux cool whites

Cool whites carry blue or grey undertones and can soften bright light. Popular Dulux cool whites include:

  • Dulux Lexicon and Dulux Lexicon Half
  • Dulux White on White
  • Dulux Vivid White

Photo: A cool white used in an interior colour scheme at Glencarron Ave, Mosman, painted by 3 Colours using Resene Alabaster and Resene Spacecote on the ceilings

Why is white such a popular colour?

White provides a sense of space, freshness, and cleanliness. It can energise a room and provides a perfect backdrop to a contemporary home. Complemented with fresh greenery and contemporary furnishings, it’s the perfect colour to give your home a facelift in preparation for a sale.

You can also add extra dimension by selecting one shade and using multiple finishes such as matt on walls, flat on the ceilings, and a semi-gloss on the trims and doors.

Choosing the right white

When choosing the right shade of white for your interiors, don’t simply go for trends. Think about the space, the amount of natural light that enters the space, and how you want it to make you feel. Cool whites neutralise natural sunlight and therefore work well in north-facing rooms, whereas warmer whites make a room feel cosier.

White paint on the wall will look different depending on where you are in the world, what light the room gets, and your furnishings. White paint also looks different to us as individuals depending on our age as the lenses in our eyes yellow with age.

White in bedrooms

Neutral colours in bedrooms such as whites, greys and beiges, helps you wind down by making the space feel calmer according to the Better Sleep Council.

Photo: White used in a bedroom at Medusa Street, Mosman painted 3 Colours.

White in bathrooms and kitchens

White is the perfect colour for bathrooms and kitchens as it provides a sense of space and cleanliness. White kitchens stand the test of time and provides a blank canvas for some unique decor. Pair with dark floors, timber, or unique lighting. White kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.

A recent client said “Our brown kitchen looked dated compared to the rest of the house. The cabinets were in great condition though and we didn’t want to go through the expense of a complete remodel so we opted to get them painted white instead. This was the smartest move we could have made before selling. It immediately modernised the kitchen, and added space and light. We sold shortly afterwards and broke the suburb record thanks to 3 Colours craftmanship they apply to their painting.”

White on exteriors

The versatility of white makes it perfect for transforming the exterior of your home. You might choose to pair it with contrasting colours on the trims or go white on everything. If you don’t want to see a difference between your trim and wall colour then it is a good idea to match your wall colour to your powder-coated, Colorbond, or another steel colour so that you get the continuity of your white.

Photo: White used on a beachfront apartment complex at the Entrance, painted by 3 Colours

Natural sunlight has a big impact on a white exterior scheme. A white that works in one part of the country, may not work in another. To select the right white, view the samples outside and consider if they will mostly be in the shade or direct sunlight.

Colours can look darker when you hold them horizontally above you. A white that looks great on your walls, maybe too dark for your ceilings.  On ceilings and eaves, it’s wise to use a half or quarter strength.

Choosing a white for interiors

So you’ve now given thought to the natural light that enters the room, how you want the space to make you feel, and the furnishings of the room when completed. The next step is to shortlist some potential whites and paint the samples out in the room you wish to paint. Look at the different painted areas in the morning, the afternoon and at night to see how the colour changes under different light conditions.

Sounds all too hard? Then call us, we can take the headache out of your painting project and ensure a finish you’ll love.

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About 3 Colours

Sydney’s number one commercial painter servicing the North Shore, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, Inner-West, South Sydney, and the CBD.

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