Finding the Right Shade of White for your Home
White. Indigo White. Persia White. Dove White. Linen White. There are so many whites. HELP! How does one figure out the right white? The name, Indigo White sounds really nice but is it the right white? SHG Living’s Kelly Wilkness, the host of My Soulful Home, advises to never select a color based on its name. Names are inventions of the paint manufacturers and they have little, if anything to do with the actual color.
White is perhaps the most difficult color to pick for any indoor or outdoor surface and/or space. The color white is a composite of the three primary colors, red, blue, and green. In other words, the color white stems from an additive mixture. Indigo white is a certain mixture of these components.
The Color White Throughout the Ages
Throughout time, the color white has stood for purification and cleansing, peace, and calm. It stands for expansiveness and joy of life ( link back to Joy of Life – Cooking on your Kitchen Island with Stools) White in general, indigo white included, is often connected with the notion of establishing a new beginning or clean slate. White creates a sense of harmony and order. Its very structure and character come from the harmonizing of the three primary colors. Yet, there is the duality between the term of clean slate, alluding to nothingness, and the additive nature or fusion of separate parts, the opposite of nothingness. The key is to find the right shade of white or the right mixture.
So why do some people perceive white as sterile and cold in certain rooms? The answer is that natural light has different qualities. Northern light has a cooler quality compared to light from a southern direction. The same goes for eastern light versus western light. So the same indigo white will in fact look different, warmer, or cooler in different natural light settings.
Understanding Shades of White
In a recent interview with Good Homes Magazine, Kelly Wilkness advises to
“…pay attention to the light in a room to determine which kind of white you opt for. The lack of natural light in such a room makes a cool white appear drab and a warm white light dingy.”
In other words, natural light is a driver in finding the right white. A bit of observation of the natural light in the room you want to paint can put you on the right path and clarify if indigo white is in fact the right white for the space.
Is Indigo White Warm or Cool? 1 Super Helpful Trick
In a recent episode of My Soulful Home, “Learn to Pick the Right White” she presents practical, hands-on tips bout how to find the right color white for your painting project. Kelly’s says:
- Understand that most paint colors are in fact shades of white. Kelly calls them color undertones. Some whites are cool. Others have warm undertones. How can you discover these undertones from a small little paint chip? Kelly has a great tip: Hold the paint sample up to a sheet of printer paper. Printer paper tends to be a pure, crisp, neutral white. While indigo white will fall into the warm category, others will run on the cool side. Great idea!
One Closing Observation – Paint Finish
White. Indigo White. Persia White. Dove White. Linen White and all of the others are going to vary due to the paint finish. A matt wall finish will look different than a high-gloss white simply due to different light refractions.
Bottom line: Buy a quart of matt indigo white paint for the walls and a semi-gloss or gloss finish for the trim. Test it. See it painted as a larger sample in the actual space. Observe how the natural light in that room makes an indigo white look. This may sound a bit rudimentary and perhaps time-consuming. But it will get you to your goal of finding the right white faster than you might think, Have fun searching for just the right white and exploring your sensibilities around warm and cool tones.