What is white good for anyway?

Purity, wholesomeness and innocence are the emotions people typically feel when they see the colour white. 

However, there are times when it can seem a little 'loud' or 'obnoxious'. Ever get a headache when you walk into a room adorned with white furnishings and walls that look as if they were washed with bleach?  

That being said, bleach white is only one rendition of this colour. Between Resene Albescent White and Resene Half Whiteout, a variety of hues are available for selection.  

In order to know how to appropriately use this colour, you need to understand the science behind it. There are times when it should be leveraged as a dominant or a submissive shade when paired with other hues. It all depends on the type of effect you're looking to create.  

The positives  

First, let's focus on the positive aspects of white. Because it can inspire thoughts of purity and innocence, some people may interpret the colour as a symbol of a fresh start. It is completely untouched or untarnished, capable of being shaped into something new.  

This concept relates to the fact that white is the presence of all colours. No colour dominates the other, as each one shares an equal space within a focused spectrum.

In addition to this concept of equality, white can instigate cleansing emotions, as if a person is undergoing a spiritual awakening. Perhaps this is due to the fact that white reflects light as opposed to absorbing it.  

When it's a bit too much  

There are times when white can make people feel isolated, even vacuous. Sometimes, when people experience these emotions, they can feel anxious or uncomfortable. Being in an all-white room with artificial lighting may inspire the need to escape from something. 

Why? All-white rooms typically suffer from a lack of depth. The dimensions aren't emphasised in a manner that makes a person feel as if they're in a defined, comfortable space. While white usually isn't oppressive, too much of it can be incredibly unsettling. More anxious people may even encounter subdued panic.  

Lacklustre dimensions and plainness also reminds some people of sterility. This suggests that white doesn't have much potency – a factor many homeowners look for when searching for colours.

What works well with white? 

Thankfully, white isn't that difficult to work with. Depending on which paints you pair it with, you can inspire different emotions in yourself and any house guests you may invite over:

  • Resene Boutique is a light pink, which suggests youthful energy and tenderness. This will subdue the anxious side of white and enable you to bring out its innocence. 
  • Resene Ayers Rock is a darker shade of orange that can act as the dominant entity against a stark white. The warmness associated with this hue works to balance white's 'fresh start'. Depending on how these two colours are used, you may be able to incite a sense of hunger. 
  • Resene Seachange is a light blue reminiscent of ocean waters during the middle of the summer. When combined with white's innocent look, it can inspire mental calmness. In addition, this duo enables decorators to create depth. 
  • Resene Blackberry is a deep purple that can add sensuality and elegance to a white space. This colour is often associated with royalty, and white's purity will eliminate any thoughts of an oppressive monarch. 

Just like its opposite, black, there are both negatives and positives to white. The key is figuring out how to use it to suit your home.

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