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All white now

From the Resene decorating blog

There’s just something so serene about an all-white room. Easy and versatile, timeless and long-lasting, it’s a hue that suits any interior and can be used in every room of the house.

White is a popular choice – in fact whites take out the top eight spots of Resene’s top selling paints, the top four being Resene Black White, Resene Alabaster and Resene Half Black White and Resene Sea Fog. White lends an air of simplicity and offers the perfect canvas for your choice of furnishings. Minimalists love white, traditionalists love white, modern lovers love white. It offers endless possibilities and while some may perceive a white scheme as plain, with a bit of planning and an endless array of Resene whites, off-whites and creams to choose from there are plenty of clever ways to offer variation and highlight special features.

A neutral kitchen/dining room with green accents

In this kitchen, Resene Half Spanish White, a warm off-white tone is used to complement the natural wood-look floor created with Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

Shelf painted in Resene Poured Milk, chair in Resene Olive Green and Resene Linen, green table, round mat and round pot in Resene Nourish, round board in Resene Kandinsky while the watering can and picture frame are given a cream treatment in Resene Aura. Chairs from Cintesi, mugs from Good Thing. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A bright white and neutral sitting room

In this sitting room, the top part of the wall is painted in a bright white, Resene Quarter Alabaster and the bottom half in off-white Resene Half Joanna with a toetoe design.

Toning with the walls is the sideboard in Resene Half Truffle. Enhancing the theme of bringing the outside indoors are green elements; the lamp is painted in Resene Mondo on the base while its shade and the floor vase are in Resene Planter. The table is painted in Resene Highball and the vase in Resene Iko Iko. Chair and globe from French Country, cushion from Collect Living, rug from The Ivy House. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

White walls offer a calming foundation on which to build your home’s ambience, rather like when it snows and everything is covered in a blanket of white – ahh, peace. A white scheme is a minimalist’s dream but it will also have a calming effect and create the perfect backdrop to a collector’s paradise. Quite simply, white can suit any style of house and be tailored to anyone’s taste.

Choose your base colour

Not all whites were created equal and there are a huge range of subtle variations to choose from – and that’s before we get into cream. Some whites have cool undertones like Resene Half White Pointer and others are warm such as Resene Rice Cake. Warm whites have an undertone colour of yellow, orange and red while cool whites have an undertone of blue, green and purple. Warm whites will be easier to blend with cream and beige, and cool whites will mix best with shades of grey so think about your furnishings when you’re making this choice. Once you’ve decided, it’s a good idea to stick with either a cool or warm base throughout your space. If you are unsure about the undertones of a particular white, hold a swatch up against a swatch of pure white such as Resene White or a piece of white paper and all will be revealed.

Mixing whites with cream

If you like a lot of colour in your room schemes, a soft cream will be a better bet for keeping colour in check than white. White is, however, the perfect base for grey, which can work well in kitchens and bathrooms. But whites and creams don’t have to be exclusive – they are actually perfect bedfellows. Using creams like Resene Bianca will help warm the white further and keep your space light and bright while bringing some variation. Think about using white for walls and cream as an accent colour to highlight skirting boards, architraves and window frames or flip the colours with creamy walls and whiter trims.

An off-white/warm yellow entranceway

Resene Arrowroot, an off-white with a warm yellow tone is used on this room’s back wall with a visual texture in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Half Alabaster. This complements the white crazy-paving style flooring in this entrance way and warms up the space. Left painted in Resene Explorer for contrast, window trims and skirting boards painted in Resene Half Alabaster, ‘tiled’ floor effect painted with Resene Midwinter Mist with Resene Stack used to create a grout effect and coat rack and desk in Resene Explorer. Tying the look together, the chair and low vase have been painted in Resene French Grey, the lidded dish in Resene Explorer, the picture frame in Resene Arrowroot and the finial in Resene Armadillo. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A bright white wall is used to accentuate bold coloured shapes

In this living room a clean bright white, Resene Merino, is used to contrast and accentuate bold coloured shapes painted on the walls using Resene Swiss Caramel, Resene Indian Ink and Resene Route 66. This bold backdrop is then softened with a linen sofa and off-white textural rug and tied together with a blue table and pendant lamp in Resene Indian Ink and sideboard in Resene Swiss Caramel. Painted accessories include the round vase on the coffee table in Resene Excalibur, round cork tealight holder in Resene Merino, tall vase in Resene Excalibur and small vase in Resene Route 66. Sofa and rug from Freedom, cushion covers, throw and mug from Citta. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Room by room

White reflects light so it is great to open up small spaces but it will give a clean, bright look to almost any living area. Cool whites work well in brightly lit areas such as a north-facing space which warm whites can be used to make a south-facing room more welcoming. Consider your particular space when you are choosing which white to use.

In kitchens, try off-white cabinets with clean white walls and try adding cream with accessories such as your kettle, toaster and storage containers. Another popular kitchen and bathroom scheme is the teaming of cool grey with a grey-white such as Resene Triple Merino to add depth while maintaining a super-clean look. Some may find greys a little cool though and in this case using an off-white can warm things up for a more friendly atmosphere.

In a bedroom, an all-white scheme can encourage the mind and the eyes to relax by virtue of its intentional lack of stimulation. Try a combination of white and off-white for a restful atmosphere or use cream for a more traditional vibe. A traditionalist would argue that ivory like Resene China Ivory, ecru like Resene Ecru White or cream like Resene Bianca is more suitable than bright white like Resene Alabaster for a bedroom because of the intimacy the warm undertones create.

Think about the combination of colours used in the bedroom when you are making your choice between white and cream as your wall colour. Pops of colour can work well with white but dark colours can be better with cream. Black and white is a popular bedroom choice – a clean white will accentuate the effect while a cream will soften it, creating a bridge between the contrasting colours. In the living room, which tends to be the largest space in the house, try mixing a clean white ceiling with off-white walls for an expansive, bright and welcoming feel.

Top tips

Even the most colourful homes usually have whites and neutrals in some areas, such as trims and joinery and the ceiling. If you are planning bold colours in each room, the white or neutral you choose for your trim and joinery may be the unifying colour that you use in each room.

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Aura

Resene Nourish

Resene Excalibur

Resene Swiss Caramel

Resene Route 66

June 19, 2022

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