There’s a reason that so many whites and creams appear in Resene’s Top 20 paint sales each year – they are timeless, easy to live with and are hugely adaptable, forming the base for many styles and looks of interiors.
There are also more ‘whites’ than you would think – you’ll know if you’ve ever had to choose one for your walls and have gone through multiple Resene testpots in the process. One off-white that has stood the test of time is Resene Rice Cake.
Resene Rice Cake has very subtle yellow and green undertones – the yellow warms it while the green cools it slightly, making for a very mutable, adaptable and complex colour. These attributes make it a perfect component of many styles of interior – from classic to contemporary and anything in between – and allows it to work with many other colours, from cool tones of blues to greens to warm tones like mustard and yellow. Imagine this room with soft duck egg blue colours instead of green, or pale melon shades. If you love black and white monochromatic schemes but don't want the starkness of a pure white like Resene Alabaster or Resene Black White, then Resene Rice Cake is a great alternative.
One colour that works particularly well with Resene Rice Cake is green. Greens are having more than a moment in interiors right now. Their association with nature and eco-friendliness has seen them climb the popularity stakes, especially those greens that have a lovely approachable greyed quality like soft sages, olives and muddy greens. Some superb examples have been used in this room: Resene Flax is the boldest colour, on the bookshelf, desk lamp and accessories while soft greens used are Resene Aspiring, Resene Frontier and Resene Moon Mist on the coffee table, desk and chair.
There are many reasons for choosing off-white or cream for your walls. It’s a timeless colour that enables you to change out your furniture and accessories to ring in the fashion changes. White is elegant and gives a sense of refinement. It’s a relaxing colour, which can help reduce visual busy-ness.
Do check your motivation though. Is white right for you or are you choosing it because you don’t want to make a mistake with a stronger colour? Paint is inexpensive compared to other decorating options and it’s easy to change. So if you do fancy a bolder colour, then go for it, and simply change it when you tire of it.
More than any other colour, whites and off-whites are influenced by other elements in the room. If you have off-white walls and a lot of green accessories, expect your walls to take on a green look. Use a strong blue rug or furniture, and your walls will pick up on the blue. You can use this to your advantage. For example, if you have a rich timber floor that you find a bit overpowering, then using a cool white on the walls (one with a grey or green base) will diffuse the effect of the floor.
Other warm creams to try are classics such as Resene Quarter Spanish White and Resene Half Pearl Lusta, but also Resene Half Blanc, Resene Half White Pointer and Resene Merino. Check out the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection of colours for some great options. Most of the off-whites and creams in the collection come in eight different strengths so you can build a cohesive tonal colour scheme by using varying strengths on the walls, ceiling and trims of a room.
Texture is you key when trying to make a white room less stark and more interesting, and can be introduced in many way through elements such as cushions, throws, rugs, baskets, foliage and decor pieces.
Add texture with a simple DIY project. Buy op shop vases or use one you already have that you’re not so fond of any more, buy some jute rope and wind it around the vase, gluing in place as you go. Then paint the rope and/or the parts of the vase that are still showing using Resene testpots. You can use the rope on just the bottom part of the vase or up the entire length, or paint half of it, leaving the other half raw.
Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by Bryce Carleton. June 2022
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