Ivory. Bright white. Eggshell! Who knew there were so many options for simple white paint? As it turns out, there are hundreds to choose from, and selecting the right one can be a daunting task. Before you head to the paint aisle, consider these tips from color consultant, Bonnie Krims, a member of the International Association of Color Consultants.
Think about everything else that will complete the room. Paint a sample on the wall—preferably two coats in an area at least 2 by 2 feet and next to trim—then bring in a few things that will go in the room so that you can better evaluate the white, "in the context of what is going on in the room," says Krims. For example, push a chair with some throw pillows on it right next to the sample, stand back, and take a look.
Krims emphasizes the importance of thinking about the surface when choosing a finish for your white, saying, "the higher the sheen, the more the flaws show." She recommends flat finishes for ceilings, to avoid blemishes from showing. But in a kitchen or bath, a glossy finish will hold up better if the surface is "durable and cleanable."
More than anything else, style will determine the white that is most appropriate for a room. While a contemporary space would call for a crisp white, in a country kitchen "you're going to want a more mellow-looking white, " says Krims, "something warm and creamy, not stark or bright."
To distinguish between hues, Krims prefers to put color chips on a white piece of paper. "If you're debating between two or three whites," she says, "put all three on the same piece of paper, leaving space between, and you will be able to see the difference up against that white piece of paper."