Paint tip: My favorite white's

White has been our new favorite for awhile. Beige has been out and grey came in and white has replaced grey for an overall feel of uplifting. The psychology of this shift has been people have been feeling heavy and dark in their beige spaces. And when it comes time for a facelift, they want bright and light. 

The color white has emotive powers across cultures.
When you hear “the color white,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe a billowy cloud or fresh snow, or an emotion or abstract idea. The many possible answers to this question prove that white is an enigma — a “color” that scientifically isn’t really a color at all. White’s very nature gives our minds a clean slate that helps generate new ideas and creativity. 
— Megan Swoyer

The crisp white sofa reupholstered in Sunbrella white fabric in my client's home is complimented with a soothing cool white on the walls from Dunne Edwards, Cool December. It gave us a bright and fresh backdrop for the amazing indigo pillows from Juxtaposition and her greenery she desired to create this space into a modern global terrarium room. 

Dunne Edwards Cool December white

Dunne Edwards Cool December white

“When an object is white, its form and texture become more noticeable,” Slank says. “When an entire room is a palette of white, we notice the quality of the surfaces. It stimulates the sense of touch. And our sense of sight can relax.”
— Kelly Slank, Nike designer

I am in love with the white and black trend. And I know I'm not the only one because it is all over social media. With the sense of bright and clean the power of the earthy black grounds this floating white. The contrast allows us a sense of excitement and satisfaction when we are in that space. It tends to be modern, but transitions into the rustic and farm styles exceptionally. This space below is designed for my Home Style Kit Black and White Farm book. Which will be available in November. 

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White is clean, sporty and fresh.
— Sirvio

 

For these reasons and so many more, Sherwin-Williams has recently enjoyed an enlightening brush with simplicity — the Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year is Alabaster (SW 7008), an alluring, understated white that’s neither stark nor overly warm.

“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness, well-being and an atmosphere that is pure and simple,” says Jackie Jordan, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams.

Technically speaking, white is “color without color,” shares metro Detroit–based color expert Linda Shears, ASID. She speaks regularly on color theory and psychology. “White is composed of a mixture of all the light frequencies of the visible spectrum,” Shears says. “If you pass white light or sunlight through a prism, it breaks in to all colors. However, if you mix paint pigments of those colors together, you will get black-ish.”

Top artists are, of course, paint-pigment savvy, but in their world, the use of white is crucial. In The Art of Spiritual Harmony, the great modernist painter Wassily Kandinsky wrote that white offers a “harmony of silence … like many pauses in music that break temporarily the melody. It is not a dead silence, but one pregnant with possibilities.”

Through the ages, all cultures have had a positive association with white, whether cognizant of the color’s emotive powers or not. “In the Western culture,” Shears says, “white is the color of wholeness. It offers a sense of peace and a clean slate, before anything is muddied. It signifies awakening, openness, growth and creativity.”

 

“No doubt white is flawless, airy and pure, but be careful,” says metro Detroit–based interior designer Armina Kasprowicz of AK Design and Accents. “Some whites can look almost yellow or creamy.”

Triggs concurs, sharing that whites can look “yellow next to furniture with warm tones.” That is precisely why Sherwin-Williams Alabaster is a just-right Goldilocks fit — not too cool and not too warm.

Kasprowicz likes to layer different tones. “The walls could be a medium white and the trim a brighter white,” she says. “Tone on tone is beautiful.”

White can also be super powerful with another color, Kasprowicz says. “If you pair it with black, for example, it’s classic and timeless, and you get instant drama.”

Take a cue from Mother Nature, Kasprowicz suggests. “Look at penguins and how black pops against white. Or look at birds’ feathers — they may read white, but there are flecks of pinks, browns and grays, like in a Scandinavian look where tones of whites and grays pair with the warmth of wood and browns. In this instance, soft textures, like gray linens, make the space sing.”

White also can be a frame when used on molding. “A white molding becomes a silhouette and doesn’t compete with furniture,” Triggs explains.

As for displaying artwork, many designers concur that the best color for walls is white. “White allows the art — instead of the walls — to speak,” designer Shears says.

Whether it’s covering a home’s walls, ceilings, trim or molding, or is seen in freshly fallen snow, exotic shoreline sands or birds’ feathers, the color white is unquestionably universally appealing. 

Sherwin-Williams Most Popular Whites

 

Alabaster (SW 7008)

 

Dover White (SW 6385)

 

Antique White (SW 6119)

 

Pure White (SW 7005)

 

Snowbound (SW 7004)