They say the Eskimos have over 100 words for SNOW.  Well not to be outdone, paint companies have hundreds and hundreds of words for the color WHITE. This fact was recently pointed out to a good friend of mine. She and her family are less than one week away from moving to Montreal CA from Boston MA (in a too good to pass up job opportunity for her husband). Since they will only be there for 3 years they are keeping their current home and are renting an apartment in Canada. She told me she loves their new apartment but every room is painted a different color from the crayon box so the landlord has offered to have the whole place repainted.

Now choosing paint color can be a daunting task even in the best of circumstances; but choosing color from another country for a home you have only seen once without knowing what your furniture, carpets or fabrics will be, is nearly impossible. For that reason my friend emailed the painter to “just paint the whole place white”.  Sounds simple, right?  Well my poor friend called me in a complete panic because the painter emailed her back (smart painter) and asked, “of the more than 200 whites available which one do you want me to use?”




Choosing white is not any easier than choosing any other color. Like other neutrals, most whites have undertones and you want to choose the right undertone in order to get the look and feel you want.  Whites can be a pure white or have either a Yellow, Red (pink) or Blue (Green, Purple) undertone.

So if you decide to “just paint it white” here are 3 Tips for choosing the “right” white.

#1. Determine the look and feel you want for the room.

If you want a warm and cozy feeling in your room then soft creamy whites (yellow undertone) work best. Creamy whites work great in more traditional homes that have other neutrals and earth tones in the fabrics  and carpet.


If a super bright and clean contemporary look is what you want then a pure white or a white with a blue undertone will work best.



#2. It is important to think about how much light the room gets.

Contrary to popular belief, white does not brighten up a dark space. White just goes gray and dull without plenty of light. If your room is flooded with bright natural light then a pure white or a cool white (blue undertone)  looks great.



If the room is bright but lacking a lot of natural light then choosing a white with pink or red undertones can warm up the space.




#3. Look at what other Colors are in the room.

A bright, clean or cool white looks best with other bright clean colors.

While creamy whites look best with Earth Tones, other neutrals and dark wood furniture.


As for my stressed out friend?  She couldn’t answer any of my 3  questions so I did what she asked and “just picked a white”….hope she likes it !! 🙂


What do you think of white?


If you need help choosing the right white or any other color, give me a call.







Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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