White walls are definitely in. While you might think that white goes with everything and that anyone can jump on board the white wall trend, it turns out that not all white is the same. And, not all homes are the same. Specifically, there are a few different elements that need to come together for white walls to work in your home.
Here are five tips to know before you paint your walls true white. Be sure to read to the end to find out what you can do if your home doesn’t meet the white wall requirements.
1. You Need a Lot of Natural Light
One of the most common misconceptions with white walls is that they’ll make a dark space seem brighter. However, the opposite is actually true. A white room without an abundance of natural light will just look dull and dingy.
If you’re not sure if your house qualifies as having “lots of natural light,” ask yourself these questions:
- Are there large windows on at least two sides of the room?
- Do you get direct sunlight that streams in through those windows?
If you can answer a firm yes to both of those questions, then your room can handle white walls.
2. It’s Important to Use the Right White
Did you know that there’s actually a wide variety of different shades of white? White can range from true whites to off-whites to creams. There are even tinted whites that feature just a hint of color.
Moreover, if you were to look at each of the different whites on their own, it would be hard to tell the difference. But, when you compare them together, it’s easy to see that there are actually many different shades of white.
To ensure that you use the right white, look at the other fixed finishes in your home. If you have warm tile and wood that features primarily brown tones, choose an off-white or cream. Alternatively, if your home has cool finishes with gray and black tones, select a cool or true white.
3. You Can’t Paint Just One Room White
If you decide to go white, you have to commit. For example, if you paint just one room white but the other rooms have darker colors on the walls, the white room will look unfinished; it will look like you’ve primed the room and are ready to paint it a color that complements the rest of your house.
4. You Need More Than White Walls
To make any paint color work, it needs to relate to other items in the room. This is even more true when it comes to white walls. For white walls to look intentional, there has to be a lot of white in the room. Ideally, the largest item in the room should also be white. Then, you can repeat it in a variety of small- and medium-sized items; just be sure to also incorporate plenty of texture to add interest and depth.
5. Decorating is Key
No matter what color you’re working with, if your home isn’t decorated, it won’t look finished. So often when people are unhappy with how their home looks, it’s because they don’t have a look and a feel. This is especially true when it comes to white walls because they make such a stark backdrop.
This is where the principles of design come into play; you need a focal point, balance, good flow, a bit of contrast and lots of texture to bring a white room to life. Without well-thought-out decor, white paint can look like primer in a room waiting to be finished.
What to Do Instead
Now that you know the secrets to making white walls work, you’re ready to try out this hot trend. But, if you’ve learned that white isn’t the answer for your home, that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace a light and airy wall color. You just have to work with a very pale neutral instead. Fortunately, there are many beautiful shades of cream or pale greige that will give you the same bright and airy space – without all of the strict conditions of white walls.