Monday, January 30, 2012

are you playing it safe with white?

Whether you are redecorating, extending or building a new house it is exciting yet at the same time very daunting choosing the colours for everything from the floor to the ceiling and everything in-between.  Faced with all the choices it is easy to opt for white, after all it is the safe choice.  Isn't it?  

Lets have a look at some of the reasons given for choosing white and why it is not always the best choice.
a few subtle variations of white
white is simple
White is not just pure white.  There are many subtle variations that may show hints of colour, that will be difficult to see unless applied to a large area.  Just like with colours there are combinations that work and those that don't.

white = bigger + brighter
Whilst this can be true for some rooms, for instance, applying it to a room with little natural light can look dirty.  Applying some colour would be a better choice.  
On Robben Island the lime quarry mined by Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates, with their back to the sun the harsh rays reflected against the dazzling white lime.  The glare meant the inmates squinted their eyes during the day and then took a long time to adjust to the lower light in their cells (Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom).  Choosing a white that is too light can be hard on the eyes just like the lime quarry.
these are just some of the colours in the full Dulux range
In Australia, Dulux make it easier for you by only showing around 1500 of their colours in places like Bunnings, when the full range from Dulux is nearer to the 5000 mark.  And that is just one paint company. Even if you manage to eliminate your least favourite colour you are still left with hundreds, if not thousands of colours to choose from.  No wonder it so difficult to make a final decision when you don't what direction to take, that you give up and look at the smaller range of whites.
safe choice
Maybe you are thinking of being bold with a colour but remain unsure, so you ask a friend or a family member what they think.  Doing this there is the strong likelihood you will receive a negative comment. You start doubting yourself, start considering other colours, become confused which one to go with.  Then you decide that white is going to be the safe choice.  
Would it not be best to choose a scheme that makes you happy, after all it is you that lives in your house, not your friend. Also, unlike your friend/ family member I can give you the whys of a colour scheme so you can have the confidence that they are the right selections for you and your home.
which white best suits your home?
could it be yellow white, grey white, pinkish white?

white won't date
Many will think that white will always look good, that it won't date.  One colour by itself will have a harder time to look dated, it is the combination of colours, the materials used, style of fixtures and fittings that are all guilty together of dating a space.  Again just like colours there are some whites that look more yesterday than today.
white adds more to resale value
Many real estate agents will advice you to keep it neutral to avoid offending any potential buyer.  I say, what do they know about colour?  Applied well colour can be used to highlight features, add character and probably more importantly, in a tough selling market, stand out (for all the right reasons) from the crowd.
Most reference have been to paint colour, as this is where the widest selection of colours are available, however the principles applies to any kind of material or furnishings applied in your home.  You now have plenty of reasons why white is not always the safe or best choice, so go on be bold choose some colour.  If you are still feeling daunted, you will benefit from a colour consultation.  If you are on North Shore of Sydney contact me at

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