White has long been beloved by architects and interior designers for its versatility and freshness. But as anyone who has ever tried to choose from among hundreds of shades of white paint can attest, decorating with white isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’ve pulled together the best tips — starting with how to choose that perfect paint color — so you can decorate in white with confidence and style.

How to choose the right white paint and trim color. 

Why is it that the same white paint that makes one room look fresh and crisp can make another seem stark and cold? It all comes down to the light. By working with the natural light in your space, you can find a shade of white that enhances your room’s best qualities. On its own, a white paint swatch simply looks white — but put several side by side and you should start to notice that some white paints appear warmer more beige or a touch of pink, while others appear cooler, like a very pale gray.

So, which one to choose? Picking the right white trim depends on what color the walls are painted: Generally speaking, warm goes with warm, cool with cool. Or use a non-white trim, like a simple stained or unfinished wood- or paint them a dark contrast like black. For cool white trim, try Site White from Sherwin Williams, Full Moonfrom Behr, or Horizon from Benjamin Moore. For warm white trim, try Creamy from Sherwin-Williams,  or Acadia White from Benjamin Moore

How to use white in an open-plan space. 

When multiple rooms of a home are visible at once, the use of one wall color throughout helps the space feel more serene. White is a good choice because it goes with everything, and it makes compact spaces feel larger. 

How to add color to a white-walled room. 

White walls can actually be one of the best choices for people who love bright, bold color. The reason? With white on the walls, you’re totally free to go hog-wild with color and pattern in the rest of the space, and you can change it all on a whim. Bring in bold color with a statement light fixture, or add colorful chairs around the dining table. Hang one oversize piece of artwork as a focal point. Layer on color with rugs, curtains and rich upholstery.

How to liven up a white kitchen.

All-white kitchen a bit too blinding? Don’t fret; there are plenty of ways to bring in color.
Pile up your favorite (colorful) cookbooks. Display a collection of colorful pottery on open shelving, or add a fun rug.
 

 

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