How to choose white paint

Colour trends come and go but classic white walls remain a popular choice. With dozens of white shades on the market, Bunnings National Paint Buyer David spells out the difference between warm white and cool white, and shares a few tips on how to choose the white that’s right for you.

Warm or cool white?

The difference between warm and cool white is the undertones they feature. Cool whites are backed by grey, blue or beige whilst warm whites tend to have subtle yellow, peach or pink undertones. You’d be surprised how big a difference this can make.

Warm whites

Warm whites are great at creating a cosy atmosphere. They work well with earthy, organic shades and are ideally suited to more traditional or country style homes. You’ll love warm whites if your furnishings have natural hues and textures. For southern facing rooms, warm whites may help you to soften up a room that doesn’t get a lot of sun.

Cool whites

If you’re looking to create a modern, minimalist look in your home, then cool white is the colour for your walls.  Cool whites also work well in rooms that get a lot of sun, as they tend to neutralise bright light.

The impact of natural light

Natural light has a big impact on the colours of your walls and white is no exception. If your room gets really bright from lots of sunlight, you may want to avoid a warm white that has yellow undertones on your walls. Try opting for a cooler white with blue undertones instead.

Whereas if you have a room that needs brightening up, adding a warm white on the walls or roof will help you to create more reflective surfaces and lighten up your room.

Don’t forget an undercoat

After you’ve chosen the white for your room, it’s important to give your walls an undercoat first. This will ensure that you get the exact white on your walls that you planned for. An undercoat is especially important if you are going from a darker colour on your walls to a white. It will mask the darker coat and also help the new paint stick to the walls more effectively.

Lighting your room

Even the lights in your home can change the appearance of the paint colour on your walls. LEDs are available in warm white and cool white so make sure that you choose the LED that suits the white you on your walls.

If you have a classically styled room with warm white walls and lots of wood panelling, then opt for halogen lights with a 2400K to 3000K rating. This will help you achieve a warm, cosy look. Whereas a fluorescent light may help in cool white rooms.

Start painting

Check out the full Paint & Decorating range available at your local Bunnings.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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