Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to choose white paint

I'd like to note that as of this week, I've written just over 1500 posts here at Hugs For Your Head. Most of them feature colour, or at least fiber.  I can only think of one about white paint - the time I painted a pair of vintage chairs, which incidentally are still gorgeous.

Today though, in 'what has my life become' news, what's at the forefront of my existence is white paint.  And since white walls do set off bookshelves full of yarn stashes or pinboards full of pattern ideas, I thought I'd share the subject here.

When you think about simple decorating, white is a no-brainer.  It's a bright clean neutral to contrast darker simple pieces or balance chaotic colour and pattern.  It's also less personal than blues or tans or greys or yellows, if you're in a space only temporarily and don't want to have to repaint when you go.  But white is different in every material, as I'm sure you know.  I didn't discover that helpful fact until we first moved to our house and updated our tiny bathroom with all-white fixtures.  Our sink is cream, the tub ice, the tiled walls not unlike down.  So much for monochromatic.

At, designer Kelly Porter describes the problem of, and approaches to, white.  Essentially, its shades vary as much as that of any colour, and are as affected by shifting degrees of light, and have just as much potential to look terrible.

Thomas Pheasant, in a story by Laura Eckstein for House Beautiful, shares some great perspectives on whittling down the choices to suit your particular situation, as well as a tip for whitening the ceiling paint to subtly increase a room's brightness.

These two articles sum up the problem I am facing with the new condo - for which we get keys tomorrow, yay!!!

In a word, that problem is 'dark'.

I think.  When we saw it the day we decided to try to buy it, it was just about sunset on a grey day, so even though the windows face west we weren't seeing much light.  In the morning, I can't imagine it will be much brighter, and there are no overhead lights in the bedrooms or the living room.  If we can't have lights installed easily (by which I mean 'without tearing down all that drywall and rewiring everything') it's going to be a white paint fix.

Mostly because there was a huge snowstorm in Toronto yesterday and I am not eager to go through many more commutes like today's will be, just so we can do a big elaborate fix-up downtown.

But which white to choose?  And how soon can I choose it, since I have to paint the place before we can even think about when to move in?  I know the safest thing is to tape a variety of swatches (or to paint some actual samples) onto the wall and check the changing shades over the course of several hours, but that's going to mean several visits over a week or so if I'm to fit in all the different times of day.

I can't remember having this much trouble the last time I chose white paint, also for a west-facing room.  Whatever it was I chose looks great here at the house.  I wonder whether I still have a can of that paint?

H'mmmm.  Let me just go check that out while you go have a great day.  I'm going to show you some knitting tomorrow and I hope I see you then!

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