First of all, did you know there IS a difference between all those different shades of white? Right?! Crazy! Generally speaking, most paint companies like Dulux or Taubmans group their white paints in similar shades and tones so you can easily see the difference between cool and warm shades. Cool whites normally have a blue, black or grey undertone which creates that cool tone. In a room with mostly artificial lighting, the cool toned whites can seem stark and oppressing, but they are great in a room with lots of natural light! A clean, minimalist aesthetic is where cool whites are best used.
The best whites for using in a room with little to no natural light are warm whites. This is because they have a yellow or pink undertone that creates warmth where there is none. If you want a cosy and inviting feel to your space, choosing a warm white is a great idea! In contrast to the cool whites, you probably don’t want to use a warm white in a room with lots of natural light as the yellow and pink tones will become more pronounced. Natural materials and fabrics pair really well with warm whites, especially if you’re wanting an earthy, creamy vibe in your space.
For the most part, cool whites are associated with modern styles of interiors, whereas warm whites are more simpatico with country or traditional style houses. This doesn’t mean you can’t use a warm white in a modern home- the colours of 2019 are actually trending towards more earthy, warm colours within a modern aesthetic. If you’re having a hard time deciding, use this general rule of thumb to help narrow down the choices. Also considering the function of the room is important, for example, in a bathroom you might want to use a warmer white to make the space feel less clinical. You also might want to use a cooler white if the bathroom gets a lot of natural light.
Choosing which white to paint an exterior is a touch choice. Natural light is everywhere outside! You still have to take into account the shadows and other external factors that can affect the overall impact of the white. If you live in a predominantly wintery or cloudy location, then a warm white will be perfect to bring balance to the exterior tone. If you live in a bright and sunny location, then a cool white might be able to neutralise the bright natural light. With white paints, it’s all about choosing a tone that suits the location. Because sunlight and shadows affect the overall effect of the white, you may need to choose a darker or lighter paint than you’d like, because the end result is always different than the swatch.