I am your quintessential minimalist when it comes to colour. While I appreciate a pop of colour, I rarely use it and rarely wear it (except on my lips...always wearing red lippy!)
However as a 10 year old I was given the choice to re-paint my room as a birthday gift from my parents. I could pick ANY colour and style I wanted and my dad and I would get decorating!
I am embarrassed to admit this now but I perused over the paint sample books for weeks; looking at styles, colours and new techniques to work out what I really wanted to do before deciding (as was the trend at the time) to create a sponge affect on the walls...not just any sponge affect a pale blue base with a pastel yellow overlay. I know, I know OH MY WHAT WAS I THINKING????? In my desperate attempt to defend myself, I was 10, it was trendy (trust me) and I did think we did a wonderful job of painting so kudos to us!
But since that design faux par my colour palette has softened dramatically and I have learned to use colour as an accent rather than the main feature. Actually the ever talent, master of mixing patterns and colours, Anna Spiro has adopted the same ethos when it comes to painting, the blanker the canvas, the better. What do I mean? Its all about the whites!
My store is the perfect example of this, I have white wall and white timber flooring and not a day goes by where people don't comment on how well it showcases the products, or how lovely and effective it is. There is absolutely no reason you cannot introduce colour as a feature wall in a paint or wallpaper, add bold artworks, textiles or rugs to a space to give it that extra 'oomph' but the beauty of whites are that they can take on any trend, any style and movement and compliment it.
White has the ability to open up a space, maker it feel cleaner and clearer, make ceilings feel higher and can feel both warm and cool. Whether a modernist, minimalist, a lover of Scandinavian style, or someone who loves tradition and antiques; it will help create the perfect base for your style.
But whites are not all the same, its important when picking a white for you to consider the amount of natural light, the purpose of the space, the style of the accents and how it will be used in order to pick the right white! The base material will greatly affect the way the colour appears, timber, masonry, plasters, gyprock etc as well as the initial base colour will greatly affect how the white takes to walls and space.
My suggestion is to take 2-3 sample pots with you and paint a square on your wall; from day to night you will see how the colour appears, if its got a grey undertone, a pink, yellow or cream.
Paint each sample in a different place and not too close together so you are not put off or overwhelmed looking at them side by side.
Sit on it for a week or two and look at them at different points in the day and you'll often be surprised how different they are, or how the white you thought was perfect may be too cool or too warm for the space.
Its much easier to change your accents if too bold than it is to change a wall so put your energy into creating a space that reflects you, your style and the rooms functionality and save your self the heartache of repainting later!
So if you are stuck on what is a good white here are some of my personal favs;