Winter White & Warm NeutralsPublished on March 3, 2016

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  • Farrow & Ball Drop Cloth on walls

  • Sherwin Williams Oyster White

  • Farrow & Ball Drop Cloth

  • Benjamin Moore Cloud White


Amidst the usual crowds and hullabaloo at the Ottawa Fall Home Show last September, I had the opportunity to speak with Ottawa At Home editor Mary Taggart. It wasn’t long before we dived into one of our favourite topics – major trends in colour and wallpaper. It was a rare moment for us. Most of our previous conversations have taken place on a stage, via email, or more commonly, in passing as we dashed from one place to another at a home and garden show.

We all seem to live such busy and complicated lives, so finding actual face-to-face time has become a rarity, if not non-existent. Perhaps our increasingly complex society is the impetus for the colour trend that now dominates the marketplace: white, or more specifically, all things white!
What exactly is white? Some argue that it is not even a colour. But looking through a colour deck, a magazine or glancing outside, it seems as though the colour white has many vibrant personalities and moods. It can be warm or cool, soft or sharp or crisp and clean. Indeed, no other colour that I know of garners more passionate debate or response than the multiple shades of white.

White is the original neutral and its many shades and tones can tie all things together and make it work. White paint is an exceptional way to freshen up a room and provide a calm and pleasing canvas for bold works of art, antiques or furniture. Use whites in your bedroom to highlight the simple beauty of classic white linens. 

A coat of white paint can transform something old into something new and can breathe new life into moulding, wainscoting or furniture. Using whites in either warm or cool tones can provide a simple way to renew any room. To add depth to a white room, apply two different sheens or tones of white. For instance, apply a flat white to the wall that receives the most light and a satin finish to the remaining walls. Sheen and tone variances will create a calm, peaceful environment without the room feeling cold or sterile.

Other than for traditional use as a ceiling and trim paint, I had never painted a room white until recently. Now, I am starting to use white as a dominant theme at home and just applied a coat to my living room. The room was immediately transformed and remarkably bright, so I decided to paint the wall that received direct sunlight in a flat white to calm things down quite a bit. I was struck by how all the artwork “popped” and it made the ornate detail on antique furniture stand out.

If you are ready to try using white on your own walls, take advantage of the broad and diversified selection of white paints available.


Andrew Downward

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