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What to Know Before You Paint Your Walls White –

A coat of white paint can do wonders in one room and wreak havoc in another.  Here are tips for using the popular hue.

There are few better ways to bring a fresh start to a home’s interior than by painting it white. This clean-slate strategy is often used immediately upon the purchase of a new home. I’ve known clients who prime the walls white even before the boxes arrive on move-in day.

But the same white paint that makes one room seem magical can make another look frighteningly chilly. As with all colors, white has an associated temperature, mood, light reflectivity and style, along with maintenance requirements and history. Ignore these elements, and your seemingly fresh, crisp white paint can make your space feel completely off. But worry not. Oftentimes all it takes is just a little addition of another color to warm things up or tone them down. Here’s what to consider before you paint your walls white.

Consider the Natural Light Source –
Before painting a room white, identify its orientation. Rooms that face away from the noonday sun receive gray-blue light, which is great for a summer bedroom, a gym or a studio where you want constancy. A clear white paint will optimize the light of these spaces while keeping things cool.

The same white color, though, would not work in a north-facing family room in New England. White’s visual relationship to the snow and ice outside the windows would be visually chilling. Instead, try tinting your white with red, yellow or orange or selecting a color from Benjamin Moore’s Off-White Collection for rooms where you plan to eat, socialize and linger.

Rooms that do not benefit from sunlight streaming in each day are good candidates. Warm color pigments replicate the heat aspect of sunshine and will increase blood pressure, the level of activity and the positive vibe you want with company. Neuroscience, using MRIs, has documented the physiological effects of color and supported what artists have long held to be true about the power of warm colors to make us feel the heat.

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