How to Turn White Paint Off-White

Save

Off-white is anything but simple. The color is really a whole spectrum of shades that play off each other, off other neutrals, or off more vivid hues to control the feeling in a room and direct the eye. If you're staring down an excess of leftover pure white paint or can't quite find the exact off-white for your next project, mix your own custom color to flatter furnishings or pick out architectural detail. Less is more -- a tiny bit of the darker color has a dramatic affect on white paint.

Color Theory

  • When you want to create off-white paint, you're talking about shade and tone. You mix black with an original color to make a shade -- in the case of off-white, a duller white with a hint of gray. To get a tone, mix any color but black or white with an original color. This lowers the reflective light value of pure white as well, but it results in an off-white with the faintest hint of a colored undertone -- anything from a warm cream to a cool not-quite-mint to a barely-blush. A tone is always softer than an original color, and a tone of white is less stark than pure white. A few things to know about how your mixing affects how your off-white paint behaves: Warmer tones seem to advance and cooler tones seem to recede. Altering pure white with a pigment -- black or a color -- causes it to become a bit duller and stand out less because the pigment absorbs some of the light.

The Match -- and Why It Matters

  • Consult the fixtures in the room to determine the precise off-white you will need. Fixtures can be floors -- warm woods with yellow or red tones in them, stone, tile or a prized carpet; architectural features such as a focal-point fireplace; the antique walnut four-poster that dominates any space it occupies; brushed stainless appliances or enameled kitchen cabinets; or a marquee oil painting that will take pride-of-place in the decor. Your primarily gold Oushak carpet could look muddy if the undertone of the off-white on the walls is gray, blue, pink or green. Your linen sofa with the most delicate of pink undertones in the fiber will clash uncomfortably with off-white walls that carry a trace of green or yellow. Off-white is subtle, but it is a color, and it should blend with the other colors in the room, however understated they may be.

Facing the Light

  • Create the right shade of off-white for the natural light in a room. You can always adjust the bulbs in artificial lighting, but daylight is daylight, and it will affect the perception of paint color. In a north-facing room, creamy, yellow-based off-whites reflect more light and warm the room; green or gray undertones could be gloomy. South-facing rooms are easy because they get so much full light that you can go cool or warm with your off-whites. Rooms that face east get blue-hued light; work with cool undertones of blue or green for harmony. West-facing rooms are shadowed in the morning but lit with very warm, almost orange light in the afternoon. Either warm or cool undertones can work in this room, but the off-white should be very close to pure white so it adapts easily to the changing light.

On-Trend Off-Whites

  • If you opt for all-white decor against pure, unadulterated white paint, grab your sunglasses. That space will be dazzling because the white will reflect maximum light around the room, bouncing brightness everywhere. A more sophisticated approach is to select from one or more off-white shades or tones that proclaim your decor style. Your off-whites might include rich ivory, warm sand, buttercream-white, flattering blush, sweet vanilla, chalky oyster-white, fresh white-asparagus, heirloom parchment-white, or cool dove-white. Use more than one off-white in a room, but avoid post-painting regrets by choosing from either a warm or cool palette. Flat white-asparagus walls are framed to advantage by ghostly dove-white enamel on baseboards and trim.

References

  • Photo Credit susaro/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • The Best White Paint Colors

    How to Make Off-white Using Paint. Featured. 7 Money-Saving Home Upkeep Projects for Fall. Read Article. 11 Desks to Fit Your Study...

  • How to Paint Your Sneakers

    Rhinestones and beads are likely to get knocked off and aren't recommended. ... You can change the color of your shoes from...

  • How to Make White Paint

    How to Make White Paint. ... Test the consistency by dipping your brush into the paint; a thread of paint should run...

  • How to Tone Down Bright Yellow Paint

    How to Tone Down Bright Yellow Paint. ... you are now also faced with the decision of spending money to paint the...

  • How to Mix Gold Paint

    How to Mix Gold Paint. ... Mix black paint with white paint to make gray, and then mix the gray with yellow....

  • How to Make White in Acrylic Paint

    Acrylic paint is made by combining a pigment (finely ground powders derived from minerals), a binder (a latex-based liquid) and water. There...

  • Most Popular Inside Home Paint Colors

    Off-white walls are neutral just like white walls, but they provide an extra bit of warmth.

  • Homemade White Face Paint

    How to Make White Poster Paint; Spider Queen Face Painting: ... How to Make Your Own Oatmeal Face Paint. Face paint is...

  • Tea Stained Painting Techniques

    How to Paint With Tea and Coffee; Comments You May Also Like. How to Tea Stain Kitchen Cabinets. ... usually white, to...

  • How to Mix Colors to Make Pink

    Pink has traditionally been a feminine color. However, it is becoming increasingly popular with men as well. Pink is really just a...

Related Searches

Read Article

19 Home Decor DIYs That Only Look Expensive

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!