12 Best Color White Finishes to Use in Any Rooms
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Did you know that white is the most used color in interior design? I've overused white color in many finishes, fixtures, and furnishings for more than a decade of designing residential and commercial interior and exterior spaces. In rooms, most whites are in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, or areas intended to look clean and hygienic.
Technically, white is not a color but a shade with no specific wavelength. In physics, white contains all wavelengths of visible light. It is a combination of all colors (amazing, right?). But I'm not here to talk about the technical stuff about the color white or the shade of white. This blog is about the twelve best color white finishes to use in any room and bonus interior design tips that I usually apply to my designs when using white colors.
There are hundreds of shades of white out there, and according to Wikipedia, cream, eggshell, ivory, Navajo white, and vanilla are colors often considered "shades of white." For paint finishes, different brands such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have varieties of White and Off-White paints with their system of color families.
Aside from paints, ceramic and porcelain tiles are also available in many shades of off-whites. There are also stones such as quartz and granite in white shades and white wash wood finishes such as pine, birch, and white oak. There are tons of selections for white finishes, and it will take a lot of research and reading to tackle them all.
White Paint Colors
Let's start with my best used and go to white paint colors. In my previous blogs, I always emphasize that selecting paint colors and the paint product for walls are one of the most challenging parts of interior design. Some designers do this process in the latter part, but I believe it should be part of the design conceptualization before other materials, finishes, and furnishing selections. I find it easier to select different finishes, such as accent finishes, once I have decided on my wall paint and colors.
One of my favorite wall colors is the Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. I also think this color is the most popular choice for the interior wall color for most architects and interior designers. I love how well the color reflects natural and artificial light. It is as white as a pearl in the morning and looks warm in the afternoon. According to Benjamin Moore's website, the color has a Light Reflectance Value of 90.04, which is quite near to a pure white color (100 being pure white and 0 being black).
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Chantilly Lace is perfect for Farmhouse interior and minimalist styles with clean lines and limited moldings. I also used the color in a classic interior space with sophisticated wood moldings and intricate details on walls, making it look spotless.
If you're leaning toward a warmer shade of white, the Acadia White is one of the best options. I use this color in bedrooms, reading areas, and sometimes living rooms to achieve a calm and warmer environment. I thought this color was ideal for retro or groovy spaces as it perfectly matches some pastel colors such as red, orange, and green.
The color has an 83.32 Light Reflectance Value, far from pure or absolute white. I like how the color looks warm all day long except with ambient lighting, which I thought makes all colors look white. Also, Acadia White is the perfect wall paint to match with whiter doors, trims, and ceiling.
Aside from the cool name, another attractive off-white color from Benjamin Moore is the White Ice. I use this color if my goal is to come up with a cooler yet still relaxing interior ambiance. I thought this color was best for office spaces, kid's rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms. Contemporary and modern interior design styles are the best match for this color. Applying dark colors such as charcoal or any dark greys on doors and window trims is a sure win to achieve both interior styles with the White Ice.
Similar to the Acadia White (not precisely), the color has a Light Reflectance Value of 83.79, which is not close to the value of pure white. I love how this color looks different in the morning, with a hint of green and blue tones in the afternoon.
There are tons and tons of tile options in the market, and white tiles are trendy in interior finishes. The challenge is always the pattern, texture, and type of tiles. However, the color is the most exciting part when selecting the right tile for your space. And since we are talking about white finishes, we are pretty much established with white tiles.
The most used white tiles are the subway tiles, typically seen as a kitchen backsplash, and bathroom wall tiles. It's easy to look at, modern, timeless, and cleanability is not tricky. Since the white subway tiles aren't new to you (and me), I will not include that in my options. Feel free to use it, though, if you're looking for the essential kind of backsplash for your kitchen.
I still love playing with shapes and textures, even when using white tiles for walls or floors. The Terra Pompeia from Tile Bar is a perfect example of an off-white tile with subtle playfulness of both shapes and texture. The size of the tile is fantastic for floor and backsplash application, and I like the white cement discoloration effect on each tile that creates an appealing texture. I thought this tile would add a high level of sophistication to a space and a subtle accent to the floor or walls when you want white paint as your field or overall color for your walls.
Imagine these tiles on your bathroom floor with white wainscotting panels as wall base and an off-white color for the rest of your walls. On top of that, imagine a warmer tone for your cabinets and white paints for your doors and moldings. I'm pretty sure that this tile will stand out from that imagination of yours. This tile is your best option if your goal is to create a more modern and relaxed space.
Another ceramic tile I found while browsing the finishes options for one of my interior design projects: is the Mood Wall Dobraduras by Portabello America. I like finishes that invite people to touch them; that is the first thought that came to mind when I saw this tile. It has that interesting linear three-dimensional pattern that looks stylish yet minimal and creates so much personality.
They have a tile option with a 12" x 36" mix pattern that looks wonderful for kitchen backsplash or as an accent wall for commercial interior spaces such as restaurants and public areas. The tile is rectified, which means that all sides or edges of the tile have been finished uniformly during production and that they fit almost seamlessly side by side with each other leaving a skinny space for grout.
The penny round mosaic tiles for bathrooms and kitchen backsplash are a go-to classic, timeless, and always fashion-forward tiles (any color looks fantastic with this mosaic tile). I always find this type of tile clean and classic, and it goes well with any shapes and colors of finishes that match it.
The penny round mosaic tiles from Jeffrey Court have gloss and matte finish options. I particularly like the matte finish for most mosaic tiles as it makes the wall look modern or contemporary. However, if your want to bounce off lights and other colors in the room, then gloss is the right option. One bold way to play with white penny round mosaic tiles is the color of the grout. You can pick an opposite color, such as charcoal for white tiles, to accent the grout lines; this makes the wall tile stand out and quickly achieve a contemporary feature wall. If the classic and clean style is your goal, white or warmer tone grout is the right direction.
I haven't featured any countertop or stone finishes in my blog before. Since we are talking about white finishes, I thought that countertop finishes are essential in achieving that spotless kitchen or bathroom space.
In interior design, most countertop finishes are quartz, granite, wood, solid surface or synthetic countertops, and sintered stone. I like using quartz and sintered stone countertops because of their durability and natural look; they're much more expensive than other countertop finishes I mentioned. Still, others can't beat these stone finishes' texture and overall design.
The Bianco Giulia is a sintered stone slab from Lapitec used as a countertop, backsplash, cladding, and even flooring. Sintered stones are manufactured products from the base of natural stones and are proven to be more versatile and resistant to fading compared to quartz. This product is also applicable to flooring and roofing.
The Bianco Giulia has a creamy white field and light to dark grey veins resembling natural stones. This finish caught my attention because of its intricate and elaborate vein details. It would look great for a high-end kitchen countertop with a base cabinet in a warm wood tone. Brass, copper, or even matte black plumbing fixture and cabinet handles would look nice to achieve a thoughtful transitional interior design style with this stone finish.
Another sintered stone slab that I admire is the Dekton Entzo by Cosentino. It has natural gold veins that would go well with traditional or classic interior design styles. The clusters of thick veins made the overall look exciting and bold, adding visual texture to the manufactured stone.
I thought this stone finish would go well for bathroom countertops and a full-height wall kitchen backsplash. Combining its classic gold veins with a dark tone wood finish for millwork and gold or copper cabinet handles would create a stylish kitchen workspace.
Terrazzo has found its way back into the interior design spotlight, and countertop terrazzo finishes have been making waves recently. The Veronese multi-colored slab by Artistic Tile is terrazzo with a modern yet very artisan look. It has combined chips of arabescato bianco and marble green and violet lepidolite mica; all bonded together with white resin.
The slab is perfect for kitchen and island countertops, specifically for contemporary or classic kitchen styles. The subtle colors from the combination of different natural stones create a playful yet chic effect on countertops. I would love to see this terrazzo finish on kitchen countertops with white wash wood millwork finish and other pop of colors from pendant lights, counter stools, and mixed classic and modern home décor pieces.
The last set of finishes is wallcoverings and wallpapers. Some of you will ask why we need to use wallcoverings if it's white; why not just paint the wall white? Most white wallcoverings introduce texture and patterns that paint can't achieve. Both these design elements are essential in some areas such as living rooms, dining, kid's rooms, and other commercial spaces, because they can introduce a variety of emotions, excitement, energy, artistic inspiration, and interests.
I like combining other finishes with white wallcoverings to add more texture to the surface. It depends on the wallcovering's pattern and texture as well as the specific use of the finishes. I prefer wood wainscoting with vertical patterns for white wallcoverings with minimal marks. Also, combining wall moldings with white wallcovering is an option to create classic and ageless interior styles.
The zigzag by Carnegie is a vinyl wallcovering applicable for residential and commercial spaces. It has zigzag and linear patterns that can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on your design goal for your area. I can see it on horizontal installation for small spaces to make it look spacious and to direct a focal point of interest.
The different shades of white on the zigzag and linear pattern make some parts of the design look embossed or three-dimensional. I thought that would be an exciting effect if installed on a massive wall matched by framed artworks with plenty of pastel colors.
When selecting white wallcoverings, you don't need to stay all white. There are thousands of selections with fascinating patterns and pop of colors on white backgrounds. The Milo from Koroseal Interior Products has a very playful combination of solid shapes, patterns, and bold colors. I included this wallcovering because I thought it would be a fantastic option for a kid's playroom, powder room, art room, or any space where you want to introduce artistic energy and positive vibes.
I'm a fan of random shapes and pattern from this wallpaper and how some of the patterns are embossed, creating a subtle texture that will indeed invite people to touch it. I also thought that the triangle shape on the white background would create joyful energy and warmth in any space.
Image via Momentum Textile & Wallcovering
Finally, our last wallcovering and white interior finish are the Avenue from Momentum Textile & Wallcovering. The wallcovering in their collection is called Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines Commercial Wallcoverings. I love how the diagonals look different from each other. The detail on each line seems organic and somehow mimics the end part of an arrow.
Although this wallcovering is specifically for commercial use, if budget permits, this is an excellent option for washrooms, bedroom accent walls, and private dining rooms. I would love to use these wallcoverings in luxury clothing, accessory shops, and fashion galleries for commercial spaces.
Well, there you have it, fellow design enthusiasts, the "12 Best Color White Finishes to Use in Any Rooms". I've used some of these finishes in my previous design projects, and some of them are new in the market that I haven't used before, but I'm super excited to try them once an opportunity arises. White finishes, whether paint, tiles, stone, or wallcovering, are essential if used correctly and thoughtfully in interior design. I like using white finishes because you can match them with almost all other colors, patterns, and textures. There's always an opportunity to be more playful with other design elements once you use white as your field or background in your space.
Before I conclude this blog, I curated some white furniture and lighting options that might help you if you're looking for furnishings or fixtures that will match your white tiles, paint, countertop, or wallcovering in your kitchen or bathroom, dining or bedroom. Feel free to check out these items, and please let me know in the comment section if you have design questions. I would be more than happy to answer as much as I can.
09 Wall Sconce (Farmhouse Style)
Since I'm feeling inspired today, I did a quick design rendering of a bathroom, applying some of the white finishes I included on my list. My design goal is to create a clean, sophisticated yet warm-looking bathroom, a personal area to shut off from a busy schedule while enjoying the vibe of being in a neat resort-type spa.
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Together, let's create meaningful and beautiful spaces.
Hi Kat T.,
Thanks for reading my blog! I’m glad you like it. You’re blog site is so informative as well. Keep it up!
This post is super helpful! thanks