Is white a color?
In physics they would say no, as color is visible light on a specific wavelength. White light contains all the wavelengths of visible light, black is the absence of color. In art, white is the absence of color and they consider black as the presence of all colors.
So can we say pure white is the absence of color or the presence of all colors? All depends on your perspective.
White is the color of fresh beginnings, purity, cleanliness, goodness, loyalty, unifying. A color which brings clarity, the opportunity to start all over. A color for aging, think of white hair. For some seen as a negative association, for others it stands for wisdom. The meaning of color can be very cultural related. In the West white is the color for weddings, in the East it is the color of funerals, mourning.
White as snow, white as a sheet, white lie, white wash…..
Image all the possibilities you have when you have a white paper, and it is up to you if you want to write a poem, to make a sketch, use it to make a calculation……. but those endless possibilities can also be terrorizing. The same when you enter a new house or apartment. All those white walls, where to begin?
White was one of the first colors used in art. 18.000 years ago paleothic artist would use chalk as background, or to highlight a part of the drawings they would make on the walls in a cave.
Pure white can be to much, but it all depends of the materials you will use. White can seem cold but it can also feel fragile, warm and tender, poetic. To much white can make you think of a hospital.
I love the scene with the clouds out the movie The Girl with the Pearl, when Vermeer is asking Griet what color she sees when looking at the clouds. White same all the other colors are having a lot of shades and hues. Imagine the world with only one tone of red, green and yellow.
Optical white should not scare you, there are hundreds of white tones to choose from. Off-whites, can have a warm or a cold undertone. White can be much more. Picking the right white paint is harder than you would think. But it makes a big difference which tone of white you will pick. Some whites with a blueish - grey undertone will bring a crisp tone to the room, others with a yellow undertone will make the room feel warm.
When I’m looking for a nice white tone and want to be sure it will be the perfect white, than I go to Benjamin Moore for Simply White. You remember a few years ago they made it their color of the year.
You should always buy a small amount of paint to test the the color on a bigger surface, in the room where you want to use it. A color can look beautiful on a small sample, but can look completely different in your home. And than we think white is white, forget that, you can go quite wrong with choosing a white tone.
White will always be in the top three of favorite colors for bathroom and kitchen. Why? Simple: because you will notice immediately when it is dirty. And the bathroom and kitchen are the rooms where we want to have it all the time spotless. Go for a mat finishe as a shiny finish will make it look cold and you will see each finger print on the surface.
In the other rooms take care as to much white can make you feel lonely and isolated.
Before we will know winter will be there again. White is a perfect color also for that season. A thick woolen blanket, mohair, candle light. Make it cosy: warm white tones in the house and crisp white of the fresh fallen snow outdoors.
Wood is always a good choice to warm up a room. The natural look will give us a secure feeling, adding comfort. So a wood floor is just the perfect choice. Add small table, or objets.
A room painted in white will reflect very well the natural light. So very important in a space where there is not to much natural light. The white walls will also the perfect background to hang art works.
A white interior can be relaxing. Take care to choose the right materials. A shiny lacquered cabinet will look much colder than a sofa upholstered in a heavy linen or mohair velvet.
Even the choice of paint can make a big difference. Take a semi gloss for the skirting, eggshell for the walls and flat paint for the ceiling and you will see how the light reflect different on each surface, creating a beautiful harmony.
White is the perfect background to start adding color. It will work with strong colors for a modern look, your colors will look vibrant and fresh. Take care not to combine it with to much black, the contrast is to big, add tones of grey to soften it a bit. The white background will also be influenced by the colors around it. A white wall will get a pinkish tone when you have a fuchsia sofa in front of it.
so choose white
as the perfect background
for a clean look
choose it with care, make a test at home
and make it warm by using natural materials