White supremacy

Friday, October 02, 2009 | | 2 comments »

If there is one thing I hate in home design, it's people who are afraid to paint.

Let it be sung from the mountaintops: basic flat contractor-grade white paint (whether in a brand new home or in a fresh rental) is absolutely unacceptable. Yes, white is a color - in fact, it is ALL colors - that is smart for home design; however, the right white will make or break everything else in the room. When you move somewhere new, chances are good you will get that basic chalky white that scuffs easily and has absolutely no sheen and no temperature. If you must have a white-walled space, paint that drab wall with a good, bright white, as fast as you can.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who know that there are literally thousands of whites. And that can be overwhelming. But it needn't be. Here is the absolute easiest guide to finding your perfect white. Remember these 4 hues - they are all you will need to know (all colors are by the granddaddy of paint, Benjamin Moore):
  1. Super White: This is a bright, clean white. This white is most reactive to the light in the room and will take on the tint of the furnishings in the room. It instantly adapts it's temperature based on it's environment. Think of an art gallery.
  2. Dove White: This white has an ever-so-slight hint of gray. It's just enough to temper the brightness, and works really well in spaces that get a lot of light, where Super White could be almost blinding.
  3. Navajo White: This is a classic off-white. If you want a white room, but feel it is too stark for your surroundings and furnishings, this casts a decidedly warm glow. Suggestion: this looks amazing with Super White as your trim.
  4. White Diamond: My current favorite! This is a very cool white, with the teensiest whisper of blue to it. This looks great with dark wood tones and metals, as well as almost anything you can buy at Design Within Reach or West Elm.
The right white is like having a cell phone or email......when you have it, you wonder how you lived without it. Trust.

And now you know!

Please welcome our latest columnist to The Rural Modernist fold,Joe Armenia from Campagna Home. He will be weighing in on his latest design obsessions, tips, and finds on a regular basis and I couldn't be happier since it means less work for me.


  1. MsSvelteNY // October 2, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    I love the shade Dove White especially for a workspace but now I'm going to look into Navajo White and White Diamond. Who knew white supremacists would be so cool? lol

  2. Gilmore // October 18, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    Amen my brother!
    I always trip out over those HGTV shows where a couple is thinking about buying a home or apartment and they'll say, "Well, we like the place but that yellow paint in the bedroom isn't my favorite. So not sure if we'll buy it." ???? Rolling paint on a wall is about the easiest and cheapest quick fix there is. It's not rocket science.