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why white paint for your interior can be an artistic win

White Colorshop samples/Photography: Gabrielle Langdon/Start sampling with some of the go-to white paints beloved by pro designers.

Tampa, Florida-based Kim Levell, a high-end interior and exterior designer, has some thoughts on color. She also has major chops; she's been featured on The Nate Berkus Show and is known for a unique, intuitive design process that reflects her clients' connection to the environment. She shares some of her go-to tips with us... including a perhaps-unusual color scheme (and why it works!).

So, what's her favorite color scheme? "Dare I say white?" asks Kim. "I love to blow out color in the furniture and art. I often think of a museum, in a way that you want your [own] pieces to stand out. I [also] like bold wallpaper and white walls, although I’m also a fan of stripping through or patterning paint in order to achieve a blended pop of color." (She's not the only designer who loves the hue—the ton of pros who shared their favorite white paints with us recently would agree!).

Her fail-safe colors include "natural setting" paint colors. Think: "Pale Oak, Smoke Embers, or whites that have a very high reflective rating." (That rating, known as LRV, or "Light Reflectance Value," refers to how much light a color reflects. For white paints, a 100% LRV measurement would equate to an absolutely reflective white. The more reflective the paint, the more light can be reflected within your space.)

One important caveat to Kim's high-reflective rule, however: Watch out for LED lighting, as that can wreak havoc on color choice. "Take note, LED makes this all the wrong answer! Although most high-reflective whites read more neutral and are fairly safe." If you don't see a reflective rating on your paint of choice, ask for more details at your go-to paint shop, reach out to an interior designer or color consultant, or do some online research. 

One way to avoid errors, she says, is to "Invest in sampling your color in your home. Light plays a significant role in how colors will reflect. Depending upon what direction your home faces, times of day, and how much natural light you see. Swatch on all walls and look at the color throughout the day." 

white paints we love

Sample some of our favorite white hues—the ones DIYers and designers alike come back to again and again. 

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