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What's The "Right White" For Your Kitchen Walls?

July 14, 2014
What's The "Right White" For Your Kitchen Walls?

Recently, a girlfriend called me from interstate and asked, “what white should I paint my kitchen walls?”

“I wish it was as easy as giving you a name over the phone!” I responded, as she sighed confused and disappointed.

White is white, right? How hard can it be to select white paint for your kitchen walls? Well, until you’re faced with the decision it’s not. The minute you are however, and you soon realise there are literally hundreds of different tones of white paint on the market.

To the uninitiated (and perhaps sometimes even to the qualified!) it can be nothing short of overwhelming.

Short of jumping on a flight to head interstate and help her make her choice, I thought I’d share some tips that will hopefully assist her - and you - as to what white paint is perfect for your kitchen style.

Cool Whites Vs Warm Whites

White paint can generally be grouped in one of two ways, cool whites and warm whites.

Cool whites commonly have a blue, green or hint of black base.

As a general rule of thumb they would look great in a kitchen with lots of natural sunshine, as cool white hues can help neutralise light.

Be mindful of your light globe colours; if they are cool light as well then the kitchen may appear quite sterile and cold at night.

If you’re looking for a modern, crisp feeling kitchen then cool whites are your go-to.

Warm whites are suitably named as they help create a feeling of cosiness and warmth.

Warm whites have a red or yellow base and are known as ‘advancing’ tones, which makes them perfectly paired to a more traditional, cottage style type kitchen.

Dulux Cold White Vs Warm White

Image above, example of Cool White (Dulux White on White) on left and Warm White (Dulux Antique White) on right.


The very nature of white means it reflects light.

So, you’d think that by painting your walls white your room will appear brighter.

However, if your space lacks natural light then your walls could in fact appear darker depending on the tint of white that has been used.

Like the monitors of our computer screens, no two people’s vision will be exactly the same.

Therefore your white may in fact appear as the palest of grey to me.

Modern Coolo White Kitchen

Image above, a cool white kitchen with minimal natural light.

Eclectic Warm White Kitchen

Image above, an example of a natural light filled, warm white kitchen.

Surrounding Surfaces

Always take your surrounds into account. What are the colours of your kitchen cabinet doors, benchtops and floors?

This will have an impact on how the white walls appear.

Cold Modern White Kitchen

Image above, a very modern, minimalist, cool white kitchen

warm white country kitchen

Image above, a classic, country style warm white kitchen

Sample Pots

As I advised my girlfriend, sample pots are your friend!

They potentially prevent a costly mistake from being made and easily assist in narrowing your choice of picking your perfect white hue.

Always try to paint a generous sample patch to make your decision making easier.

The golden rule is to leave the sample patch up for as long as you can.

This way you can see the light hopefully displayed at different times of the day and under different weather conditions.

Hopefully by keeping these few tips in mind you will be well on the way to enjoying the perfect white hue kitchen, as my girlfriend hopefully is...

Otherwise, I just might find myself on a plane after all to help repaint!

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