August 12, 2013

De-yellowifying the off-white.

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We got a lot of advice from readers when we talked about paint to go on the walls of our newly floored room, and yesterday we got 4 samples and painted them on the wall in 2 places. The colors look very different at different times of day. They were chosen from a brochure with over 100 white/off-white swatches. All 4 that we have here are at the lightest 2 of 6 levels.

21 comments:

dbp said...

The yellow closest to the window is yellow enough that it looks like yellow on purpose. Any lighter than that and it would look like age and decay.

The main thing though: Why not have painted before doing the floor? Then you don't have to worry about dripping.

traditionalguy said...

The swatch painted on the right does it. It's a white with a touch of black mixed in.

cassandra lite said...

We just painted and are astounded by how different the walls look not just at different times of day but from wall to wall at the same moment.

Inga said...

Hmmm, too cold, stark. Ivory would be much warmer.

FleetUSA said...

Don't go with the grayer shade. You'll tire of it soon.

Inga said...

The last one, on the right, the warmest tone looks best.

Inga said...

Or is the last one the old yellow?

Ann Althouse said...

"The yellow closest to the window is yellow enough that it looks like yellow on purpose."

That's the existing room color, which if you picked it out on the swatch would see as white with a slightly yellowish cast... a cream color. It's at the second highest level of whiteness on the chart, just short of dead white!

If you looked at the walls and then the chart and tried to pick it out on the chart, without putting a swatch right up against the wall, you would pick at least a level darker, maybe 2 levels darker (more yellowed).

It's very surprising!

Ann Althouse said...

"Why not have painted before doing the floor? Then you don't have to worry about dripping."

That topic was discussed in the previous post, linked above.

Ann Althouse said...

"The last one, on the right, the warmest tone looks best."

That's the existing color.

Which, by the way, doesn't look yellow at night.

We want to step away from that, but we don't want it to look blue or lavender (or green).

Ann Althouse said...

We've agreed that the darker colors are too dark.

We have some walls in the law school that are painted a very light gray but what I call that color is "white and my eyesight is failing." I dislike that feeling... the feeling of going blind.

White needs to feel white or it looks dingy or like the pastel of whatever hue you have in there (like the "yellow" of the walls right now). If you take out the hue but don't stay light enough, you get the failing eyesight effect.

Ann Althouse said...

There are 2 strips between the darker strips. (The yellow on the right doesn't count as a strip.)

It can be hard to see those as 2 different ones, so look closely.

Freeman Hunt said...

That third one (second of the two in the middle of the grayish ones) looks so fresh. I'm normally not into white walls, but I can't help but like it.

Also, I can relate to the shock of how different swatches look from what ends up on the wall. About ten years ago, we had our kitchen painted red. We had agonized over reds using the swatches. We came home when one wall was done and gasped. There was a quick conference in the garage.

"Oh my."
"No kidding."
"That is awful."
"Yes."
"That looks like a color in a house where people start murdering each other because the color makes them crazy."
"It looks like it came from a Coca-Cola label."
"You think they'll be mad when we ask to change it?"

Of course, they weren't.

"We only painted the one wall because we figured you'd see it and change your mind."

Smart painter. Different red worked out great.

Terry said...

I read somewhere that Steve Jobs left a room in his house unfurnished because he couldn't come up with a scheme that looked good at all times as the light changed during the day.
Compromise may be required for the Althouse room.

traditionalguy said...

The wall color is a framing color to the furnishings and paintings and this floor. The total effect is beauty.

If 63 year old eyes are a problem, get your cataracts removed when they are ready.

Ann Althouse said...

"If 63 year old eyes are a problem, get your cataracts removed when they are ready."

I'm saying that some colors *feel* like they are supposed to be white and your eyes are failing, not that my eyes are failing (though my eyesight has never been too good (and it's my sense of smell that is failing)).

Meanwhile, my hearing is fine. But the comparable problem with hearing would be a recording that sounds weak and muffled with garbled vocals that would make me feel like I'm going deaf. The feeling of losing hearing would be unpleasant then, but the person who made the recording might have deliberately sought that muffled, garbled sound.

LordSomber said...

Leave it as is and just tell guests that Rothko used to live there.

cubanbob said...

Ivory with a drop of honey blended in. Perhaps you should go to a paint store and try having them mix a few shades for you as samples.

LilyBart said...


Ann: A lovely woman, designer and antiques dealer, lovingly restored an old farmhouse. In this posting, she writes about picking a paint color. (Her husband, Dan, writes a comment on the post as well).

http://fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com/2009/04/lets-talk-paint.html

Love this blog. Beautiful house.

ALP said...

Hello Ann: some advice from my month long quest for the perfect beige - start looking at the color formula itself, not just the paint chips. If you know you don't want to go too far into "cool blue" territory, you'll soon be able to see by reading the color formula if the percentage of blue is too high. It helped me sort out the dozens of options once I developed an "eye" for the formulas. Then, if you find one that's nearly perfect, but just a little "too blue" - I think some paint stores can search colors on their database by formula, % of blue, etc.

FleetUSA said...

"garbled vocals that would make me feel like I'm going deaf"

Movies made after 1990 have more of the mumbling and music over voices that make many of us feel we are going deaf.