“I dream of painting the whole apartment white to make it feel more fresh and bright. But I wonder if that means I would have to re-paint small spots and cracks to keep it fresh? I am looking to decorate the rooms with green plants, colourful fabrics, and nice carpets. Any idea if it's too much work and worth the effort?” one reader asked Scandinavian homes site Houzz.se, which got painter Roger Weijmer from MM Måleri AB and interior designer Linda Abrahamsson from Linzoshouse to share their best tricks.
What are the benefits of painting the whole house white?
Roger Weijmer: “Painting the whole house white is an easy way to freshen up the worn-out surfaces at a relatively low price. If you, for example, have children who have reached the age of colouring, it is easier to re-paint their unwanted wall drawings with white than wallpapering.”
Linda Abrahamsson: “The advantages are that you do not have to abide by a specific colour. White allows you to select whatever accent colour you want on pillows, blankets, pots, carpets, and so on.”
What are the disadvantages?
Linda Abrahamsson: “It can easily feel a bit sterile if you don’t add a strong colour. But if you are someone who doesn’t like bright colours, you can easily make use of earthy colours, and then add beautiful, green plants. Plants are very important in order to create a homely feeling.”
Roger Weijmer: “Use pillows, rugs or curtains that add colour to the room while simultaneously preventing the space from feeling sterile and boring.”
How do you maintain the white-painted walls and floors?
Roger Weijmer: “The easiest way is to use a damp cloth to wipe away single spots. Another tip is to always save the selected paint’s colour number (NCS code), to enable you to get hold of the exact same colour if you would need to cover up any flaws. How often you need to freshen up the surfaces depends on how quickly they get worn out in your environment, but also on the quality of colour. Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that you get what you pay for.”
What should we do to avoid the old paint or wallpaper shining through?
Roger Weijmer: “There are no shortcuts, you just usually have to paint two times or more, depending on what colour it is on the surface that you want to paint. You often fool yourself by buying a cheap colour, as that normally requires more layers to cover the original colour. Instead, choose a colour of good quality and then hopefully two coats is enough.”
How do you decorate a space with white walls and floors?
Linda Abrahamsson: “Add a lot of fabrics, pillows and curtains. You can use curtains even where there is no window, for example by hanging a curtain rail in the ceiling; then you immediately get a cozy feeling. Large carpets are also great to decorate with. You can order a custom-designed fitted carpet that does not cover the entire room; there are many nice designs and colours to choose from. And do not forget the lighting – a very important element to create that homely feeling.”
What are your best tips for those who are thinking about painting their home white?
Roger Weijmer: “Do not only look at the price tag when you choose the colour! Use a more expensive option of a well-known brand, as this gives a better result and often require less work. Do not paint with shiny colours as it can cause unwanted reflections, I usually recommend a maximum gloss level of 5 or 7. Use an acrylic strengthened paint, they are both more durable and more wipeable.”
Linda Abrahamsson: “Dare to paint white! White is a colour that is light and easy to freshen up when needed.”