Plain and clean, the color white makes a bold statement without saying much. The classification of white as a color is up for discussion. It doesn’t exactly belong on the spectrum, which explains why. When every wavelength is reflected, our eyes see the color white. On the other hand, we perceive the color black when a negligible amount of light is reflected.
White conjures images of purity, orderliness, and innocence, and it might give a room a sensation of emptiness. White spaces may also seem roomy and vacant. White may occasionally seem icy as well – a look that frequently evokes ideas of sterility and blandness.
Indeed, while looking at white, many people imagine ‘clean slates’, which is why the color is also often linked to ‘new beginnings’ or ‘fresh starts’. White may express a variety of positive qualities, including freshness, purity, and simplicity.
Since it is an anomaly in the color family, it is natural to wonder about the color components of white.
Color Theory – White
Saturation is a basic aspect of color that has to be understood. Saturated colors are deeper and richer.
Additionally, you may combine hues to make new shades, which is how we have ended up with such a large and vibrant collection of colors.
There are two ways you can mix colors. The first is additive mixing, which is the process of combining two different hues of light.
Since every light builds upon the previous ones, the resulting color can be brighter.
Then, there is subtractive mixing, which is the type that most people are familiar with. This technique involves blending colored substances like paints to produce a different hue.
While subtractive mixing is the most common form of color mixing, it is considerably limited as far as the color white is concerned.
Sometimes, people think of black and white as being beyond the spectrum of colors.
These colors do not exist the same way as others do since they are often a type of shading that changes the brightness or darkness of another color.
For this reason, black and white are known as achromatic colors. They are only a shade; they do not possess any hue or saturation.
Gray is another achromatic color, although it is not as easy to classify as achromatic as white or black.
Overall, while creating white, it is important to recognize that it has a few inherent limitations that make it hard for artists to produce the color from scratch.
What Colors Make White?
It’s fascinating to know that when blue, green, and red light are added together, the result is white light. Making white paint with this method, however, does not yield the desired results. In actuality, no mix of other hues will result in white paint. The reason behind this is that whatever paint you use will soak in at least some wavelength.
A common misconception is that we can combine all the colors in the rainbow (red, blue, green, yellow, violet, indigo, and orange) to produce white.
Since beams of oppositely-colored hues (like blue and yellow) may be placed and combined to create white, you can only produce white through additive mixing.
In this scenario, these lights always will produce white rather than a distinct hue (like green).
But this shade cannot be produced with subtractive mixing. Since white denotes the lack of color, the more you mix, the farther you are from obtaining white.
Instead, you’ll begin producing deeper tones until you end up with the color black.
Unfortunately, there is no method to combine two colors to get white, regardless of what you do. Instead, you must completely remove the entire saturation of the hue. Since doing this can be both complex and time-consuming, it is best to obtain pre-created white substances (paints, for example).
How Do You Make White Paint?
You might be thinking about how white paint is made as it seems to be a seemingly unattainable job. The answer lies in the use of white pigment. A white pigment is combined with a medium, such as alkyd resin or acrylic, to make white paint. Typically, calcium hydroxide, mineral powders, zinc oxide, lead carbonate, and calcium carbonate are used as pigments by paint makers.
The intricate process of producing white paint demands precise chemistry. Furthermore, if necessary precautions are not exercised to minimize exposure to possibly harmful pigment options, the process of preparing white paint can prove to be a rather dangerous one.
Mixing Various White Shades
Although making white paint may not be an option for artists, they may still utilize their imagination to produce various white shades using different colors. This is because any kind of white paint can have various accents and hints added to it. Here is how you can create the most popular shades of the color:
To keep the colors you are using from making your white too saturated, there are a few best practices you can stick to. First off, rather than add white to the other colors, you should instead add those colors to the white.
Secondly, always begin by dabbing a slightly lower amount than what you feel you require to get your desired shade. Pure white will quickly change in the presence of dominant hues like black and brown. The nice thing about using white is that it is very forgiving – one can always ‘reverse’ one’s mistakes simply by adding a bit more of white to the mix.
White in Design
As you know, the color white is usually used as a negative space. Unpainted walls and blank sheets of paper are good examples where one needs to fill in a white backdrop.
White does, however, have some amazing psychological associations. It is typically seen as being clean and pure. As a canvas, white is seen as unblemished, calming, and welcoming. You can use white much more skillfully in your designs if you know how it impacts our perceptions and our senses.
Additionally, white is far more brilliant than other hues. It can come across as a beacon of light in a design since even colors like yellow or brilliant green look dull when compared to pure white.
However, you must be cautious when using areas of white in design because of the color’s strong association with negative space.
If a region of your work is entirely white, people might assume that the design is missing something or that that particular area is blank.
For this reason, it is essential that you design it in a way that makes it obvious that it belongs there.
The second thing about white is that it has multiple shades. You can have a little deeper tint, which, especially when combined with other colors, can provide a mood that is more vibrant.
But you may also hide the shading by contrasting the white with a strong, dark color.
Overall, if you know how to use it properly, white is a great method to add shine and luster to a project.
Using White in Interior Designing
One of the most well-liked and powerful hues in interior design is white. White not only serves as a foundation upon which to put distinctive elements, but it also denotes openness and completeness.
As mentioned, there are numerous shades of white, which is why the color is far from a boring choice. White is often associated with minimalism, but you don’t have to be a minimalist to appreciate its style. Here is how you can use this timeless achromatic color when designing or renovating your home:
Creating an Illusion of Space
The properties of white allow it to reflect all wavelengths of visible light. This helps make spaces bigger and more open. White is often used as a neutral wall color, and when used on floors and furniture, it can make a room look bigger. Also, white can open up small spaces like hallways and nooks, as well as spaces above windows and door frames, by reflecting more natural light.
Making a Chic Appearance
A second benefit of white is that it can be used as a base for flexibility. Because it is neutral, it doesn’t clash with things like hidden storage spaces, extendable lamps, and foldaway desks. Instead, white gives any room a stylish look, no matter how big or small it is. When you combine warm white shades with a bit of soft lighting, the result is a welcoming, roomy ambience.
You can also use LED lighting to make the white color stand out in your interior. Try putting the lights under your stairs to create a kind of glowing appearance.
Establishing a Purpose
White can emphasize the meaning or purpose of a room. For example, since white represents purity and cleanliness, it is almost always used in bathrooms. A white bath is also a must-have because it makes a statement.
In other rooms, like the living room or kitchen, black and white elements can give a whitewashed space some personality and make it look more modern. Mix white with modern things like a black TV mounted on the wall and silver lamps for a sleeker appearance. Hanging prints and photos in white frames on the wall is also trendy right now. The pictures can match the white theme or be more daring and clash.
White with pastel colors is a fun way to liven up a child’s room or a creative space like an office. You can also go for a white wall with accent colors to create a striking look.
When designing with white, texture is essential. Mixing different shapes, like oval tables with cube shelves and straight furniture, is a simple way to add layers. A large white lampshade is another great finishing touch because it creates depth and establishes a central point of interest.
If you’re worried about having too much white in your home, buy wooden floors. Wood’s earthy tones go well with white and make things feel more natural. Marble is also a good match because it is slightly white and goes well with a white color scheme. Marble is great for kitchen countertops, and for homeowners brave enough, a wall with a marble pattern is very trendy.
If your home is mostly white, you should take advantage of any chance to add splashes of colors. The white background will help to accentuate those colors further. Try out bold, block colors on plant pots, grocery bags, and rugs, which will give a room more personality. A single brick or concrete wall can add even more industrial style to a space that is mostly white.
There’s a reason why most walls in art galleries are white: it keeps the attention on the art.
You can also do this if you want one piece or a group of pieces to take over a room. Add splashes of color that aren’t as eye-catching to make the room feel cosy enough for everyday life.
Subtractive mixing can be used to create any color on the spectrum – with, as you now know, the exception of white. The color white is a kind of anomaly in that it is not the presence but the absence of color.
White can often appear as blue or orange due to different light sources in the real world. For example you may have blue light coming from a light bulb making a white shade appear blue. Same goes for a white piece of paper on a sunny day. The colors of light can affect how white is perceived.
That said, there is no doubt that white has a dramatic subtlety to it – something that makes it an immensely fun color to play around with. Once you know how to mix white with other colors to make different shades of white, you can make more realistic depth, texture, and shadows.
To learn more about mixing and creating new colors, please feel free to read our articles on making red, yellow, and blue. Additionally I recommend learning about the color wheel to get the most out of color theory.