White paint is having a yearslong moment in the spotlight, but this popular paint color isn't just pretty. You may not have been able to quite put your finger on it, but white paint does a few things for its surroundings that other paint colors don't. Call these benefits visual effects or design principles or white paint superpowers; they are one of many reasons you see white paint so often.
White paint might not be right for your space or lifestyle; there are plenty of dark paint colors out there that are just as beautiful on walls, trim and ceiling. But if you're trying to decide whether to paint your walls white, these extra benefits of using the color, from Leigh Spicher, national director of design studios for homebuilder Ashton Woods, might push you closer to a decision.
It clears visual clutter
As the absence of color, white serves as a blank slate. Spicher uses it in her studio as a foundation because it makes it easier to choose other colors for décor, furnishings and more; in a room with white walls, picking complementary colors for the other items in the space is a little easier than it might be in, say, a room with pink walls.
It offers an illusion of space
A lot of people are using white paint to create the illusion of space to make rooms feel larger than they are.
"If you're working in a smaller space, [white paint] immediately will make it feel larger," Spicher says. "If you're working in a large space, it will open it up even more."
It makes us feel good
Picture the white flag, the white wedding dress, the white dove: In the psychology of color, white symbolizes peace and purity, Spicher says, feelings most people are drawn to.
"People just might not cognitively realize that white is actually the presence of light," she says. "White gives us a lot of light in our homes, and that makes us feel good."