The Unexpected Versatility of the Color White

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2016 Simply WhiteThe color white is unexpectedly versatile – fundamental, pure and unequaled. After curating 23 colors, traveling the world over and identifying “what was in the air” culturally, Benjamin Moore has chosen Simply White as their 2016 Color of the Year. Of the 250 blanc hues they offer, Simply White (OC117) is the most neutral. As Ellen O’Neil, Benjamin Moore Creative Director, writes “white is transcendent, timeless, its versatility unrivaled. From weathered wainscoting to crisp canvas shades, porcelain tile to picket fences, white is everywhere in every form – that’s why we chose it as our Color of the Year. Turn down the noise and celebrate the simplicity of white. Simply said…Simply White.”

Benjamin Moore layered whites living roomAt the Benjamin Moore presentation at the Boston Design Center, Priscilla Ghaznavi, Director of the Color Studio, added “White is in every designer’s toolbox. It is a backdrop.” She explained that OC-117 was the most consistent white in various light sources. A slide presentation illustrated how to mix white hues together, how to create color harmony (whites with blue undertones play well with chrome and silver while gold, brass and oak play well with whites that have a yellow undertone) and using cool whites versus warm whites.

In an era when the white kitchen and white bathroom is popular, how do you use an all white palette and maintain some interest? Using a high gloss finish or a  white textured element (wood, tile, wallpaper) or varying white tints will give a room depth and sophistication. Another option, and one that Feinmann employs often, is to use a subtle complementary color that slightly contrasts, such as a soft gray palette works well, especially when there are gray streaks in marble veining or specks in a countertop or backsplash.
Concord Condo Feinmann kitchen Renovation

Boston Kitchen Renovation by Feinmann

Bold Contrasts

Using a striking contrast color, such as Raving Red (2008-10) or Patriot Blue (2064-20) or Gentle Violet (2071-20) will provide definition and focus for a particular spot. Photo on the left is from the 2016 Color Collection featuring Ravishing Red. In our kitchen below, we used Fire Engine red on the center island cabinetry to provide contrast and gray concrete countertops with the white subway tile and white cabinetry.Benjamin Moore accent wallFire Engine red island Feinmann renovation

Light Loves White

Our design team loves how light and white interact. As Benjamin Moore shows in their 2016 Color of the Year photographs, layered white and diffused light creates ambience. At the end of the day, isn’t that we are all striving for? Spaces that have an aura of comfort and sophistication? We’ll stick with the versatility of whites.