TODAY   |  April 10, 2013

Picking the right white paint for every room

From eggshell to off-white, it’s easy to find yourself in a fog when trying to pick the perfect white from seemingly endless options. TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew shares her tips for finding the right shade, taking into account lighting, ceiling height, and more.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in "today's home" finding the right white from paint to fabric, there are hundreds of options, making the choice can be overwhelming. elizabeth mayhew, author of "a flip for decorating" is here to help us sort it out.

>> good to see you.

>> why are there so many choices.

>> you think white is white but white is not white . you need to find the right whid.

>> these are tremendously different. one looks dirtier than the other.

>> you may be looking on camera.

>> i'm looking in person.

>> al this is creamier and yellow, a linen white from benjamin moore . in the room it gives a warmer tone in the way it reflects --

>> dinghy. .

>> dingy.

>> it's not. when you see meringue icing with the glossy white grayish, something like decorator white has that tone. something else like this is much creamier, more like a buttercream.

>> where does eggshell fall?

>> eggshell is a finish, it is a way of finishing. this is the thing you really need to find the white -- i can't say it, the right white for your house. the way to do that you need to get samples. the white that you choose in your house in new york is going to be very different from a white that someone else chooses in arizona because the way the light reflects in the room, the things you into ed to take into account, where are your windows, the size, the height of your ceiling.

>> what about the room size?

>> the room size is very important, what it's reflecting outside, all those things go into account and that's true with all coats but particularly with white .

>> i mentioned eggshell does the finish make a difference?

>> for example here, you can tell viewers this is --

>> glossy.

>> very glossy. if you want a lacquered finish it has a modern feel. this is an oil paint . the only way to really get that high gloss finish is to use oil paint .

>> white if you're trying to cover colors that's a lot more work, right?

>> you use a primer behind that. i tend to like white , for example in my dining room i use all decorator white . i like the glossiness that it finishes in my own dining room it's chocolate brown but i used a white finish around it.

>> some examples here.

>> okay so then you go from paint which you're choosing to decorating. in this room, people sometimes think that white , they're scared of it, they think it's going to get dirty. white is one of the easiest things to clean, that's why you have white slip covers, you take them and slow them in the dish -- the dish washer ?

>> if you're trying to save time why not.

>> in terms of fabrics and really interesting things, all outdoor fabrics are great indoors for white , this rug you might be scared about t it's a white rug. you take a little all purpose cleaner taken comes out. the other thing about white is white sometimes people think they're cold. whites can be quite warm especially when you add in more natural tones like natural pillows or creaming. creams can tone it down. take this cream throw from pottery barn , throw that over a white sofa. it matches because it's in the same color form and warms up the room.

>> what about this divider?

>> a screen is a great way to mask a part of your room but if you do it in a natural color it goes with everything so in white or natural. also in terms of upholstery same thing at ballard design you can get all outdoor fabrics in upholstery.

>> kids, pets, cleans up.

>> absolutely and you can add little touches in, like white lamps, always they go with everything this one from target, and then also trays and things and vases, very affordable and it goes with everything. the other thing about white is it's an empty canvas. you can add whatever colors you want. if you're a novice starting out in decorating it's a good way to go.

>> you know how you can instantly improve the room?

>> he hates pillows.

>> all right, elizabeth good to see you. you're rockin' the white .

>> i have a feeling this is, lloyd would tell me wrong fabric.

>> you're making it work.