Choosing white paint for your walls sounds like it should be pretty straight forward, right? How many shades of white paint can there really be? Well, if you don't already know, you'd be surprised at the white paint minefield.
Do you go with egg shell, magnolia or Elephant's Breath? Ecru or taupe? Dimpse or Dimity? There are hundreds of neutral, white-based shades out there that somehow give a room a distinctly different feel. The differences may look subtle on a colour chart, but they can give a totally different mood to a room when actually in practice on all four walls. Some might look too yellow or too grey in a room, depending on what light that rooms gets (and whether it's a North or South facing room), plus when a paint is on all four walls, the colour is accentuated as the light bouncing back into the room makes that colour even stronger.
We think it's safe to say that most of us hunt for something balanced, a white that's right in the middle. An off-white that feels warm, but without yellow tones. An off-white that has a freshness to it, while also being cosy, inviting – and chic. Surely that isn't too much to ask for?
Enter interior designer Alix Lawson, whose projects all share one thing in common; the perfect white colour palette. Now she's just launched her own paint range of perfect whites, taking the headache out of finding the perfect white paint.
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The range, called Paint by Alix Lawson, has a sort of The White Company feel to it, all chic and clean and upmarket.
Alix explains: "It struck me that paints were more complicated than they needed to be, and we could all benefit from the beauty of simplicity. I truly believe that choosing white paint should be simple, and not something that holds up a project or becomes a source of frustration. So I simplified it myself, and working with specialist British paint manufacturers I have distilled years of decision making into just five pots for you to pick from."
The paints – called Chepstow, Pembridge, Ledbury, Elgin and Westbourne – are named after the West London streets that are close to the designer's heart, having lived, worked and founded her studio in these streets over the past 20 years. Alix says that "it felt natural that these streets be the namesakes for the Paint by Alix Lawson shades."
Ledbury is a soft white with cool undertones and a tinge of grey, a shade to soothe you like your favourite cashmere blanket.
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Elgin is the ultimate in brilliant whites. Fresh and crisp, like that feeling of getting into clean sheets.
Westbourne sits on the fence between cool and warm. As neutral as Switzerland this chalky white is highly versatile – perfect for the indecisive among us.
Pembridge is the master of subtlety. This smooth white has creamy undertones and a classic feel.
Chepstow is warm and inviting like a sandy beach. The darkest white among the shades and beautifully pigmented.
Still can't decide between the five? Her sample pots will give you a taste for the colour.
They look so lovely and dainty, these jars could easily be mistaken for little pots of moisturiser.
Alix is known for her minimalist style, using a clean white palette as her canvas for each project. She then weaves in natural materials to add texture and authenticity, and layers in different fabrics within a neutral colour palette.
Her motto has always been 'less is more', and her designs are about paying more attention to fewer pieces; for example by focussing on one bespoke sofa so that you can do more with less.
"I have always been a minimalist at heart, and believe that there is so much consideration that goes into beautiful simplicity. Materials, lighting and lines all stand out more boldly on a blank canvas and so there is far less room for error. There is a common misconception that minimalism is bare and lacking detail or character but this could not be more untrue. Conscious minimalism does not lack it lessens, and in doing so fosters a sense of calm. The rising popularity for wellness retreats, mindfulness and the slow-food movement all indicate this search for simplicity and calm is not limited to interiors."
The five shades of white are available in Matt Emulsion and Eggshell.