Imagine this scenario: You enter a cozy, swanky place and you feel this warm, comfortable feeling envelope you, and you whisper to yourself, “What a nice ambience.” Then you notice that the whole room is swathed in low, yellow light, and the walls are painted white.  Easy enough to replicate. You go home, arm yourself with a brand new pristine brush and cans of white paint, and merrily shift to DIY mode to paint the whites on, only to be dismayed in the end because your white feels flat and you did not quite achieve the cozy feel you were hoping for. What gives?

To the untrained eye, white is white. But the fact is, not all whites are created equal. If you ask me, white can be a very tricky color. We all know about the advantages of using white – for small spaces, white makes space bigger, white is generally deemed as a ‘safe’ color, and so on.  But white can actually wave its own brand of magic, if correctly used.

With the prevailing lifestyle shift of most Filipinos now, what with the seeming preference for cosmo and convenient condo living, the use of monochromatic color, especially white, has become very effective to use in small and limited spaces. But here’s the catch: those walls of white that so enchanted you? They are not painted just white.  Those ‘whites’ are actually a combination of white and different hues done in different shades to subtly create depths, and to be able to distinguish between areas, and yet allow for creating one harmonious space, therefore giving you that ‘cozy, warm ambiance’. Now if you are a brave soul, and still insist on channeling your DIY persona, go ahead and do so, but just come down a while from your mighty ladder, and elicit the help of the friendly people at your paint shop or depot’s Mix & Match station. They will be able to help you come up with your ‘right white’.

This unit was painted using Virtuoso Silk Touch for the walls because of its Teflon properties and Microban antibacterial protection. The unit owner opted to use Virtuoso because it will allow her to enjoy the whites longer as Virtuoso is an easy-clean, matte- finish paint. Using Virtuoso was also strategic, since the unit is also leased out, hence, Virtuoso’s easy clean feature makes the place less vulnerable for tenants who may not be as careful with the usage of the unit.

It has, in fact, been a very smart move for the owner to use various light shades of Virtuoso as the quality of paint has proven its longevity even with the constant comings and goings of different tenants, thus helping the unit owner in her own business of condo rentals. For this unit, white creates airiness, while exuding sophistication. Additionally, the source of light also determines whether your white will come out intensified or subdued.

Suffice it to say, white is a very flexible color. Floor may carry a very light tinge of gray, walls are “white”, with ceilings that are even “whiter”, all these subtle differences create that fluidity – making the floor, wall, and ceiling undefined space —thus allowing for the illusion of bigger space and yet providing a cohesive look.

So the next time you see a sea of white walls and ceilings and floors, and you start feeling relaxed, warm, and all fuzzy, look again, and you’ll know better…perhaps it’s not quite white.


Lee is a doting mom to her three blossoming gentlemen. She loves to talk, listen to stories, and read about life stuff. When not doing consultancy work or writing, she dabbles in real estate.

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