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dark moulding/cabinet is affecting my paint color

We have a small bath in which we have refinished the dark wood cabinets with a new dark stain. We painted the walls white for a crisp contrast, but the white walls look pink because of the dark wood. I don't want pink walls? Any advice to get actually white walls?

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Posted 2014-01-31T12:57:49+0000  by nancydesplaines nancydesplaines

Hello nancydesplaines and welcome to The Community.  We are glad that you are here.


I can understand the frustration with the pink walls – I assume that you applied a bright white that looked great in the can but your eyes are seeing something else.  I have several ideas and suggestions for you that will help the eye see “more white” and “less pink.” 


(1) Window treatments: Is there a window in the small bathroom?  Additional ambient light from a window - using sheer white window treatments or a window film with a “rain pattern” - will brighten the room, will make the bath appear larger, and make the white paint appear “whiter.”


(2) Lighting: How much lighting do you have in this space?  Additional light, either overhead, including a pendant, or adding sidelights (sconces) will brighten the room against the dark moulding and cabinetry.


(2) Vanity top: Is the vanity top also a dark color?  Changing the top to a lighter color will provide a break from the dark colors in the room.


(3) Backsplash: Adding a glass tile backsplash, or creating a tile “chair rail” around the room will also brighten up the room.


(4) Mirrors and metallics: Adding a mirror and a metallic feature (especially a silver objet d’art or picture/ picture frame) will help to reflect some light in the room and make it appear larger and brighter. 


(5) Moulding: Can you paint the moulding in the bath white – an especially bright white glossy white?  This should help whiten up the space. 


(6) Flooring: Is the flooring light in color?  Adding a small piece of light colored carpet or rug (or laying peel-and-stick vinyl tiles) can bring more light into the room. 


(7) Bathroom Door: Is the door a dark wood or can the inside be painted white when closed?


(8) Ceiling: Is the ceiling bright white also?


(9) Bath fixtures: Are the toilet and other bath fixtures white? 


(10) General hardware: Are the faucet, toilet paper holder, towel rods, and cabinet handles a silver, nickel, or chrome finish?


The photo below shows some of these ideas incorporated into a Kraftmaid bathroom design featuring dark wood cabinetry.




It would also be helpful if you could include a photo of your bath so we can provide more specific ideas to help you create the look that you want for the room.


Best wishes on your project.


Eileen scipt.png

Posted 2014-01-31T15:40:06+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL

Hello nancydesplaines!


You can see why Eileen is called "Designing Woman!"


What great ideas: modify your decor, create a fabulous new look in your space, and add appealing color at the same time.



It is also possible to fix "color-casting" by changing your light bulbs.


Many homeowners use "Soft White" bulbs ... they cast a yellow-red color onto everything in the room.


Reveal Bulbs produce full-spectrum light which is closer to daylight (even though the bulbs appear blue).


Frequently, when my customers have difficulty reproducing their selected color at home, simply changing their light bulbs fixes the problem.


If you remove a bulb from your light fixture, you'll most likely see the words "Soft White" printed adjacent to the wattage.


Your Electrical Associate can demonstrate the visible difference in light output with the displays at the store.


What you'll see is a visibly brighter white output as you move away from Soft White toward Full Spectrum bulbs.

Posted 2014-01-31T18:11:43+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

Thanks to bphoto 1.JPGoth of you, Pat and Eileen, for your quick responses.

I was wondering about the lights. We have remodeled this entire bathroom (in a 100-year old building) but have not yet changed the light fixture which is incandescent with frosted globes. The tile and tub are white and the paint is actually Behr "white" (i.e., that's exactly what the color is called on the color chart). We had originally painted "soft pillow" and had the "pink" problem, so we re-painted with this other white toward the cooler end of the color chart. It's better, but still not as white as I would like.

I have purchased a halogen track light (a silver finish with four lights) as well as a two sconces that are not yet in (black, silver and white). I am hoping that when the lights are in, the result might be better. The vanity is black with legs, a black granite top, and a white semi-recessed bowl. All fixtures will be chrome. I do not want to paint the moulding white -- we have actually stripped all the moulding in the apartment in order to get back to its original design. If this does not work I will simply paint it a color -- I have some soft greens in other rooms. But I was wondering if there might be a white that would work better -- this was a Satin Enamel.

Thanks again!

Posted 2014-01-31T19:45:20+0000  by nancydesplaines

Hello again nancydesplaines.  Thanks for the photo – it really helps. 


I am glad that you are adding more light into the space.  Use the bulbs that Pat recommended to get a “cooler” feel into the space.  The chrome fixtures will definitely have a striking look against the black vanity and granite top. 


White bath Rug.jpg         Behr Ultra Pure White.jpg             Behr Silver Screen.jpg


You will want a soft white bath rug on the floor.  Before changing the wall color, purchase an 8 ounce sample of BEHR Premium Plus Ultra #UL260-14 Ultra Pure White and apply it to the wall.  That is as “white as it gets.”  Because of the difference in textures, the wall will never get as “white” as the tub.  If the Ultra Pure White does not meet your expectations, consider a silver shade to play off of the black and white (BEHR Premium Plus Ultra #770E-2 Silver Screen).


Please keep us posted on your progress – we are excited to see how your bath transforms!


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Posted 2014-01-31T20:44:17+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL

photo 2.JPG

Thanks, Eileen. I'll give that a try. Here's another picture to show why we chose to refinish the wood -- wonderful old built-in cabinet, door to master bedroom and medicine cabinet (not in pic).

Posted 2014-01-31T21:02:23+0000  by nancydesplaines

Hello again nancydesplaines.  The wood working is FABULOUS!  I understand your labor of love for refinishing the dark wood cabinets.  This should last for another 100 years.  Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing (and seeing) more on your bath.  


Eileen scipt.png

Posted 2014-01-31T21:09:56+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL

 I would concur that the most likely culprit is the lighting. However, the woodwork seems to have quite a bit of red in it and you might be reflecting that redness onto the walls. There is  actually  quite a bit of woodwork for a small space.  Accessories or bath rugs of a green color might negate the pinkish reflected light by reflecting the green tone.


Repainting the walls with an off white with just a hint of green might off set the pink. However, where it came in contact with the white of the tube surround, that green cast might become apparent. It would also make the woodwork more red looking. Complimentary colors ( those opposit one another on the color wheel, such as red-green) accentuate one another when they come in direct contact. The reflected or filtered light can also negate one another. For instance, if you had lighting globes of green glass, that pinkish tone would disappear.

Posted 2014-02-04T20:59:09+0000  by ordjen

Thanks so much! Yes, my next option was to paint this bath the same light green color as in my other bath - smaller than this one but with minimal wood (we actually converted the kitchen pantry into a full bath and opened it up on the other side into the hallway). I think the Behr color was "lime light." I am going to try Pat's idea with the full spectrum lighting in both the overhead light and the sconces that will be on either side of the medicine cabinet and if that doesn't work, try the ultra white suggestion, and if all else fails go with the green, which I love anyway.

Posted 2014-02-04T23:22:14+0000  by nancydesplaines

Outstanding nancydesplaines!


What great suggestions Ordjen adds ... green neutralizes red.


The Throw Rug on the floor seems to be casting red as well.


Between the three recommendations, you should certainly be able to balance the colors.



A picture is worth a thousand words!


Thanks for the photo!


The images you added makes it very clear that color casting is the culprit.


Whiter light output and adding accessories that neutralize the red cast should help solve your problem.


Please take time to follow up so we can "see" your solution.

Posted 2014-02-06T15:05:18+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

If you like Dark Moulding Is Affecting My Paint Color,

you may also like:

How To Create Unique Faux Finishes;

Faux Finish Trim and Cabinets; or

How To Spice Up Furniture Using Chalk Paint

Posted 2015-12-03T17:34:01+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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