How do you make Victorian white look less pink?
July 28, 2010 3:54 AM   Subscribe

We are in the midst of a kitchen renovation project, and our cabinets arrived. We ordered victorian white, which looked off white in the showroom, but now that it's in our kitchen the cabinets have a pinkish hue. Pink was not what we were looking for. We're doing absolute black honed granite counter tops, and are trying to decide on what color to paint the room and ideas for the backsplash. Here's a link to a picture of the cabinets. The question: how can we subdue, or neutralize the pinkish hue?
posted by teddyb109 to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
access denied on the image.
posted by missmagenta at 3:57 AM on July 28, 2010

Use lighting that doesn't emphasize pinkish colors.
posted by gjc at 4:03 AM on July 28, 2010

florescent lighting makes whites look pink. Switch to incandescent lighting.
posted by availablelight at 4:19 AM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: And here's a link to the evernote notebook with the image.

I'm curious about the lighting option--right now we've got only natural light in the room. There are overhead lights in place, but not operational yet.
posted by teddyb109 at 4:23 AM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: I think the fixtures are for halogen lights--not sure how that's going to affect the color. What do folks think. Gels over lights anyone?
posted by teddyb109 at 4:26 AM on July 28, 2010

Victorian White is going to be different from a 'modern' white. The Victorian White is supposed to look like white paint from the 19th century would look (i.e. off-white), without the benefits of the modern titanium dioxide pigment used to give the ultra-bright whites we're used to today.

Your walls, on the other hand, appear to have been painted a very pale blue. The contrast is probably what makes the cabinets look slightly pinker than they otherwise would.

To me it looks as if you have halogen downlights, so unless you're using GU10 fluorescents, that may not be the issue here.

Painting your walls a different colour (perhaps a pale earth tone or cream) would probably make your cabinets seem whiter. Try painting pieces of card with different colours; then hold one next to a cabinet door (so that you can't see the bluish walls) and you'll probably find a colour that makes your cabinets look the way you expect.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:38 AM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]

I'd agree with le morte de bea arthur, although Victorian White could more likely refer to the style and not a genuine attempt at historical pigmentation accuracy. But the cabinets are most likely to look pinkish when compared to your walls, which could have that modern slightly bluey white. Go to the paint store and look for 'white with a hint of...' paints (although I'm in the UK and so I'm assuming that Americans have these shades as well). Get some 'with a hint of pink' samples and find one that matches best.

Of course, when you paint the wall, at first it'll also seem pinky compared to the older, bluer shade, but once both whites are matched you'll soon lose that impression.
posted by dowcrag at 5:28 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Are you absolutely sure it's the same shade as in the showroom? I'd suggest you take off one of the doors, take it down there and ask if you can compare it, to make sure it's the same shade.
posted by essexjan at 5:28 AM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

If you'd be willing, making the background red would work. I had a kitchen with bright red walls, white cabinets and black accents. (The red had a hint of orange in it, like a chili pepper.) The red will make the cabinets look whiter and negate the pink effect.

Whatever you do, don't paint the walls green. That color is opposite red on the color wheel, and the contrast will only highlight the difference.

But I agree with essexjan... definitely take one of the doors to the showroom to make sure you got what you paid for!!

When it comes down to it, don't compromise on such an expensive and permanent change to your home. Instead of trying to "fix" it with a background color that you may not have wanted, just get the cabinets repainted, hopefully at the cabinet maker's expense. Pay for it yourself if you have to. But DO NOT COMPROMISE.
posted by wwartorff at 5:59 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Go to the paint store and look for 'white with a hint of...' paints (although I'm in the UK and so I'm assuming that Americans have these shades as well). Get some 'with a hint of pink' samples and find one that matches best.

The red will make the cabinets look whiter and negate the pink effect. Whatever you do, don't paint the walls green. That color is opposite red on the color wheel, and the contrast will only highlight the difference.

Exactly. Use a color wheel. Opposite colors creates a larger contrast. Blue is next to green and almost on the other side of the color wheel compared to red/pink.

If you want to reduce the contrast, consider white wall paint with a little pink. You could also paint the walls pink, perhaps with a tone of gray. That would make the cabinets look comparatively whiter and lighter.

Orange is close to red/pink on the color wheel. White paint with a hint (or more) of orange should also work.

As for the backsplash: I suggest off-white high gloss tiles.
posted by iviken at 6:37 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are really helpful suggestions. We definitely don't want to heighten the contrast and make the pink look more pink. This is the sample of the backsplash tile we're considering. I'm thinking it's too green (I know it's hard to do color matching on screens, but you can get the general feel.

I did check the color against what we saw it the showroom and it's an exact match.

For what it's worth, the contractor said the primer has a blue tint--so perhaps that's highlighting the pink.

The floors are also a very dark brown.

Again, thanks everyone for weighing in.
posted by teddyb109 at 7:01 AM on July 28, 2010

the house i live in had pink carpet when we bought it. Since there was 3000 sq ft of it and it was in pristine shape, it wasn't financially feasible to replace it. My mom is an interior decorator and had a great view of it - think of it as a neutral, like my pinkish skin. Once we thought of it like that and picked warm tones for the walls, getting rid of the stark white, the really pink carpet faded into the background. I think carefully choosing your wall color will neutralize the pink tint in your cabinets and make the cabinets appear the soft white you hoped for. Last time i picked paint color, i bought a bunch of those 3.99 little jars and tried them all out on the actual wall against the actual woodwork, fireplace and with the actual lighting. Makes a big difference in how somethign looks.

I do agree you should make sure the color was shipped as intended. I do not think i would choose to paint the cabinets themselves without changing the wall color first. Cabinets are a pain to paint and much like other wood work show wear and tear.
posted by domino at 8:59 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I still can't see the cabinet photos, but I think the tile you're considering will make pinkish cabinets look more pink. You want a red-based tone beside that pink, to basically "beat" them in redness. Deep burgundy, red, or purple would be the best colours to make the pale pink look white by comparison. And avoid using white, which will make the pinkishness more obvious. I'd probabll do a deep reddish backsplash with pale grey and black as accents.
Definitely stay away from green or blue, as those colours are so "non-red" that they'll emphasize any red in the cabinetry.

Here's an example: the scrollwork here is actually pink, but in contrast to the deep red beside it, it looks white.
Here's a similar shade of pale pink but paired with blue. The contrast between the blue and pink makes the pink look noticeably pinker.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:13 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would have thought the opposite. The blues/greys and tans in the backsplash tile will make the cabinets look more neutral. I think it will be a good choice, along with a wall color that is slightly darker and reddish pink at all.

In other words, choose other colors that change the white balance in the room to make the cabinets seem to be pure white. Whereas in your pictures, you eye "white balances" off of the bluish white walls and the cabinets stand out.

Another thing to try would be to paint the walls almost exactly the same color as the cabinets, or one "notch" darker and browner. Not trying to go for a different color, but the same color with just a slightly different "mood".
posted by gjc at 5:53 PM on July 28, 2010

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