This subject is fun in my house. I’ve had this discussion with my husband Mark several times. He says white is white, but I say it comes in several colours!

Yes, apparently, not all white colours are the same. There are different shades and nuances, and when choosing the right tone for interiors, you might find it helpful to know what to look for.

Get a picture. Before you decide on the exact shade, have a good look around the room you want to paint. What’s in the room? If you have neutral-coloured furnishings, you might do better with a warmer shade, while a cool shade melds well with lots of colour.

Style. Ascertaining the overall style of your home may also help you to pick your finest white. If your home has a more modern feeling to it, a pure white would stay in line with a contemporary theme. White tinged with colour is more traditional.

Whites and light. How much natural light floods the room also plays a part in colour choice. Pure white looks great in a room swathed with lots of natural light. Meanwhile, if a room doesn’t have a lot of windows, you might want to consider adding subtle tinges of colour to the white on the walls and go for pure white on the trim.

Location. If you’re in areas where the climate is grayer—like the West Coast—a gray undertone in white paint will complement the quality of light. In other areas of Canada where the sky is clearer, that same colour could take on a pinkish hue because of the blue light from the sky.

In this case, chips are your friend. If you’re undecided, take some paint chips from the store of each colour you’re thinking of using and place them on different parts of the wall. You might be surprised at how light affects the colours. You might find one is too cool or warm for your taste. Doing this before you actually buy the paint is a wise move.

The swatch test. If you still can’t decide, you might opt for getting a couple of sample cans and actually painting swatches in the room. Check back to see how the colour changes throughout the day and into the evening.

If you can’t make up your mind as to whether a cool or warm tone would be better, choose something in the middle. Splitting the difference may be something you’ll be happy with in the long run if you’re indecisive.