Colour may be cool currently - but if you prefer to dance to a different decor tune, and yearn for light-filled, calm, easy-on-the-eye rooms, then a white palette's the obvious choice.

Ignore the 'white is for wimps' wisdom; that only the brave stylishly splash on fashionably bright shades and enjoy a technicolour world, while the rest of us scaredy-cats pale at the sight of colour charts and scurry back to the safety of neutrals.

Sound all-white to you? Time to freshen up those rooms...

Dip into white

"Simple white reflects light and helps to make a space appear bigger, but can feel cold and impersonal," says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux. "Try a combination of pure white and a warm off-white with added light-reflective properties, such as Absolute White and Morning Light from our Light & Space range.

"Layers of subtle neutrals make a different kind of impact on a room than deeper shades, but they'll still make an impact. The creative use of light from floor to ceiling brings subtle shades to life at night too, and of course, you can add colour to a neutral room in accessories. "

Top tip: When you're not using much colour in the room, you need to excite the senses with texture. Use a velvety flat matt on walls and layers of sensuous fabrics on furniture, with warm, smooth wood flooring. Use tester pots and view in all lights before making a final paint choice.

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White magic

"What's so appealing about white is its great democracy. It doesn't discriminate between high architectural art and a warehouse interior, where garage paint can cover every surface, rendering ugly pipes, bricks and stained floorboards invisible," says Karen McCartney, champion of a white palette and co-author of White Rooms: Decorating With Style, Pattern And Colour.

"White allows the eye to float over every surface, and the furnishings, art and objects to take centre stage. Patterned pastels, bold artworks, antiques, sculpture, designer pieces and found objects all work stylishly within the context of white."

Top tip: If a white open-plan room with large floor-to-ceiling windows is eye-wateringly bright, use tints to soften the effect. A touch of grey/brown for paint and a low-reflection flat wall and ceiling paint will help.

White Cluster

Interesting white objects in a group act as an eye-catching feature in a space.

"The joy of grouping white objects together is that while they may vary slightly in shade, this only adds to the interest they provide when displayed in a pleasing cluster," says McCartney. "Pay particular attention to the shape, materials, height and placement of objects, to ensure that, whether they're showcased in front of a dark or light wall, their form is easily defined."

Top tip: Use Hexagon Shelves to frame objects and bring a white wall to life.

White Rooms: Decorating With Style, Pattern And Colour by Karen McCartney and David Harrison, photography by Richard Powers, is published by Penguin Lantern, priced £25. Available now.