A seemingly simple shade, white is a chameleon colour that can serve a multitude of purposes in a space depending on how it's used. It can bring a serene minimalism to a room, serve as a blank canvas for bolder pieces or lend an unexpectedly casual warmth to an area used for everyday living. Whatever your purposes, here's some key pointers for interesting décor ideas applying white-on-white interiors. 

Place velvet, linen and slubbed weaves together while avoiding busyness;  Tangalle curtain and cushion fabrics, from Dh356 per metre, Brera Lino sofa fabric in Alabaster, Dh625 per metre, Eberson Platinum rug, Dh12,645, all Designers Guild at Maison D’art.

Layer it up

Combining whites together might seem redundant at first, but bringing diverse shades side by side serves to emphasise the subtle shifts in this versatile colour and adds depth to a scheme. For example, beige- and grey-based whites used with starker permeations will prevent a room from feeling too clinical.

Create an edgy, modern look with furnishings that employ marbling and geometric silhouettes in shades of white, as seen here with Illusion wallcovering by Anthology (left); Delicate patterns and layered shades make the most of this comfortable corner with  Pure Honeysuckle and Tulip Embroidery from Pure North Fabrics by Morris & Co, Harlequin’s Orlena wallpaper offers a dash of personality in this space without being overwhelming; Dh410 per roll.

Temperature gauge

All colours work on a sliding ‘temperature’ scale, ranging from cool to warm variations. Whites with a warm undertone lift the mood in a room that doesn’t get much natural light, while cool whites, which tend to be more blue-based, look great in the clean airiness of modern-style homes.

Achieve a rustic look like this vignette featuring Cole & Son’s Martyn Lawrence Bullard Medina wallpaper. Pair warm whites with pastels and metallic accessories for a glamorous effect, such as with this scheme from H&M Home .

Pattern power

As you’re working with the ultimate ‘blank canvas’, rooms with a white palette are an ideal place to introduce pattern. Keep the space feeling serene by selecting a delicate floral or botanical theme, or if choosing bigger, bolder prints, go for those with a gentle gradient of tones or even a faded effect.   


The chinoiserie-inspired design of Zoffany’s Darnley wallpaper lends the contemporary furnishings in this room a sophisticated air; Darnley from Darnley Wallpapers by Zoffany, Dh680 per metre.


Get more interior inspiration from InsideOut: 

Step inside a dreamy holiday home perched on the cliffs of Alanya, Turkey 

Gorgeous gelato hues add some spring to your interior spaces

7 ways to create a contemporary rustic-style kitchen