Light and dark, soft and hard, French and Saunders: Every head has a tail…

...every yin has its yang, a contrasting element with which it couldn’t exist without. And amidst the melee of loud, clashing, bonkers colours and patterns that make up the maximalism movement cascading through interiors right now, creeps the ever-quiet, ever-peaceful counter-trend for pure whites.

Yes, like a soft snowfall, white is making a subtle comeback – on everything to sofas to rugs to walls. China and lighting. No, of course it’s not remotely practical, and we don’t recommend you drinking anything darker than water in its vicinity, but it works because it is soothing, and feels like a pure haven to come back to.

You see, white is the method in the madness of maximalism, a way to stop the clashing patterns and colours from overwhelming your life. And there are some new rules to stop you feel like you’re living in a blizzard, or that you can’t ever spill any crumbs. Instead of going for the all-white bachelor pad look of the 1990s, contrast it with one strong hit of punchy colour, such as the royal purple South Pacific carpet from Kersaint Cobb (top). Then take their lead and dot accents of the same colour around the room – a vase on the fireplace, a cushion nestling in the chair, a photo frame hung on the wall – to break up the monotony that whole white can sometimes bring, and make the white dazzle even more.

White works because it's simple, understated and clean-looking, evoking a feeling that no matter what is going on outside in the real world, your home is a little pocket of quiet calm. Its brilliant finish is the visual equivalent of sipping on a soothing cup of tea – it makes you feel like nothing could ever go wrong, gives you a place to sit and think, provides you with a clearer focus. Or, if you will, makes you feel like everything could be all white.

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Pip McCormac, Guest Editor

View all posts by Pip McCormac, Guest Editor