There are myriad ways to work with white, so it’s no surprise that there are more shades of white than any other colour. Paint savvy decorators choose specific whites according to desired effect, with lighter whites enhancing space in small rooms, while darker shades are better suited to bigger rooms, as they maintain the appearance of consistency in room sizes across the home.

Associated with the emergence of modernism in the early 20thcentury, white walls were popularised by architects such as Le Corbusier, whose white cubic buildings were the epitome of changing modern design. Symbolic of cleanliness and purity, white walls are key to a minimalist look with their light-reflecting quality cleverly increasing the appearance of space in the home.

The popularity of white walls in art galleries speaks volumes, with the Tate revealing that white was introduced ‘in response to the increasing abstraction of modern art’, while also acting ‘as a frame, rather like the borders of a photograph’. White walls channel attention towards artwork on display as oppose to architectural detail, practically obliterating the building in which the paintings hang, enabling maximum artistic impact for the audience. They perform this same role in the home, directing attention to home accessories and furniture, and cleverly hiding blemishes!

How to get the white stuff: from the space enhancing, light-reflecting particles of Dulux’s Ultra White (from £24.98 for 2.5L) to the 28-shade white palette from Little Greene, which ranges from rustic creams to textural linens (prices starting from £38 for 2.5L) there are infinite shades and brands to choose from.

Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.