If you want to know how to decorate with stripes, our gallery of inspiring striped room ideas is the best place to start – there's plenty of visual inspiration, and expert advice on how to use them to enhance your rooms.
'Stripes bring order and structure to a space and have the ability to redirect the eye. When incorporated into an interior design scheme, they inject a dose of understated elegance and sophistication.
'I'm drawn to layering when designing an interior scheme, and incorporating stripes into the design provides the perfect structure that can then be contrasted with other designs, pattern and colour,' says Roselind Wilson, founder of Roselind Wilson Design (opens in new tab).
Classic and playful in equal measure, this season’s stripes on fabrics, furniture and accessories have reignited our love affair with this timeless trend.
Decorating with stripes
Appreciated for their dirt-defying nature, stripes were initially confined to high-traffic areas, such as stairs, but their appeal is now spreading. Taking inspiration from the fabric world where stripes are everywhere, flooring has now caught up and offers a far greater choice of designs than ever before. These are our favorite striped room ideas – we dare you not to be charmed.
1. Use narrow stripes to make a room seem grander
'Never really out of fashion, the classic stripe is having a particular moment right now. It is less about the country ticking look, though we love that too, and more about having fun and adding personality to a space with a statement stripe,' says Homes & Gardens' decorating editor Emma Thomas. 'From the elegant and classic to the bold and playful, there is a stripe for everyone.'
Here, this soft, textural striped wallpaper sets the scene for a restful monochrome bedroom scheme. The tall stripe draws the eye upwards, which makes the room appear taller, adding to the light and airy feel.
Accents of yellow ochre, simple elegant pale wood furniture and a striking artwork complete the look. Maremma Rigato wallpaper in Cement-Ivory, C&C Milano (opens in new tab).
2. Combine stripes with florals and graphics
Mixing patterns can be done, even with bold stripes. The trick is to only have a single maximalist print, as seen here in the chairs. This allows them to shine while the subtler prints on the wall and at the windows blend into the background.
'The skilful mix of pattern here combines to create a dynamic space, inviting your eyes to dance around the room, with the wonderfully wide green and white classic block stripes taking center stage, without overpowering the rest of the scheme,' says Emma Thomas.
3. Use kilim stripes to add character to a bed
Jane Churchill’s new-season stripes are influenced by the rich shades and textural stripes of antique kilims. Use as a colorful headboard idea or other upholstery for a tailored look with a relaxed edge.
Headboard in Indus Stripe in Red; cushions in (from back) Indus Stripe in Cobalt Blue and Red; Rhombus in Red and Blue; all Jane Churchill (opens in new tab)at Colefax and Fowler.
4. Decorate with stripes – but stripes with a twist
We adore this combination of unusual embellished stripe designs which features in one of the rooms at Dorset Square Hotel (opens in new tab).
As described by Kit Kemp in her Sleeping Around blog (opens in new tab), ‘this scheme has a more masculine feel with its tailored and refined red, white and blue color palette. When designing this bedroom, we really wanted to highlight the beautiful floor-to-ceiling Regency window. To do this we used Ottoline (opens in new tab)’s “Spot and Arrow” wallpaper. The jagged, arrow stripe is not only a fun design but it tricks the eye into thinking the ceiling is higher than it is. We often include a striking feature wall in our designs to bring the space to life.’
For the tub chairs, upholstered in Lost & Found, by Kit Kemp for Christopher Farr Cloth (opens in new tab), Kit loved the structure and the small repeat of the dotted stripe. It is such details that transform a simple stripe into something quite special.
5. Layer stripes with stripes for a daring scheme
'We adore the formal yet bold style of this scene, like something out of the Mad Hatter’s tea party,' says Emma Thomas. 'The stripe upon stripe lends the room a real sense of playfulness – and from who else but the oh-so talented table setting creators at Summerill & Bishop (opens in new tab)?
6. Enhance a room with a striped rug
Living room rug ideas that are striped are a simple and effective way to deliver color and personality to a plain space. As an investment piece, it will never go out of fashion. Plus, laying stripes on the floor can create the visual trick of making a room feel wider or longer. Kilim rug, Sinclair Till (opens in new tab).
7. Layer stripes of different sizes for an easy-on-the-eye space
Layering stripes upon stripes often depends on using different proportions, as in the room above, to be successful.
From A Rum Fellow’s Promenade collection, these stripes, a joyful expression of color and fanciful escapisms, are shown off best when layered for a dramatic yet classic look. Bed and headboard in Scoop Stripe in Neptune; curtains in Drift Stripe in Atlantic; Komorebi rug in Dusk; all A Rum Fellow (opens in new tab).
8. Design a unique and colorful kitchen backsplash
If you are looking for space-enhancing kitchen backsplash ideas, you can create stripes with horizontal tiles in colors that match your scheme. This design brings a playful touch to the kitchen counter (while also resolving the problem of having to choose just one of the many delightful colors in this gorgeous range from Claybrook Studio (opens in new tab)).
A little rattan shade adds textural contrast with the smooth shiny tiles and black countertop. Often, kitchen spaces can feel quite clinical and functional, so the addition of color and pattern such as this helps to bring a decorative edge to a practical part of the home.
9. Pick stripes for flooring to create a visual trick
A smart stripe – whether wide or narrow – is a classic pattern that will visually elongate and widen a room, just as floorboards do.
A striped rug against an otherwise plain background is a powerful tool in interior architecture – it has the effect of redirecting the eye and reshaping a space.
Rugs are a simple option, but carpet is fashionable, too. 'Striped floor coverings began to be introduced into homes about 10 years ago in a rather tentative way when the first collections arrived on the market,’ says Lorna Haigh, Head of Creative, Alternative Flooring (opens in new tab).
Be creative with flooring – a horizontal stripe a graphic and anchors the scheme. Black and white is a much stronger accent when paired with a bold color. ‘Today, the floor is increasingly being used as the 'fifth wall' and pattern gives a room instant character and vitality. Brightly colored striped floors provide an opportunity to inject color and set contrasts,’ continues Lorna Haigh.
10. Make a staircase feel wider and longer with stripes
Striped carpeting on stairs makes a design statement as soon as you enter a house, but it needn't be limited to this area. More people are finding the confidence to play with different breadths and scales throughout the house, from broad to ticking and pencil stripes.
In all cases, a stripe that leads up and away from where you are standing will make that space feel longer, while broad stripes can help it feel wider. Fitzroy runner by Roger Oates (opens in new tab).
11. Decorate bedroom walls with stripes to exaggerate space
Stripes tend to create the illusion of space: vertical stripes make ceilings look higher and horizontal ones make rooms appear wider, so they are perfect in spaces that are quite compact. Using vertical stripes in an already large room accentuates the ceiling height and expansive nature of the space.
12. Choose the right colors when combining stripes
Bold stripes on walls and fabrics bring a classic feel to any room. In a bedroom they work best in soft, pretty shades such as the pale sage and dusty pink tones used here.
For contrast the headboard has been upholstered with the stripe running horizontally to stand out against the vertical stripe of the wallpaper behind and to exaggerate the width of the headboard.
Check patterns are happy partners for classic stripes and they work together in harmony, as with the blanket and cushions used here on the bed.
13. Make stripes the focal point in upholstery
A pair of matching armchairs upholstered in a classic pale mint stripe create the main focal point in this living room. The pale pink walls complement the soft minty stripes and the black and white hues.
A large scale monochrome gingham check ottoman stool sits happily alongside the stripe chairs. Stripes and checks are a classic combination that never go out of style. The sleek black lines of the coffee table and cabinet add definition and ground the elegant scheme. The carefully pared back color palette creates a harmonious feel, pulling all the elements together.
14. Choose stripes in monochromes for impact
Pairing stripes and checks together makes for a harmonious scheme. This classic combination of patterns works particularly well in this monochrome black and white palette. Mix scales for added impact, as with the finer, thin stripes here sitting alongside the large scale black and white checks of the gingham.
A monochrome backdrop like this allows for more colorful elements in accessories and flowers to pop out in contrast. An ottoman like this in a living space is not only a comfortable footstool for lounging, but also provides extra seating when there is a larger gathering, and works perfectly as a coffee table, using the tray as a firm surface for displaying objects.
15. Bring stripes into the bathroom
Stripes will give a bathroom that Hamptons look that's easily elegant – but avoid matching them. Instead, make the most of the decorating opportunity in this smallest of rooms by picking contrasting stripe styles and colors, but keep the space simple and stylish by sticking to just two colors – plus a neutral.
How do you decorate with stripes?
The key thing to remember when decorating with stripes isn't the width of the stripes themselves – these can be successfully varied within one room – but the colors you use in the space. Because stripes are so visually arresting, it is better to use just three colors in any single space decorated with stripes – a main color and two accents – plus, of course, white.
With these three colors, the calmest, most successful of rooms will be decorated with similar tones so that the stripes are the focus, not the color contrasts.D
Do stripes make a room look bigger?
Stripes do make a room look bigger. Whether laid on the floor, on the walls or in fabric or upholstery, stripes visually lead the eye away, creating a neat space-enhancing trick. Vertical stripes, therefore, make rooms look taller, while horizontal stripes make rooms look wider – or longer – depending on where you are standing.
What patterns go with stripes?
All patterns go with stripes, as long as the colors within the different patterns are chosen to complement each other. Stripes go particularly well with checks and spots for a graphics-inspired scheme, but they also look super-smart and are great for setting off florals.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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