Decorating with stripes: 6 design tricks from the experts

design experts reveal how to use stripes in your interior
Decorating with stripes: 6 design tricks to tryArtisans of Devizes / Pooky

Quite possibly one of the most versatile patterns around, stripes are forever on-trend. And, when it comes to decorating your interior, the possibilities are infinite.

'From panelling through to upholstery pattern, stripes are one of the most popular and frequently utilised decorating motifs,' says Gisela Lancaster, head of buying at Sofology. 'Whether your style is more classic and elegant or contemporary and relaxed, playing with the scale and colour of stripes can transform how a room feels.

'From the wide monochrome stripes used in the classic meets graphic trend through to the finer lines found in reeded panelling or fine outlines and detailing, stripes make for one of the simplest yet most effective ways of adding interest to your interior design.'

Keep reading to find out exactly how you can make the most of stripes in your next interior design project.

Tip 1: Use stripes to create the illusion of space

Making the most of small spaces can be challenging, but thanks to their optical illusion effect, stripes are a great option to help make an undersized room feel bigger.

design experts reveal how to use stripes in your interior

'Used in combination with mirrors, stripes can help to create the illusion of a larger space,' says Sue Jones, luxury interiors expert and co-founder of OKA. 'The pattern naturally draws the eye and gives the impression of an object or room appearing taller, wider or longer.

'If you want a room with low ceilings to feel taller, use vertical stripes, while horizontal ones are best for making a narrow room appear wider. The rule of thumb here is to make sure the stripes are facing in the direction you want to enhance.'

Tip 2: Keep your colour palette in mind

Although stripes are inherently playful and a whole lot of fun to experiment with, a little attention to detail when it comes to your colour palette will keep the overall look cohesive.

pickle and bonbon stripe fabric
Image: Pickle & Bonbon Stripe Fabric, Colours of ArleyColours of Arley

'When choosing striped accessories, it's essential to keep in mind the colour palette you play with,' advises Francesca Hadland, interiors expert for Bridgman. 'We recommend choosing three key colours when accessorising to keep this impactful pattern under control.

'You can also use multicoloured striped accessories to pick out the shades that make up the palette and spread these across your room for further cohesion.'

Tip 3: Contrast stripes with a clashing pattern

Instead of playing it safe, try a mix-and-match look for an eclectic finish that is bursting with personality and interest.

'Don't be afraid to combine different patterns. Mix classic designs such as stripes or florals with exotic styles such as ikats and kilims,' advises Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin

design experts reveal how to use stripes in your interior

Lou Petersen, head of design innovation at DFS, agrees: ‘Stripes are a key feature of country house style, and one way to play with this traditional pattern is to use it in a slightly unexpected way.

'Start with a "matchy matchy" approach by pairing a ticking stripe bed frame with a matching accent piece such as a storage ottoman, then contrast these against a striking patterned wallpaper, bold coloured panelling, or statement artwork or lighting.'

Tip 4: Experiment with different types of stripes

'The type of stripe also plays a role, and you’ll need to choose between a thick or thin striped pattern,' says Sue. 'Thick stripes are great for a bold aesthetic and work especially well in two-tone colours. Thin stripes meanwhile, work well for a more understated look, and work equally well with brighter colours, or more muted tones.'

carte blanch capsule collection by christopher john rogers, farrow ball

Sarah Jenkinson, product manager at Kingsmead, adds: 'Opting for narrow and smaller striped patterns will instantly elevate the space. Thinner stripes are used to create subtle and stylish patterns, enough to add that desired element of character to a room without overwhelming the space.

'For narrow hallways and bedrooms, light colours and linear stripes are particularly effective, brightening up the area to create the illusion of a larger space. Drawing interest to the eye immediately, as well as suppressing any dirt and stains as it can withstand the wear more effectively than a single colour, ideal for busy family areas.'

Tip 5: Think outside the box

'A simple striped motif can be used in many ways – from understated accents through to bold hero walls,' says Helen Shaw, director of marketing (international) at Benjamin Moore. 'For an eye-catching look, incorporating a more vibrant tone, such as a classic red candy stripe pattern is a bold combination that will add excitement to any space. For a more traditional design, opt for a regency style stipe alternating between bands of colour by equal width.'

design experts reveal how to use stripes in your interior

The width of a stripe can make a huge difference too, explains Helen: 'A narrower spacing creates an elegant feel but can be enlivened by adding an accent colour at regular intervals – for instance, every 20 lines in the repeat.'

There's also nothing to say you can't mix and match stripes of varying widths or colour for a more dynamic, individual finish.

'For the ultimate on-trend look, follow the line of a skirting board with stripes in pretty pastels to highlight architectural details and transform them into eye-catching elements,' adds Helen.

Tip 6: Give striped flooring a go

Flooring might not be the first thing to spring to mind where stripes are concerned, but hear us out. Given the variety of stripes available, there's an abundance of ways they can be used to take your floor from overlooked to eye-catching.

wide, midi and skinny striped tiles in rhubarb and brighton stone

'Often employed in rug and runner designs, striped flooring not only creates an uplifting design detail but also helps to anchor a decorating scheme, drawing the eye down,' says Punam Chada, carpet buyer at Carpetright.

press images
House Beautiful Soho Stripe Loop Carpet, CarpetrightCarpetright

'The subtle linear nature of wood floors is reproduced in carpet design, albeit often using a finer pinstripe to create a more tailored elegant look. From monochromatic patterns through to bolder, multi-tonal combinations, striped flooring provides a classic way of adding a bolder flourish to your home.'

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