Decorating Ideas

7 Major Tricks for Doing Stripes Right

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Stripes: They’re arguably the most versatile motif when it comes to decorating, as capable of making a bold statement in an entryway as they are of adding subtle texture to the kitchen. Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite ways to use the pattern, breaking down the look so you too can stripe it rich.

Photo by Lesley Unruh

Photo by Lesley Unruh

The All-Out Upholstered Walls

Decking out a room in bright, floor-to-ceiling stripes certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re looking to create a warm, tentlike feel in the space, the look might be for you. These walls are covered not in wallpaper but in multistripe fabric, adding an extra dimension of texture and an alluringly opulent appeal.

Idea to steal: Étagères don’t have to be flush against a wall. Bring yours out into the center of your space, turning it into a focal point instead of a wallflower. The best part? It will complement rather than compete with a pattern as bold as multistripes.

Photo by Aubrie Pick

Photo by Aubrie Pick

The Statement-Making Drapes

We’ve always been big believers that curtains add polish to a space. This rings especially true in this cavernous living room: The bold shades provide a fun graphic punch that, when brought up to the height of the ceiling, make the space feel extra tall. Plus, we love the way the stripes pair with the floral upholstery of the sofa. It’s proof that no matter how simple or bold, stripes are the perfect partner for pattern-mixing.

Idea to steal: If you’re going big on upholstery and drapes, keep the other elements in the room on the simpler side. Here, a natural-fiber rug and clean-lined tables and armchairs balance out the major graphic statement.

Photo by Joe Schmelzer

Photo by Joe Schmelzer

The Always-Classic Kitchen Landing

In our books, a runner in the kitchen is always a winner; it’s a foolproof way to bring in color and pattern. Here, a striped Indian dhurrie ups the preppy-and-polished factor, serving as a solid (and soft) landing in a practical space.

Idea to steal: Stick to variations of a single hue—as seen in the blues of the ginger jars, runner, lighting, and marble here—plus creamy cabinetry to keep the space feeling light and fresh.

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

Photo by Simon Upton/Interior Archive

The Cabana-Striped Suite

For a sunny and preppy porch, blue-striped cushions and natural-wood outdoor furnishings are a tried-and-true combination. This pairing works in any type of alfresco setting, whether you’re poolside in Palm Springs or seaside in New England.

Idea to steal: The stripes in your outdoor space need not all be the same, as evidenced by the royal-blue single stripes and navy multistripe motifs here. After all, part of the beauty of stripes is that they’re easy to mix.

Photo by William Waldron/Interior Archive

Photo by William Waldron/Interior Archive

The Elevating Painted Floors

Though not initially obvious, the painted striped floors of this space are decidedly chic and take the room to a new level of sophistication. The tailored look of the paint job provides the perfect contrast to the organic shapes and eclectic accents in the space, creating that masterful mix we love.

Idea to steal: Punctuate the graphic motif with a hide rug or two, which will create a satisfying complement to the graphic pattern (plus a soft spot underfoot!) without covering it up.

Photo by Tony Vu

Photo by Tony Vu

The Charming French Ticking

Ticking stripes, as seen in the tufted ottoman here, are an especially versatile version of the motif, able to complement everything from formal silhouettes to casual textiles.

Idea to steal: Ticking stripes can even act as a neutral. In this space, for instance, they serve as a perfect background for hide rugs and vintage global pillows alike.

Photo by Lesley Unruh

Photo by Lesley Unruh

The Artisanal Striped Touch

We’re huge proponents of using decor in unexpected ways. Case in point: this vintage kilim rug as a decorative coverlet on the bed. The simple stripes give the space an almost minimalist feel, but one that’s elevated by the colors and handmade textures. The kilim pillows, in a different but coordinating palette and with subtly varied stripe patterns, create a graphic contrast while still feeling cohesive within the space.

Idea to steal: Don’t shy away from using other global accents with the kilim. A Moroccan-inspired pendant, a macramé wall hanging, and a Beni Ourain runner bolster the eclectic look. 

Related: The Best Ways to Bring in Big Colorful Patterns →

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