Stripes are a home designer’s dream

The dictionary defines a stripe as ‘a relatively long, narrow band of a different colour/appearance/weave that is different than the rest of the surface. Stripes have to be a designer’s dream because they come in all shapes, colours and sizes and they work with absolutely any pattern. If you need a no fail pattern, stripes are the ‘go to’ product for you!

Stripes are clean and classic and come in a variety of widths from the almost invisible pinstripe to wide and bold. One of the few patterns which can be used vertically, horizontally or diagonally, you will never go wrong when choosing stripes. You can also manipulate the visual size and shape of a room by using stripes – this pattern is universal. Vertical stripes on a wall will elevate the walls and make them look taller while using horizontal stripes will draw the eye from side to side making the walls appear shorter.

I personally adore stripes and have them in several places in my home in varying thicknesses. In my living room I have floor length draperies with bold horizontal stripes while in my bedroom I have valances made fabric that contains a pinstripe pattern.

The full-length draperies can support a wider stripe and the smaller valance needs a more minute pattern. The stripes are mixed with a combination of solids and paisley prints as well as with plaid. All of these patterns work fabulously together as the colours in each pattern are perfectly coordinated – this makes the varied patterns work so well together.

Stripes have long had a history of being nautical yet they can be formal if you choose a stripe with a lower colour contrast or a monochromatic tone on tone colour.

The cheery combination of any color alongside a white stripe is an instant pick me up that always looks perfectly coordinated.

On the flipside a dramatic black stripe adds elegance to any colour that it stands beside.

You can also combine different sizes of stripes in the same room and they will be fantastic together. Consider using a combination of widths based on the size of the item you are buying, an area carpet would have wider striping and the coordinating toss cushions would employ a smaller pattern. Stripes are traditionally a 50/50 division but don’t forget about the mixed stripes which are a fun and funky way to add pizzazz to a room.

A trend that has been emerging is striping in tile, we are seeing new tile styles with an abundance of striping – from bold to subtle.

The shape of tile itself has gone to the extreme with rectangles and skinny bars becoming a popular choice for clients. Linear is in and very popular, you can open up a world of endless creativity with striped tile.

If you have a room that needs an instant pick me up, add stripes! Whether you hang new draperies, upholster a piece of furniture or get creative with a paint or wallpaper treatment, stripes will be instantly at home in any décor regardless of your current patterns.

Work with your existing colours and look for a striped fabric or paint that pulls one or two colours from your palette and then feel free to play with this décor friendly pattern!

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext. 227 or email her at

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