Earn your interior design stripes…

Hi, I’m Jo Ridout, owner and director of homes, interiors and products lifestyle website www.apassionforhomes.com – thanks for joining me to look at one of my favourite interior design patterns – stripes!

Stripes are arguably the most versatile patterns in interior design as they can be mixed with other patterns, tie multiple colours into a scheme and be used to create the illusion of room width or height.

Stripes are timeless and can be elegant in grey pinstripes or quirky in bold, contrasting colours.

Striped home accessories can update a room to the latest trends without the need for redecorating.

Gone are the days of trying to mark out stripes with masking tape on your walls and the occasional striped cushion, now you can find a vast choice of striped wallpaper, carpets and rugs, furniture, bedding, soft furnishings and accessories.

I love stripes!


The colour combinations are endless – from the bold black and white to subtle stripes in shades of the same colour hue, from narrow grey pinstripes to wide gradients, pastels to primaries, stripes can work hard to produce the effect you are going for – where do you want to be on the drama scale?!

Stripes are also amazing at tying in the colours of a room design. This stunning sofa from Marks and Spencer not only works hard by bringing the current geometric trend into the room, with stripes of chevrons, it pulls together the bedding, the lighting, the neutral flooring and the cushion colours – genius!

*Marks and Spencer

Conversely, look at how the sofa now becomes the striped star of the show when placed in a room of a single, supporting colour.

*Marks and Spencer

So you decide how dramatic you want your stripes to be – subtle or bold. Just choose a colour palette that supports your choice – soft and muted greys and whites or sold block colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel.

It is usually suggested that for large areas of stripes, such as a feature wall, only using a mix of two colours (at a push three) to create the most elegant effect on large areas such as walls, creating dramatic harmony, not headaches! Keep the multi-coloured stripes for the smaller items such as chairs, curtains and cushions.


*Tuiss Blinds

Surprisingly, stripes can mix effectively with bold or subtle patterns and again help to tie the pattern into the colour scheme within the overall room décor. This picture from Tuiss Blinds beautifully illustrates how stripes can comfortably sit alongside a bold pattern. The general guidance is that the bigger and bolder the dominant pattern, the smaller the stripe needs to be. Conversely, a smaller and subtler pattern can easily blend in with a bold and uncompromising stripe.

Spots, floral, motifs, tartan, gingham, paisley, checks, geometric designs – stripes can mix with any of them as long as you have a colour theme running through both. For example in this cushion from Debenhams, the black and white bold stripes contrast with the delicate butterfly wings to dramatic effect, with the mono theme present in both designs.


The picture below from Heatons illustrates how you can use horizontal and vertical stripes can work within a room, plus how you can give the illusion of stripes too! When is a stripe not a stripe? When it is a book motif on a cushion, wood panelling on a wall or a textile stripe, such as cord, on a sofa!



As you would probably guess, vertical stripes on a wall will give the room the illusion of added height and a higher ceiling. Of course, for the success of the illusion depends on the amount of wall covered in stripes, the size of the room and the amount of light in the room.

*Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, Graham & Brown

Don’t expect vertical stripes to be the answer to a low ceiling if you have huge pieces of furniture against the striped wall! Plus, the smaller the width of the stripe and the more muted the colour tones used, the more classic the feel.

Wide horizontal stripes on a wall are said to make a room feel larger, pushing the adjoining walls to the edges of your site line. The same rules apply as for vertical stripes – the more artwork, mirrors, TVs, furniture etc against the striped wall, the less the effect will work.

*Steve Leung, Graham & Brown

For an even more contemporary look, try wide stripes running the width of the wall – even in muted tones, the look is modern.

*Julian Macdonald, Graham & Brown

For an even edgier contemporary look, take it up a notch and use contrasting colours to create the biggest impact of all.

If wallpaper, paint, flooring or furniture is too much commitment, striped curtains are an effective way to either give the window the illusion of extra height or width, or course depending on which way your stripes are going! But don’t have the curtains too full – a lot of bulky material will spoil the effectiveness of the stripe.

Finally, as a general rule, the smaller the room, the smaller the stripe – only larger rooms can really effectively handle very wide stripes, even on just a feature wall.


If you are looking for a way to introduce stripes to your walls but don’t want the usual symmetrical stripes, why not consider gradient stripes which will add interest. You could also consider using fading stripes, which, when done in soft colours, can be a subtle yet intriguing way of bringing stripes into the design scheme.

*Kelly Hoppen, Graham & Brown

*Carpetright’s Linear carpet range

Mixing the width of the stripe can be extremely effective at defining zones and spaces within a room – check out this picture from Carpetright which illustrates this point beautifully.

And the most daring of all? Diagonal stripes!


*Carpetright’s Jazz carpet range

I’ve looked at statement walls as an amazing way to bring stripes into an interior design, but of course, there are many ways to make way for stripes!

This amazing hall runner from Carpetright draws the eye down the open space, where it is rewarded by a glorious floor to ceiling window and statement sofa. It effortlessly flows one room into the next, at the same time as collecting together the accent colour scheme into one stunning floor covering. Simple but effective.

Stripes on the floor are very on-trend at the moment, especially in the hallway and stairs, as they are very good at hiding dirt and stains in high footfall areas.

Hallways are, in general, a narrow area, so a runner with stripes running horizontally will help to make the hall look wider.

Wow, these stripes are hardworking and clever!



The most obvious way to introduce stripes which is less permanent than wallpaper or a carpet is a statement piece of furniture, my favourite is always a statement chair – so versatile as it can be moved around the home and introduced into different room designs when needed, especially if you choose a neutral stripe!



If you want to go a step further, a striped sofa mixed with plain statement chairs in a block colour picked out from the sofa’s colour palette will look very striking.


Lastly, the fantastic versatility of striped soft furnishing – personally I think the introduction of striped accessories can really put a finishing touch to a room and has very low commitment, ideal for those of us who like to change our minds on a regular basis!

*Marks and Spencer

*Carpetright’s Inspiration Rug



Jo Ridout, A Passion for Homes Ltd

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