Why & How To Use Stripes In Your Home

Why & How To Use Stripes In Your Home

Stripes are having a moment in the interiors’ world in the form of wide-set, bold designs. Here’s more on why the pros love them, where they work best and how to get the look…

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Professionals Love Them


This season, the stripe revival can’t be ignored. Whether it’s Flora Soames’ poolside shoot of her Pavilion fabric range (a departure from her signature floral style) or Summerill & Bishop’s bold tablecloths, the interior experts have been busy reinventing a classic. "Stripes have really stood the test of time,” explain Ceraudo co-founders Victoria and Emily Ceraudo, who have just launched their Sonia Stripe fabric. “They’ll forever be a trend in fashion, interiors and art and we were really inspired by the use of stripes in the interiors of the 1980s – think lots of drapery, bed canopies and wall coverings.”

Maximalists Should Embrace Them

Gavin Houghton
Gavin Houghton


Interior designer Gavin Houghton is known for his intrepid use of colour, but in this project, he feared saturating the scheme, so turned to wide stripes instead. “The red stripes came about because I didn’t want colour on the walls, but wanted colour somewhere in the scheme. That’s when I decided to paint the ceiling in a red stripe. The craftsmen in Morocco are amazing, I told the painter which red I wanted and the width of stripe, and when I came back it had been perfectly done by hand. To keep the stripe theme going, we had the seat cushions upholstered in another stripe which was woven right here in Tangier. It’s now cropped up in a few of my UK clients houses, too.

They’re Also A Classic


Sarah Corbett-Winder loves using stripes throughout her family home. “They’re the kind of classic you never get bored of. You can play with different colours, widths and the way you place them – horizontally or vertically – and we have them all over. A dark coloured stripe is especially good in a small space, as it helps to make it look bigger. We did this in our small downstairs loo. Our kids’ bedrooms have striped wallpaper, too, which we matched with the curtains and they’re also great for covering a sofa – if budget’s an issue, I often just cover the big cushions you sit and lean on the sofa, to save having to upholster the whole thing.”


Buchanan Studio just launched their first armchair with a bold stripe fabric in three colourways. Founders Angus and Charlotte Buchanan explain why this was their first choice: “Stripes are often nostalgic, but can also feel very modern – its why they’re so timeless. The beauty is there are no rules; they go with everything and will fit with any kind of interior setting – they can be both traditional and modern, depending on your taste. Right now, a wide stripe feels freshest.”



Victoria and Emily Ceraudo add: “Stripes work really well on upholstery, cushions or curtains. Either keep it simple with no trims or details, or add a fun skirt, fringe, or more detailed piping – stripes can work with all eventualities.” If you’re confused on how to introduce stripes to your space, think about window treatments first, they add. “Stripe curtains can be a great middle ground if you're not so keen on a busy print.”

Children's Bedrooms


Given stripes’ playful nature, it’s no surprise to see designers using them in children’s rooms. Alice Palmer, who is best known for her decorative lampshades, painted her children’s ceiling in stripes, creating a whimsical, circus-like feel. “I love the tent-like feel the bold stripes on the ceiling lend,” Alice explains. “Ceilings are such a large surface area in any room, so it’s a shame to assume they should just be painted white. You’ll find a striped ceiling works especially well in smaller spaces like this, too.”


Start Small

As the latest iteration of stripe is bold, take your time getting comfortable with it. Table linens are a good introduction, argues Summerill and Bishop CEO and creative director, Seb Bishop. “Stripes bring vivacity, energy and structure to any room that they inhabit, but they have to be done right,” he explains. “Such a striking pattern commands attention, so it’s important to create balance, perhaps by using plenty of white elsewhere on the table.”

Combine With Care

“Stripes are graphic enough in their own right, so they need very little assistance in the style stakes,” continues Seb. “Keep things tonal or use colours that complement each other to ensure the look is harmonious. Green with pink or yellow paired with blue always make for a beautiful combination. Just remember clashing colours will feel distracting and chaotic, not modern or cool.”




Mind The Pitfalls

Simple though they may be, it is possible to go wrong with stripes, warn the Ceraudo founders. “Try to use a stripe sparingly or use a variety of different scales – the same scale throughout can be quite overbearing if it’s on lots of different pieces, but if there's a gentle mix of very thin stripes and larger widths, it can create a lovely combination of prints that don't look so uniform. In general, a wider stripe suits more contemporary pieces and a thin stripe is more traditional but have a play with sample swatches and see what works best.”

In short, it’s the proportion of the stripe which is so important to get right. “Too wide and you lose focus of the design, too narrow and you’ll be seeing them everywhere,” explains Seb. “We tried so many different proportions of stripe throughout our design process and it’s astonishing how a slight increase or decrease in width can completely alter the look. If in doubt, it’s best to play it safe somewhere between the two, but most importantly, try things until you get it just right.”

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