Style Matters: Say it with stripes


Whether used indoors or out, stripes are classic and very stylish.

Nowadays, anything striped goes. Stripes are showing up in all kinds of textiles. Wallpaper, fabrics, bedding, upholstery, rugs, draperies, lamps and flooring are showing off their stripes and moving into the spotlight of trendy, modern design.

Stripes are a favorite among designers. The certain clarity and freshness of stripes livens up plain, ordinary walls and coordinates with many design schemes of other favorite fabrics and furnishings in a home.

“California has been asleep in the wall covering industry for the last 15 years, but there has been a resurgence and naturally it’s picking up again in California because it’s new again, and California homeowners are into new, hip and what’s going on in home fashion,” said Stacy Allan, marketing director for Thibaut Wallpaper & Fabrics.

One of Thibaut’s new collections highlights lively stripes. The “Stripe Resource Volume 4” collection offers wall coverings and fabrics with creative uses for texture, tonal effects and metallic finishes ranging from contemporary to classic.

“Thibaut has definitely become more fun - great personality, inspiring, and problem solving,” Allan said. “A new cool product from the ‘Texture Resource Volume 2’ offers performance wall coverings, made for commercial use, but designed for residential applications, such as kids rooms, laundry rooms and pool bathrooms. They’re available in a variety of stripes.”

Stripes are master illusionists. Vertically striped wall coverings or painted stripes lead the eye up to make a room feel taller. Bold diagonal or horizontal stripes seem to widen or broaden out a space, and will draw attention around a room. For example, create a false cornice by painting one or two 2-to-3-inch stripes directly under the ceiling.

Stripes can help unify a color palette in a room. Stripes mix well with other prints, such as florals, botanicals, even toiles. It’s key to balance the scale of patterns used. You can even use two striped fabrics in the same room, as long as they are not similar in size. For instance, mix an oxford small stripe with a bolder stripe with wider bands. The rule of thumb is the scale should be at least two and a half times the size. This typically applies to any print.

Using a striped fabric on window treatments can work decorating magic. Running vertical stripes on a window treatment adds height in a space. Horizontal stripes make windows look wider and give a modern feel. Gathering or pleating stripe fabric softens a window, and gives movement and grace to the space.

Striped designs go well with most everything. Their stylish, tailored appearance is perfect for casual to formal settings. Up, down and even diagonally, stripes have a timeless appeal and an enduring quality.

Penelope’s Tips

  • Use vertical stripes on walls to make a room feel taller.
  • Use horizontal stripes on window treatments to make a window look wider.
  • Add stripes to other patterned fabrics, as they mix well.
  • Use stripes to enhance interiors in contemporary to traditional spaces.
  • Create energy and drama to a room using stripes.