Linear Thinking

Decorating with stripes can be a daunting task, but when used subtly in the right color and scale, stripes can add texture, pattern and visual interest to any space. There are many different ways to decorate with stripes–horizontal, vertical, large and small–and each creates its own statement. While the more traditional way of applying stripes is vertically on drapes or a wall, turning the stripes on their side creates an unexpected twist and can completely change the look of a room. The two most important things to remember when decorating with stripes is scale and balance to avoid overwhelming a room. Large bold stripes need to be balanced with a more neutral color palette and simple decor, while smaller stripes can handle bright colors and can serve as one pattern among many. Whether applied as bold stripes on a wall or subtle small scale stripes on fabric; stripes create visual tension and contrast that will instantly create a focal point and make a space feel both contemporary and chic.

Elle Decor. While using floor to ceiling stripes is rather bold, the neutral gray tone prevents them from overwhelming the room and allows them to serve as a backdrop to the rest of the room rather than serve as the focal point.

Elle Decor. The white ceilings and white tile floor beautifully balance the striped wallpaper and emphasize the high contrast between black and white. I love the copper tub and the way that the artwork is hung off-set, drawing your eye directly to the back wall.

Markham Roberts. Another untraditional way to use stripes is to use them diagonally. Although the room itself is busy, the diagonal stripes are neutral enough that they appear more subtle.

Turning stripes horizontally not only creates visual interest, but also makes a space feel larger. I like how the designer balanced the large scale stripes with smaller artwork and a neutral black and brown color palette.

Continuing the wide stripes on the ceiling creates a "circus tent-like" feeling in this fun light-filled dining room. Stripes work particularly well when paired with wainscoating and moulding...helping to frame the stripes and preventing them from being visually overwhelming.

This is a rather bold welcome to a home, but it creates great curiosity about what the rest of the home looks like.

Blount Design. The combination of competing stripes goes against all rules, and yet the simplicity of the rest of the room allows for the visual tension to exist without being too overwhelming. I love the drum shade pendant light at the center of the room...you can get an inexpensive drum pendant that is very similar at http://www.westelm.com.

Bright yellow stripes work perfectly in this light-filled bathroom. Continuing stripes on the ceiling works particularly well when you have tall ceilings that are peaked. It closely mimics a cabana tent.

If you are apprehensive about stripes on the walls, you can reserve stripes for accent pieces such as a rug or pillows. Even accent pieces can make a bold statement and add visual interest and texture.

House Beautiful. The red and white stripe curtains add just the right amount of color to this all white and black office. I love the touch of the turquoise lamp on the side table....turquoise and red make a perfect pair!

I love this outdoor space! The sand colored striped cushions and bolster pillows blend beautifully with the beachside setting. Notice the eclectic collection of lanterns hanging from the tent...a great alternative to a large chandelier.

Domino Magazine. Using stripes on the ceiling of a nursery is such a darling idea and adds a touch of color without it becoming the dominant color of the room. The yellow, black and white color scheme is a great option for a gender neutral nursery.

The low flung bed and bold turquoise striped rug is a modern take on beach decor. I love the hanging ratan chair!

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