Whether you like thin or thick, horizontal or vertical, stripes are a bold choice that will transform a tired room.
“Stripes are both trendy and classic,” says interior designer John Croft.
The direction of the stripes, when used as wallpaper – or stripes painted on the wall – will place your room in a specific era, says the Brisbane designer.
“Vertical stripes do take on a bit more of a traditional look: we would therefore use this in a more classic setting.
“Having the stripes horizontal is a modern take on a very traditional style of wallpaper.”
American interior decorator Dorothy Draper, who helped inspire a generation of home improvement devotees with her 1939 book Decorating Is Fun!, once said: “The wider the stripe, the smarter the effect.”
Pair thick stripes with soft shades of colour to make a room look refined and sophisticated, Croft says.
“We also suggest coupling these walls with interior elements such as a simple geometric rug, art deco lamps and patterned cushions.”
If you are looking for a more dramatic room, mix black stripes (thick or thin) with a patterned floor.
“At the moment black-and-white striped walls with a black-and-white chequered floor is a popular choice for bathrooms, laundries and kitchens,” Croft says.
“The patterns look great with white sinks, tiles, mirrors, bench tops and skirting boards.”
Use stripes to play around with the size of a room. In a low-ceilinged room, vertical stripes will create an optical illusion that the ceiling is higher than it is (in much the way that a dress with vertical stripes will make you look taller).
Horizontal stripes have the opposite effect, which can be useful when it comes to home decorating. They can be used to make a narrow room appear wider.
Striped carpet will cause optical illusions that alter the feel of a room’s dimensions. If, for instance, you want to make your stairs look longer than they are, a design option is to choose a striped stair runner: it will draw the eye upwards, making the staircase appeal taller.
MyHouse homewares stylist Betty Wong says this season she has witnessed a big comeback of stripes.
“Classic or contemporary, nothing beats the timeless look of checks and stripes,” says Wong.
The designers agree that the colour of the stripes is an important way to evoke different feelings and moods.
Joyful yellow and white stripes suit a child’s bedroom or a beach house. Fresh blue and white stipes reference the ocean. In winter, rich, warm stripes in terracotta, ruby and chocolate are perfect for making a room feel cosy or to warm up a cold hallway.
If you are keen on stripes but don’t want to commit to them adorning your walls or floor, experiment with the pattern on fabrics or upholstery, the experts advise.
A three-piece striped lounge might be a bit over the top, especially if the room is small, so instead choose a striped sofa and team it with plain armchairs. Or opt for a statement striped armchair matched to a sofa covered in plain fabric.
Many interior designers mix and match stripes with florals, spots and geometric patterns – something that the inexperienced home decorator can find tricky.
If you’re unsure about how to use stripes in the home, the best way is to ease yourself in with a few striped cushions, a floor mat, a vase, and striped bedlinen.