A Stylish Line-up
From skinny blue ticking to bold rainbow ribbons, stripes are the new superstars of home decor in 2015. Gabrielle Fagan beats the drum for bands of colour...
Life may never follow a straight line, but this year, your decor should. Stripes are decorating every surface right now, from walls to floors. And not only are they the most fashionable choice of the season - and a smart way to bring colour and personality to rooms - they have the power to "stretch" walls too.
It's all a visual trick, of course, but vertical stripes can make ceilings appear taller, creating the illusion of height, while horizontal stripes elongate a space, making rooms feel wider.
"Stripes are a perennial favourite both on the catwalk and for interiors, and are particularly on trend this year," says Mike Constable, managing director of fabric specialists Jab Anstoetz. "Their popularity isn't surprising, because they're versatile and have the power to completely change the look, feel and mood of a room, depending on their direction, width, colour and pattern sequence.
"Stripes can be elegant and sophisticated when monochrome, conjure sail-away style in blue and white, or be playful and wild in bold and bright colours. Bands of colour in the same width help create a classic look, whereas a mix of stripes in different widths are more modern."
So if you thought zebras, pedestrian crossings and bar codes had the monopoly on stripes, think again, and bring decor into line with this expert guide.
Blue and white's a classic combo for stripes, which evokes a coastal feel, and this year its popularity reflects our passion for blue shades.
"Crisp, clean stripes are synonymous with seaside interiors and can be mixed and matched for breezy, summer looks which are appropriate all year round," says David Collinge, managing director at fabric specialist Ian Mankin.
"Consider a thin ticking stripe as a neutral and match with a stripe of a different scale or density. To enliven a scheme, add pops of red in accessories or contrast navy blues with details in sky blues."
Tip: Stripe patterns can be mixed with gingham, larger checks and florals, as long as you ensure all patterns are within the same colour family.
Stripey Stars: Kelly Hoppen's signature shade is taupe but she's just as skilful working in other palettes, as her Hoppen Stripe White/Prussian Blue wallpaper, £20 a roll, for Graham & Brown, demonstrates.
Blue and white always conjures a calm, peaceful atmosphere in a bedroom, and this look's super-simple to create with a backdrop of pure white walls and a bed dressed in striped linen, such as Boston Stripe Organic Cotton bedding; Double Duvet Cover, £90; Pillowcase, £19, The Fine Cotton Company. If your budget allows a vintage piece, a Grain Sack Club Chair, £1,800, from Kelly Swallow, could complete the setting. Alternatively, trawl for accessories on the high street: a Breton Table Lamp, hand-painted with blue stripes, £45, Next, and an Aqua Print Mug, £4, Sainsbury's.
Black & White Vision
Monochrome's also one of the fashion's big trends, which means black and white stripes are everywhere, and these work just as well dressing-up rooms.
"Stripes particularly suit monochrome, as black and white's a sophisticated, powerful colour combination, which adds a formal and polished element to a space. It works particularly well in traditional settings," says Constable.
"Accent colours added to a monochrome scheme will bring warmth, but in general, stripes look so graphic and bold on their own, it's better to avoid cluttering a setting, or distracting with too many colours."
TIP A combination of reflective and light-absorbing monochrome fabrics is striking. For example, black velvet absorbs light more than black silk, and so will look darker. Alternating flat and glossy stripes can add perceived depth and dimension to a room.
Stripey Stars: Fabric designers have embraced stripes in this colourway and there's a beautiful selection to choose from. Those who love a sharp-suited look could opt for the fine pin-stripe of Sly, £88 a metre, or - my favourite - Milo, featuring a herd (or to be accurate, a zeal) of zebras on a white background, £22 a metre, both from the Yin & Yang range by JAB Anstoetz. Ian Mankin has two classics in his range, the Devon Stripe Black, £24.50 a metre, and the finer-stripe Ticking 2 Black, £24.50 a metre, which also work well together.
Julien Macdonald's a designer who's not afraid of drama, and proves it with his glitter-embellished striped Glitterati Black/White wallpaper, £20 a roll, Graham & Brown.
I'm a great believer in the power of details which show you're aware of a trend and know how to use it. Reflect light and style with Oliver Bonas' Small Stripe Mirror, £60, and a Monochrome Stripe Table Runner, £12, available from Sainsbury's stores.
STAR BUY Two men painting monochrome stripes is an appropriate decoration for The Tiny Collection Painting Mug, £12, Luku Home.
Take a shortcut to summer with stripes in zingy colours reminiscent of beach huts, deckchairs and parasols.
"Colour's come to stay in homes, and stripes are a fun way to introduce it. Make stripes work as a creative statement and try some interesting painting effects which can give you a look unique to you and your home.
"There's no rule that says stripes have to be rigid straight lines, and I think wavy, softer bands of colour are just as effective," says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux.
"Try a simple dragged technique, using horizontal layers of colour, to get a stunning effect in the bedroom. Alternatively, make your own decorating tool by taping a row of artists' brushes to a block of wood, and use it to paint finer layers of colour on smaller areas and architectural details."
Tip:You only need a couple of handy DIY tools to help you create stripes. Use a plumb line for vertical stripes and a spirit level for horizontals, and if you want an accurate sharp edge, apply decorators' low-tack masking tape.
Stripey Stars: Be creative with paints from the Dulux MixLab Layer + Layer collection, using shades which blend well together, such as Copper Blush, Caramel Blush 5, Jewelled Creek 5, and Party Surprise 5. Matt emulsion, from £24.49 for 2.5L.
Struggling to choose a pattern which pairs with stripes? Look no further than designer Christian Lacroix's Beach Club Pink striped paper, which perfectly emphasises accents of pink in Le Main Au Collet Multi, a paper whose dramatic design features sparkling gems and jewellery, both £61 a roll. For a bolder design for a feature wall or alcoves, consider Super Stripe, £10.99 a roll, in black and pink, from the Albany Young at Heart collection. All from Wallpaper Direct. If all that's too adventurous, have fun on the floor with a multi-coloured striped Xian Fesh 76800 rug, from £89, Kelaty.