Style it in stripes

They are a bold statement that provide visual distraction and hide design flaws, says Teja LeleDesai

Stripes have been a fashion staple for years — in fashion, design, and art. But have you contemplated using this bold element in your home? They may seem overpowering, but if used in moderation they can be fun and can add an upbeat vibe to any space. Playful, dramatic, formal, casual…there’s no role that stripes can’t play. Bright and bold, subtle and thin, multicolour and monochromatic, this array of parallel lines lends a touch of whimsy and panache.

Explore a material of your choice — paint, fabric, wallpaper and collages — to create a linear look. Depending on how they are used, stripes can be overpowering or subtle. The scale of stripes used to decorate everything from walls and furnishings to artefacts and paint determines the final look.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

– Narrow vertical stripes create the illusion of more height in a room by guiding the eyes upwards, while broad stripes tend to make the ceiling appear lower.

– Use vertical stripes on hugely visible elements such as walls and drapes.

– Horizontal stripes create the feeling of spread-out space. Large-scale patterns work well on big elements such as walls and beams; smaller stripes provide an appealing texture to furnishings such as cushions and rugs.

– Don’t overdo the stripes when going large as you want a chic effect, not a busy one. Also, a little visual clutter is a given with stripes, so opt for colours from the same family for a harmonious feel.

– Stripes add a strong visual element and must be balanced with restful décor. Opt for simple designs. For instance, a plain sofa against a striped wall, or striped blinds against a solid light wall.

– Feel free mix and match. Juxtapose stripes and patterns to create stunning décor, especially if you limit yourself to a colour family. Be judicious — offset bold stripes on the wall with small prints on furnishings, and vice versa.

– Rule of thumb: Stand striped furnishings against solid walls; furniture with solid upholstery against striped walls. This will ensure that the eyes get a breather from the busy pattern.

– Make your choice regarding the look you would like. A dramatic look with contrasting colour combinations like black and white, red and white, grey and fuchsia is an option. You could go the subtle route with pastels or tone-on-tone combinations, or over the top with parallel lines painted at an angle.

– If you want to start small, select accessories and artefacts that display stripes in small doses. Choose from drapes, rugs, vases, lamps, table mats, runners, crockery, and throw cushions.

– Stripes can also be used to jazz up furniture in a jiffy. Who says the parallel lines have to be limited to walls and beams? This innovative decorating technique can spruce up old furniture — be it sofas, chairs, book cases or tables — in a jiffy.

– Play patterns against stripes on an oversized sofa. Or, experiment with the fabric on dining chairs. Since the area is smaller, bolder patterns can be used.

– Transform old boxes into innovative coffee tables by painting on stripes in colours that match your room. Or add stripes to an old book case to give it a new lease of life.

– The look in a room also depends on the lighting, furniture, colours and accessories. Innovate with stripes create a look that defines you!

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