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Why stripes are the timeless trend making a bold comeback in interior design

As a new type of stripe emerges for 2024, we delve into the timeless allure and modern-day reinvention of this versatile print. 

While working on a recent townhouse in London’s Notting Hill, Studio Vero decided to go bold with the ceiling. Rather than opting for a simple continuation of the room’s white walls, co-founders Venetia Rudebeck and Romanos Brihi created a vibrant red and white-striped circus-tent effect with staggering results. “There is a simplicity to stripes, but they can be so bold and dramatic depending on the scale,” Rudebeck tells Effect. “This room was on the lower ground floor with ornate cornicing, and the ceiling was a relatively small area, so we were seeking a way to create interest. It’s an interpretation of the circus-tent ceiling which, in the context of this room with the mid-century modern furniture, is a new take on an old idea.”

Designer and artist Camille Walala went all-in on stripes at Mauritius boutique hotel Salt of Palmar - Effect Magazine
Designer and artist Camille Walala went all-in on stripes at Mauritius boutique hotel Salt of Palmar

Indeed, we are seeing a new and improved movement towards stripes in interiors for 2024, with the bolder the better when it comes to hues, shapes and styles. “I don’t think stripes have ever actually stopped having a moment, but recent interpretations experiment with more colour, contrast and size to offer a more contemporary take on the trend,” agrees Blandine de Navacelle, creative director of Studio Lodha, who recently completed a bold master bedroom in Mayfair which came decorated in an ochre striped wallpaper from Paolo Moschino. “The beauty of stripes is their versatility and the role they can play in creating different atmospheres in the home. More subtle, understated prints and colours will create a more relaxing and calming atmosphere, while bolder stripes and colourways are a great way of achieving a more invigorating, design-forward impression.”

There is a simplicity to stripes, but they can be so bold and dramatic depending on the scale,

Venetia Rudebeck, co-founder of Studio Vero

Another studio truly embracing stripes this season is Colours of Arley, which has recently expanded its portfolio with the launch of its debut wallpaper collection. Featuring signature stripes and available in a carefully curated collection of over 180 colours, this all-new collection is designed to enhance the studio’s existing offerings of timeless stripe fabrics, cushions and upholstery options.

With four stripe sizes to choose from – skinny, midi, grand and jumbo – all wallpapers are entirely customisable and are made to order in the UK. “Patterns often see high and low tides of popularity, but stripes are our signature look,” explains founder Louisa Tratalos. “They add impact, tell a story and can introduce a new energy to a room. These days, people are being braver with interiors and mixing patterns and colours, and stripes are an obvious choice when it comes to combining designs.”

Be it a tonal green stripe for a traditional kitchen in the Suffolk countryside or an industrial warehouse space in Brooklyn, stripes are suited to most environments, and can be used on everything from walls and floors to within furniture and accessories – and even on the ceiling, as we have already seen. For a more classic, elegant home, de Navacelle suggests opting for more muted colour tones such as a duck egg blue or a deep red, while suggesting monochrome is great for black terrace furniture in the summer sun. For a more contemporary and eclectic feel, however, don’t be afraid to think outside the box with the likes of pillar box reds or vibrant greens. “Select a grand stripe and mix this with different textures and artworks,” advises Tratalos. “We thought our bright colour Acid, which is a neon yellow, might be a rare choice for clients, but it’s been one of our most popular colours, and people have been pairing it with murky hues that seem to ground it.”

The narrow, monochromatic stripes used in this dining room by Zoe Feldman Design adds an elegant, almost op-art aspect to the space

While an increasing number of clients are wanting their homes to make a visual statement, there are those who simply want to nod to the trend without going all-out with wallpaper or paint. For this, upholstery is the perfect place to start. “Existing elements such as dining pads, armchairs or kitchen benches can benefit from a stripe upgrade, and adding fabric around beds, whether that’s reupholstering a headboard or hanging a curtain around a four-poster bed, are dramatic ways to add a stripe to your bedroom,” explains Tratalos.

Elsewhere in kitchens and dining spaces, banquette benches lend themselves brilliantly to different styles of stripe, be it a bright kitchen stripe to match elements of the garden it overlooks, or subtle tonal stripes in reading nooks. “We’ve recently reupholstered our in-store banquette seating area in Shutters and Pear, with matching wallpaper and a skinny stripe lampshade,” adds Tratalos. “My favourite thing, however, is to elevate an element that would usually be quite unglamorous, such as adding fabric skirts beneath sinks, cupboards or to cover appliances like washing machines or tumble dryers. Or why not think about matching a café curtain to tie the stripey look together? They add privacy without blocking the light entirely, so are not only a great solution for the kitchen but can work well in bedrooms, bathrooms or living areas.”

Another defining feature that attracts designers to stripes is their ability to give the illusion of space. For example, striped window dressings add height to a room as they can elongate a wall while, on floors, stripes can be used along the length of the room to create a lengthening effect. Similarly, for smaller rooms or ones with a low ceiling, the addition of wallpaper with a vertical stripe will draw your eye upwards to help create the feeling of additional height. “Not only do the direction of stripes impact the illusion, but the size of the stripe can also affect the appearance of the size of the room,” explains Tratalos. De Navacelle agrees, adding that the general rule in interior design is that small prints make spaces feel smaller, while larger patterns create space and grandeur. “Always opt for vertical stripes when trying to make a room feel more open or impressive,” she adds.

Alternatively, look to little touches like scatter cushions or tablecloths to bring stripes into your home, while striped art is proving particularly popular right now. “We’re huge fans of Bridget Riley and Ian Davenport for art with stripes,” says Rudebeck “There are lots of great ways to experiment with stripes without committing to a full interior design overhaul.” The best bit? Stripes may currently be having a moment, but as a true interior classic, they will never go out of style.

Read more: Interiors | Trends | Living Rooms | Dining Rooms | Bathrooms  | Design