Bring on the Stripes!

You see stripes everywhere nowadays, in homes, in fashion, even in blog design! Classic stripes, retro stripes, chevron stripes… What I love about decorating with stripes, is that while they add pattern and create movement, they also add structure and stability to a room. Stripes are one of those enigmas… they can simultaneously energize, and calm. So it’s time to share a primer on decorating with stripes. And of course, we wouldn’t get you excited about a decorating technique without giving you plenty of inspirational ideas to get your creative juices flowing. (Or to just plain steal for your home!)




Decorate with Stripes 101

You can use stripes anywhere in a room, but I feel like they are most effective used on a larger surface. Small pillows or knick knacks just don’t have the same effect. Walls, floors and curtains are all good choices, and easy to DIY.

Choose the direction of your stripes based on the effect you are trying to achieve. Remember, the direction of the stripe leads the eye. So to make a room look taller, use vertical stripes. To make a room wider, or look lower (or just ’cause you love the fresh retro vibe) use horizontal stripes.

The size of your stripes speaks volumes too. Wide stripes are bolder and have more presence. Narrow stripes are more subtle, but can seem busier. Using stripes of varying widths creates energy in a room.

The more colors you use in your stripes, the more energy they project. I like one color with white…it’s fresh, its happy, its orderly. You can make it look today by varying the widths, playing with the striping pattern, or using it in a bold way. If you are looking for a more traditional look, try a tone on tone look.

Don’t overdo it, but don’t under-do it either! I like stripes to purposely say, “hey, look at me!” But not everywhere… I would keep it to one or two walls, depending on how bold your stripes are and how large a room. Or just the curtains. Or a large striped area rug. But not all of them! That having been said, if you let your fear show, and use your stripes in a wussy (yes, I said it!) way, then they will do nothing but add a little more pattern. One striped pillow? Cute, and nice if you are just looking to wake up your sofa. But it won’t wake up the room.


Get Inspired!

Use stripes outdoors too! This is a simple painted stripe porch, but it makes this outdoor room feel amazing.



Layla from ‘The Lettered Cottage’ shows how to use more subtle, almost tone on tone wide stripes for a soft look. Using them horizontally keeps them from looking too traditional.



Make a statement on any door… this pic from Coastal Living shows how stripes in a bold color can really pop!



Can’t get any bolder than these black and white wide stripes from House Beautiful!



Using stripes in this little boys room gives a bit of a nautical feel, without being too over the top. Love the use of the name within the broad stripe!



Love, love, LOVE this precious pink striped girls room. This room would not be the same with just plain pink walls.



A good example of just using stripes on one wall, from ‘Live Love DIY’.



‘Do It Yourself Divas’ have this tutorial for these DIY striped curtains, these would make a room come alive! remember, you can always choose another color!

Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 11.14.04 AM


From Our Prairie Home – Easy stripes, totally updated, fresh cottage bathroom!



Racing stripes! Great detail, not a lot of work!


So bring on the stripes!

Image Credits: House Beautiful, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Lettered Cottage, Coastal Living, Pinterest, BHG, Live Love DIY, Do It Yourself Divas, Our Prairie Home


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Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates & Steve Bates (co-owners) – Woodard Bates Media LLC consisting of three blogs:, and

Kathy Bates’ previous writing credits include:

Former home decorating expert for Lifetime TV, Galtime and Country Woman Magazine.

Her book spent time at #1 on Amazon’s Home & Garden Topseller List in 2002.

Published or featured in numerous national publications, including:

Country Sampler’s Decorating Ideas magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Decorating Solutions magazine, Decorating Ideas magazine, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City News, The Oklahoman, Akron Beacon Journal, Pensacola News Journal and The Telegraph.


  1. Melissa Romero
    April 16, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    I would like to say I was so excited to see you used my son Lucas’ bedroom to show an example of stripes on a wall. I had so much fun decorating his room. I pulled it all together for under $600.00… That was everything!

    • Kathy Woodard
      May 21, 2015 / 8:25 pm

      OMG that’s amazing! The room is incredible… If you want to share any more tips and photos, please email us at woodardbatesmedia at!

    • Andrea
      February 4, 2016 / 3:05 pm

      Any chance I could get the names of the paint colors used? Love this!

      • Kathy Woodard
        June 23, 2016 / 9:09 am

        Im sorry, its not our project so we don’t have that info… sorry we couldn’t be more helpful!

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