How to Decorate with Stripes

Decorating with stripes indoors

While it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t love stripes, the bold linear pattern is certainly back in a big way. Thick or thin, vertical or horizontal, in living color or in black and white, stripes are like a magnet for the eyes, becoming an instant focal point. Which is why decorating with stripes can be intimidating. But have no fear. With smart styling, you can add them to your decor without conjuring Beetlejuice. Try out one or more of our tricks below.

Living room with striped pillows and baskets

1. Start Small

Adding stripes in small doses is a low-commitment way to get the look. Think of them as a decorating tool: use stripes to tie together your room’s color palette, anchor the room or bring in some texture. In the room above, we added striped pillows to the sofa, threw down a subtly striped rug and set out a couple of striped baskets. All small touches that make a big impact. Just remember, contrasting colors can add a fun pop of color, narrow stripes can energize a room and monochromatic stripes can add subtle pattern without  distraction.

Nautical living room with striped pillows

Ticking stripe bedding acts as a neutral in this bedroom

2. Stick to the Classics

There are lots of brights and multicolored stripes out there, but you can never go wrong with a crisp, classic stripe. For example, we used navy and white stripes in our living room to help create a nautical-inspired vibe, a refreshing look for summer. And in our bedroom above, the ticking stripe comforter adds a sense of calm and orderliness. Both patterns have a go-anywhere versatility and timeless appeal that outlasts any trend, making them safe bets in any decor.

Office accented with stripes

3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

If you find a striped pattern you love, really commit to it. Repeating the same pattern throughout your space on multiple pieces not only provides much-needed continuity and flow, it also adds a major wow factor. Here, we kept everything else relatively neutral and let our sharp, sophisticated stripes take center stage. Notice the striped motif is also repeated in the artwork and lamp shade in the same colorway.

Bold stripe upholstery in a living room

4. Consider Stripes a Neutral

Choosing an upholstered piece with stripes may seem like living life on the edge to you, but it’s really not. Just think of a striped ottoman, chair or sofa as you would your favorite pair of jeans or khakis — the perfect neutral that looks good with anything. Stripes play surprisingly well with a variety of prints, from leopard to florals, so you still have the freedom to change up your curtains, rugs and pillows. The trick is in choosing muted stripes with a neutral hue, so you get the pattern without too much punch.

Find more ideas on our Pinterest Boards, or browse rooms in our Photo Gallery.


About the Author:

How to Decorate Team
We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Patricia Schlatter September 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I love the art work on the wall, the framed bird, how and where might I find this?

  2. Nadja August 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    What a great article!
    I completely fell in love with the chairs in the first picture and was wondering if you could tell me where they are from?

  3. Grace Ashby March 9, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Bought the Bermuda indoor/outdoor rug! We go to Bermuda every year.. The rugs make me smile..I covered my outdoor furniture with mocha/cream stripes looks awesome! Love the neutrals!!!

  4. Hildy January 3, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Enjoyed this article and love the pics. Wonder if you could please tell me what wall colours are in pics 1 & 3?

  5. Iris Martin May 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Great article! Love the way the “lesson” is laid out and illustrated. I am currently venturing into stripes in the sitting room off the master bedroom and this article lays out avenues and possibilities. Thanks!

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