How to Decorate with Stripes

Living room accented with striped accessories

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.

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. Reply

    Sarah Brooks

    July 22, 2018

    I’m so in love with this website! We’re trying to redesign our living room to be similar to picture #2. Do you happen to know the wall color?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      August 14, 2018

      It’s Benjamin Moore’s Jute AF-80!

  2. Reply

    Patricia Schlatter

    September 28, 2015

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

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      October 1, 2015

      This pieces is called White Heron Art from Ballard Designs. So happy to hear you like it!

  3. Reply


    August 8, 2015

    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?

  4. Reply

    Grace Ashby

    March 9, 2015

    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!!!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 11, 2015

      Sounds fabulous Grace! We’re happy to hear you’re pleased 🙂

  5. Reply


    January 3, 2015

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

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      January 15, 2015

      Hi Hildy,
      Thanks for your comment. The rug in the first image is the Harrison Hand Hooked Rug, and the rug in the second image is the Abby Hand Hooked Rug.
      Hope that helps!
      The How to Decorate Team

  6. Reply

    Iris Martin

    May 11, 2014

    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!