Striped fabrics, both printed and woven, are timeless and virtually essential in interior furnishings as they can fit into any furnishings design scheme of any period and style – from deck chairs and beach huts to the great classical Regency and Georgian furnishings.

Some notes ;

*    Striped materials can be as effective in creating formality or a particular style as in dismissing it.

*    Wide stripes and narrow stripes together are less formal than either on its own; and a fine stripe will disappear, offering enough change of tone and movement for the fabric to remain interesting, though effectively only the main colour is seen until you come close to it.

*    Wide stripes, narrow stripes, uneven stripes, multi-stripes, self coloured weaves, herringbone stripes, regatta, ticking, hand painted stripes… appear in every fabric and colour combination.

*    Stripes are almost always printed or woven to be vertical in use, running the length of the fabric with the grain, but may sometimes be woven across the loom. These can be joined as usual, so that the seam crosses the stripes or railroaded, which can be especially convenient –  bed heads and Roman blinds.

*    A very wide stripe looks contemporary, but has its roots firmly in traditional soil.  Wide stripes are used ( generally) at the extremes- either to blend two colours or willingly to define them as separate entities.  The  strength  and mix of colours used in the same weave pattern  can create fabrics with very different and polar opposite effects.

*    Subtle tones of soft blue and taupe, for example, or soft pink and oyster, evoke  calmness and elegance whilst still using more than one colour. In complete contrast, white with a primary, or two competitive colours  juxtaposed, are designed  to  make both colours strong, and energetic. Noticeable. As in indigo and white, red and white or black and white, or yellow and black. We see these on maypoles, pedestrian crossings, Venetian gondola poles, awnings, boats, life rings. Nautical stripes always seem to be in red and white or blue and white. yellow and white shouts of summer and blue and turquoise, or orange and pink create degrees of  tension.

*    And bees- the lumbering, calmer, bumble bee has wide stripes, on the busier honey bee they are narrower, similar to wasps.

*   Horizontal stripes, apparently make us look thinner than vertical ones. They are almost always used in contemporary spaces, possibly to unify, and to draw or lead the eye. A single horizontal stripe is almost always used to identify – one area from another, one colour from another. Exactly where they are placed  the proportions above and below are critical to time, period and actually to whether the thing works or not. The golden mean( roughly 5/8 )  or a classical 1/3 to 2/3 are pretty good guides, but each situation has it’s own design  requirements and limitations.

*    Medium sized stripes – say approx. 5 cm ( 2″ ) or thereabouts  have, I think, less of a role of their own, more as a companion –  either to other patterns or to a mixture of varying widths stripes and checks in a two coloured – or  one colour and white schemes. That’s not to say they can’t make perfectly good curtains or slip covers, but that they are usually with others.

*   Ticking and narrow stripes make good all-round fabrics and wallpapers to support  other dominant designs – as the grounding  for walls, curtains or their linings, slip covers, cushions – pretty much everything, or they can manage equally well on their own.

*   Turning the strips, cutting it on the cross, the bias, changes the dimension and extends the potential of stripes, introduces a new design element. When stripes are designed like this- i.e  with one material turned and showing itself in different ways the effect becomes  more sculptural and challenging. A striped curtain with a border at the hem or sides, or top, that is cut on the cross changes something fairly simple int something much more complex. No less pleasing, just different.

*  We’ve  often create random stripes for  the curtains of large window – somewhere we want more than one colour, but not the rigidity that formal stripe would give. We’d choose several colours that we liked together and cut them into strips  – from say, 5 cm ( 2″ ) to 30 cms ( 12″ ) and join them back up. There’s no prescription but it’s not difficult to see what works and what doesn’t when they’re laid out on  the floor or worktable waiting to be put back together again. The result is a gentle mix of colours, and the stripe format  itself is no more dominant than perhaps then lines of a tree bark might be.

All in all, striped textiles in one form or another are pretty much an essential part of most interior schemes, whether we chose them for wall, the floor ( as floor boards for example ) or within the textiles, or some of each,  is just part of the fun!

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