Stripe Hype: The Painted Wall

via Thom Filicia

via Thom Filicia

Striped walls are like tofu.  As a main entree or a secondary ingredient to a more complex dish, stripes are diverse and can adopt different flavors.  Classic, bold, whimsical or subdued….their essence is dependent on three key components: color, width and orientation.

Paint colors with little value difference, such as a light and dark beige, have a soothing, background effect.  Bright hues and colors with high contrast are visually exciting and draw attention.  Wide stripes are stately and dramatic. Iconic American decorator Dorothy Draper once declared, “The wider the stripe…the smarter the effect”. In contrast, a casual, playful spirit is conveyed by stripes of varying thicknesses.

Vertical stripes are the most common, traditional orientation.  Creating the illusion of height, they make walls and ceilings appear higher than they actually are. Considered to be more modern and daring, horizontal stripes create an illusion that the space is wider and longer.

Keep in mind that painting stripes isn’t easy, especially in an older space that is not plumb.  However, careful planning and preparation will reap rewarding results. Sneak a peek at these examples:

If painting an entire room of stripes is overwhelming, try an accent wall:












A smart, classical tone is created by wide stripes…vertical or horizontal:











Illusion of height is created by vertical stripes:

via Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

via Lonny Magazine, Dec-Jan 2010

via Lonny Magazine, Dec-Jan 2010











Horizontal stripes visually widen a narrow hallway and adds interest:

Muriel Brandolini's home, photo by Henry Bourne











A dark color on top is an unexpected twist.  These two examples show wide stripes used as wall-encompassing color fields:











Stripes of varying thickness are fresh and whimsical:

different width_2

different width_3










Don’t forget about the ceiling!  Striped ceilings make an unforgettable impression:












Diagonal stripes or stripes running different directions add an energetic zing to a space:




















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