Are striped sofas out of style?
If you have your eye on a beautiful striped sofa or fabric, read on. In our latest trend update, we tell you everything you need to know about upholstering with stripes. Including how to choose your style and where to find the best striped fabrics for your sofa, chair or any other upholstery project.
Whether it’s a classic ticking, bold nautical or classic take on chintz, stripes have gone straight to the top of the style charts again. A fantastic way to add energy and structure to a piece of furniture, the versatility of a stripe means it can be matched with a daring pattern or a plain neutral as a foundation or an accent. Either way, there are all kinds of reasons to love linear right now.
Let’s face it, stripes never really go out of style, but there’s no doubt they are having a particular interior resurgence right now. Simple, timeless and sophisticated, a stripe is never far from the mix when I’m sampling fabrics. Far from boring, stripes can be classic or coastal, subtle or super modern. While the simplicity of a series of broad or fine lines may not seem that remarkable, part of the appeal is that stripes can easily take centre stage anywhere from a period property to a contemporary apartment.
Upholstering with stripes
The fashion rules with stripes are well known – vertical to elongate and horizontal to enhance curves. With furniture, it’s pretty much the same. If you have a particularly large piece, such as a sofa, it can really take a chunky stripe, while daintier pieces would suit a finer pinstripe or ticking. I love using a stripe as an added detail placement on the outside back or arm of a chair.
When you think of stripes, you may instantly associate them with a formal, structured look but don’t forget that stripes can be playful and fun too. Pastel-coloured candy stripes or a multi-toned deckchair-style pattern bring a cheerful, retro vibe. Plus, different widths and styles of stripes can even sit nicely on the same piece together.
Sourcing the perfect striped fabric
For me, the queen of stripes is Tori Murphy. Not only does she have an incredible eye for pattern design, she has a commitment to the UK textile industry, and every part of her production is on home soil. Her Scallop stripes on Merino wool are totally classic, but for something more fun and modern, I’m also loving the diagonal Totto stripe cotton, which would make a really bold, monochrome statement on something like a plump, almost over-stuffed seat.
Colefax and Fowler have a stripe for every situation in their collection. They say, “From contemporary country to cosmopolitan chic, the effortless allure of stripes provides a timeless sophistication. Whether decorative or deckchair, for drapery or upholstery, we have striped fabrics to suit every taste.” Check out their new collection for endless striped ideas and search ‘stripes’.
*A note on rub count: For high-use items like sofas, look for fabric with a rub count of 30,000 – 40,000.
How about this for inspiration… The Buchanan Studio Chair takes its cues from the soft geometric shapes and fluid forms of the 1970s. With its curved edges, it has the illusion of five cushions ‘floating’ together. If ever there was a chair you wanted to dive into, this is it!
Furniture and homeware designer Bethan Gray’s designs are characterised by bold, confident patterns with a new take on geometry. The fabulous Ripple modular armchair and sofas upholstered in Bill Amberg leather with her Inky Dhow design in cobalt and white took centre stage in this audacious interior at Sketch, London, as part of an installation for the London Design Festival.
Tips for using stripes
The proportion of the stripes is important to get right. Too wide, and you can overpower delicate pieces. Too narrow, and it can become overbearing. Consider the piece you’re upholstering carefully and make sure your scale is working with it, not against it. Broader stripes will generally feel fresh and bold on a more modern piece. While a fine stripe is usually a good match for older, more ornate chairs.
A word of caution. If you’re starting out in upholstery, striped fabric may not be the best choice to begin with. Any over-stretch on the fabric will show a mile off. And pattern matching at the seams can be a little more of a challenge. However, in the hands of a pro, stripes are no sweat to get right and are always guaranteed to look fantastic!
Would you like a statement piece for your home (stripe sofa or not)?
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