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Stripes, the extroverts of patterns, works in many home designs

July 19, 2013

Hardwood FloorsIf fabrics had personalities, then stripes would be true extroverts. Narrow or wide, light or dark, they create visual interest that few other patterns can muster. Like the complex grain, natural streaks and knot holes of classic hickory hardwood flooring like Anderson's Mountain collection, stripes can hold their own in any room design.

When home decorators are faced with brightening a dark corner, they can count on stripes to give it a crisp, fresh look. According to, stripes can bring attention in one area and detract from another that's not as pleasing, particularly when they are played against architectural details like slanted ceilings.

Versatile enough to make a design statement in both contemporary and traditional settings, stripes are a great backdrop to other prints and patterns. They're just as effective in a monochromatic scheme, relying on different textures to make them stand out.

Martha Stewart Living magazine suggested that home decorators try their hand at making their own striped designs with painter's tape and fabric paint on plain canvas cloth or cushion covers. The designs can be a mix of wide and narrow stripes and as simple or elaborate as the painter's whims dictate. The same technique can also be used to create other patterns to complement the stripes.

Striped Color Schemes
One question that arises with stripes is whether to use a neutral to offset a brighter color or to allow only bolder hues in the pattern. Staying with a classic, two-color combination is one way that homeowners can simplify their choices, especially if they are having difficulty selecting a color scheme.

"By narrowing down your decorating options by color pairs, you give yourself the ability to make a quick decision about cushions and accessories for your patio," design writer Alyssa Davis wrote in The Epoch Times.

Davis likes to go with less traditional shades of classic combos, however. One of her favorite pairs of hues is navy blue and tan, a crisp look that goes well with many tones found in wood floors and wicker or willow furniture. For accents, nearly any bold color works with this duo.

Even seasonal combos such as red and green can be used year-round if the shades selected go beyond standard Christmas hues. Instead, homeowners can use deep cranberry as a companion for any number of green shades from bright lime to low-key olive.