There's something about the crisp, clean look of stripes that brings an air of freshness and calm to a space, and often a touch of nautical adventure. Playing with the colours, widths and lengths of stripes can change a space even further. Below are examples of projects that use stripes to enhance spaces, indoors and out.
STRIPED SHELVES: It's stripes on stripes: Paint shelves with chalkboard paint in a color different from the wall for a linear look. These shelves have chalk-drawn lines along the edges. Displaying white items emphasizes the graphic effect. Learn how to make chalkboard paint.
STRIPED PENDANT LAMPS: A pair of white-and-blue pendant lamps brighten this eclectic kitchen -- with its 19th-century farmhouse table and retro-style chairs -- in more ways than one. Wrapping cotton cord around aluminum shades gives them a softer look, while the silvery interiors maintain their industrial edge. Lamp how-to, click here.
STRIPED ROPE BASKETS: Like magic, humble cotton cord meant for Venetian blinds becomes a basket with natural appeal and chic style. All you need is a little time and some glue. Wind the cord (Venetian blind cord, by Librett Durables, jamaliagarden.com) around a plastic flowerpot, gluing as you go and changing cord colors to make stripes. Use the baskets for bread, fruit, or potted plants, or create a set of desk accessories.
STRIPED TAGS: Plain tags from an office-supply store become bright and cheerful with the addition of stripes. Just wrap the tags with lengths of washi tape, a kind of Japanese masking tape (often sold in packs with several colors). The speedy, goof-proof process makes this a great project to do with kids.
STRIPED DESK ACCESSORIES: Buy decorative accessories or even office supplies in two colors, and -- voila! -- instant stripes. Here, we alternated storage boxes and envelopes for a graphic look.
STRIPED PILLOWS: Nautical stripes in faded blue combine with neutrals and naturals for a room that's modern and inviting. The daybed's large pillows began as throw rugs that cost $3 each (really!) and were stitched into shape with a carpet needle.
RIBBON-STRIPED SHEER CURTAINS: Inexpensive and ubiquitous, store-bought sheers will save you precious time and money by serving as the canvas for your creative additions. Turn organza ribbon into soft stripes on cotton-voile sheers.
STRIPED TABLE: Set the table for a whole season of festive cookouts by giving it a new summer coat. The wooden slats of a classic picnic table provide a ready-made outline for stripes. Table how-to, click here.
PAINTED STRIPE FLOOR: Painting a floor can give form to a room where everything is function, offset the formality of a living room, and restore life to a tired stairway. It is a bit of trompe l'oeil underfoot -- a visual pun that plays to an entire room. Floor how-to, click here.