A playful display of horizontal stripes introduces youthful character to a contemporary dining space.
Instead of colour contrast, the stripes in this sophisticated bedroom are built with changing textures and finishes.

Dear Debbie;

I am a fan of stripes as becomes obvious if anyone looks in my closet. Wearing them is one thing, but is it too much to decorate a wall when the space is quite small?
— Cynthia

Dear Cynthia;

It’s a great idea to indulge in your passion for stripes as a decorative element in your home. Stripes are so versatile that you can choose the perfect combination of colours and sizes to fit your mood and your space. There are a few points to consider. Vertical stripes are most common, best suited to large rooms where the eye is drawn up. In these rooms, stripes should be wide, pin-stripes would be too busy. For a small room you can have fun with stripes of various sizes. Consider horizontal stripes too, they will make the room appear larger. Horizontal stripes provide a contemporary feel, youthful and fresh. You can paint them on the wall with lots of measuring and painter’s tape. I’d look for wallpapers, not too expensive if you are decorating a small room or decide on a focal wall. The bigger the contrast between stripes the stronger the impact. Bold is fun but can be tiring. Also think about what else is going on. Stripes mix with all patterns, but don’t make the room too busy.

Thinking of a more subtle application for those stripes? The bedroom shown here, featured on decoist.com, combines a collection of materials that share a linear perspective. Fine lines in the grass cloth provide warmth and texture on the walls. The bedspread incorporates matte and shiny stripes in the same golden hue. Three contrasting bands on the overhead lamp are crisp accents. The carpet and the grid screen echo the geometric play. This is a restful room that champions the linear aesthetic.

Another option is to introduce your love of stripes with painted furniture – a tabletop, wooden chair backs, lampshades. Why not start with striped pillows and a blanket and see where it takes you.

Dear Debbie;

We are doing some painting at our cottage before we close it up for the winter. My partner thinks it’s OK to buy the most inexpensive paint since we only use the cottage in the summer. What is your view?
— Martina

Dear Martina;

No matter what the project I recommend purchasing the best paint you can afford. You do get what you pay for. High quality paint is more durable, lasts longer, covers better and is easier to work with. Ask why the paint is on sale. If it is end of line or has already been coloured but a good quality and suits your taste, then you can save. If you are applying a whitewash rather than a solid coat of paint, you can use an inexpensive paint. Mix one part white paint with 2 parts water. Brush it on the wood in the direction of the grain. It will brighten the surface while still showing the wood grain.

September is generally a good month to paint as the days are cooler and the humidity is low. For exterior paint jobs, time your work when it’s been dry for a few days so that surfaces are not holding moisture. Otherwise the paint will peel. If possible avoid painting when the sun is shining directly onto your surface.