Stripes and checks comprise a decorating trend that never goes out of fashion; they have a striking, graphic quality, and a fresh, well-ordered, clean-cut appearance, whether or not their edges are sharp, making them suitable for practically any situation – in combination with areas of plain colour or with each other. Hugely versatile, stripes and checks are equally varied in their effect; wide stripes will be bolder than narrower ones, or you can create a more sophisticated rhythm, following one wide with three narrow stripes, for instance, and then repeating it.
Paint allows you to get the effect of hand-blocked wallpaper at a fraction of the cost. This sophisticated looking lattice was created by painting a red top coat over the undercoat which had been covered in criss-crossed masking tape.
Think too about the effect of colour on your chosen stripes; you could create a stunningly dramatic study using dark paint and wide stripes, provided that you could then light it efficiently, but that combination would not work in a kitchen or dining room, where a fresher and lighter effect would be better. All you need is a little patience, a plumb line, your paint and tools.
The quickest, simplest method of creating stripes is to paint the wall in your chosen base colour and then use a roller to create stripes in a contrasting shade using a plumb line to guide you. If you wish to create broader stripes than it is possible to paint with a roller, mark out the area to be painted with masking tape before you start, again using a plumb line to establish a true vertical. If you like stripes but are wary of the crisp, bandbox look, roughly and lightly paint in your stripes and then immediately go over the wet paint with a dry roller to create a slightly distressed effect. A smaller, ‘pin-stripe’ effect can be created by cutting a foam roller into narrow stripes, using tape to keep each part of the roller separate.
You could use this stripe both vertically and horizontally, and in more than one colour, to create a chequered effect.
Few paint effects are simpler to achieve or more dramatic in appearance than stripes. In this country-style bedroom, all four walls have been painted with wide stripes. Marked out using masking tape and a plumb line and then roughly painted in deep red, they are bold and yet far from brash, producing an all-American look.
Using patterned rollers
Patterned rollers have been used to decorate walls for several centuries. They are enjoying a popular revival today because they are easy to use and create interesting effects cheaply – either with colour or with textured paint. You can make your own, or specialist suppliers stock rollers and rockers for more difficult effects – from wood graining to damask.
Using textured paint
Apart from the practical aspects of textured paint, and it is very useful for covering less than perfect surfaces, its aesthetic potential is much under-rated. You can buy a range of patterned roller sleeves specifically for textured paint and with a little time, effort and imagination, it is possible to achieve sophisticated, sculpted effects for relatively little.