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Are Indoor Cabana Stripes Still Cool In 2021? 5 Ways To Incorporate Them In Your Home In A Sophisticated & Non Cheesy Way

Cabana stripes are not a new trend and in fact, some quick research informed me their roots precede the nautical origins that we typically think of. In Medieval times, stripes were generally worn by lower class people and criminals and it wasn’t until Queen Victoria dressed her four-year-old son in a stripe sailor suit did stripes start to become more accepted and adored by the general public. So, stripes have a rich, if not infamous history so maybe that is why they can be so polarizing. Here’s where I stand: cabana stripes are timeless and cool, if done right. Perhaps because of their popularity and mainstream presence in design and fashion throughout the decades, these thick bold lines are sometimes a tough pattern to nail down and can easily become cheesy and cheap if used haphazardly. We tend to think of them in relation with beaches and poolsides (or sometimes clowns), but when brought indoors they can be both elegant and playful and bring in a lot an unexpected excitement to a lackluster space. This pattern, though wonderfully simple, packs a huge design punch. Do you need convincing? Allow me to demonstrate.

1. Create A Bold Accent Wall Or Ceiling

design by romanek design studio |photo by reid rolls interiors

A safe and DIY-friendly way to incorporate cabana stripes indoors is by painting them on accent wall or ceiling. Brigette Romanek used this method in the above project and she expertly mixes in sophisticated and sculptural furniture to juxtapose the young and playfulness of the stripes. The room is bold and elegant because it is intentional but not at all boring.

design by estee stanley | photo by tim hirschmann | via domino

Similarly, the bathroom is less risky place to play with these stripes and it makes a small space seem bigger by drawing the eyes up. Another great thing about this is it is so DIY-able and you can choose just about any color to complement your style.

Now let’s travel even further up to the ceiling and see what these stripes can really do.

design by crystal sinclair designs | photo by nick glemenakis. | via vogue living

This dark, moody and modern room by Crystal Sinclair Designs proves that cabana stripes are more versatile than perhaps they are given credit for. The breaks in the stripes create even more dimension making the pattern feel less “Vegas poolside” and more modern European. It’s so cool.

design by studio giancarlo valle | photo by stephen johnson |via architectural digest

This hallway ceiling moment gets an A+ and 5 stars from me. I love how the stripes do not stop at the ceiling and travel down the wall to create a kind of border to the top of the doors. And did you notice the vent? Probably not because the stripes camouflage it just enough. It is such a fun and unique way to hide an ugly vent (and so renter-friendly!). Plus that richness of the color really brings depth to an otherwise very white space.

2. Go Big With Fabric & Upholstery

design by gavin houghton | via apartment therapy

This photo has circled around the internet and all my feeds so many times and for good reason. It is stripes galore but works incredibly well. The ceiling pattern draws the eye up while the matching upholstery grounds the space and allows for even more stripes to be added in the mix. It’s so simple but also so exciting!

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: our boy/girl shared kids room

Who could forget the whimsical canopy that Emily installed in the kid’s room in their LA home? This room may have been divisive but I think we can all agree the canopy is SO good and perfect for a playful kids’ room. Paired with the wicker headboard and pom pom dotted bedding, the stripes are less nautical and more old world chic. Truly works with any style when used in the right way.

design by tamsin johnson | photo by sean fennessy |via vogue living

This dining room designed by Tamsin Johnson is one I can’t get out of my head. The stripes and patterned chairs remind me that a good mixing of bold patterns can go a long way. If you remove one or the other, this room could be boring or too minimal, but with both it creates an exciting design moment without doing “too much”.

3. Make A Statement With Striped Furniture

design by flack studio | photo by anson smart

The pillow chair by Ash NYC is so good and unexpected when used indoors. There’s no question that its shape and pattern remind one of a beachside “cabana” (duh) but its whimsical shape and bold stripe look exciting and unexpected amongst the rest of the furniture and decor here. Actually, Urban Outfitters has a pretty awesome outdoor chair that is a more utilitarian version of this one! Don’t worry it’s still that happy yellow and would look great both in or outside.

design by flack studio | photo by anson smart

Here’s the chair doing its magic again (also designed by Flack Studio). The navy and white stripes are obviously beachy which complements the location and style of the home.

image source | design by vuokko nurmesniemi

This photo has been on my mood board for so long and it fills my brain with serotonin every time I stare at it. I just love it. I love the white and black striped chairs, that awesome green sofa, and the piles of striped pillows. It’s pure eye-candy but does not go overboard with color or pattern. It’s modern but gives me the vintage charm I crave, too.

When Jess sent me this link my heart exploded and then sank because I want this cabinet so very badly. This might be the one thing I would choose to buy if money was no object (we talk about this all the time in the virtual office–should we make it a blog post?). The price is not listed but I assume it’s $$$ because it is incredible and dare I say, perfect.

design by lonika chande | photo by paul massey | via house and garden

There’s nothing beach-y going on here but wow is this room playful what with the striped headboard and the circus tent-like canopy. I am a huge fan of mixing patterns and this one nails it.

design by three birds renovations

But look how amazing they look in a modern, neutral style. Just enough visual excitement without being too bold to rest your head:)

4. Have Fun With It Using Decor

design by emmanuel de bayser | photo by kasia gatkowska

Here’s where we get to have some fun and can you imagine how simple it would be to DIY a cabana stripe piece of art?? Some painter’s tape, paint, and a slab of wood, and we are in business.

design by three birds renovations

Or taking two types of bedding in two colors and orienting them opposite is a VERY cool and easy way to do “cabana” in a really fresh way like the ladies of Three Birds Renovations did here.

Did you really think I would forget about curtains? I could never because A) I think they are a great way to incorporate this pattern and B) I am quite obsessed with how the curtains are implemented in the home above. Can curtains be hung pretty much over any opening for some added flair and pattern?? This home is making me think yes.

design by ash nyc | photo by christian harder | via architectural digest

This piece is so interesting to me. It’s a 3D piece of art that brings in a jolt of color and playfulness in a very elegant New York apartment. This proves that the cabana stripe is extremely versatile and again can work in almost any style of home.

design by lorenzo castillo

Of course, a roman shade and cabana stripe are a 10/10 match. I love how the nautical theme is introduced with the cabana stripes and emphasized with the navy comforter and matching navy room divider and yet there is still so much vintage charm happening here. It is very sophisticated yet playful.

And then there’s this heaven. Bold, fun and so perfect.

5. Bring The Stripe To Your Floors

In this home, the floors were painted bold blue and grey in the living room and throughout the hallways with the intention of embracing a “European summer” aesthetic. The floors really make this colorful home feel like a vacation while maintaining a sophisticated and timeless feel.

photo by robert riegar | via marc costa

I like to consider rugs as large pieces of art and they are a perfect way to bring in pattern. In this minimal postmodern home, the striped rug layers in a ton of character an charm. It is minimal and fresh put packs a punch especially paired with sculptural furniture and colorful art on the walls.

So, what do you think?? Are you over these stripes or do you think they are perpetually cool like I do? Meet me in the comments and tell me your thoughts. xx

Opener Image Credit: Design by Flack Studio | Photo by Anson Smart

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2 years ago

I love cabana stripes! Thanks for this post and all the great inspiration photos😍

2 years ago

I love this! Been interested in making curtains with this kind of fabric like this for my bedroom. Does anyone have any links to well priced fabric in cabana stripes? I’m interested in yellow and green and am having trouble finding it!

2 years ago
Reply to  LS

You could do what Matilda Goad did and make your own by combining easier to find plain fabrics. I’m sure she had a professional do the actual sewing!

2 years ago
Reply to  Louise

Oh yeah I saw that….. but I think I would end up sewing it myself which would take forever…. sigh…. It’s a good thing to have in one’s back pocket…

2 years ago

A post about what y’all would buy for your homes if money was no object would be fun. Much eye candy no doubt!

2 years ago
Reply to  SarahT

so fun! i agree!

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

I still like the IKEA Rug (if that is an IKEA rug- looks like it). Funny how our tastes change- I really don’t like any of the others.

Annie K.
2 years ago

Such cheery interiors! I love that hallway ceiling.
I was also excited to see that the kids’ room canopy made it! I just rewatched Get Him to the Greek, and when I saw the photo and descriptor that the canopy is both “divisive” but also “SO good”, the thought hit me like a ton of bricks that this canopy is the “African Child” of EHD and that made me laugh out loud.

Love visiting every day. Thank you!

2 years ago

Love all these images. So fun. Please forgive me but I must offer an edit. “Don” can’t used for something you do to somebody else, as you have it. I can don a dress. (I doff my hat, by the way, to take it off;).) Queen Victoria might have “clad” or “clothed” her son in stripes though!

2 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

EHD >refuses< to hire an editor and it is basically the reason I don't pay for the subscription thingy.

2 years ago
Reply to  annoyed

I have a reputation among my friends and family (to say nothing of my students) for being fairly tyrannical in my commitment to good grammar. And yet, I am always surprised by how angered some readers are by the odd typo, misspelling, or malapropism in a blog post. Does one misused word (a relatively obscure use case, beautifully and diplomatically explained by Lisa) really interfere so much with your comprehension or enjoyment of this casual, chatty discussion of cabana stripes?

2 years ago
Reply to  Eliot

I don’t get *angry* about misspellings or malapropisms, but they do make me less trustful of the entity whose written materials contain the mistakes. (As “annoyed” said above, I wouldn’t want to spend money at a website that displayed carelessness by misusing or misspelling words.)

To continue with some negativity while getting back to the subject of the discussion, I’m not a fan of cabana stripes. I only like very narrow stripes, such as seersucker, and I like them in clothing but not in decor. There isn’t a single object in any of the photos included here that I’d want to own. To end on a positive note, though, I loved practically everything in the shutter post photos yesterday!

2 years ago

You’re so welcome! If Victoria were still around I bet she’d give you a rousing ovation:).

2 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Lisa, you put it so nicely. I would never catch these. I did learn something from your comment. My English vocab is not at that level. Perhaps because I’m used to scientific writing more than literature. I managed quality of the written work previously at work. Having an eye for detail, I made it my job to fix various materials for the company I worked for. I think I’m easy going as a customer, but I was throughly embarrassed as a representative of that company. I’m sure I didn’t fix it all, but I noticed more of these than others. That company didn’t see value in high quality work so I left. I think it does impact perceptions of credibility. I enjoy the writing style here, but I’m not a paying customer.

2 years ago
Reply to  Lane

I am happy to offer old-lady-daughter-of-an-english-professor-also-a-word-fiend-language-fiend word advice;). I am sad to have maybe opened the door to crabby criticism of a blog and its staff whose work I love! Seriously, I am always happy to read the content here.

i love that last picture! that’s all i know.

2 years ago

… Could you NOT put misinformation in your posts please? I walked in prepared to be interested and met with
In Medieval times, stripes were only worn by lower class people and criminals ” and now I’m just irritated. There was a short period in parts of Europe where stripes on clothing were considered the devil’s work, but at the exact same time in other parts of Europe (particularly what we now call Spain) stripes were hugely fashionable. By the fifteenth century stripes were back in style all over Europe, and in the 1770s stripes for women were high fashion.

2 years ago

Ryann, you are not responsible for someone’s feelings. It doesn’t make sense when you appologize for their feelings.

Annie K
2 years ago
Reply to  Lane

Hahahaha NO SLACK FOR TEAM EHD TODAY YOURE DOING IT ALL WRONG. I don’t think I’ve ever trolled comments like this before but man there must be something going on astrologically because people are ready to rumble.

2 years ago

If you want loads and loads of info on the subject, I’d be happy to share. As a wander off topic, if you want an inspiration for the maximalist look EHD is currently edging towards, try hitting up some of the interior shots from illustrated manuscripts. They did like their color and pattern back then. Seriously, wouldn’t you like to use this wallpaper somewhere? (probably either silk or painted & gilded leather)
Pink and green ftw

Annie K.
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Holy moly! This is NOT The New Yorker. There is not a team of fact checkers. Take it for what it is- fun banter to intro a fun post, and if compelled, happily add to the discussion in comments. The amazing knowledge you display here is the brie and prosciutto hidden a stale sourdough complaint bun.

Wednesdays are NOT apparently a safe day to run a design blog unless it’s pure fucking perfection. Jesus.

2 years ago
Reply to  Annie K.

Love! I don’t come here for the negativity. I wish people would lighten up. Geesh.

2 years ago

I had no idea until now that while I love stripes on my body (especially my beloved t shirts) it’s the one element in all of these rooms that I don’t really love. Are they bossy, stripes? Are they loud and needy? I dunno. I just can’t lean in. Maybe a pillow…give me a striped pillow and I’m ok. 😂

Liz M
2 years ago

No…. just no lol! Yikes.

2 years ago

I love stripes. When I look around my home there’s multiple striped rugs (Safavieh Montauk Collection), dish towels, a striped blanket on the bed, a striped flag hanging on the wall, and I used left over privacy film to put stripes on the sliding doors on the shower over tub.

That said, the only use of stripes in the photos above that I found at all appealing was the sheets in “design by three birds renovations”. Something feels off in all the other photos of stripes.

Maybe because all of it is so “permanent” and a lot of it feels clashing and busy for business sake, I don’t care for this use of stripes.

2 years ago
Reply to  anon

correction busyness not business