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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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