This Retro Pattern has Been one of the Biggest Trends of 2023, and Designers say it’s set to Carry Through to 2024

The retro stripe is going nowhere in 2024, say designers

A dining room with a checkerboard flooring and ticking stripe upholstered chairs and tablecloth
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Ticking stripes have been all over our inspiration boards for a while now, and we're pleased to say they aren't going anywhere in 2024. Sometimes when the right trend comes along, it becomes a classic, and that's exactly what has happened here.

The simple retro pattern is adored by minimalists and maximalists alike and is a staple in every designer's tool kit. Its versatility makes it an essential - from cozy rustic bedrooms and cottagecore kitchens to trendy modern living rooms, the ticking stripe has a place in every home. Thanks to its subtlety, it can be used as an elevated neutral paired with bolder more statement furniture as well as within a more pared-back palette, and it looks especially good when layered with other patterns. 

Designers continue to love this interior design trend, too. Here we find out why it has stood the test of time and how you can use it within your own home as we head into the new year. 

What is the ticking stripe pattern?

Tori Murphy drapery curtains

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

The ticking stripe pattern trend is nothing new. In fact, it's one of the most retro stripe designs out there. Despite this, it has a timeless appeal. It was traditionally used on sturdy, practical, canvas material that has a wide variety of uses, and is particularly common for upholstery, curtains, and bedding. The fabric is laced with basic stripes that are thin, fine, and repetitive and complement the weave, which gives the ticking stripe name. In modern interiors, however, it has a multitude of iterations, that see it applied to linens and even wool.

Green living room with grey striped sofa by Albion Nord

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

'I think ticking stripes are making a comeback because of their classic, understated elegance and versatility,' says interior designer Bree Steele. As well as the modern rustic decor style, ticking stripe strikes a chord with the expressive elegance trend that we predict will make waves in 2024.

'This trend is a nod to a more simplistic and rustic aesthetic, aligning well with the growing popularity of natural, sustainable, and timeless design elements in line with the growing popularity of the "slow living" movement,' says Bree. The current design focus is all about elevated basics and the ticking stripe is the perfect place to start.

How should you incorporate ticking stripes in your home?

best bedding brands

(Image credit: Piglet in Bed)

According to Bree, the possibilities for using ticking stripe are endless. If you want to hop on this timeless trend, you really are spoilt for choice. 'They work wonderfully in soft furnishings like cushions, upholstery, or window treatments because they add a subtle pattern without overwhelming a space,' she says. 

Utilizing the pattern in upholstery is a neo-classical way to bring the ticking stripe to your space. 'One way to use ticking stripes is by incorporating them into your furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs, or even ottoman,' says furniture designer David Mason. However, if you want to upgrade your existing furniture you can also utilize this trend by adding it as an accent. 'You can use ticking stripes of throw pillows, curtains, or even rugs to create visual interest and tie the whole room together,' adds David.

Ticking stripe linens are also a wonderful bedroom idea. 'Whether it's a duvet cover or pillowcases, these stripes bring a clean, classic look without being too dominating, making them ideal for creating a serene and restful environment,' Bree explains. 'They also pair beautifully with solid-colored bed skirts or throw blankets, adding layers of texture and interest.'

What do ticking stripes pair well with?

Staircases with red and blue striped runners

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

Due to its understated look, the ticking stripe can pair with almost anything making it a great choice for pattern drenching. However, there are some factors to bear in mind when selecting your print. 'The key here is balance and harmony,' says Bree. 'A small gingham check in a color that complements the ticking stripes can create a charming, country-inspired look. For a more eclectic style, pair ticking stripes with a bold floral pattern in coordinating colors.'

As she goes on to explain: 'The floral can be the focal point, with the stripes acting as a grounding element. Geometric patterns, like simple dots or a trellis design, can also pair nicely, especially if they share a color with the ticking stripes.' 

The pattern lends itself to a more contemporary and polished look, too. 'For a more contemporary twist, you can use ticking stripes in unexpected colors or larger scales,' she says. 'In terms of colors, go beyond the traditional blue or black on cream and experiment with colors like charcoal grey, forest green, or even a muted red. Also, playing with the scale of the stripes – opting for broader or unevenly spaced stripes, for instance – can make the pattern feel more current and fresh.'

If you're shopping for timelessly classic upholstery or linens in 2024, look no further than the ticking stripe. We're sure this simple pattern is set to be an enduring trend. 

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Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.