Spotlight on: Ticking fabric

Would you know a ticking fabric if you saw one? This special weave underpins the fabric design of many homes, but it also served a really important purpose in the whole concept of ‘home comforts’ in the past. The name ‘ticking’ comes from a cover that was made to cover scratchy mattresses called a ‘tick’, where yarns were woven in a dense, herringbone weave to prevent insects, straw and feathers from poking through and disturbing people as they slept.

This is obviously less of a concern in the modern home, but despite its utilitarian past, ticking is now used in decorative, stylish fabrics that lend texture and warmth to your interior.

The thing about a ticking stripe...

Ticking fabric is most commonly used in a striped pattern, traditionally as a gentler stripe consisting of one broad band to the centre and a finer strip to each edge, which softens the look and keeps the overall effect from being too ‘stripy’. Ticking fabrics can also be used for checks and ginghams, perfect for kitchen upholstery and blinds, and to lend a traditional flavour to any interior, even modern and new-build homes.

It works beautifully in nautical and coastal themed interiors, and gives an air of French elegance when crafted in shades of blue, cream and natural linen. For a more traditional theme, you might consider using it to offset a blousy or large-scale floral pattern.

Our three favourite uses for ticking fabric

The uses for a ticking stripe are almost endless, but we have some absolute favourites. A vertical stripe looks fabulous as a blind, and can be paired with cushions and upholstery in other striped fabrics such as Clarke & Clarke’s Sutton, without overwhelming the space or making things look too busy. Broader stripes from Clarke & Clarke’s Ticking Stripes Collection also make a wonderful upholstery choice for sofas and armchairs in traditional shapes, for a statement centrepiece to your room.

As long-standing curators of pattern and texture, we have a few favourite ways to really bring this staple fabric to life. Here are three wonderful ways to use ticking:

1. In a neutral colour scheme for your living room

Combining ticking checks and stripes in beiges, creams and soft blues is a great way to add depth and warmth to your living space without adding too much extra colour. Keep floorboards bare, and choose either sweeping drapes or a blind in soft, vertical stripes, to create the perfect backdrop. Create your ideal scheme with our Made to Measure tools, so that your upholstery, soft furnishings and window coverings all harmonise beautifully.

 2. To offset multiple patterns in a colourful scheme

 There’s a fine art to balancing vibrant colours and busy patterns in your space without creating a look that’s overwhelming or too loud. Introducing a ticking stripe to break up floral and geometric patterns will help to prevent discord, without stripping any character from the look.

 3. For a nautical-themed bedroom

Combining stripes, zigzags and soft geometrics in a common colour scheme will always create a look with depth and texture, but textile-heavy spaces like bedrooms are the perfect canvas for layering patterns to create a fabulous overall effect. Combining vibrant cerulean blues with softer navies and generous helpings of white and cream will create a relaxing haven, while the addition of washed wood and woven accessories will perfect a nautical look.

For more guidance around adding stripes in your home take a look at our styling guide for classic stripes.

Shop the look: Ticking fabric

Explore our edit of ticking fabrics from some of the best designer interiors brands
Regatta Fabric by Clarke & Clarke Red
Per metre
Tango Ticking Fabric by Baker Lifestyle Blue
Tango Ticking
Per metre