15 Spaces That Prove Buffalo Plaid Isn't Just for Winter
Leave your preconceived notions in the snow, and check out these fresh ways to use buffalo plaid in the warm-weather months.
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Hit the Ground Running
Whether you recently boarded the buffalo bandwagon, or you're a longtime lover of the pattern, flooring is a fresh way to go all out. Tile in a buffalo check pattern works especially well to create both impact and cohesiveness within a small space. Interior designer Jenn Feldman explains why she chose it for this kitchen: "When renovating a smaller kitchen, the floors and cabinets are two areas that are large enough to make bold changes. A buffalo check pattern has great scale and gives you the chance to bridge three colors together into a unified design. It's fun and fresh but still neutral, providing a classic, long-term feel for a floor pattern."
Neutral With a Side of Spunk
"Buffalo check works great year round!" says interior designer Lindye Galloway. "If you pair it with brighter colors that work for all seasons, it will liven up the space," she explains. In this bedroom, the playful pattern pairs with loads of bright white to expertly accomplish that goal. Lindye says she specifically selected the pattern to complement the room's midcentury aesthetic while keeping the color scheme and overall design neutral. "Buffalo check is gender neutral, so it's a great look whether you're going for a masculine or feminine design," she adds.
A Softer Side
Searching for a subtler take on the pattern? Look no further than the ever popular light gray. Thanks to its softer color tone, gray buffalo plaid works beautifully for large-scale applications, like wallpaper or window treatments. Pair with blush tones for a feminine vibe or matte black for a more modern aesthetic.
A Seat at the Table
Black-and-white buffalo plaid visually ties this room together while also bringing interest to the mostly color-free space. The classic pattern proves an excellent choice for dining chair upholstery, thanks to its versatility and timelessness. If the bold choice still feels a bit risky, play it safe by only inviting the heads of the table to the pattern party.
Mix It Up
Just because you decide to use buffalo check doesn't mean you're in a monogamous relationship with the pattern. Feel free to mix it in and mix it up. Play with different prints and patterns in different scales, but stay within the same color scheme to ensure a sense of flow.
Just meeting for the first time? You might not be ready to wallpaper your bedroom or upholster your dining chairs, and I totally get that. Dip your toes in with an inexpensive throw. Go with a neutral-hued variety that complements your existing decor to keep things easy.
Color Outside the Lines
Not only did interior designer Uma Stewart design this beautiful dining nook, but she also designed the unique pillow fabric that so perfectly completes the space. "As a textile designer, working with prints rather than wovens, I was looking for a way to convey a plaid-like pattern in a print," Uma says of the textile design process. "The large squares gave the look, but because we weren't working with woven techniques, we could add the third color in the pattern. We gave the blocks in the check a watercolor look on close inspection, as the lines are intentionally not perfectly straight. And there is some color overlap, as well."
Even Uma’s modern version of buffalo check achieves the versatility that the basic pattern is known for. "Buffalo check conveys casual, classic and current. We chose [the pattern] for the space because it brings in those qualities," she says.
Choosing accent patterns can be difficult when it comes to designing outdoor spaces. Incorporating naturally occurring color from surrounding wilderness makes a space feel more relaxed, but finding a pattern to subtly pull in those colors is tricky. Enter buffalo plaid. The pattern seamlessly combines three colors in a natural way, making it an ideal choice for blues, greens and earth tones.
Here for the Party
So you pegged buffalo check as just a bit too classic (read: boring) for your taste? Think again. The pattern can mix with a wide range of styles, colors and patterns for a design that’s anything but dull. Take a cue from designer Kristianne Watts, and pair a chic black-and-white variety with a bold stripe in a punchy hue.
Buffalo plaid is a handy pattern to stash in your tool belt — just a splash can tweak the entire feel of a space. Interior designer Corine Maggio explains how pillows did exactly that for this living room. "The style of the house is modern farmhouse, but this room in particular really leans more modern. So the pillows add just enough farmhouse to bring it back a bit." But before you relegate buffalo plaid to the barn, let Corine explain the pattern's multifaceted appeal: "We didn't want a lot of pattern in this living room but needed something that had clean lines but a down-to-earth feel. Buffalo plaid really fit the bill! It's approachable, timeless, fits in with many styles and can work in lots of scales." Did I mention you should add it to your tool belt?
Fit for a Duchess
This bathroom is the picture of subtle sophistication, amirite? Well, there's a reason for that: Kate Middleton and the Hamptons inspired the home's design. Designer Kerrie Kelly set out to give the entire home a chic, preppy aesthetic. The bathroom, in particular, is a nod to the homeowners' roots in Buffalo, New York. Considering something similar in your own powder room? Take a cue from Kerrie, and go with a black-and-white color palette to ensure your patterned floor doesn't detract from the room's sophistication.
Cute + Kid-Friendly
A pattern that's equally sophisticated and kid-friendly? These things don't happen often, friends. Plus, when used in a basic color scheme like navy and white, the checks can grow with your child — no more one-and-done nursery chairs.
A Roman shade in large- or medium-scale buffalo plaid is the perfect pairing for a farmhouse sink. A lightweight fabric provides shade and privacy, but, thanks to the pattern's light-hued squares, still allows light to filter through.
Trend-spotters Kirsten Krason and Erin Morgan of House of Jade Interiors have been eyeing buffalo check patterns for a while now. In an interview in 2016, the designers told me they were looking forward to seeing the patterns more and more. Well, the time has finally come, and there's never been a better time to jump on board (or reupholster your window seat).
Buffalo Goes Retro
Add a bold dose of midcentury modern style to your space with a chair or sofa upholstered in buffalo check. The checks can feel surprisingly sleek when paired with a classic midcentury frame.