Trend Alert: Crazy for Check

Whether you’re just diving into the world of pattern or feel like an old pro, bold checks are an easy-to-love, easy-to-live with look. Use them as a finishing touch to add a pop of color and geometric wow-factor, or go big and bold on the walls or floors—you really can’t go wrong. For proof, check out these 14 designer spaces.

By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: David Powell

Photo By: Nick Johnson Photography

Photo By: Maple & Plum

Photo By: Twist Tours

Photo By: Stephani Buchman

Photo By: Martin Tessler

Photo By: Stoffer Photography

Photo By: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Photo By: Renee DiSanto

Photo By: Sarah Moore

Photo By: Walter Galaviz Photography

Photo By: Jacob Bodkin

Photo By: Bridgitte Krupke

Photo By: Lisa Petrole

Add an Accent

In collaboration with designer Barbara Purdy, of Barbara Purdy Design, the team at Anderson & Rodgers Construction worked to give this guest house a clean, farmhouse look in keeping with its horse-farm setting. Bold checked pillows on the sofa and banquette add a hit of color and pattern against a mostly neutral background. “The clients wanted the space to feel bright and open while really maintaining the farmhouse aesthetic. White shiplap was installed on all walls and ceilings, and clean patterns were used on finishes and furniture,” they say.

Go Low

The floor can be a great, unexpected place to add a pop of pattern—like an oversized check. Here, designer Jeannie Balsam of Jeannie Balsam Interiors used this approach to create a fresh, fun look in the sunroom of a second home. “Situated directly off the first floor’s main gathering rooms, this inviting space was inspired by the sun porches of historical nautical homes. The bold floor, woven blinds, and symmetrical blue valances offer maximum energy and draw you into the space without distracting you from the main attraction: the incredible water views.”

Mix it Up

To give a cabin in the Canadian woods a cozy feel, designer Meghan Price of Maple & Plum turned to natural textures and classic rustic patterns. “Nothing feels more like a cabin retreat in the Canadian wilderness than buffalo plaid,” she says. “The bold black and red check pops off of the neutral white-wash wood, birch trees, plywood furniture. And don’t be afraid to mix plaids. By layering the gray wool plaid blanket on the buffalo plaid, we added another level of depth and interest to the space.”

Keep it Cool

“Designing rooms for kids is fun, but it can be challenging,” say the designers at Butter Lutz Interiors. “Here, we wanted to remain true to the traditional bones of our Spanish Oaks house while giving the boys a bedroom that felt fresh and youthful at the same time. Mixing a large buffalo check on the bed linens in a bold black and white color combination helped give us the balance we wanted.”

Learn to Layer

Combining patterns can be intimidating, but it’s easy to add interest without creating a look that’s too busy: Just stick with geometric patterns, like checks and plaids, as designer Carly Nemtean of Carriage Lane Design-Build did in this bedroom. “We wanted to incorporate checked patterns within the decorative finishes to create a mid-century modern look,” she says. “The vibrant blues pop against the warm and subtle wood tones throughout the bedroom, and provide a unique and cozy look. The use of patterned fabrics also helps create dimension within this getaway retreat as a contrast against the solid upholstery.”

Make it Modern

To reinforce the modern style of a ranch house in Alberta, Canada designer Elena Del Bucchia chose architectural elements and furnishings with simple, streamlined shapes. Adding geometric patterns on the banquette upholstery and on a throw lends warmth and coziness, without detracting from the sleek style.

Grab Some Gingham

“Our client fell in love with the gingham drapery fabric,” says designer Kate Marker, “and so we designed a family-friendly eating area that has modern touches balancing a traditional framework to fulfill the day-to-day demands of a large family of seven. The home has a very classic, Southern-inspired feel with a soothing neutral palette throughout.”

Turn to Tradition

“Our clients are a family that loves color and pattern with an overall traditional note,” says designer Leah Atkins. “We turned this breakfast area into a casual and comfortable space where they can congregate for a meal or their little girl can spend some time crafting. Yellow keeps it bright and cheerful while the gingham drapes provide a neutral, yet eye-catching, background.”

Go Big in a Small Space

It may seem counterintuitive, but choosing a bold color or an oversized pattern can actually make a small space look larger. This is exactly the approach designers Renee DiSanto and Christine Samatas of Park & Oak took, choosing the high-contrast combination of black and white and a large-scale checked pattern to give a tiny powder room an outsize personality.

Keep it Simple

“We wanted to turn an old barn into a modern farmhouse for my client to host friends and family,” says designer Sarah Moore of Sarah Catherine Design. “In this bedroom, we countered the white shiplap walls with some bolder accents like an iron bed, bamboo shades, vintage chest and lots of buffalo check on the bed. I love how the bright walls and natural light coordinate with some of the more rustic features in this space to give it make it feel like a modern farmhouse cabin.”

Stay Neutral

When combining patterns and textures as the team at Sharkey Custom Homes did in this teenager’s bedroom, sticking with a neutral palette can help keep the look calm, not chaotic. “We did a brick veneer on the back wall of the bedroom to create an accent wall and to give the room an urban feel,” they say. The taupe gingham curtains add softness, without overwhelming the high-impact space.

Make a Match

Designer Jessica Love of Urbane Design designed this boy’s bedroom around a vintage blanket chosen by her young client. To give him a “suite of his own to grow into,” Love kept the overall palette cool and neutral, with the only pattern—besides the beloved blanket—bold checked curtains at the window.

Keep it Serene

To create a light and airy bedroom retreat, designer Andrea Wojciak paired all-white bedding with rich wood furnishings. A pair of checked pillows in a pale neutral color lend a subtle focal point without adding strong color.

Warm Up

Charged with creating an inviting living space with a traditional Scottish look, designer Anna Duval used colors and patterns inspired by the home’s natural surroundings and her client’s heritage. "Soft earthy tones and grays allowed us to create a comfortable, natural, relaxed atmosphere; while burgundy red served as an accent, and came from the outer brick walls of the house and Scottish tartan of the Wallace clan (my client’s ancestors)," says Duval. "The materials used in the interior—Belgian linen, wool, natural and distressed wood and antique metals—also helped to accomplish the natural and relaxed look of the space."

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