12 Fresh Ways to Decorate With Classic Checkerboard Patterns

When in doubt, check it out with these trendy-yet-timeless checkerboard decor finds.

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May 26, 2022

Checkerboard is a traditional pattern of staggered squares in two contrasting tones. The iconic motif is having a moment in the design and architecture world, but a word to the wise? Don't let its sudden popularity stop you from incorporating it into your home because the checkerboard pattern is as timeless as they come.

It dates to the Greek and Roman empires and lines the halls of Versailles, the aisle of St. George's Chapel and underfoot in the corridors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The checkered pattern survives an extensive history of ever-evolving styles and trends and remains a staple in architecture, interior and fashion design today. The tidy motif is a mainstay in traditional homes, both indoors and out, through architectural features like checkered foyers, inlaid shower shelving or strategically placed garden pavers.

Foyer Features a Staircase and Black and White Tile

Traditional Foyer Features a Staircase and Black and White Tile

A grand staircase, with dark wood steps and an ornate banister, leads from the foyer to the second floor of the home. The black and white tile brings a touch of modernity to the traditional space. Antique furniture is positioned throughout the room, making the bright white foyer feel much warmer.

Photo by: Ryan Hainey

Ryan Hainey

The bad news? It's expensive to rip out your floors to replace them with black-and-white checkered tiles. The bright, sparkling silver lining? I've scoured the web for 12 easier (and wallet-friendly) ways to embrace the checkerboard trend and bring the same sophisticated Old World look into your home. And, to know me is to know my love of (and hopeless devotion to) all things checkerboard pattern. So yes, you can trust me when I tell you that these checked-out finds are good. Read on to shop the best of the best checkerboard decor for your home.

From $219

Obsessed with checkerboard floors? Allow me to introduce you to the next best thing, friend. This airy and understated checkerboard area rug offers all the chic geometric payoff as contrasting marble floor tiles without ripping up and replacing your existing floors. Shape up your sitting room or entryway floors with this checkerboard area rug. The jute rug strikes a balance between all things old and new with a contemporary, low contrast color story and a traditional diagonal checkerboard motif. Use the checkered rug to shape up your transitional sitting room, farmhouse den or French country entryway.

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Kick up the cool factor in your boudoir or living room with a checker-clad bolster pillow (or two!). This high-contrast checkerboard design from Lulu & Georgia brings a layer of playfulness and polish to any loveseat, sofa or bed. The structured cushion looks chic styled solo at the back of an armchair or in a pair, framing each end of your couch. Oh, and did I mention the best part? The bolster pillows are approved for indoor and outdoor use, providing you endless styling opportunities for this punchy pattern.

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Shower yourself (literally) in this show-stopping pattern with a checker-clad shower curtain like this beauty from Urban Outfitters. The curtain's black-and-white checkered pattern is small in scale but huge in style, creating a feast for the eyes in any ensuite design. Pair the graphic curtain with classic chrome or brass hardware and retro-inspired accessories for a seamless design. And, if black-and-white feels too bold for your bathroom, don't worry! Bring home the same checkerboard pattern in a soft taupe-and-white color story instead.

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Serve summery sips in style with help from this checkerboard tray by Australian designer Anna Spiro for Anthropologie. At once playful and preppy, this tray boasts a quatrefoil silhouette accentuated by a kelly green trim and woven, navy-and-white checkerboard design. Add the charming checkered design to your serveware arsenal and put it to work between parties as a coffee table styling accent or headquarters for your bedside skin care regime.

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Yes, you could paint your walls. But why would you do that when you can wrap them in this heart-stopping checkerboard wallpaper instead? The artsy wallpaper is part of Lulu & Georgia’s Sarah Sherman Samuel collection and boasts hand-drawn checker motifs. The imperfect lines and edges juxtaposed against the traditional, black-and-white checkerboard pattern result in a fresh, of-the-moment wall covering suitable for eclectic and contemporary interiors. And, if black feels a bit heavy, you can bring home the same whimsical paper in a taupe-and-ivory colorway for a softer look.

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$21 (Set of 3)
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One of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to add checkerboard print to your home is through small, easy-to-swap accessories. This checkered tea towel set is our pick for your kitchen or utility room. Each bundle includes three cotton towels in a black, taupe and chocolate brown checker motif. Snag the set and hang your favorite of the three on your oven handle or over your apron sink.

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Bored with the traditional black-and-white checkerboard pattern? These lively toss pillows offer a colorful twist on the trend with your pick of four additional color combinations: blue, rust, taupe or lime. Snag a single checkerboard cushion to comfy up your office desk chair or treat yourself to a pair to perk up the head of your bed.

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Pro tip: You can never (ever!) have too many throw blankets in rotation. Add to your collection and embrace your checkerboard pattern obsession with this classic and cozy throw from Urban Outfitters. The black-and-white motif will pair seamlessly with your existing furnishings and add a pop of retro flair to the end of your bed or the back of your sofa.

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$128

Bring the contrast pattern to your dining room cabinet or kitchen shelves with the iconic courtly check collection from Mackenzie-Childs. This oval check platter is a perfect place to start; each platter is made from enameled 12-gauge steel and bronzed stainless steel. Even better: The platter is hand-painted by Mackenzie-Childs artisans to ensure one-of-a-kind results. Invest in a single statement piece like the serving platter or start a collection of the courtly check serveware with everyday staples like a pitcher, tea kettle or dinner plates.

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Go ahead and grab a pair of these floor pillows for your kids’ playroom. The cushions are crazy-cute and they also happen to double as a game table for tic-tac-toe, checkers and anything else your little ones scheme up. Use them as reading pillows during quiet time or movie night and store them stacked out of sight when you want to create extra floor space for activities.

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$94.07 (Set of 2)

I may (read: definitely) have this checkerboard resin box set on my living room bookshelf, and yes, you need it, too. These boxes are just as lustrous and beautiful as expected in real life and add the perfect amount of check pattern to any vignette. All aesthetics aside, this set is also practical. The roomy interiors serve as a prime hiding spot for your clunky tech gadgets and remotes between use. Or, if you’re anything like me, an out-of-sight storage option for your dog’s infallible squeaky toy for days you need a reprieve.

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If drama is what you’re after, you’re in the right place. Allow me to introduce you to this statement-making wood checkerboard room divider. The divider folds flat for seamless storage and features three-panel screens with a contrasting wood checkerboard pattern. Prop the divider in a vacant corner behind your sofa to add height and dimension to your living room design, or use the screen to designate spaces in your otherwise open floorplan apartment.

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