How to Decorate with Checks and Plaids

Even though simple in design, the range of checked and plaid fabrics is huge, including old-fashioned home-spun and petite ginghams to pastel toned madras and rich, jewel-toned tartans. Just as endless as the varieties to be discovered are the ways that checks and plaids can be used around the home. Consider for example, a red checked table cloth on the kitchen table, or gingham curtains in a child's room. Add a cozy plaid blanket tossed on the back of an armchair or add a checked lampshade to add a bit of whimsy to a room. These are just some of the ways plaids and checks can be used in a home. Consider too that a number of the ways we envision plaid involves painted surfaces such as floors or the use of checked patterns on kitchen canisters, cookie tins and other accessories made over the years.

One popular interior design look is the Swedish country look. Checked fabric plays a dominant role in this design style. Known for its minimalist feel and pale woodwork and walls, Swedish country interiors often feature a two-tone color scheme, usually red and white or blue and white. To mimic the look in your own home, try adding a wood frame settee upholstered in checked fabric in the living room or covering the seats of kitchen or dining chairs in a similar style of fabric. These fabrics pair especially well with pale wood or white painted furniture. Cover windows with sheer lace or white curtains.

As with stripes, upholstering with checks requires a bit of skill; you may want to use a professional upholsterer for the best results. Plaids can be particularly tricky, as part of their charm is the mismatch style to the fabric. Madras fabric is especially difficult because it displays weaving discrepancies that make it ill suited for very structured furniture pieces where lines of fabric need to line up exactly. Madras is better suited for things like, throw pillows, curtains, and comfy, overstuffed chairs.

The simple beauty checked and plaid fabric makes it perfect for pairing with other fabrics. Fabric mixes look best when different fabric share a central color scheme. One color such as red, can help to unify a design. The check itself in checked or plaid fabric can also pick up a secondary color in another fabric. For instance, if you are decorating with a green and white check, look for a floral fabric that has some green leaves along with flowers. The green leaves will highlight the green checked fabric and help to coordinate a room.

Scale is another consideration when combining fabrics. In general, the scale of a check should be about the same as that of the other motifs in a fabric collaboration. The deeper hues of tartan plaids combined with their wintry feel makes them best paired with with darker colors and richly textured fabrics. A number of plaids in the same color scheme may also be used for effective design.

Regardless of the type of check or plaid you use, these patterns add a touch of freshness to any decor.

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