Here’s How to Get Into the Checkerboard Trend If You Don’t Really Care For Checkered Patterns

published Mar 4, 2021
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I had never been a fan of checkered prints. Not when everyone else was clamoring for a pair of Vans bearing the motif or when this iconic ’70s pattern got a second (or third? maybe even fourth?) wind and resurfaced a few years back for its millennial redux. Now, checkerboard’s everywhere, and somehow, I turned a corner on my feelings for its graphic form.

I just realized the bulk of images in my Instagram “Saved” folder included a checkerboard pattern in one form or another. It’s like suddenly, I can’t get enough of it. Maybe the print finally wore me down, or perhaps I was subconsciously influenced after binge-watching the entire season of “The Queen’s Gambit” in a matter of days? It’s hard to say. 

Credit: Studio Hecha

Regardless, it quickly became apparent that my change of heart was influenced by the subdued iterations of the look that have started popping up as of late. While the classic, high-contrast checkerboard print that comes in black-and-white isn’t exactly for me (a minimalist with a penchant for earthy tones and the occasional pop of Yves Klein blue), I found the more recent adaptions to be right up my alley. Studio Hecha‘s graphic vases and ceramic homeware quickly became a favorite; the checkered pieces shown here have since sold out, but fingers crossed there will be a new collection drop soon.

Credit: Matilda Goad

Then, there was British designer Matilda Goad’s kitchen, where a red and cream checkerboard tile installation transformed the chimney breast with an unexpected burst of color and pattern. A refreshing departure from the standard application of a checkered tile floor, this interpretation showcased just how versatile — and whimsical yet contemporary — checkers can be.

Peppa Hart founder Sophie Bell’s light-filled bedroom drew me in from the moment I caught a glimpse of her immaculately layered bed, where a pair of vividly saturated, red checker throw pillows were seamlessly incorporated into the mix. Outside of inviting just the right splash of color to the nearly monochrome palette, this poppy decorative pillow managed to complement the rich rust-orange bed linens while subtly channeling the colorful books on the built-in nightstand, creating a nice eye path around the room in the process. 

Finally, when the uber-talented botanical artist Sophie Parker of WIFE decided to imprint the pattern on faux anthurium stems, it was pretty much game over for me — I became a checker print convert. Parker’s green and white version (which is a special collab with Mociun, a Brooklyn-based home and jewelry store) is hand-painted, unique, and almost too good for words. These stems are currently out-of-stock, but I’m waiting so very patiently for them to make a comeback. 

Intrigued for more? Take a peek at the cheeky and design-forward checkerboard print pieces sitting at the top of my wishlist.

Maison de Vacances Vintage Checkerboard Napkin

These vintage linen napkins, spotted from English retailer Cutter Brooks, make for an easy way to dip your toes into this subtle iteration of the checkerboard trend. Coupled with its homespun texture, the napkin’s edgy, almost burnt sienna hue lends these linens a refined yet entirely casual finish. While some may call this pattern gingham (which is basically a multi-toned checkered print, if you really think about it), I say it definitely still counts.

Buy: Maison de Vacances Vintage Checkerboard Napkin, $22.00 from Cutter Brooks

Credit: Willow

Willow Checkered Side Table With Legs

ICYMI, tiled tables are back in a big way. LA-based Willow is a stateside purveyor of these pieces, and naturally, the duo behind the brand has incorporated the check pattern into one of their side tables. Its monochromatic blue palette is refreshing, to say the least, and while it may be subtle in tone, it packs in a punch on the design front. Crafted from a wood base and glass tiles, I’d use this as a nightstand or a pedestal for potted plants to really make a statement.

Buy: Checkered Side Table with Legs, $550.00 from Willow

Credit: Tuck It In

Tuck It In Battenberg Quilt

Tuck It In’s checkerboard quilts are pretty hard to resist. The socially-conscious brand’s textiles are hand-dyed with natural ingredients such as onion skins and walnuts, which is what creates their unique, earthy palette that’s otherwise difficult to replicate. This particular quilt’s eclectic coloring is a refreshing twist on the classic two-tone checker print, and despite the variation, all the shades still manage to complement one another.

While the quilt is definitely on the pricier side (and made specifically for kiddos), it’s an investment piece that can withstand the test of time. Crafted from double-sided linen and stuffed with 100 percent GOTS certified wool, it will be cool to the touch in the summer and plenty warm in the winter.

Buy: Battenberg Quilt, $411.56 from Tuck It In 

Credit: Dusen Dusen

Dusen Dusen Check Bedding

Dusen Dusen is no stranger to the checker print — the brand’s dog beds were amongst the featured it. This time around though for spring, it’s all about check bedding, and this 100 percent cotton sateen sheeting is hitting all the right notes for me. Made in Portugal, the set provides an abstract take on the checkerboard, which, when coupled with a light beige palette, is cool enough to convert even the firmest believers in all-white bedding. 

If you’re more of a traditionalist that prefers a good old checker print in a fresh colorway, then this bedding bundle from Urban is not one to miss.

Buy: Check Bedding, Starting at $74.00 for a Flat Twin Size Sheet from Dusen Dusen