This Classic-Meets-Trendy Pattern Won’t Quit — Here’s How to Style It in 2024

published Jan 5, 2024
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A stone dining table in a checker dining area.

The checkerboard pattern has had a recent resurgence, but it arguably never went out of style (think: the everlasting elegance of checkered French chateau foyer floors, for example). Characterized by contrasting colored squares placed side by side, this graphic pattern has been a prominent motif throughout history — from textiles to tiles — and the design remains so pervasive that it’s basically a neutral at this point, even when it’s in stark black and white. Not to mention, checkerboard remains one of the few patterns that can mix and layer well with busier, bolder prints. 

The checkerboard trend shows no sign of slowing down. If you’re looking for some new styling inspiration on how to incorporate it into your home in a way that feels very 2024, though, you’ve come to the right place. I asked designers to weigh in on some of the best new checkerboard decor ideas they’re noticing right now. Here’s how to channel checkerboard in your space so that it feels classic yet fresh.

Credit: SlippensVermeer

Put a checkered pattern on a diagonal.

If you want to veer away from the typical chess board-inspired layout, consider selecting a checkerboard pattern that’s been executed at an angle, as seen in this home’s minimalist kitchen. Designer Laura Williams, founder of ATX Interior Design, says she loves the use of checkerboard floors, especially “set at the diagonal in entryways, kitchens, or sunrooms.” The resulting configuration looks more like diamonds than squares, but this slight tweak is just enough to make your checkerboard installation feel visually different from what’s typical. 

Credit: Louis De Poortere

Play with the scale and shape of the squares.

Rugs are one of the easiest ways to play with patterns. Ruggable and Revival both carry classic check rugs in timeless black and white colorways as well as other neutral pairings like stone, camel, sage, and rust. Historic rugmaker brand Louis De Poortere even recently released their Chess Collection (shown above) as a modern, more abstract checkerboard interpretation. The unstructured design proves that you’re not bound to the standard grid and can experiment with squares and blocks in different proportions. François D’Oliveira, the company’s design manager, adds that this “can bring a flash of modern style to traditional interiors or a sense of nostalgia to contemporary homes.” 

Add checkerboard accents.

Going all-in on a new floor or backsplash might be a big undertaking, especially if you’re a renter, so Williams instead suggests leaning into subtle accents “like textiles, such as throw blankets, pillows, or Roman shades.” Try hanging a checkerboard textile as wall art, too, or give your kitchen counter the checkerboard treatment à la Mackenzie Childs’ iconic Courtly Check collection. And if you’re craving that classic French bathroom feel but don’t have the budget to retile, shoppers rave about Brooklinen’s checkerboard bath towels for the same patterned effect on a smaller scale.

Credit: Nat Goff

Try it in a smaller room.

If you’d like to experiment with the pattern, test it in one of your home’s less high-traffic rooms or closets. Lauren Williamson, designer at Austin-based Cedar & Oak, says checkerboard can go anywhere, “but the best places, in our opinion, are the laundry room, mudroom, pantry, and powder bath.”

Credit: Deema Lopez

Take it outside.

If you have outdoor space, Williamson suggests incorporating a checkerboard design “on the back deck, using pavers and making it a more natural checkerboard with slight variation.” Or, take a cue from the $150 patio project pictured here, and trace square tiles out in pencil, then fill them in with paint for a look that feels reminiscent of an open-air Parisian bistro. This method works well on small balconies and terraces, too, for an instant renter-friendly upgrade.