A Crash Course in the Swiss Cross Pattern You're Seeing Everywhere Right Now

A Crash Course in the Swiss Cross Pattern You're Seeing Everywhere Right Now

Taryn Williford
Mar 3, 2014
(Image credit: NOE Blog)

One is a statement; twenty is a trend. After seeing this pattern pop up in a thousand different rooms (including the space of NOE Blog's Jorid Kvam, above), I had to do some legwork. What is it? And why am I seeing it everywhere?

I decided to dive in to Google and give myself a crash course in one of the most popular patterns in design today. Here's what you need to know:

HGTV's Emily Henderson in her own home.
(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

It's called Swiss Cross, and was probably inspired by the Swiss flag.
The flag of Switzerland consists of a red flag with a equilateral white cross in the center. You might also regognize the Swiss cross in the logo for the Red Cross and Victorinox Swiss Army knives and timepieces.

Pillows from Society6 and Earth Cadets.
(Image credit: Society6, Earth Cadets)

A true "Swiss Cross" has very specific dimensions.
As a national emblem, the cross of the flag of Switzerland has had formally established specs since 1889: "The coat of arms of the federation is, within a red field, an upright white cross, whose [four] arms of equal length are one and a sixth times as long as they are wide." In design, however, you're likely to see different aspects in different textiles or patterns.

Pia Wallen Cross Blanket from Story North.
(Image credit: Story North)

Swiss Cross is most common in black and white.
Although the flag is red, the Swiss Cross pattern is almost always seen in monochrome. Black crosses on white and white crosses on black are spotted in the wild equally, but there are more colorful options available in fabrics, pillows and linens for those willing to hunt.

Deborah's Scotland home, on Emma's Design Blog.
(Image credit: Emma's Design Blog)

It's on trend with Scandinavian design.
Yes, Switzerland is far from Sweden, Norway and Finland, but the basic Swiss cross pattern is a perfect compliment to the simplicity, bold contrast and clean lines of the Scandinavian interiors that are everywhere right now. As Scandi design gets bigger, so will the Swiss Cross.

(Image credit: Bleubird)

Swiss Cross is easy to DIY.
Because it's so simple and symmetrical, the basic swiss cross lends itself well to DIY projects that need a hand-cut, hand-painted or hand-taped pattern. Some of my favorites are this bunting from Blue Bird Vintage, and the Swiss Cross painted heart canvas from Hello Lidy.

It goes with everything.
Don't believe me? Pick up a pillow or rug and try it. In living rooms, kitchens or kids rooms, it adds a strong and simple touch no matter the decor.

Does anybody else know more about the origins of the pattern?

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