Few patterns have transcended genres more successfully than checks.
The beloved two-tone may remind some of a tablecloth in a traditional Italian restaurant, but its appeal extends beyond rustic chic and into modern homes, too.
Check, gingham, plaid and tartan all have their roots in a familiar square repeat, large or small, subtle or bold.
Homely: Gingham and check sheets and cushions. The beloved two-tone’s appeal extends beyond rustic chic and into modern homes, too
‘There is something homely and comforting about checks which feels particularly appropriate now, when many of us are enjoying slower living, a sense of nostalgia and craving countryside escapes,’ says interior designer Louise Robinson.
‘They have an unpretentious simplicity and are great for those who enjoy pattern in moderation.
‘Use a check that incorporates an existing colour in your scheme, or a complementary hue if you want more of an impact, and introduce it via fabric — from an upholstered chair to a lampshade.’
With summer in full swing, gingham tablecloths and crockery are an easy way to work the look, too.
Try The Sette’s gingham tablecloth, available in several colourways from July, or get playful with ceramics, such as Vaisselle’s Sweet Me plates from £40, or the versatile Magic Ball vessel, £50, designed in London and handmade in Spain.
A Vaisselle Sweet Me cake stand, £75
‘Gingham adds an element of fun and freshness to a summer table, whether blue and white reminding us of picnics, the red and white from our local Italian trattoria or more contemporary monochrome,’ says interior designer Claudia Ludwig.
‘Try small gingham details such as plates, candles, a checked bow around your guests’ napkins or a couple of different coloured gingham cushions for outdoor dining.’
Browse the inside-outside designs at Studio Blackwell, too, which recently re-covered a bespoke vintage garden parasol in a vibrant terracotta check.
Playing with scale is a great way to contemporise this look. Beata Heuman’s Jumbo Gingham, £144 per metre, pays homage to traditional Swedish interiors and looks great on a chair or bench.
The latest collaboration between Salvesen Graham and edit58 has produced a winning combination of frills and checks; we love the Extra Long Check Cushion, £250, which would be perfect across a double bed.
If you want to get serious with squares, scale up with a floor covering or wallpaper. ‘Gingham, plaid and tartan can be used in a range of schemes,’ says Paula Taylor, at Graham & Brown.
‘Incorporate unusual colour combinations such as deep purple and rich orange for a contemporary take on a classic wallpaper design.
‘Similarly, pairing prints of different scales will add a modern update. For example, an oversized tartan on the walls works well combined with small plaid home accessories.’
Try its Heritage Plaid Grey, £65 per roll.
Opting for check flooring in subtle shades or larger scale repeats can help to make a space feel bigger.
‘Checks are a perennial favourite as they evoke a sense of tradition while adding pattern,’ says Carpetright’s Jemma Dayman. ‘Just be considered when pairing plaids and gingham with other prints, so that you don’t overwhelm your space with clashing patterns.’
With a twist
Go modern by giving an edge to a classic check. Wicklewood’s Lilly cushion, £145, inspired by vintage Mesoamerican textiles, combines vertical stripes and horizontal Guatemalan motifs for a bohemian twist.
‘Patterns like these work in almost any scheme, from cosy cottage to beach chic,’ says co-founder Rosie Axwood.
‘Use ginghams and checks on standout pieces, like an upholstered ottoman or armchair. This will help to avoid the chintzy farmhouse look and will offer more of a classic-turned-contemporary feel.’
Zingy brights are another way to change the look.
We love the work of Gambian-born Paboy Bojang, whose hand-sewn sweet wrapper-coloured checks are inspired by Naples in Italy where he is seeking asylum. Look out for the fringed Lumber Patchwork cushion in red and rose pink, £70.
All effective ways to check in to the trend.
What your home really needs is a… station clock
Newgate’s £115 Putney is based on a Swiss design
The station clock combines beauty and utility. It’s a striking addition to your kitchen wall and easy to read, ensuring that you keep to your timetable.
But these are not the only reasons why your home needs one of these clocks.
They are a reminder of an era when almost every city or town had its own time set by the sun, giving local variations.
But from the 1840s, the requirement to ensure the smooth running of passenger services brought the standardisation of railway time to Greenwich Mean Time.
If you yearn for Victoriana, you will like Wayfair’s £47.99 Lascelles station clock with its Roman numerals.
Dunelm’s offer is the Grantham which comes in several colours and costs £10 for the 40cm-wide model and £35 for the 76cm one.
If you have a tendency to be late, station clocks based on the 1940s Swiss design may help. Newgate offers the £115 Putney, inspired by this stylish homage to punctuality.