In terms of classic patterns, gingham and related checkerboard patterns are tried and true—and they're once again resurging and making a major comeback as a decor trend. In fact, recent Pinterest data shows that searches for “checkerboard pattern” were up 160% throughout 2022, with results spanning beauty, clothing, and home décor.
In an effort to figure out why this pattern has such staying power, we turned to the experts to ask for their tips, tricks, and insights.
Meet the Expert
01 of 09
It Works Everywhere
As Sam Tannehill of Sam Tannehill Designs tells us, gingham and checkerboard work literally everywhere. As she notes, the pattern is a timeless staple and has really come back into the spotlight.
“I have found checkerboard patterns in incredible tiling in homes and restaurants, on the decking around a pool, in the fabric on sofas and chairs, and the patterns in the rug,” Tannehill notes.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
It’s Relaxed and Unfussy
Part of the reason gingham works everywhere, according to Melanie Hay of Melanie Hay Design Studio, is because of how streamlined it is. She notes that this pattern is clean and tailored in nature, which makes it quite versatile—checkerboard pairs wonderfully with other patterns and textures, such as florals and stripes.
“Gingham is definitely having a moment right now,” Hay says. “It has a casual, charming feel, and every room needs a little relaxed element to make it feel comfortable and liveable.”Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
It's Fun to Play with Scale
Hay agrees that mixing checkerboard with other patterns is a breeze—and if you play with the scale, it can be fun.
“Vary the scale as well as the shapes of your coordinating patterns,” Hay says. “If the gingham you select is a larger checkerboard, then pair it with smaller scale patterns, such as a hand block printed floral or ticking stripe."Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
It’s Particularly Perfect for Summer
As designer Jennifer Hunter points out, there’s something particularly special about gingham or checked print in the summer.
“Gingham is the essence of summer and is reminiscent of a checkered picnic blanket,” she tells us. “It comes in a variety of playful colors that can brighten any room and create a summertime feel.”
If you’re looking to create a breezy feel with your checkerboard pattern, Hunter suggests going light. “I always love working with pastel gingham patterns—particularly light blues or neutrals,” she says.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
It’s a Great Neutral Base
One of the great things about checkerboard is that, in the right colorway, it adds interest while also functioning as a neutral.
“I consider checkerboard equivalent to how you would use stripes in a room,” Hunter says. “You can use it for accents in a space or in a bigger way like wallpaper or upholstery.”Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
It’s Easy to Mix
Pattern mixing is divisive, but Tannehill advises that mixing patterns with a checkerboard print shouldn’t be as tricky as it sounds.
"Pay attention to the color scheme in the room, and work that into the design," she says. "Complementary colors in the patterns will help keep things cohesive and entertaining to the eye.”
If you’re looking for inspo, Tannehill has lots of tips. “I love a checkerboard marble tile, a checkered natural color area rug, and fabric," she gushes. "I also love a checkerboard tile around a pool and into the pool. Honestly, it's a great pattern to incorporate into all styles of design.”
Hunter agrees. “I prefer to pair a neutral-colored gingham with an oversized floral in a blue/green palette,” she says. “The juxtaposition of the floral and the geometric makes for a really fun design.”
Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
It Works with a Huge Array of Aesthetics
As Mark Feldman of Riverbend Home notes, gingham or checkerboard fit with many popular design aesthetics.
“Gingham or checkerboard is a timeless staple when it comes to home décor,“ Feldman says. “You can find it in farmhouse, coastal, picnic-core, and other types of aesthetics. You’ll find gingham in all kinds of décor, from table settings and holiday decorations to pet accessories.”Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
You’re Not Limited to Fabrics
“Gingham has a ton of potential applications, but one of my favorite ways to use the pattern is through tile,” Hay says. “You can create a gingham pattern by combining square tiles in varying tones and colors in a grid formation, it's a great way to add a charming, classic touch to a shower enclosure or an entry floor."
Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
It's Best to Keep it Classic
If you’re still on the fence, Hay has one final tip. “I don't think you necessarily have to avoid gingham in any situation, but it does tend to have a more classic vibe, so I would be careful using it in highly minimal modern interiors,” she says.