Check patterns have a classic appeal that’s always on trend. No matter the season, checks will never go out of style.
This timeless classic can pull together any colour scheme, and complete a multitude of themes in various spaces. From bold tartans upon heavy tweeds, which offer a warm and cosy feeling, to the soothing tones of grey and neutral checks in linen, this print offers endless opportunities.
There’s more to this traditional print than Christmassy reds and forest greens. Checks can be refreshed in so many ways, with numerous colour combinations and varying thicknesses of stripes. Checks can also be mixed and matched with other pieces in the home, making for a completely different look. When executed thoughtfully, check patterns will bring style and sophistication to any space.
Across the pond, checks are usually referred to as plaid. You may also be familiar with checkered prints, or even chequered. Whichever way you refer to checks, there are several different versions to consider…
First, traditional tartan, a strong classic straight from the Highlands. The typical tartan design features criss-crosses of vertical and horizontal bands, traditionally woven with wool, though nowadays tartan is printed upon all kinds of materials. Tartan is synonymous with Scotland, though it has been claimed to derive from neighbouring Ireland, adopted by the Scots when they acquired their new land. Traces of tartan have also been uncovered in ancient Central Europe.
There are around 4000 registered types of tartan in various shades and styles for each clan. This includes the traditional hues of red, green, blue and white, along with more unusual colours, including purple, pink, turquoise and orange. No matter your desired colour scheme, there’s a tartan to suit your space. We’re particularly fond of the deep shades of Fryetts’ Balmoral Red Curtain, which is the perfect window dressing for a dark, traditionally decorated living room. Meanwhile, the Prestigious Textiles Munro Chambray Curtain will work well in modern or feminine areas, it’s pretty neutral tones complementing a more contemporary look.
Another widely recognised check is gingham, which features a simple interwoven pattern of stripes. The overlaps create a tonal variation of squares, with the most common colour ways being red and white or blue and white (though there are unlimited colour combinations to be discovered). Gingham is generally a light, breathable textile, with its print varying front small tight checks to larger designs.
Gingham is generally associated with playfulness, simplicity and country-cottage interiors. It is practical and fun, and can be utilised in everything from gingham curtains and bedding to casual wear and school uniforms. This checked pattern first entered the English language in the 1600s, having been imported from Eastern Asia. It soon became a symbol of wholesome family life, as well as lending itself to the wild west.
A lesser-known check design is madras, a lightweight cotton that is primarily used for clothing, but has been welcomed into the world of interior design thanks to its simple and summery style. Madras takes its name from the Indian city Chennai, which was renamed in 1996. The traditional version uses natural dyes, which then bleed when washed. Nowadays, madras check is particularly popular in preppy fashion styles, though it also works well as a statement soft furnishing, especially in bedrooms.
Modern madras prints outside of India are made with artificial dyes, and will therefore remain bold and bright throughout their lifespan. Its stripes and squares vary in width and size, creating a laid-back and unique print. The fabric is also available in regular cotton, or as a patchwork design, displaying multiple checked patterns upon one item. At Blinds Direct, we stock a small selection of checked fabrics that are reminiscent of this print, presenting classic checks in zesty colours.
Finally, windowpane check is a sleek and simple offering to the collection of checked patterns. Inspired by the perpendicular structure of a windowpane, this check design is formed with basic pinstripes in one or two colours, set on a plain backdrop. This simple check pattern is the perfect addition to many interior decor schemes, tying together other styles within your space, whilst offering a classic elegance. If you’d like to introduce windowpane checks to your home, our Prestigious Textiles Brodie Pebble Curtain is an excellent option.
Windowpane checks are generally considered minimal and casual in style They are very easy to wear and accessorise, and can be combined and contrasted with a variety of other patterns without an overcrowded result. This means windowpane checks are a more versatile and suited to the modern home, especially if you’re a fan of mixing and matching colours and patterns.
Checks needn’t be daring. If you’re dreaming of a sophisticated and neutral space, look to muted colours and light materials, like linen blends. Soft white, powder blue, dove grey and sea-foam green work tremendously well as springtime checks, making for a window dressing that is both contemporary and elegant. Discover our range of checked curtains here at Blinds Direct, or get in touch with our friendly team for more information.