Tartans and checks have a classic appeal that’s always on trend. No matter the season, checks will never go out of style.
This timeless pattern can pull together any colour scheme and bring interest to every space. From bold tartans upon heavy tweeds that offer a warm and cosy feeling, to soothing linens with neutral checks, to bright and jazzy ginghams that are perfect for spring and summer, this print offers endless opportunities.
There’s much more to check prints 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 well, 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’ or ‘chequered’ prints. However you refer to checks, there are several different versions to consider…
First, traditional tartan 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, but 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 Balmoral Red, which is the perfect choice to warm up a traditionally decorated living room. Or choose something like the Munro Chambray print, which will work well in modern country kitchens. Here are a few more of our favourites:
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 generally comes in a light, breathable textile, with its print varying front small tight checks to larger designs.
Gingham is 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 English-speaking countries 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 styles of the Wild West. Here are some of the gingham-inspired fabrics from Blinds Direct:
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 remain bold and bright throughout their lifespan. The 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 selection of checked fabrics that are reminiscent of this print, displaying classic checks in zesty colours. Here are some of our favourites:
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 Brodie Pebble fabric 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. Which will you pick for your space?
Discover our full range of checked fabrics at Blinds Direct and remember that you can choose these designs for your made to measure Roman blinds, curtains, cushions and lamp shades. For more information about, please get in touch with our friendly team.