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Check-Mate! How To Bring On-Trend Stripes + Checks Into Your Home

Interiors

From nautical to gingham, Breton to tartan – there’s no shortage of names for a classic striped or checked pattern. But whatever the name, these versatile prints are timeless for a reason! Whether strong and bold, or subtle and minimal, checks or stripes are having a renewed moment in the spotlight right now – and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your space.

Our ever-faithful interiors columnists Lauren Li breaks down how to integrate stripes and checks into any contemporary interior AND recommends her fave brands making excellent geometric-printed products. Check ’em out! (See what we did there?)

22nd June, 2021

Steph + Holly’s family home in Kew. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘The Venetian’ chequerboard rug by Tali Roth Interiors.

The ‘Oblique’ table in the Transcendence range by Kelly Wearstler.

Sarah Ellison‘s ‘Lan Banda’ screen in Bismarck House. Photo – Dave Wheeler courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

‘Slow Beam’ house by Hearth Studio in Hobart uses clashing patterned carpets to great effect! Photo – Pier Carthew.

Lauren Li
Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Neutral spaces are calming and can help us recharge when we’re feeling depleted. However, pared back spaces usually need a little lift, otherwise they can feel flat and dull. Adding pattern is the perfect way to energise a space.

Enter stripes and checks! These unflappable, geometric staples are a safe way to add a bold, striking element without tipping the balance out. If florals, animal print or organic patterns are stretching your aesthetic just slightly too far, then checks and stripes are the perfect alternative. Having said that, a graphic expression suits an exuberant maximalist interior just as well as a minimalist space!

Here’s a few tips for incorporating them into your space:

Placement

If pattern isn’t usually your jam, think again about including a striped or check rug into the space. The geometric nature of these patterns can instantly pull a space together. It and create visual interest to a room without being overpowering.

If you want the to make a statement but don’t want to be too dramatic about it, then a throw a few gorgeous striped cushions on your sofa – the impact is real!

Think outside the living room and add some fabulous checks to the bedroom. A check quilt cover is a fabulous way to dive in and enjoy this trend. Adding some check towels to the bathroom feels like you’ve given it a makeover.

Contrasting

Keep in mind some contrasting scale, otherwise the patterns will complete with each other. For example, if there is a narrow stripe patterned quilt cover, then choose a fat bold check. That way there is contrast between the patterns and they sit well together.

Colours

The key to mixing in a stripe or check is to stick with a limited colour palette. Mixing stripes and check patterns adds life and a joyful tone to a room however when all of the patterns are different colours, it can look chaotic.

For a calm room, stick to stripes and checks in muted colours like nude, ochre and moss green that have less contrast. If you’re looking to create an exciting, joyful space then look to how the Memphis designers used bold colours such as yellow, lilac and cobalt blue.

Keep It In Check

Unless you’re going for a maximalist vibe, be careful of overdoing one pattern. If you’re considering a checked rug, then steer clear of also using checks in your soft furnishings, or furniture. And too many stripes – such as striped wallpaper combined with striped curtains – can create a dizzying effect in a room. So – focus on one or two key pieces which add impact, and leave it at that!

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Chequerboard cushion in wisteria, citron and tan from Bonnie and Neil.

A variety of original + colourful stripes and checks from Annie Coop! Photo – Lillie Thompson.

The ‘Oblique’ furniture range from the Transcendence collection by Kelly Wearstler. Photo – Kelly Wearstler.

1. Bonnie and Neil

TDF faves Bonnie and Neil design and screen print all their textiles by hand at their workshop in Reservoir. These checked cushions come in on-trend wisteria, tan or citron shades for the perfect punchy addition to any space.

2. Annie Coop

Shortlisted in the Textile category of TDF Design Awards 2020, emerging textile designer Annie Coop makes gorgeous, colourful prints inspired by Spain. She translates her stripy designs to wallpaper if soft furnishings don’t quite fit!

3. Kelly Wearstler

American interior design wonder Kelly Wearstler has recently debuted a range of bold, striped timber furniture.  Go big with a dramatic dining table, or bold but understated with a stool or bench.

The ‘Takara’ cushions from OYOY Living and Design available locally at Sisalla. Photo – OYOY Living and Design.

The ‘Toppu’ collection of ceramics by OYOY Living and Design available locally at Sisalla. Photo – OYOY Living and Design.

The ‘La Banda’ side table by Sarah Ellison. Photo – Dave Wheeler courtesy of Sarah Ellison.

Buchanan Studio‘s signature squishy armchair! Photo – courtesy of Buchanan Studio.

4+5. Oyoy

The Toppu range of handmade ceramic vases, trays and pots from Danish brand Oyoy Living Design come in soft caramel and rose stripes for a more subtle addition. Perfect next to their selection of diagonally banded cushions in muted shades! Available locally at Sisalla.

6. Sarah Ellison

The La Banda furniture collection from Byron Bay-based designer Sarah Ellison sees a screen, console and side table made from ash and walnut timber wrapped in stripes of earthy tones.

7. Buchanan Studio

This plush, squishy armchair from British makers Buchanan Studio is covered with striped Belgian linen screen-printed in London. Definition statement piece!

Baina towels are THE cult checked accessory! Photo – courtesy of Baina.

Handmade ceramics by Lucy Tolan. Photo – Shelley Horan. Art Direction + Styling by Mildred & Duck.

8. Baina

It wouldn’t be a round-up about stripes and checks if it didn’t include Baina! The cult New Zealand bath and beach towel burst onto the scene early last year with its finger firmly on the pulse of this oncoming trend. Choose from a range of patterns in bright or muted colours.

9. Lucy Tolan

Newly graduated student ceramicist Lucy Tolan makes ceramic vessels from porcelain paper clay and handpaints them with chunky checks. She even breaks her glazed forms in to pieces and glues them back together with the seams between each shard forming a fine textured grid. Her bold colours make these pieces a statement choice!

Each Curio blanket is made from 1.9 kilos of Australian merino wool and made locally in Melbourne by one of the last remaining knitting factories. Photo courtesy of Curio.

Softedge Studio ceramics handmade and painted in Byron Bay. Photo – Layla Cluer.

10. Curio Practice

Curio blankets are bringing checks back, big time! Their super soft blankets are manufactured in one of the last remaining local knitting factories in Melbourne. Each colourful design is made with 1.9 kilograms of high-grade Australian merino wool.

11. SoftEdge

Quite possibly the breakout ceramicist of 2020, Layla Cluer (aka Softedge Studio) handprints her wavy, checked platters, bowls and plates from her studio in Byron.

Left: The young couple behind P0ly handmakes their tiles plinths, side tables, coffee tables and consoles at their house in Northcote! Photo – P0ly. Right: Lucy Montgomery brings sophisticated Sydney coastal chic to the table with her range of classic striped homewares. Photo – Dave Wheeler.

Left: These brown and white porcelain vessels are made by a ceramicist in NYC but stocked locally at Pan After. Photo – Pan After. Right: Thekla table linens are handmade in Sydney from deadstock, vintage or small batch fabrics. Photo – Thekla.

12. P0ly

P0ly consists of a young couple who used to work in fashion and gardening respectively and now handmake these cult-status tiled side tables, consoles and coffee tables from their Northcote home. Customise the coloured grout for a fun detail!

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This Sydney-based stylist, designer and editor has drawn on her 10 years of experience in magazine publishing to create a new line of timeless homewares. Lucy Montgomery cushions, pillows and bedsheets are sophisticated, classic and even a little bit nautical, for a simple coastal look.

14. Mellow Ceramics

Melbourne ex-pat Elise G Wilken makes these beautiful porcelain vessels in NYC, but they can be purchased locally at Pan After. The brown and cream colours make for an earthy, less vibrant option.

15. Thekla

Thekla table linens are handmade in Sydney from deadstock, vintage or small batch fabrics. Tablecloths and napkins in gingham or a French-style farmhouse stripe are the ultimate summery, European vibe.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net