What Our Designers *Really* Think About the Checkerboard Print Trend

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on August 16, 2022

What’s one good thing that came out of 2020 (aside from the sourdough bread renaissance)? The resurgence of checkerboard print. First spotted among the fashion set in the form of hair clips, tops, purses, jackets, and beyond, the retro pattern has since made its way into interiors (no surprise there).

We certainly understand its appeal — it aligns with the overarching 1970s revival (hello, chocolate brown and curvaceous furniture), and leans a touch edgy while still feeling classic. But, like any trend, we can’t help but view checkerboard print with a touch of skepticism, especially after two-plus years of checkerboard print everything. In reality, how much longer will the trend last, and is it even worth adding to our homes at this point?

Our short answer to the latter question is yes, but with a few caveats. To make checkerboard print lean timeless versus trendy, our designers love a muted, neutral, earth-toned take on the look (as opposed to neon, primary colors, or graphic black and white). An understated, goes-with-everything palette softens the look a touch and gives it a classic, more subdued feel that doesn’t scream “trend overboard.”

Ahead, shop checkerboard print decor that has our designers’ “here-to-stay” seal of approval, from rugs to decorative vases and beyond:

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

1. Veda Jute Rug

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: This checkerboard jute rug leans slightly trendy, but, thanks to the natural color palette, still checks the “timeless” box with flying colors. Plus, you can’t beat the touch of texture that jute adds to any space — it’s organic modern perfection.

2. Tambor Ottoman

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: Ottomans are incredibly versatile and therefore a perfect candidate for playful pattern. You can easily move this piece around your living space, office, or den, and even reupholster it down the line for a fresh look. Plus, the classic classic silhouette will never go out of style, and the soft taupe and ivory checkerboard will complement any design style. Swoon! 

3. Checkerboard Cabinet

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: When it comes to pattern, it doesn’t get any more subtle than this checked cabinet. With its tonal reeded tile design, it’s more of a textural play than a color play, which is precisely why we love it. Add this to any modern-contemporary space as a TV stand, bar cabinet, dining room buffet, entryway console, or storage cabinet. 

4. Checkerboard Wall Art

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: This graphic print from Artfully Walls hints at the checkerboard trend without feeling too ostentatious, and the subdued color palette will blend with any gallery wall. We especially love the ornate brass frame — you can easily swap out the print if and when you tire of the look!

5. Checkered Rope Bench

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: From the woven rope seat and curved silhouette to the tonal checkered palette, we’re not sure what we love most about this perfectly on-trend bench. Pair it with more traditional elements, like wingback accent chairs or a classic white sofa, for a touch of contrast.

6. Moroccan Shag Checkered Rug

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: For a slightly pared-back take on the checkerboard rug trend, consider a deconstructed repeat in an earthy color palette (as opposed to wall-to-wall check). The ivory and ochre hues in this rug soften the look, while the black checks the “edgy” box. The overall affect is cool and retro, but still palatable.

7. Checker Table Vase

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: Decorative accents like vases are a great way to lean into a design trend without making a long-term commitment. This neutral find from Perigold feels timeless and sophisticated, while offering a subtle nod to the popular print. Just add colorful tulips!

8. Irregular Checkerboard Rug

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel can do no wrong in our eyes, and this checkerboard print rug from her line with Lulu & Georgia is exhibit A. The irregular, handcrafted check feels particularly cool, while the soft terracotta and ivory color scheme will complement any design style. 

9. Check Beach Umbrella

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: This West Elm umbrella will immediately channel the South of France in your backyard or patio — enough said. Upgrade al fresco dinners and garden parties with this on-trend checkered beauty (available in baby blue or marigold). 

10. Checkerboard Wallpaper

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: Checkered wallpaper may sound a bit bold, but when done correctly, it can feel just as understated as it is vibrant. The soft hues in this print from Lulu & Georgia are the perfect backdrop for a calming guest room, playful kids bedroom, or dynamic entryway — just add muted artwork and a sculptural wall sconce.

11. Woven Check Throw Pillow

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: Throw pillows will always be the perfect low-lift vehicle for a trendy print or color palette. Not only are they inexpensive, you can swap them out in seconds based for a seasonal or aesthetic upgrade. We especially love the soft rust color in this Loloi Rugs number.

12. Checkerboard Vase

Checkerboard print | Checkerboard decor

Why We Love It: If you’re going to go high-contrast black and white checkerboard, opt for a small piece like a table vase. With gold trim and a high-quality ceramic construction, this beauty is as trendy as it is timeless.

From design trends to perfecting room flow, our designers are chock-full of expert tips. Start with our style quiz to work with a design pro one-on-one.

Words by Kelsey Clark