Checked patterns, including plaid, gingham, and buffalo check, have been a popular feature in home decor for decades. However, the checkerboard motif has recently stepped into the spotlight as the check of the moment. The classic staggered arrangement of black and white squares, reminiscent of a chessboard, is once again popping up across flooring, textiles, wallpaper, and more.
Perhaps the recent craze around checkerboard patterns has something to do with the popular limited Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, watched by more than 62 million households within the first month of its debut last October. According to online marketplace 1stDibs, sales of chess sets and chess tables jumped 57% in 2020 compared to the previous year. But playing the game itself isn’t the only way people are drawing inspiration from the show. “The Queen’s Gambit had a stunning set design, but the real show-stealer for interiors is the black and white checkered pattern of the chess set,” says Barbara Fuller, vice president of marketing at home furnishings brand Arteriors.
The checkerboard pattern trend dates back well before we’d ever heard of Beth Harmon, though. In fact, the simple, two-color checked motif has been used in interior design across the globe for centuries. Checkerboard flooring was particularly popular during the Renaissance period in Europe, with one of the most notable examples being the checked, black-and-white marble floor of the Grand Trianon at the Palace of Versailles in France. Fast forward a few centuries to the 1920s, when black-and-white linoleum or ceramic tile became a favorite flooring choice in kitchens and bathrooms in American homes.
Today, the high-contrast pattern makes a striking statement on a wide variety of design elements, offering a look that’s both retro and traditional. For a high-end effect, Fuller suggests looking for pieces made with black and white marble or lacquer. To try the trend in a smaller way, accent solid-colored seating with checkered throw pillows. Here are a few of our favorite checkerboard-patterned accessories to help you nail this bold yet classic look at home.
Black and White Checked Pillow
Checkerboard pillows are a simple way to dress up your sofa with a new look. This stylish lumbar pillow includes an insert and a double-sided, black-and-white checked cover. The durable polyester fabric resists water and mildew, so you can accessorize both indoors and out.
Colorful Checkerboard Throw
Toss this throw blanket across your sofa for a fun pop of personality. The colorful knit design features a mixed-scale checkerboard pattern in black, blue, red, and pink. The acrylic blanket is machine-washable and measures 60×50 inches.
Checkerboard Outdoor Rug
Try the dynamic pattern outdoors with this checkerboard area rug. The polypropylene material is made from recycled plastic straws and resists stains, water damage, and fading in the sun. The black-and-white design is available in four sizes.
Buy It: Corrigan Studio Checkered Black/White Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug, $67-$147 (originally $86-$166), Wayfair
Checkerboard Wall Decor
This framed rope artwork puts a natural twist on the checkerboard trend. Earth-tone ropes coiled into circles and squares form a three-dimensional checkered pattern. The natural pine frame measures 18 x 30 inches and comes with sawtooth hardware to make hanging easy.
Acrylic Checkerboard Tray
Add some pattern to your coffee table with this acrylic checkerboard tray. The 15 x 12-inch size is perfect for holding books, vases, small collectibles, and more. Handles make for easy carrying, and feet on the bottom of the tray protect your table’s surface from scratches.
Modern Checkers and Chess Set
This colorful chess and checkers set doubles as a pretty decorative accent for a coffee table or shelf. The painted wood box includes 32 chess pieces and 24 checkers pieces. The lid, which doubles as a game board, is reversible with a pink checked design on the other side.
Checkerboard Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
Bring dimension to your walls with this black-and-white checkered wallpaper. The peel-and-stick design makes it easy to apply, remove, or reposition as needed. The fabric wallpaper is sold in three sizes of 24-inch-wide panels that range from 48 to 126 inches in length.
Buy It: Brayden Studio Gillingham Removable Peel and Stick Wallpaper Panel ($70-$124, Wayfair)