Check & Tartan Curtains/ Gingham & Plaid Window Drapes

Home decor, in every age, has turned to the wholesome design language of checks and plaids to ground the space with their right-angled formation. Their long heritage makes them staples in traditional and country decor while their straight-edged perfection makes them fit for modern design. An English home especially is incomplete without a generous dose of these iconic motifs. If you're looking for a way to indulge your obsession with these tessellated patterns, our check, tartan, plaid and gingham window curtains/ drapes can be a trusted jumping-off point. 

Draping Your Windows with Checks, Tartan, Plaid & Gingham: Top Tips & Ideas

Everything from floor tiles to wallpapers and table runners to upholstery can be seen decked up in checks. But when you want to bring their timeless beauty to a space without overstressing their sharp edges, curtains are the best.  For the sharp angles mellow down on the soft and rippled pleats of drapes. It must be this dramatic shift from austerity to homeliness that makes checked drapes popular in the easygoing English country home aesthetics. From a Cotswold cottage and Borehamwood townhouse to the luxury mansions and studio apartments of London, checked drapes are everywhere doing what they do best - exude personality and casual charm. 

Checked drapes come in a million ways and can be as eye-engaging or as self-effacing as you want them to be. But while all checked drapes are lovely in themselves, designing them to suit your home needs skill. So, here are some designer tips from our expert drapery stylists that you can add to your arsenal:

Identify the Desired Look

Some checks are rustic, some have cultural connotations and some pronounce modernity. Select a check that goes with the look you are aiming to create.

At this point, understanding some of the key categories of checks is imperative. Though checks, tartan, plaid and gingham are terms used interchangeably, each of them has a unique history and style of formation which makes them more fitting to certain settings. 

Checks and ginghams are nothing but square blocks in two colours. Checks are oversized and usually termed buffalo checks while ginghams are smaller. Popularized in England in the eighteenth century, these perfectly symmetric square prints ooze simplicity and nostalgia.

Plaids and tartans, which have a broader scope for bandwidth, repeats and colours, are more intricate. They are not limited by the number of colours or the size of the stripe, nor do their horizontal lines have to match the vertical lines. Plaid and tartan have deep cultural significance as they were symbolic of identity and heritage for Scottish clans.

There are many more types of checks, each bringing a different type of aesthetic to the table. Red-white gingham - for example - has traditionally found its place in rustic kitchens and dining areas of country homes. Buffalo check in primary colour palettes is popular in nurseries. Identifying the right type of check for your home is important before you begin your shopping spree with us.

Scaling is the Name of the Game

No matter what type of checked drapes you select - houndstooth, tartan, buffalo checks or plaid, the scaling of the pattern makes all the difference. The larger the scale, the more eye-engaging they become, especially if they have saturated colours.

If you want your drapes to stand out, amp up their scale. On the contrary, if you have a host of patterns in the room already, especially on the walls, reduce the scale so that they don’t compete but complement.

The scaling of the checks should also be informed by the size of the window. So, for example, a small window may not be the best candidate for buffalo checks for they don’t have sufficient space to be presented. And large patio doors should not be treated with gingham as the tiny motif disappears on a large canvas.

Palette Can Make Or Break

Another element that determines the optical weight of a pattern is its palette. The enormity of the scale of the checks can be toned down substantially by muting their colours. Less saturated colours and subtle contrasts will make oversized checks and plaids less demanding on the eye. 

The width of the stripes also plays a deciding factor. When the stripes are thin, multiple colours can come into play and the drapes do not feel overwhelming. But with broad stripes, colours become more overpowering. 

Discern the suitability of the checked drapes to your setting in relation to the overall palette of the room and the decor style you follow.

Complement with Swirly Patterns

It is no guarded secret that checks and florals are best friends. One lends groundedness, the other lends artfulness, and a tasteful mix of both makes for visual interest.

So, pair your checked, tartan, or plaid drapes with curvy patterns like chintz, ditsies, toiles, polkas and chinoiseries. Their organic shapes and nature-inspired themes add more personality to the home, and infuse joy and creative spirit by bringing the outdoors in.

Look for an opportunity to bring them in your tapestries, wall art, pillows, throws, rugs, upholstery, wallpapers, vases, table runners, bed runners and other accessories. In fact, if you already have a grand collection of these, checked curtains are the right choice, for nothing can complement such a coterie of curvy designs as the simple straight lines of the checks.

Choose a Suitable Heading Style

The heading style of the curtains refers to the design of the header. It holds the pleats on the visible side and the hardware on the rear side. It has got much to do with the way your curtains hang and function. 

Some heading styles show off the hardware, while others conceal them. Some use fabric loops while others use rings/grommets and that aspect decides how smoothly they will glide on the drapery pole.

Plaid curtains look fabulous in any of the styles, but you may select the heading style that best suits the personality of the room and the frequency of operation that you expect. For example, in a dressy living room, handcrafted ‘pinch pleat’ plaid/ tartan drapes suit right. While in a hardworking kitchen, a pair of lazy ‘tie-top’ gingham cafe curtains look picture-perfect.

The White Window's Collection

Tartans, ginghams, houndstooth, shepherd’s check, puppytooth, buffalo check, pin check, graph check, windowpane check… the list goes on and on. There are millions of ways for two perpendicular lines to bring spice, colour and joy to a space and our collection will prove it to you.

URMIAWith understated blues and browns creating a tale of hues on pure cotton fabric, this elaborate tartan drape is just right for the windows around that lovely fireplace in your home.

PLATINUM GLO: Featuring a lovely chartreuse green houndstooth pattern, this set of curtains promises a casual homely feel to any informal room of a carefully curated home.

HERRINGTON: Dressed in blush-reds and browns, curtains in these windowpane checks spell country charm befitting a cozy countryside cottage. 

FIRED CLAY: For checks with a modern twist, visit this drapery fabric with deep hues and oversized crisscross scales. Just right for a little dark library to become more contemplative.

AQUA ISLANDS: Buffalo checks cannot get any more cheerful than in this beautiful indigo blue and white cotton fabric. Bring them to your dramatic bedrooms and top them with a matching valance to nail the quintessential English country look.

In Closing 

Cutting across decor styles, timelines and geographies - checks, ginghams, tartans and plaids adorn homes across the globe, finding favour with the modern sophisticated society as they did with the agrarian ancients. 

We hope this journey with checked drapes was as enjoyable for you as the shopping spree you are about to get into. No matter what decor style you follow, these decor accessories sync in, and that versatility is of special significance if your aesthetic taste tends to evolve with time. No matter where you move to or which decor style you end up with after a few years, a well-styled checked drape can always stay with you. Happy styling, happy shopping!