Everyone’s adding checkerboard prints to their kitchen - here are 4 ways to embrace the trend

This whimsical pattern adds joy to your space, and it's perfect for the holidays, too. Here are some easy ways to adopt the trend

A kitchen with a blue and pick checked backsplash
(Image credit: Otto tiles)

The classic black and white checkerboard is back and it’s stronger than ever. While it’s never really gone away, we’ve mostly seen the pattern on beautiful floors in hallways or kitchens but, in recent months, it seems to be sweeping us all off our feet with joyful, whimsical reiterations in the shape of home accessories, especially in the kitchen. 

From kettles and utensils to linens and dinnerware, more is more when it comes to this pattern that seems to instantly uplift any interior style. One simple search on social media reveals thousands of images that demonstrate how everyone’s having fun integrating this trend into their kitchens, and it’s one brand in particular that stands out among the rest when it comes to dressing your home with chequered prints. 

You see, the checkerboard look in interiors is nothing new. MacKenzie Childs started this ‘movement’ back in the 80s, and it’s gained impressive momentum. It’s going stronger than ever right now, inspiring fans around the world and other designers and brands to have fun with contrasting squares. Here’s how the look became so popular, and how you can adopt this quirky interior design trend in your space, too. 

A checkerboard kitchen backsplash

(Image credit: Otto tiles)

‘Checkerboard patterns have been trending in North America for a few years,’ interior designer Ami McKay tells me. The brand that officially made the checkerboard one of the most coveted patterns to bring into our homes, and gave it a fresh new vibrancy, was MacKenzie Childs

Founded in 1983 and now based on an exquisite Victorian farm open to the public, and overlooking Cayuga Lake, the brand brings together the most talented artisans who handmake ceramics, enamelware, glassware, furniture, and home accessories with such a joyful spirit that their objects reach far and wide around the world.  

Just one search on social media will immerse you in thousands of pictures of checkerboard items that people are proudly styling into their kitchens and dining rooms, and it’s infectious. From elaborate tea time displays to tableware and candle holders - you name it, it’s there for you to get inspired by. As people look for new ways to bring fun, vitality, and a convivial feel into their kitchens, these playful prints offer a way to do so that's still elegant, sophisticated, and design-forward. 

Barry and Jordan, also known as Brownstone Boys on Instagram, share their joy in getting into the holiday spirit with checkered candle holders, oven mitts, aprons, and cake display trays. Content creator Edith James shows off her black and white fruit bowl filled with oranges for a really fun contrasting display next to a mini Christmas tree. The Old House on Main shows us how to create a gorgeous tablescape with the popular pattern, which looks great next to traditional accessories, while Have Tea Time creates a moment with a gorgeous tea set. The list is endless. 

How to bring checkerboard prints into your kitchen

We've no doubt you're now itching to add some checkerboard prints to your kitchen space, and the good news is there are plenty of easy ways to do so without a huge gut-renovation. Here are four ideas we recommend. 

1. Add a checkerboard floor or backsplash 

A modern kitchen with a tiled checkerboard floor

(Image credit: Naomi Astley Clarke, Photographer Paul Massey)

It might be the most traditional way to incorporate a checkerboard pattern, but it's timeless. ‘We love a checkerboard tile floor in beautiful tones and textures but if you’re not ready for that, try painting a small area of an old tile or wood floor in checkerboard,' says Ami. 'Or, paint over an old tile backsplash with checks using a plastic bonding primer on floors or tile.' 

It might sound difficult, but you can actually paint a checkerboard floor in a few easy steps. It's a much more accessible way to embrace the trend without a costly renovation. 

2. Introduce checkerboard soft furnishings 

‘You could also simply get a checkered rug for under your dining table and remember, checks can come in any combination of colors, black and white, neutral tones, etc.,’ Ami says. To embrace the checkerboard trend more subtly in your kitchen, a simple runner between your cabinets and island, a lamp on your worktop, and checkerboard napkins or dishcloths are all small but impactful additions.  

3. Experiment with checkerboard wall art 

black and white checkerboard plate with pie and ice cream

(Image credit: MacKenzie Childs)

A checkerboard art print will bring that geometric, contemporary feel into your design, and it can even add an optical illusion effect, making it a stand-out piece in your kitchen and a conversation starter. Pick a wall that is dedicated only to the artwork, so you don’t distract from it with other elements that aren’t related. You could also use a set of checkerboard plates as a design statement, showcasing them on your kitchen shelving

4. Use checkerboard accessories 

We only need to look at the examples on social media to see that the sky’s the limit here. If you dare to go bold, opt for tableware in a strong black and white checkerboard, and don’t just stop at your plates. Think glassware and serveware too. If you’d rather start with a bit less, go for a teapot or utensil set that you keep on display on your kitchen countertop or open shelf.   

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.