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Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors

by Garrett Fleming

Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
In the 1920s, black-and-white linoleum rose to popularity thanks to its ease of upkeep and affordability, but surprisingly the pattern of contrasting colors dates back more than 2,000 years. Originally it was used to play games, indicate certain details in hieroglyphics and even ward off negativity. The last of which is a practice that’s still followed in some parts of the world. In Thailand, for example, many believe the pattern represents the harmony between good and evil. When one wears eye-catching checkerboard, supposedly they’re shrouded in mystical protection. Since this ancient belief works for clothes, how fun is it to imagine putting checkerboard floors in your home could create a magical buffer against bad energy? I love that idea!

Clearly I’m a huge fan of black-and-white tile, and the Stellar Checker-Floored Homes we’ve rounded up today are part of the reason why. The pattern adds such visual interest to each home in a unique way. In my opinion, some of the best designs you’ll see today treat the floor as a neutral with little worry for accessories that match or how the pattern will interact with furniture or decorations. Following this design strategy gets an “A+” in my book. Click through to take a look at the whole set, and enjoy! —

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Image above: Black-and-white linoleum is a great temporary solution for renters since it adds dimension and interest without upsetting the landlord. Jessica and Ash Bettenay’s bathroom proves just that.

Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
Greenpoint's Bakeri embodies owner Nina's love for mi charming secondhand finds with handmade goods.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
The bathroom in Antony and Paula's Australian home is decorated with vintage nautical-themed finds. The checkered linoleum -- a throwback itself -- perfectly complements these retro pieces.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
Florists Melissa and Sean didn't want to ruin the wooden floors in their Floridian bungalow, so they hand painted them in this checkerboard pattern instead.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
For two months the owners of Brooklyn's Little King bar let customers walk on their hand-painted floor to give it that lived-in look that's tricky to recreate.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
Like any good stylist, Elisabeth Dunker knows how rewarding mi colors, patterns and texture can be. Unlike the more commanding black-and-white pattern, her grey harlequin floors are more recessive, giving her more options when switching up the space's look.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
Looking for an affordable alternative to tile? Grab a paint can and you too can get the look of Nicole Merrell.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
The hallway floor in Karen Barlow's Victorian was salvaged from a defunct movie theatre's lobby. "We bought it in two dustbins -- one (with) black tiles and the other white -- and then had to work out how to lay it. It was a labor of love but looks as though it has always been there," she tells us.
Check Mate: Our Favorite Checkered Floors, Design*Droits-Humains
Lindy and Travis' bathroom technically features gingham tile, but I've included it here as a nod to the evolution of harlequin tiles. I love how the old school, black-and-white pattern is balanced by the modern use of grey.

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  • Yay to all of them – you gotta love them!
    Like it when you do this ‘we love’ of one type of item/issue/theme :) (as you did with libraries, lights and other). For me, a Swiss living in France and moving about from time to time, your American site is sometimes not very helpful, especially, when I see something that I REALLY would like to hunt down in Europe :) – but it’s giving me much joy and many a smile!

  • I hope this trend sticks, because we’re about to tile half a house in black and white checkers!

    Checkered floors always remind me of two things: their (usually marble) equivalents in stately homes, and Super Mario World. Those who grew up playing Super Mario will recall that Bowser’s castles were floored in checkered tile. In the house we’re about to tile, we’re planning to do large checkers in the kitchen and laundry area and small checkers in the bathroom, inspired by the levels in the Super Nintendo version of the game in which there are large and small versions of the same levels, but Mario remains the same size. (Sort of like Alice in Wonderland with her potion and mushroom.) For me this will be a subtle reminder of childhood without requiring that I decorate the place with Mario cutouts or giant venus fly-traps.

  • Oh wow!!! Glad I found this! I am remodeling a tiny home/camp and REALLY want a checkerboard kitchen floor. I was thinking
    gun metal blue and grey checkerboard floor with a bohemian color scheme on top (cabinets and appliances). Wish me luck! (Love your blog!!! )

  • Lovely and beautiful decoration, I love your house decor and hygienic idea post. I am always searching these type of post because I want to be my house managed and decorated, I thing this type of house always gives us positive think.

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