Tartan? Check!

Tartan? Check!

22nd September 2016

Trend alert! This season’s love affair with tartan and plaid checks every home stylist’s box.

Tartan, plaid, checks… call it what you will, this instantly recognisable fabric is set to be taking centre stage in our homes this autumn and winter. As with many interiors trends, it began on the catwalks of the autumn/winter 2016/17 fashion shows, with designers such as Isabel Marant, Dolce & Gabbana, Victoria Beckham and the British grande dame of tartan Vivienne Westwood sending their models on their plaid-clad way in super-stylish belted coats, sharply tailored dresses and vibrant trouser suits.

fashion show

Why go mad for plaid?

If you fancy a home-style highland fling with this on-trend fabric, now’s the perfect time to get started. Whether you’re after a heritage-led look or something more contemporary, tartan ticks all the boxes.

Firstly, there’s a vast range of colours and patterns to choose from, ranging from the more traditional blue, green and red weaves (try our Clan Quiz, below, to see how many classic patterns you can recognise) right through to modern interpretations of the design in subtle pastels and dynamic brights.

And secondly, plaid taps in to our enduring love affair with all things artisan and handcrafted. With a history dating back hundreds of years (the oldest recorded tartan – the Falkirk – is third century), tartan is a wonderfully tactile fabric, ideal for autumn and winter homes style, as it’s comforting and nostalgic in equal measures.

5 ways to get checks appeal

From carpets to wallpaper, sofas to ceilings, here are five stylish ways to tart-an up your home.

1 Scene-stealing ceilings

A tartan-wallpapered ceiling certainly makes a statement, You probably won’t want to go as far (or as blue) as this checktastic room we found on interior designer Scot Meacham Wood’s Tartan Scot blog, but you can’t deny it’s perfect for this Scottish Lodge look.

Tartan ceiling 1

2 Fab floors

A plaid carpet adds instant warmth and colour to a room, while tartan on the stairs creates a real wow hall – we love the autumnal berry tones in this image from tartancarpets.co.uk. If you don’t want to go full-on flooring, then a checked rug over a plain carpet will work wonders.

Tartan stairs 2

3 Wow walls

Tartan wallpaper is ideal for a feature wall in an otherwise pared-back setting, or for max impact, try decorating a smaller room in your home (the hallway, a downstairs loo, or a box room) in floor-to-ceiling checks in rich tones, such as this bathroom beauty we found at vignettedesign.net.


4 Super seating

Tartan furnishings used to conjure up images of stuffy hotels or old-fashioned gentlemen’s clubs… but not any more. Pick your palette well and a plaid sofa or statement chair can instantly catapult a room from frumpy to fab. Just remember to pair busy fabrics with calmer backdrops – neutrals work wonderfully – or pick a rich, deep shade, such as blue or green, for delicious contrast. Choose sofas and chairs in tactile wool or tweed fabrics to really up the luxe stakes. Here are three of our autumn faves…


A comfy statement the Gower Plaid large sofa lochleven_wc_gowerplaid_grey_view1

A statement chair Loch Leven wing chair 


The cuddler Moray check sofa 

5 Add some accessories

You don’t have to stick to just one check so feel free to mix plaids with herringbones, houndstooths and other tartan-inclined fabrics (just keep with similar tones and shades). Add interest to your sofa with woodland-themed cushions and cosy woollen throws, and don’t forget the footstool – essential for those winter nights in front of the fire while you’re sipping a wee dram!

acc tart

Do you know your tartan?

Tartan has a long and ‘checkered’ history, so why not take our fun quiz to see how many of these plaid patterns you can recognise? We’ve given you a little clue to help with each…  the answers are at the end of the quiz, so no peeking or we’ll send Braveheart to take your freedom!

1 Brand of soup made famous by Andy Warhol


2 He was old… and he had a farm


3 His brother Patrick was on the Starship Enterprise


4 Did awfully well in the tennis at Wimbledon this year


5 Braveheart’s real name… no, not Mel Gibson!



1 Campbell 2 Macdonald 3 Stewart 4 Murray 5 Wallace

For more autumn/winter style inspiration, including lots more on how to get cosy with tartan, check out our new Style Sourcebook, online now

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