Mad for plaid


Sizing up the ultimate pattern of intersecting lines

Plaids are one of the most universally used prints. They adapt themselves well to any lifestyle or design scheme. Whether you’re on the lookout for a simple new accessory or a major addition to a room, you’ll find plaids aplenty this fall - from the very traditional, to some with a hint of whimsy.

The latest looks in plaid and tartan chic are bright, punchy color combinations that give this old standby new strength in design. For example, the unexpected and bold combination of a yellow with purple is far from the typical colors seen in this classic print. Sherbet colors are also new this season. These new color combinations in plaid patterns can create excitement and update charm in any room.

“Plaid is timeless and versatile - it can be traditional or modern,” said Liz Nightingale, marketing director for F. Schumacher & Co. in New York. “When interpreted in wool or cashmere, it adds coziness to bedrooms, libraries and studies. Plaids come in a mix of colors, or can be neutral or monochromatic. It pairs perfectly with a variety of prints, textures, solids and looks fabulous with paisley.”

Plaids are wonderful compliments to florals, stripes and geometric designs. Florals mixed with plaids are a sure way to pretty up a room. Even the quiet side of plaid doesn’t need much competition, so keep the floral simple, and make sure the colors relate. Combining the masculine and feminine patterns give a richness and depth to a room.

The graphic quality of plaid looks wonderful when set against other classic patterns such as herringbone and tweeds. Layer patterns. You can always calm things down with a neutral backdrop. For example, accessorize a rich brown tweed sofa with a mix of tartan plaid pillows.

Using plaid accessories such as pillows, blankets and throws, tablecloths, chandelier shades or even plates can change a room’s feel. Plaid’s enchanting character adds traditional warmth to holiday decorating as well. Plaid accents mix well with elements such as rich wood furniture, antique pieces, old books, silver or pewter and soft leathers.

The timeless quality, warmth and wit of this classic print gives a “cozy up, get comfortable” feel to any interior, and never goes out of style.

Penelope’s Style Tips

  • Set off the classic quality of plaid against other classic patterns such as herringbones and tweeds.
  • Unite plaids and florals with a common color.
  • Try mingling a mix of tartan plaid pillows on a solid covered sofa.
  • Accessorize with plaid accents for a rich and cozy feel.
  • Upholster furniture in plaid and/or mix leathers or wools with plaid on armchairs and sofas.