To many black and white checkerboard tiles are associated with dingy and dated Italian restaurants or brash and tacky American style diners. Unfortunately their bright and bold presence makes them ideal and popular design features for such places. However, as this article explains, the checkerboard pattern can in fact be extremely elegant and surprisingly contemporary.
Along the Lines
The first and most important element to appreciate is that the horizontal and vertical lines created from the checkerboard effect help significantly to accentuate and extend the width or length of a space. For narrow rooms tile the floor or walls perpendicularly or diagonally to create emerging lines which extend to the very periphery of the space. For larger rooms finish the floor off with a narrow black tiled edging which will help enclose the pattern and highlight the shape of the room. Alongside this, remember that the hugely contrasting colours and bold pattern makes this design feature a minimalist statement as opposed to a floor to ceiling affair. Stick solely to the floor, shower wall or kitchen back splash and paint other walls in white or a similarly plain colour.
Black & White Can Be Colourful
Although the obvious assumption when decorating with black and white tiles is to then use equally vivid ‘paint box’ colours elsewhere this does not have to be the case. Checkerboard pattern has been used throughout Victorian and earlier interior design where they very successfully teamed tiles with soft pastel shades, jewel hues and metallics. As demonstrated in this image; use a pastel tone on the walls and team with elegant and strong golds, woods and rich traditional accents such as burgundy, navy or emerald. This combination results in the checkerboard actually helping to sharpen the more delicate elements as opposed to being the central focus of the room. Furthermore, as black and white can not actually clash with a colour their previously bold presence sits as a back drop to the more unique shades within the space.
Similarly, in a more contemporary property consider using different sized tiles to create a lighter or darker checkerboard finish with a twist. For a kitchen opt for large white tiles with smaller black accents. For an atmospheric dining area or bathroom boudoir; use large black tiles with smaller white accents. Team this with textural accessories and furniture made from materials such as metal, plants, wood, fur or leather in any colour of your choice. Add spotlights and chandeliers which will enhance the reflective properties of the tiles and all contribute to create a design feature of the wall of floor.
Less Is Often More
Finally if you do not have the necessity, finances or space for a complete tiled wall or floor why not opt for smaller checkerboard accessories and accents to enhance or update your current design scheme. Consider black and white mosaic frames and mirrors, checkerboard fabric, rugs or scatter cushions or black and white lamps, fruit bowls, storage boxes or wall art. These will all help to create some definition and sharpen your overall design scheme whatever colour range you have chosen. Furthermore, these smaller elements ensure long term versatility and longevity in your design.