Plaid In the Home

I was browsing

through some photos of my glorious trip through Scotland when I decided to do some research on Scottish interior design styles. While I could conjure up images of Brit-inspired decor, and even Irish to some degree, I was drawing a blank when it came to Scottish-inspired spaces.

Some photos from my trip to Edinburgh, Scotland:

Admiring the city view from Edinburgh Castle

Love the townhouse architecture in Old Edinburgh

The Mound

Old stone on the Writer's Museum

Bagpipes at the Scotland border - gosh, I love a man in a plaid kilt!

And then it hit me…PLAID! Or rather, Tartan, if you want to put your best European foot forward. The fabric of the Scots :)

Ohhhh, plaid. A textile that has so much visual texture and colour options, and yet I find it has a bad rep when it comes to interior design, maybe because it is commonly associated with frumpy country/cottage decor? Or maybe because it’s just not the first pattern that comes to mind when one thinks of a luxurious or chic interior?

Do you think plaid is frumpy? Well, it’s not (ok, fine, sometimes it is – but it doesn’t have to be!).  Here are a few spaces that boast a decent amount of plaid that I think looks great.

Love this large-scale neutral plaid that works well with a monochromatic colour scheme and introduces soft texture. Design by Haddad Hakansson. (

WOW! This is such a fun use of plaid - there's no trying to disguise this classic Tartan colouring and scale, and there's NOTHING frumpy about this space. Design by Lea Bassani. (

A pretty vignette showcasing some fabulous plaid. Plaid +silverware = stylish! (

This isn't quite a classic plaid textile, but this is a legitimately Scottish-designed interior with a contemporary flare. Styling by Rosie Brown. (

Plaid window panels look great in this country-style home office. (

Introduce plaid in small but super-stylish doses. Love ths chair. (

Pastel plaid adds a feminine and soft-country touch to a space. (

I admit I am head-over-heels for this plaid entry. The neutral plaid checks in wallpaper form are great, and I love the pairing with the contemporary furnishings. (


Here is my attempt at a Scottish and plaid-inspired mood board. I put a contemporary (and somewhat eclectic) spin on things and opted for some finishes that aren’t too country-style, but then again, I just couldn’t bring myself to do plaid without iron and wood! Some things just work, you know?

If you’re now plaid-obsessed like I am, you can follow these simple steps to add plaid to your space.

AVOID PATTERN-CLASH – Plaid can sometimes be a busy pattern in and of itself (and it’s definitely a bold pattern depending on colour choice), so be careful when mixing plaid with other patterns. Stripes, checkers and  small-scale prints can look really great when paired with plaid – just be sure to choose a complimentary colour family when mixing patterns.

ADD A MODERN TWIST - Have fun with plaid, add it to a contemporary space that needs a face-lift. Mix and match contemporary and modern materials and finishes, like lacquer-finished wood, concrete, and mirror – go crazy!

PLAID IN DOSES - Notice how plaid looks great in the images above when it’s added in small doses? Gauge the amount of space you have in your room and add a proportionate amount of plaid. For smaller spaces, opt for plaid accessories, whereas large rooms with high ceilings can afford more plaid. Balance is key…

So what do you think? Have you been converted to a plaid-o-phile? Are you mad for plaid? :)

Design sources: Restoration Hardware, The Room Place, Henry and Rupert from Etsy, Winehouse Mail, Keep Calm Shop on Etsy, Sparrow and Co.

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  1. I love plaid! As long as it’s done tastefully! I have been meaning to reupholster a little stool with a plaid blanket, but I haven’t found the right one yet. My Mom’s maiden name is Buchanan, and they have a pretty sweet tartan, but I would need to find a cheap version online that I wouldn’t feel bad cutting it up and stapling into it :)

  2. Oh that sounds like a great project, Shannon! Keep me posted when you find a blanket. I personally like the idea of a heavy Tartan pattern more so than a neutral plaid, and I think you can pull it off!

  3. We at Artaic definitely believe in the timelessness of plaid – so much so that we create durable plaid mosaics that will last centuries –

  4. Thank you for sharing this link to your plaid mosaics, Paul. I love how this particular mosaic turned out, you really captured the tartain shapes and pattern. Thank you for reading and sharing!

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