Checkerboard Floors in Modern Home Decor: A Timeless Trend

Sep 27, 2023 | Projects, Whole House

the basics of checkerboard floors: what are they?

Checkerboard floors are a classic and versatile design choice that consists of alternating square tiles, typically in two contrasting colors, like black and white, forming a grid-like pattern reminiscent of a checkerboard game.

Miguel Flores Vianna

Checkerboard floors have a rich history, dating back to ancient civilizations, but they gained widespread popularity in the 20th century, gracing the floors of many iconic buildings and homes.

The lobby floors of the temple of Augustus in Cartagena, Italy. build circa 1st century — image courtesy of viator imperi

Whether you opt for traditional black and white tiles or choose different colors to suit your decor style, checkerboard floors can instantly elevate the aesthetic of your space, creating a sense of timelessness and visual interest that never goes out of style.

These tiles are great choices for a timeless black and white checkerboard floor:

are checkerboard floors just a trend?

The popularity of checkerboard floors is a testament to their timeless appeal. While interior design trends come and go, the classic checkerboard pattern has remained a steadfast choice for those looking for a touch of classic and sophisticated style.  Its versatility allows it to seamlessly blend into various design aesthetics, from traditional to modern, and everything in between. The pattern creates depth in a room so even if you have a small space, depending on the size of the tile, you can make checkerboard floors work in your home.

House West Design

what colors should i choose for my floors?

When it comes to choosing colors for your checkerboard floor, the key to achieving a truly timeless look is to opt for neutral tiles. Classic black and white, shades of gray, or even soft beige and cream are great choices.

Source Unknown

They complement a wide range of design styles and color palettes, ensuring that your checkerboard floor will remain timeless. Neutrals create a versatile backdrop that allows you to experiment with other decor elements, such as furniture, wall colors, and accessories, without fear of clashing. While bolder color combinations can make a statement, they may run the risk of dating your space over time. So, for those seeking a checkerboard floor with enduring appeal, embracing the simplicity of neutral tones is a key to achieving that timeless look.

I love this honed porcelain option in creamy beige:

what different configurations are there?

Diagonal Checkerboard: Instead of squares aligned with the walls, you can create a diagonal checkerboard pattern. This configuration adds a sense of movement and can make the room appear larger.

Chris Loves Julia

Offset Checkerboard: In this arrangement, the tiles in one color are offset from those in the other color, creating a more intricate and dynamic pattern.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Hexagonal Checkerboard: Use hexagonal tiles instead of squares to create a unique twist on the traditional checkerboard. The hexagonal shape adds an interesting geometric element to the design.

Our Fifth House

Checkerboard Borders: Create a border around the edges of the room using a solid color or an interesting pattern while maintaining a checkerboard pattern in the central area. This adds a touch of elegance and frames the space.

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what are the best materials to use?

You can use a range of materials to create a checkerboard floor, each with its own set of pros and cons, catering to various budgets and design preferences. If you’re budget-conscious, painting your existing floor to resemble a checkerboard pattern is a cost-effective option. This DIY approach allows you to transform your space without the expense of new flooring materials. However, note that painted floors may require regular touch-ups and may not be as durable as other materials. They also lack the authentic texture and depth of more substantial options.

Design by Lisa Tharp

Below is a beautiful vinyl option:

Vinyl Flooring Option

Stepping up the ladder in terms of budget and durability, you can opt for resilient and economical materials like vinyl, linoleum, or ceramic tile. They are relatively low-maintenance, making them suitable for high-traffic areas. However, they may not offer the same level of luxury and longevity as natural stone or hardwood.

Slaughter Beck Floors

For those willing to invest in a high-end checkerboard floor, materials like marble, granite, porcelain tile, or high-quality hardwood can be truly spectacular.

Source Unknown but found at House Beautiful

Marble, in particular, exudes opulence and sophistication, elevating the aesthetic of any space. These materials are incredibly durable and long-lasting, often lasting a lifetime with proper care. However, they come with a higher price tag and will most likely necessitate professional installation.

Here are some beautiful marble options:

which spaces do checkerboard floors look best?

Checkerboard floors are a versatile and timeless design choice that can enhance various areas of your home, adding charm, visual interest, and a touch of sophistication. Here’s how checkerboard floors can transform different spaces:

Kitchen: In the kitchen, checkerboard floors can make a small kitchen appear more spacious by drawing the eye and adding depth. It complements a wide range of cabinet colors and styles, making it an excellent choice for both traditional and modern kitchens. Additionally, the durable materials often used for checkerboard floors, such as tile or vinyl, are easy to clean and maintain, which is ideal for a space prone to spills and stains. I wouldn’t use marble personally on kitchen floors only because it’s prone to staining.

Sarah Winchester Studios

Entryway: Checkerboard floors in the entryway make a stunning first impression for guests entering your home. The bold pattern immediately captures attention and because typical foyers are not big spaces, it’s a safe place to start if you want to try them in your home. It’s also a practical choice as it hides dirt and footprints between cleanings.

Marie Flanagan

Bathroom: When used in small bathroom or powder room, this pattern can make a compact space feel visually larger. Pair it with vintage-style fixtures and accessories for a timeless look. Be sure to choose materials that are water-resistant and easy to clean to withstand the bathroom’s moisture and high-use nature.

Jamee Rose Interiors

Dining Room: In the dining room, checkerboard floors can create a sense of grandeur and again is a great place to use this pattern as it hides dirt. These floors can also add elegance to a formal dining room and serve as a distinguished space for special occasion dinners.

Studio McGee

Hallways: Checkerboard floors in hallways can make these transitional spaces more interesting and dynamic. They serve as a stylish and functional link between different rooms in your home. The pattern can create a sense of rhythm and flow as you move from one space to another.

Jill Shelving Design

my checkerboard floor project

After years of wanting checkerboard floors, I was so excited to finally get the chance to install them in the house that I was renovating to flip.  I used porcelain tile that imitated marble because it was an economical choice but still exuded luxury.  

Because the space was on the small side, I used a 12×12 tile rather than a larger tile. The smaller tile added visual interest and depth and made the room appear larger than it really was. The final result left me genuinely infatuated with the checkerboard pattern, to the point where I’m now on the lookout for the perfect spot in my own home to recreate these floors.

Love checkerboard floors but can’t commit to tiling?

If you’re not quite ready to commit to the installation of checkerboard floors in your home, a fantastic alternative is to introduce a checkerboard rug into your space. A rug featuring a checkerboard pattern offers an easy and low-risk way to test the waters without the permanence of a floor installation, making it an ideal choice for renters or those who prefer flexible decor options. Plus, checkerboard rugs come in a variety of colors, sizes, and materials, allowing you to find the perfect match for your existing decor.

Checkerboard Rugs