These Are the Best Tartan Interiors You've Ever Seen

Here’s all the inspiration you need to incorporate the timeless pattern into your home right now.

Tartan Interiors - 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse - Elle Decor
Rafael Quirindongo

Tartan is one of those steadfast patterns that is declared a trend every few years. Despite what you may think, tartan is not reserved solely for the Christmas season, or for those still in their grunge phase, or for Pacific Northwest lumberjacks. All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans. The difference is precise: In order for a design to be a tartan, the vertical pattern of intersections must match the horizontal patterns exactly. To put it simply, tartans have a more regular pattern than plaids.

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1 Go Big or Go Home
Best Tartan Interiors Suzanne Kasler - Elle Decor
Courtesy of Suzanne Kasler

If you’re feeling bold, take a note from Suzanne Kasler. The coordinating wallcovering and curtains add a dramatic flair, and the corresponding desk chair ties the room together. And the blue-and-purple colorway pops!

2 Onward and Upward
Best Tartan Interiors 2 - Elle Decor
Nicolas Math&eacuteus

In the drawing room of a 19th-century Normandy house decorated by Franz Potisek, the curtains are of a plaid wool by Sanderson. Hanging them from ceiling height draws the eye upward.

3 Monochromatic Master
Best Tartan Interiors Kips Bay Showhouse - Elle Decor
Rafael Quirindongo

For a seamless look, keep it in the family—the color family, that is. For the 2015 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, designer David Phoenix decked out a master bedroom in wall-to-wall tartan. The neutral palette makes it timeless, while the canopy bed adds an element of grandeur.

4 A Focal Point
Best Tartan Interiors Blue Walls - Elle Decor
Courtesy of Isabel Lopez-Quesada

ED A-List designer Isabel López-Quesada is no stranger to tartan. In this Madrid home, the living room takes it one step further than your traditional plaid throw. The light-colored floors and curtains balance out the darker walls.

5 A Tartan Anchor
Best Tartan Interiors Couch - Elle Decor
Douglas Friedman

In Ken Fulk’s Victorian cottage on Cape Cod, a 19th-century vintage sofa, upholstered in a green and brown–checked Ralph Lauren Home plaid, anchors this sitting room. It divides the space and draws your eye in.

6 Sleek and Simple
Best Tartan Interiors FC - Elle Decor
William Waldron

Tartans are sprinkled throughout Francesca Connolly’s Brooklyn townhouse. In this bedroom, a vintage sofa is upholstered in a brown tartan, which adds warmth yet also helps to break up the more neutral color palette.

7 Summer Plaids
best tartans - elle decor
TKTK

Tartan doesn’t have to be kept in storage until the temperatures drop. In this Houston home designed by J. Randall Powers, the Mies van der Rohe chairs are adorned in a Jane Shelton check. Light and airy, this green plaid abandons all seasonal stereotypes.

8 Mix and Match
tarn interiors - elle decor
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. This living room, in designer Scot Meacham Wood’s home in San Francisco, is a master class in tartan application. The armchair coordinates with the throw pillows on the sofa; contrasting colors in the same pattern are integrated seamlessly to balance the room.

9 Dark and Cozy
Douglas Friedman

In this showhouse designed by Alessandra Branca, here’s another example for those who love pattern but might be afraid to commit to an entire tartan room—adding the check to a few large pieces won’t overwhelm the eyes. Both the sofa and the armchair are upholstered in an Alessandra Branca for Schumacher plaid.

10 Holiday Plaids
Tartan Interiors Suzanne Kasler 2 - Elle Decor
Courtesy of Suzanne Kasler

Yes, tartans have long been associated with the Christmas season—here, Suzanne Kasler sprinkles touches of coordinating plaids throughout this living room. Even the gift wrapping and tree blanket are in tune, bringing the room together festively.

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