Thursday, August 15, 2013

Do You Think CHECKS Are Cute?

Cute is a word that I use from time to time, but when it is used in referring to me, or my home it kind of makes me cringe a little.

I use to have people say my home was darling, or cute, and that bothered me. How about sophisticated, pretty or elegant? I liked those words better.

A friend and I had a discussion about the word “Cute.” She came up with what I like to call the adult word for cute……..


Charming, now that is a word that I can handle. So why am I having a dialog about the word cute? Well, there is a pattern that I love and it is often looked at as being “Cute.”


I love checks, or gingham. I always have and I  love to use them in my home. But, I don’t want the room to look cute, but I surely would not mind it looking charming.

I did a little research on checks, and saved some images that I found attractive and appealing.

After  looking at how checks were used in these images a couple of things stood out to me on why they looked sophisticated, and charming vs. cute, or darling.

Let’s look at some of the images I have saved and I will   tell you  about my observations…………..

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There is not only one color of checks in this room, but two. I find this room charming but it is not cute to me. Why? because in this room the lines and the style of the furniture keep it more sophisticated.

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This image has furniture with a totally different style and lines than the first image, and yet I still find this sophisticated. I think the grounding factor of the black, and the addition of the nail heads keep this from being “cute!”

782762_brown_xl[1]Southen Accents (400x420)

This borders on cute for me. I think the trim on the pillows points it towards that direction. The use of color here makes it stay out of cute territory. The size of the check is also a noticeable element that makes it a bit more sophisticated.

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Color plays a big part in keeping this from going towards cute for me. The scale of the check is large enough to make an important statement in the room, and yet the subtle beige color keeps it from being cute.

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Hmmmmm? This is interesting to me. I am a lover of blue and white and pops of green. I have always found blue and white porcelain to be a classic accessory, so why is  this is looking a bit cute to me?

Two things jump out to me. The scale of the check is smaller, and the fun little church takes this into
 “Cute -land” for me.

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Neutral colors, and the style of the modern looking take on the wing chair is the driving force away from cute. 

Yet, this is a small scaled check just like the blue so maybe it is more color choice than scale that will make the difference to me.

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I like the large scale of the blue and white check here and yet it goes a little towards cute!! Why? 

Because of the colors it is paired with. The wall color is too matchy, and bright. Adding the touch of shell pink on the inside of the shelf definitely takes it towards cute.

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I am a lover of black and white. I am finding this almost cute, and in this image it is because of the style of the over-sized chair. 

The larger rolled arm is what is making it almost cute, but I still really like this image. The black grounds it, and the rope table adds a nice element of texture here.

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I like the larger scale of this check.  The golden-beige and cream color of the check are what keep this from being cute.

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Although this is a bit too many checks for me I still find the color, and scale of this check is staying away from cute.

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Simple lines and large scale make this sophisticated to me. Looking more closely at this room you will see stripes in the table and polka-dots in the cache’ pots  holding the topiaries.

I will have to admit, it is hard to make a polka-dot look like anything but cute, but I am sure it probably can be done.(note to self, good idea for a future post!)

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I am finding this to be a bit cute. The ruffled pillows and the overtly thematic sea-side room makes it go into cuteness for me.

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In this image we have the same scale and color of the previous image. I know the blue is a bit more grayed in this image, but it is still in the blue family.

However, this room is so classically beautiful because of the amazing lines of the antique gold gilded bed. There are ruffles in the room, and yet this room does not read cute at all.

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Red and white checks can read very cute to me and this one borders on cute. I think the lines of the furniture keep it from being too sweet. The bedding pushes it towards cute with its small scale and floral pattern.

It appears sometimes the other fabrics you pair with the checks can take it towards looking cute.

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Color, scale, style and the lines of the chairs in this image make this anything but cute. This room is full of character, and texture, and a nice neutral color palette. I love this room.

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Same room different angle.

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This image has curves and ruffles and yet the neutral palette and texture in the surrounding objects keep it from being cute.

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This has a few more checks than I can handle, and it it mixed with a darling Swedish floral stripe on the vintage bench.

I think because of the abundance of the checks in the one large piece of furniture, and the sweetness of the bench fabric this is almost cute to me. I am finding there is a fine line for me that will take a check into cute-land.

So, there you have it!! My study on why some checks look cute to me and others can still remain sophisticated and charming.

Here is what I discovered:
  1. Larger scaled checks look less cute to me.

  2. A small scaled check will be charming if done in a neutral color.

  3. By pairing a check to cute accessories whether the check is large or small it will still look cute to me.

  4. The lines of the furniture need to be more on the straight side if upholstered in a check.

  5. Upholstering a classic piece of furniture in a check will still not make it look cute.

  6. Furniture that is too curved or overly stuffed can tend to go towards cute more easily than a straight lined piece.

  7. Certain colors of checks will look cute to me. The color and the scale combination is what I have to be aware of. 

  8. A red and white check will almost always feel cute to me unless it is in a large scale. The same thing with blue and whites or yellow and whites.

I will leave you all with the checks that I have in my very own home……

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A large blue and white check trimmed in bright green flange pillow on my blue ticking sofa.

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family room collage

Do you like Checks in your home? 
What color and scale do you prefer ?

Who knew there was so much to think about for one simple pattern?

If you would like to see more checks go HERE!! I have a bunch of pins waiting for you to see on my Pinterest board.



pretty pink tulips said...

Hi Kathysue!

What a great conversation...cute vs something else. I guess for me, checks give an air of informality. They are welcoming and comforting. I prefer my checks on the smaller side, but I think they work really well in a variety of interiors!

Love how you've used them in your home!!
xoxo Elizabeth

Sue said...

I love checks - and just ordered a medium size buffalo check in beige for my family room. I love the images you have selected and I love the use of checks in your home too.

Jane said...

I love checks! Homey and comfortable without being sickeningly cutesy country.

Fly Away Home said...

I think you are right. They are cute. Used in the right way, they are also sophisticated without being pretentious. I am smitten with them. I have a disproportionate number of rooms with checks (or gingham) on my Pinterest board.

I love the pictures you posted.. and your home! Beth

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said... did a great job on that Post!
Very interesting. I never thought about checks one way or the other.
Do think you got it right with your points! said...

I STARED at just about every one of these images with envy, whether I've seen them before or not! I will never stop loving checks, especially big buffalo checks (never knew why they are "buffalo!"). I simply cannot take anything cute, but as you've shown, they absolutely can go toward sophisticated. Love this post!!

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

You out did your many great buffalo checks!


Buffalo check has definitely made a comeback lately! I for one am glad cause I love a large check.....

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

You know I love checks. Do love the buffalo checks, but the small ones, too.

Merlin said...

And...not a ruffle in sight! Cute! franki

auntp said...

I also love checks....always have and always will! Your points are well taken and very helpful, and the pictures illustrate many of the wonderful ways checks can be used and the different looks they achieve. I am so glad to see that checks don't have to mean country or homespun even though I lean towards that look just a bit myself.

The enchanted home said...

LOVE checks. Charming, cute, beautiful...all the above. I love the way they can look so sophisticated yet make a space feeling welcoming warm, you picked the best of the best! Happy weekend....

Mary Ann at classic•casual•home said...

These are such great observations. I love the French feel of cheerful and elegant with the way your brain works. Your ticking sofa and pillows are lovely.

Kathleen said...

Love checks always have always will. I understand your feelings toward cute. I've felt disappointed whenever some referred to something I have as "cute." It must go back to my days of wanting to be consider a knock out but alas I was always " cute." Now I'd be thrilled to be called cute. Anyway I think one thing you left out there's a difference between cute and sophisticated a middle ground, to me at least, and that whimsical. I love touches of whimsy. It takes a room from being a bit too full of itself and gives a bit of personality without coming of childish and silly. Wonderful topic!

Diane Haynie said...

I have never really thought of checks as cute, sometimes a bit country which is not my style. I have always loved black and white checks, the bigger and fatter the better, and find them sophisticated or relaxed and casual, depending on the room, style of furniture etc as you have shown.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

I am also one of those that love checks..especially the large buffalo checks. Great post and images.

Carla Aston said...

I love checks, the bigger the better! Nice post showing all kinds of use of this classic pattern. Have a great weekend, Kathysue!