Black and White Checkerboard pattern tile, typically set in a diamond pattern, is most commonly known as a “Harlequin” Pattern in design circles and has been around forever — literally. The pattern has been noted to date back as early as 1500 B.C., and has been found on relics, artifacts and even Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The Harlequin pattern has been a staple throughout Europe for centuries, most notably on the landing of the Queens staircase at Versailles (shown here below). Ironically, what is old is new again, as there has been no slow down in the patterns popularity today. We are seeing the checkerboard pattern used in both formal and casual applications as it offers an unexpected chic elegance that can transform almost any room into timeless spaces.

The most common material used in the formal, classic version of the Harlequin pattern is a mix of Nero Marquina and Carrara Marbles set in a diamond pattern, which gives a beautiful sense of formality and grandeur. There are many examples of this classic pattern lending itself to more modern homes in hallways, formal foyers/entryways, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and pantries – as you can see, it works well in all spaces.

From formality came an entirely new mid Century movement for the Checkerboard pattern — a version made from linoleum found in diners and kitchens around the U.S. for many years. Today’s diners will typically replicate the checkerboard look for a more authentic old school diner feel.

The checkerboard pattern has morphed into a style spectrum that no longer limits us to either super formal looks or kitchy designs. It now spans from elegant and sophisticated bold statements to more soft versions in new/different color pallets, and materials such as porcelain, cement and even painted wood options.

If you find checkered floors as charming as we do, yet crave a more subtle take on the style, create a spin on the classic by utilizing one of these more subtle colors such as the natural greys and whites, tan and whites or mix with warm woods and metals in your furniture, cabinetry finishes and fixtures.