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A Modern, Yet Classic Pattern -- Tartan

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Plaid has always been part of my visual vocabulary. I spent the majority of my school years wearing a plaid tie as part of my school uniform. Plaid for me has many many great associations. It can be masculine and colorful, traditional yet some how modern, graphic and tasteful. It is a great way of introducing color and pattern into a room and finds itself in many incarnations from wallpaper to upholstery and rugs. This blog is a particularly long one, as it was very hard to edit pictures. I hope that you will enjoy plaid as much as I do.

Martha Stewart Living Editorial Collecting Editor Fritz Karch wears plaid so well to work..

Martha Stewart Living Editorial Collecting Editor Fritz Karch wears plaid so well to work..

I love this Martha Stewart Collection dinnerware, festive plaid collection -- which can be found at Macy's.

I love this Martha Stewart Collection dinnerware, festive plaid collection -- which can be found at Macy's.

Some gorgeous plaid/tartan stories have ran in the past at Martha Stewart Living and in Weddings -- take a look at a few articles that I love...

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The tartan carpet used in this photograph adds unmistakable tradition and beauty to this ceremony.

1 The tartan carpet used in this photograph adds unmistakable tradition and beauty to this ceremony.

Adding tartan to a flower girl's wardrobe is a great way to incorporate tradition.

2 Adding tartan to a flower girl's wardrobe is a great way to incorporate tradition.

Even the small details are gorgeous -- like the plaid pattern on the inside of the envelopes.

3 Even the small details are gorgeous -- like the plaid pattern on the inside of the envelopes.

The tabletop decor is gorgeous -- especially the tablecloth.

4 The tabletop decor is gorgeous -- especially the tablecloth.

Plaid on the wedding cake isn't traditional -- but it is beautiful!

5 Plaid on the wedding cake isn't traditional -- but it is beautiful!

The small plaid back pillows are the perfect touch.

6 The small plaid back pillows are the perfect touch.

Another tartan story from Martha Stewart Living.

7 Another tartan story from Martha Stewart Living.

This Swedish side chair has a muted pattern of a typical hunting plaid.

8 This Swedish side chair has a muted pattern of a typical hunting plaid.

Using dark tartan pattens on accessories always adds something extra in a room decorated with lighter colors.

9 Using dark tartan pattens on accessories always adds something extra in a room decorated with lighter colors.

A collection of hunting plaids on a loveseat creates a small, pillowy explosion of autumnal shades.

10 A collection of hunting plaids on a loveseat creates a small, pillowy explosion of autumnal shades.

A year-round bedspread is the versatile result when bands of Brimfield plaid are stitched on a creamy linen ground.

11 A year-round bedspread is the versatile result when bands of Brimfield plaid are stitched on a creamy linen ground.

Adding a tartan table runner to the dining room will add so much color and personality.

12 Adding a tartan table runner to the dining room will add so much color and personality.

Princess Mary tartans covers the seats or is sewn into skirted and piped cotton slipcovers for a dining room's wooden white-painted chairs.

13 Princess Mary tartans covers the seats or is sewn into skirted and piped cotton slipcovers for a dining room's wooden white-painted chairs.

Several ways to incorporate tartan into a dining room.

14 Several ways to incorporate tartan into a dining room.

A beautiful book -- "TARTAN Romancing the Plaid" -- is breathtaking to look at. It's one of my books in my office library and I had to share with you some of my favorite photographs that are throughout the pages of this incredible book...

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1 "TARTAN Romancing the Plaid" by Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle. (Many captions in this album are the captions used in the book.)

This is the first gorgeous photograph in the book.

2 This is the first gorgeous photograph in the book.

Tartan teamwork -- Tartan rugs give warmth to a group of English schoolgirls who are spectactors at a ladies' hockey match in Surrey 1936.

3 Tartan teamwork -- Tartan rugs give warmth to a group of English schoolgirls who are spectactors at a ladies' hockey match in Surrey 1936.

The royal treatment -- H.M. Queen Elizabeth II in 1972 dancing at the Chillies' Ball on her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

4 The royal treatment -- H.M. Queen Elizabeth II in 1972 dancing at the Chillies' Ball on her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Skirt-chasing -- a rush of tartan pleats. Photo by Arthur Elgort/Vogue1991.

5 Skirt-chasing -- a rush of tartan pleats. Photo by Arthur Elgort/Vogue1991.

Making a grand entrance -- a slim tartan evening coat over a white bias-cut column. Henry Clark/Vogue 1958/Conde Nast Archives/Corbis.

6 Making a grand entrance -- a slim tartan evening coat over a white bias-cut column. Henry Clark/Vogue 1958/Conde Nast Archives/Corbis.

We Love Lucy -- actress/comedienne Lucille Ball surrounded by a sea of tartan taffeta skirted dress with fitted black top, circa 1942.

7 We Love Lucy -- actress/comedienne Lucille Ball surrounded by a sea of tartan taffeta skirted dress with fitted black top, circa 1942.

The Prince of Wales (later George V) and his sons at Balmoral -- Prince Henry, Prince Edward -- the future Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor -- Prince George, later King George VI.

8 The Prince of Wales (later George V) and his sons at Balmoral -- Prince Henry, Prince Edward -- the future Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor -- Prince George, later King George VI.

Burberry's ultra-feminine lace coat for autumn/winter Prorsum women's collection 2006-7.

9 Burberry's ultra-feminine lace coat for autumn/winter Prorsum women's collection 2006-7.

Linda Evangelista in Isaac Mizrahi's strapless blue tulle dress, with tartan shawl and tartan hose. Photograph by Arthur Elgort/Vogue.

10 Linda Evangelista in Isaac Mizrahi's strapless blue tulle dress, with tartan shawl and tartan hose. Photograph by Arthur Elgort/Vogue.

Linda Evangelista tartan riding jacket and pants by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Arthur Elgort/Vogue/Conde Nast Publications.

11 Linda Evangelista tartan riding jacket and pants by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Arthur Elgort/Vogue/Conde Nast Publications.

Linda Evangelista in Christian LaCroix's tartan ball gown in Dress Stewart tartan, with a pleated, fan-shaped cascade down the back, black velvet embroidery, and bow.

12 Linda Evangelista in Christian LaCroix's tartan ball gown in Dress Stewart tartan, with a pleated, fan-shaped cascade down the back, black velvet embroidery, and bow.

Denton and Gardner covered the guest bath with a tartan wallcovering, then hung a dozen framed tartans to great graphic effect.

13 Denton and Gardner covered the guest bath with a tartan wallcovering, then hung a dozen framed tartans to great graphic effect.

The overscaled yellow tartan wallcovering resonates like a piece of Pop art.

14 The overscaled yellow tartan wallcovering resonates like a piece of Pop art.

Clockwise from upper left: 4 poster bed with ANTA tartan blanket and their Dunvegan tartan wool carpet; an Elba tartan wool throw & cushions with a tartan wool carpet; ANTA's beech dining chairs in their own Lachie Stewart and Ian Glen tarts on a Shetland tartan wool rug; Highland wool tartan wall.

15 Clockwise from upper left: 4 poster bed with ANTA tartan blanket and their Dunvegan tartan wool carpet; an Elba tartan wool throw & cushions with a tartan wool carpet; ANTA's beech dining chairs in their own Lachie Stewart and Ian Glen tarts on a Shetland tartan wool rug; Highland wool tartan wall.

Annie and Lachlan Stewart's tartan caravan which they transformed from its usual plastic decor into a display vehicle to showcase their wares at a textile trade show. Tartan-tented ceiling, upholstery, cushions, ceramics are all by ANTA.

16 Annie and Lachlan Stewart's tartan caravan which they transformed from its usual plastic decor into a display vehicle to showcase their wares at a textile trade show. Tartan-tented ceiling, upholstery, cushions, ceramics are all by ANTA.

Mel Gibson, raising the battle cry in Braveheart, 1995, which he also directed.

17 Mel Gibson, raising the battle cry in Braveheart, 1995, which he also directed.

H.M Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and their nurse, Helen Lightbody at a stall during a Sale of Work event in Abergeldie Castle, near Balmoral. They are raising funds for the building of a new vestry at Craithie Church.

18 H.M Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and their nurse, Helen Lightbody at a stall during a Sale of Work event in Abergeldie Castle, near Balmoral. They are raising funds for the building of a new vestry at Craithie Church.

Tartan terry toweling from Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers pajamas. Arthur Elgort/Vogue.

19 Tartan terry toweling from Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers pajamas. Arthur Elgort/Vogue.

Tartan now -- Four florious clan tartans including Macleod and Ramsay.

20 Tartan now -- Four florious clan tartans including Macleod and Ramsay.

More clan tartans including a variation on Ramsay and a variation of Forsyth.

21 More clan tartans including a variation on Ramsay and a variation of Forsyth.

The young Queen Victoria and her children by John Calcott Horsley.

22 The young Queen Victoria and her children by John Calcott Horsley.

The Duke of Windsor's closet at the Mill, France, with tartan pants and kilts perfectly pressed and lined up in regimental order.

23 The Duke of Windsor's closet at the Mill, France, with tartan pants and kilts perfectly pressed and lined up in regimental order.

Ralph Lauren Home Collection in the Madison Avenue store.

24 Ralph Lauren Home Collection in the Madison Avenue store.

The last photograph of the book.

25 The last photograph of the book.

Here are some inspirational decorating ideas that you can use in your home -- of course tartan is the main focus...

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This Barriebenson bedroom has a gorgeous tartan blanket. The darker pattern of plaid looks gorgeous in a room with brighter colors.

1 This Barriebenson bedroom has a gorgeous tartan blanket. The darker pattern of plaid looks gorgeous in a room with brighter colors.

This Crate and Barrel London Chair is so great.

2 This Crate and Barrel London Chair is so great.

The non-traditional colors used on this couch look fabulous on the Buffalo Plaid sofa from Cilla Ramnek's apartment (from apartmenttherapy.com).

3 The non-traditional colors used on this couch look fabulous on the Buffalo Plaid sofa from Cilla Ramnek's apartment (from apartmenttherapy.com).

Brintons Carpets is beautiful on this staircase.

4 Brintons Carpets is beautiful on this staircase.

These plaid patterned plates hung as decoration add distinct character (from Domino magazine).

5 These plaid patterned plates hung as decoration add distinct character (from Domino magazine).

Notice how there is only one tartan chair, and the rest are a solid color -- it makes the plaid chair stand out (Summer Thorton Designs).

6 Notice how there is only one tartan chair, and the rest are a solid color -- it makes the plaid chair stand out (Summer Thorton Designs).

The chair is simple but has a soft tartan upholstery!

7 The chair is simple but has a soft tartan upholstery!

I'm a huge fan of modern furniture with classic patterns of upholstery -- I love the Dempsey Chair that I found on apartmenttherapy.com.

8 I'm a huge fan of modern furniture with classic patterns of upholstery -- I love the Dempsey Chair that I found on apartmenttherapy.com.

I like seeing tartan rugs fill an entire room.

9 I like seeing tartan rugs fill an entire room.

More modern colors are used to create this tartan pillow.

10 More modern colors are used to create this tartan pillow.

From Globe-Trotter's London shop -- the staircase is made up of gorgeous plaid carpet.

11 From Globe-Trotter's London shop -- the staircase is made up of gorgeous plaid carpet.

From Living Etc. -- this picture shows how gorgeous tartan patterns are.

12 From Living Etc. -- this picture shows how gorgeous tartan patterns are.

Flipstudio's oversized oval ottoman has bright and bold colors.

13 Flipstudio's oversized oval ottoman has bright and bold colors.

I'm adoring this mixture of different colors and sized patterns of plaid in this Domino magazine photograph.

14 I'm adoring this mixture of different colors and sized patterns of plaid in this Domino magazine photograph.

Plaid pillows are thrown into a bright and colorful room.

15 Plaid pillows are thrown into a bright and colorful room.

Simple small tartan ribbons are used as decoration (from Country Living).

16 Simple small tartan ribbons are used as decoration (from Country Living).

Using a simple red-tartan shawl as a tablecloth can transform the look of a tabletop. (Photograph from Country Living)

17 Using a simple red-tartan shawl as a tablecloth can transform the look of a tabletop. (Photograph from Country Living)

A gorgeous boyd plaid cast-steel lamp by Brimfield.

18 A gorgeous boyd plaid cast-steel lamp by Brimfield.

Indian Cove Lodge armchair photographed in Elle Decor.

19 Indian Cove Lodge armchair photographed in Elle Decor.

Adding a tartan pattern to a simple coaster is such and easy and fun idea (photograph from Southern Living).

20 Adding a tartan pattern to a simple coaster is such and easy and fun idea (photograph from Southern Living).

The colors used in this plaid rug are unique and attention-grabbing (Mackenzie tartan Stevens & Graham).

21 The colors used in this plaid rug are unique and attention-grabbing (Mackenzie tartan Stevens & Graham).

This tartan area rug is such a simple and lovely addition to this kitchen!

22 This tartan area rug is such a simple and lovely addition to this kitchen!

What a great table runner (from thedecorista.com).

23 What a great table runner (from thedecorista.com).

Interior Designer Scot Wood's gorgeous room -- the tartan curtains are beautiful!

24 Interior Designer Scot Wood's gorgeous room -- the tartan curtains are beautiful!

Williams Sonoma home tartan desk accessories are a great addition to any desk.

25 Williams Sonoma home tartan desk accessories are a great addition to any desk.

The fabric on these pillows and chairs make the outdoor porch feel warm and cozy.

26 The fabric on these pillows and chairs make the outdoor porch feel warm and cozy.

A modern chair with a class pattern of plaid -- from Brimfield in Chicago.

27 A modern chair with a class pattern of plaid -- from Brimfield in Chicago.

More tartan from Brimfield in Chicago.

28 More tartan from Brimfield in Chicago.

A modernized tartan print adds a flash of color to the room.

29 A modernized tartan print adds a flash of color to the room.

I'm loving the plaid wallpaper in Le Lodge Park hotel in Megeve, France (photograph from apartmenttherapy.com).

30 I'm loving the plaid wallpaper in Le Lodge Park hotel in Megeve, France (photograph from apartmenttherapy.com).