Cheerful gingham has been a popular fabric since it first appeared in English interiors in the 18th century. Now often used for kitchen curtains, tablecloths, and bedding, it can also add a casual crispness to furniture such as sofas and chairs. The fabric's clean graphic design makes a room feel cooler -- but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Instead of reupholstering an entire couch in gingham, try starting with a smaller project such as a footstool.

Footstool How-To

We dressed this ottoman in two blue ginghams: large and small check. The tailored slipcover, with piping around the top and an ever-so-slightly flared skirt, gains a little whimsy from ball fringe inserted between the fabrics.

Do You Know?

The name gingham comes from the Malayan word genggang, meaning "checkered cloth." Unlike other checks, gingham's stripes are of equal width and in only two colors.



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