Buffalo Checks: Why Every House Needs Them

Buffalo checks are also known as buffalo plaid and has its origin with the Scottish tartan clans. According to history, a descendant of the MacGregor clan would trade red and black checked blankets for buffalo pelts from the Indians. Woolrich made the first red and black buffalo plaid shirt in the 1850s and today, we see buffalo checks in a rainbow of colors in fabrics used throughout the home.

Navy and White Buffalo Checks in a Dining RoomPhoto by Jon Friedrich Photography

Navy and white buffalo checks are found in both the curtains and rug in the farmhouse dining room above. The smaller check on the settee is gingham, another popular fabric choice in America.

If you prefer a more subdued look, add buffalo checks in a soft neutral tone like the next two rooms. This creates such a classic and pretty look.

Neutral Buffalo ChecksPhoto by Hann Builders

Accent chair with heart pillow in manor bedroomPhoto by Lisa Gabrielson Design

You can use buffalo checks anywhere, such as dining room chairs to add a little fun and pattern. This is a great option for those of you who feel the checks on full length curtains or a large couch might be a little overpowering.

Buffalo checks on dining room chairs for a classic lookPhoto by Wettling Architects

Even bar stools in the kitchen look cute covered in big checks.

Classic kitchenPhoto by Liz Schupanitz Designs

Are you a fan of the bold and beautiful? Then this room is probably right up your alley!  Yellow buffalo-checked curtains pair beautifully with striped wallpaper, patterned furniture and rugs. The yellow is a soft hue so everything blends beautifully.

Traditional Living Room Dressed in YellowPhoto by Mary Douglas Drysdale

Checks are a great pattern to mix with other patterns, from florals to stripes and more. This sunroom looks light and airy due to soft colors and patterns. 

Light blue and white traditional sunroomPhoto by Alexandra Rae Design

Classic red and black buffalo checks sit beautifully on a cozy bench in a log home foyer. You almost feel like Paul Bunyan could walk in the door any minute. And I love that loon pillow! Buffalo checks have a way of putting a smile on your face. Not too serious, they look great with a variety of patterns.

Log Cabin FoyerPhoto by Sitka Log Homes

This whimsical bedroom proves that mixing patterns can be fun. An over-sized pale buffalo check decorates the wall, while blue and cream checks frame the window. The windowpane quilt on the bed echoes the graphic pattern of buffalo plaid.

Patterned Cottage BedroomPhoto by Burnham Design

Any time you want to add a bit of cheer to your room, reach for buffalo checks. Blue and yellow are classic Swedish colors, giving this room a Scandinavian vibe.

Blue buffalo checks paired with yellow accentsPhoto by Holmes Hole Builders LLC

Would you ever cover the walls of a small room with large buffalo checks? A fun, graphic pattern on the window shade balances the intensity of the checked wallpaper. A simple polka dot hand towel adds a shot of color to the space.

Buffalo Checks in BathroomPhoto by Urso Designs

Over-sized or small, buffalo checks add fun pattern and cheer to any room in the house. Go soft with a neutral color or go bold with strong colors and larger patterns. Which is your preference?

Buffalo Plaid in the BedroomPhoto by David Michael Miller Associates


See More Decorating Inspiration

Glass Front Cabinets: Popular Choices

Blue and White Beach Style Kitchen

Cozy Master Bedroom Ideas

9 Pretty Living Rooms in a Variety of Styles

How to Add Coastal Style to Your Home

How to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Home



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  1. Buffalo checks have long been a favorite of mine. In another lifetime, I worked for a small design studio and we used buffalo checks in all sizes in silk. It transcends rustic to casual to elegant.

  2. Well, I think you know I’m in love with the yellow room. ???? The redecorating wheels are turning. Uh oh…..

  3. I love this classic look and am getting ready to reupholster our dining room chairs in buffalo check, I just can’t make my mind up about color because there just has to be color! Love your blog.

  4. Love the wallpaper in photo by Hann Builders. The neutral tones are beautiful and timeless. Would you have any idea what it is or where I could find out. Love your site. It’s always opened first!

  5. Just beautiful the buffalo checks. Each image is great.
    I’m thinking of using them on my kitchen chairs when I reupholster them.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I’m pinning.

  6. I too love buffalo checks! I moved a year ago this past June and brought my cream/gold buffalo kitchen panels with me. I reworked part of them and made café curtains for my kitchen and laundry room windows. I was soooooooooooo lucky the lady that purchased my house didn’t want them!

  7. Love buffalo check….I remember so many years ago (the 70’s) I was in love with yellow and white buffalo check….had that pattern on my kitchen and on my kitchen table chair cushions…They have really come a long way in the beautiful ways they are used now! Great inspiration pics!

  8. Didn’t know that check was in……I just made a bed skirt, shams and a valance in navy and white large check. (The bedroom furniture is all white). My granddaughter is here visiting from NY and as she walked in the bedroom, she commented on loving the checks. She told me the room was in Vogue right now, as check is also in for clothes (she happens to be in Fashion). Wow, I scored and didn’t know it….smile. I bought my material at Walmart. Have any suggestions for making a shower curtain? I’m not a yellow lover but after seeing the yellow check…..I could change my mind. Do you think a navy and white stripe would be pretty? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Your site is great! Thanks a lot.

  9. I love the buffalo checks in al your pictures you found some great examples. I have big and small checks through out my home. Thanks Jennifer.

  10. I really like the taupe and white buffalo plaid. That would mix with about every style. I can appreciate all plaids as they bring warmth to a space no matter what color they are.

  11. Jennifer, Thank you for sharing such a variety of lovery homes , decor ,and much more ,including your
    Lovely home and garden. I am always inspired and left with ideas to use in my own home and garden . Very enjoyable . Have a Blessed and Happy day !

  12. I love the Buffalo Checks so much I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them! You are welcome to check it out. It’s called Oh Give Me A Home…. (yes, where the buffalo checks roam) shameful, I know!