Everyone has one—that pattern they can’t get enough of, peppered throughout the home. For me, although polka dots and bright florals are commendable contenders, buffalo plaid takes the cake.
Buffalo plaid, or buffalo check, has its roots in Scotland as early as the 1700s, and is officially registered with the Clan MacGregor. Legend has it, Scottish Highlander Jock MacCluskey immigrated to the United States, importing blankets and shirts in his clan’s pattern and trading them for buffalo pelts in Montana and what are now the Dakotas—hence, the name buffalo plaid.
To me, the love of this pattern originated in the depths of Minnesota winters—coats and flannels and stockings and wrapping paper all saturated in bright blocks of red and black. But I’ve come to integrate variations of the iconic pattern in all the year’s seasons. If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of this beautiful, checked pattern, here are a few ways you can translate your love for traditional red and black buffalo plaid all year long.
Decorating with buffalo plaid is a no brainer in the winter since it is a staple of the holiday season. You see it everywhere: scattered in the Target dollar section on everything from winter mugs and stockings to doormats and wine bags.
For coziness, you can’t go wrong with a buffalo plaid blanket. Try out Eddie Bauer, Pottery Barn, or Minky Couture blankets—a mom-founded company that donates a blanket to a NICU baby with every purchase. Keep your feet warm under the blanket with some coordinating socks, too, or wrap yourself in the warm embrace of a trendy poncho (because who doesn’t like a blanket you can wear outside your house?). If you want to splurge on the couch décor, Pottery Barn also offers these 24-inch pillow covers in several wintery, buffalo check colors.
There’s no shame in keeping your wintery reds and blacks around past Valentine’s Day. Once the birds return for the year and springtime rears its head, however, consider transitioning to pastel plaids to brighten your home. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of beautiful spring buffalo check, especially around the Easter season.
For spring, I primarily incorporate my favorite pattern by way of my kitchen table, where I can play around with tablecloths, napkins, and cute runners. Although I’m spoiled with a family member who’s a quilter and has handmade several matching buffalo check pieces, there are plenty of places to find this bright pattern.
I love the cheery pink-checked pattern on this tablecloth, which comes in multiple sizes, including a runner, and there are beautiful matching napkins. Because I love to cook and bake, I’ve also found colorful buffalo plaid dish towels to hang in my kitchen, like these cute Kate Spade towels (we’ll let “gingham” count here) and these vibrant green ones. If you’re feeling particularly matchy-matchy, try out these pillow covers, which come in three spring colors.
It’s summer—chances are, you’re spending more time outdoors. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to incorporate buffalo plaid into outdoor activities!
When I moved to my Chicago apartment, I was delighted with the small back porch, which I immediately began sourcing patio furniture and lights for—all while working around a bulky air conditioning unit. One of my must-haves for the small space was a rug: something that I could leave outside during the summer months and was easily washable. I found this indoor/outdoor Threshold rug, which comes in multiple sizes and two great summer colors—blue and white and green and white check. Now, my porch is a place I want to spend time, rather than just a zone for piling up recycling.
When I’m not sitting with a good book on the back porch, I’m likely to take my latest romance novel to one of Chicago’s many parks, which of course necessitates a good park blanket! I recommend something that rolls up with carrying straps, like this darling, canvas-backed plaid picnic blanket.
Once you’re back from the park, consider rinsing off in the shower, concealed by a buffalo check shower curtain. Hear me out—a year-round pattern obsession is totally fine, especially when the pattern can be found in a neutral. Try out this tan buffalo-check shower curtain, and tell me it doesn’t seamlessly fit into your bathroom aesthetic year-round!
As predictable as falling leaves, black and white buffalo check begins to appear again with the beginning of autumn. While it might be too early to pull out the heavy winter blankets and bows, it’s not too early to throw some plaid into your fall decorations.
Buffalo-check pumpkins have been hot the past few years, with major retailers and independent sellers alike marketing these buffalo-plaid beauties. Whether ceramic, knitted, or fabric, add some checkered pumpkins to your traditional red, gold, and orange squash selection, like these handmade ones with cute twine stems.
Once you’re done staging your pumpkins, pour a mug of apple cider—which you can set down on these checkered coasters (which, frankly, can be used year-round; they’re that subtle!).
It’s not bad to love plaid
Not everyone will share my (some might say monomaniacal) passion for plaid. But I firmly believe it has a place in every home, whether in big or small ways. I’ve built up my stockpile of buffalo-plaid goods over the years, but starting small and incorporating just a few key items with your favorite pattern can go a long way towards creating cohesion in the home, no matter the season.