For Next Wave designers Virginia Toledo and Jessica Geller, no project is complete without a dose of their go-to motif: plaid. "It's our staple pattern," says Geller. "We treat it as a neutral because it mixes so nicely with other patterns—florals, paisleys, even leopard print! We always like to 'toughen up' our interiors, and plaid adds that little bit of edge to a room that might otherwise feel too feminine or precious."
There's also an emotional aspect to plaid that the designers love. "It's something people often feel a connection with—maybe it reminds them of a favorite worn-out flannel shirt or a wool throw they used to curl up under with a cup of hot cocoa," says Geller. (For her, she laughs, it's "a madras that brings back memories of late summer nights drinking spiked lemonade!")
When it comes to using plaid in your own space, try experimenting with scale and color. A small plaid in a subtle colorway can read as a solid, while oversized prints or unexpected hues feel more modern. "There’s a plaid for everyone and every style, from hipster to granny, lake house to modern farmhouse, country club prepster to Seattle grunge," says Toledo. "Buffalo check, tartan, gingham, and everything in between—the best thing about plaid is how versatile it is!"
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