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Tartan Decor: Weaving the Highlands into Your Home

Tartan Chair

Suddenly the world has gone mad for tartan! The Scottish classic is stealing the spotlight from kilts to furniture.

In a range of colours and crisscrossing stripes, tartan is a pattern we all instantly recognise. It comes with a vast history, too. The design dates from the 3rd century and of course, for many people tartan is strongly associated with the Scottish Highlands, bagpipes and kilts! Nevertheless, tartan can be utilized in many other areas.

The History of Tartan

Warm and durable, the use of tartan in interior design has become normal for many homes across the UK. Although the fabric is still used extensively for clothing and upholstery, is has more recently been incorporated for products such as wall covering and furniture. Using tartan in your home can instantly give your space a traditional feel by an element or two that uses this traditional pattern.

Tartan has migrated from clothing and of course kilts to use in a home setting, and while rooms that have used tartan have often looked dark and hunting lodge-ish, today’s interiors use tartan in one off and original ways.

Tartan is no longer restricted to fabric products and appears on all types of materials, from ceramics to flooring, all in a wide range of styles and colours. You can fall in love with tartan and bring it into your home, and here's how to achieve that Highland look.

Mixtures of Tartan

Tartans come in such a great variety that you may not know where to start. A good approach is to consider the colour scheme of your room. Even if you don't, one of the great things about tartan is that it mixes well with other patterns. It is very hard to find a tartan that will clash with another, so if you choose to mix them up together there will not be an issue for the room.

Cushions And Throws

An easy way to update your room’s furniture is with a tartan accessory. There’s no need to go overboard and cover everything with the pattern to achieve the look. Go smaller and purchase a throw and a foot rest in the same tartan to give a little warmth and style to your room.

Tartan cushions work well in a lighter room, especially if the room has lighter furniture as the contrast between a darker pattern gives a sense of luxury. They also work excellently in a traditionally styled room that has leather upholstery.


A few soft furnishings are a great start, but to really turn your living space into a tartan theme you will have to consider your surfaces, such as walls and ceiling. If you are going to decorate your entire room with tartan it is probably best to restrict yourself to the amount you will use. Wallpaper coverings will work, so long as you do not cover all four walls and break up the pattern with a plain wall or fireplace.

Another option is to create panels of tartan which are placed inside frames on the walls. This will create the right effect without becoming too busy. There are plenty of choices for tartan designs with wallpaper. Tartan is on trend and has been designed with a coordinated color palette that you can use as you would with a bold wall paper. They are perfect as a feature as said above.

Occasional Furniture

If you want to include tartan in your space, but want to coordinate it with a design that you have already created, then the best approach to take is with an item of occasional furniture. A pair of occasional chairs, for example, set by the fireplace is enough to get the cosy feel you want from this fabric. Small touched of this fabric can really make a statement. And remember, you don’t need to be Scottish to enjoy it!