How to design with chess pieces and chequerboards as inspiration

The Knight Side Table

Mooching around the new look John Lewis near my house the other day, I spotted this super-sized chess piece masquerading as a side table from Content by Conran. It got me thinking that I’d seen quite a few chess type interior styles just recently, all of which have caught my eye as I’m dreaming about re-designing our house with a slick monochromatic theme, all clean lines, rounded edges and lots of glamour.

Slightly less subtle but typically Moooi is this side table version appropriately named Chess, with a full sized chess board ready to play on the upper surface. I feel a black & white version on an Ikea-hack Lack table coming on…. 😉

Tailored more to my budget are these fab candles shaped like chess pieces, liking these a lot! Available at ‘Do’ London, but mail order also.

Chess Piece Candles

Fang Studio have incorporated the theme with subtlety, creating Check Mate pendant lighting designed to give a candle glow from gold plated interiors and reflect the fact that, as with chess pieces, lighting needs to be placed carefully and strategically to achieve the best results.

Add some glamour to your home with a giant silver King, 60cm high, the perfect gift for a man who has everything (someone send the link to Kate Middleton!)

Or give your walls a lift with a pack of chess wall stickers or decal / transfer for a window. I rather like the idea of having these Ebay finds positioned down a hallway wall with a black and white chequered floor, or stepping up a monochrome staircase 🙂

Case Decal - Knight

Simple chequerboard ceramic floor tiling can achieve a chess effect, or try vinyl tiles on less stable substrates or if you’re on a tighter budget. This tile effect on floors or walls looks stunning with many colour schemes – from vintage pastels to acid brights. You could even try a bit of DIY and paint your own – see this informative How-To for help:

Not On The High Street have their Royal couple rubber wood carved salt and pepper with the King grinding pepper and the Queen salt, which for some reason disturbs me, I’d have to have them the other way round. I’d end up having pepper with my Tequila their way, which would never do.

And of course if you’re completely chess mad, you could go the whole hog and have the whole house as a chequerboard, like the architecture below – do you think it was intentional?!

I adored the spectacular installation by Jaime Hayon for London Design Week 2010 featuring a super glam giant chess set in Trafalgar Square, gutted to have missed seeing it ‘live’:

Some more fabulous monochrome chess style interiors:

Bathroom, Singapore Hotel
Lobby floor, Singapore Hotel
Designer Kate Spade’s kitchen
Courtesy of

You don’t necessarily need to stick to black & white to get a chequerboard effect:

Courtesy of

Use with a candy / pastel / vintage theme:

Courtesy of

And sometimes chess doesn’t even have to look like chess:

Courtesy of

This kitchen uses just a splash of the theme with two elegantly shaped stools:

Image courtesy of Marchetti

Whilst this one goes full on bonkers chess mad:

Various Creative Children Bedroom Interior Decorating Design Alternative Ideas - Chess Children Bedroom Interior Design

Maybe design in the future will incorporate play into our homes as an intergral part of the interior, as this image imagines:

The Futuristic Play Room Interior Ideas with Chess Games Designs

Just don’t be fooled into thinking you’re doing anything new, as Vermeer’s 1670 The Love Letter clearly shows:


Knight side table, John Lewis £199 :

Moooi Chess table £674 at Manchester’s Ferrious Design :

Chess candles £17 – £41 :

Fang Studio Check Mate lighting:

Chess stickers:

Knight decal:

Condiment set £38:

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