Greek Key -


Article Image

Bold, graphic and versatile. What more can you ask for in a design motif?

Greek Key

By Alice Oglethorpe
CTW Features

It sounds too good to be true: a design element that works in traditional and modern, casual and formal settings. But that's exactly what the Greek key motif does.

“It's a very classic symbol that represents unity by displaying an eternal band that doesn't end,” said Laura Casey, an interior designer based in Charlotte, N.C. “It displays order, structure, proportion and symmetry — all of which are classic principles of design, which is why it works with so many different looks.”

Originally used in ancient Greek art and architecture, the Greek key pattern fits in nicely with current home décor trends.

“Design is moving into a graphic look, and Greek key is a great way to get into the trend while referencing an ancient design motif,” said Wendy Estes, co-founder of the home décor shopping site Layla Grace and its modern alter ego, Zinc Door. “Because (the pattern) has been around for so long, it fits into traditional settings, but the graphic element gives it a modern edge, too.”

Greek key is versatile enough to be used in different colors and iterations, depending on the vibe of the room.

“In traditional homes, keep it more subtle by adding a Greek key edging to curtain panels, a smaller insert on a throw pillow or adding an accessory like a tray with the pattern on it,” Estes said. “In more modern settings, blow it up and use it on a larger scale or on more pieces throughout the room.”

Another way to make the Greek key pattern look modern is to go crazy with the colors.

“Traditionally, Greek key is made with one dark and one light color,” Casey said. “But don't be afraid to go bold with the color in a modern setting. It's such a simple pattern that you can use bright colors — hot pink or turquoise — and it still works.”

Also, think beyond textiles. “Greek key fabrics are used on curtains, rugs and pillows, but the pattern is also showing up in furniture,” Estes said. “It might be a chair where the arms curve around in the shape of a Greek key or a dresser with Greek key trim inlaid into the wood.”

Estes cautions that, while it might be tempting to go overboard and put Greek key everywhere in a room, the result might be an overly busy look.

“Add some elements into a room, but don't make every single piece of furniture and every accessory match with the Greek key look. That's too much,” she said.

Because the demand for Greek key home décor items is stronger than ever, more companies are making products that feature it.

“We put Greek key on a lot of our pieces, and those are always popular with the designers we sell to,” said Neal Edwards, vice president of sales and marketing at Worlds Away, a Memphis, Tenn.-based home accessories wholesaler.

“Most designers today love to work a little bit of Greek key into their interior designs because it can go with any other pattern, whether it's floral, paisley or another geometric graphic,” Edwards said.

Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom

Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Street-Style Icons

Street-Style Icons
A fashion journal with loads of personality. »
Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades
Cult champagne is worth its weight in gold. »
Man of Many Talents

Man of Many Talents
Steve Gordon's passions fit together like pieces of a puzzle. »
Everything Has a History

Everything Has a History
Homeowner goes to great lengths to fill her home with heart. »

Sweet Array

Sweet Array
Family recipes tempt taste buds, evoke happy memories for party host Avery Loschen. »
Assigned Seating

Assigned Seating
Welcome guests to your table with place card perfection. »
Easy as Pie Party

Easy as Pie Party
No matter how you 'slice' it, an old-fashioned pie party is a simple way to gather friends and savor the waning days of summer. »
Made in the Midlands

Made in the Midlands
Masonry pays the bills, but woodworking is this Dane's true source of happiness. »

RSS Feeds | News Alerts | About Us | Write a Letter to the Editor | Submit a Calendar Event| Order Photos or Reprints

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?