Sure, everyone generally knows what buffalo check and gingham represent. But do you know really know the difference between gingham and buffalo check? Knowing the difference will help you design the perfect upholstered piece of furniture!
Are you ready to decorate that new space and want to get that ultra popular checkered look in your space?
You've probably seen by now the varying shapes of plaid upholstered furniture and they all use copious amounts of synonyms and ways of describing the print.
So how do you know which print you are actually wanting to pick between like plaid, flannel, gingham, Buffalo check?
In this article, I'm going to be talking about the differences and similarities between gingham and buffalo check, and if one is better to design with than another.
What is the difference between buffalo check and gingham prints?
Both buffalo check and gingham are a type of plaid. The difference is that the Buffalo check (also known as a Buffalo plaid) originated as an alternating red and black pattern with a larger pattern size as compared to gingham prints. Gingham is typically a smaller check pattern originating with red, white and blue prints woven with white. For both prints, all of the checkers are square and the same in width.
These days, the color doesn't so much matter anymore when describing the two patterns, as long as the other alternating color is white. Currently, the fad is using gingham and buffalo check with a tan, khaki and beige alternating color to white. Black and white alternating colors is the most common for buffalo check. But in the end, when these patterns are referred to in design conversations, it is talking about the width of the stripes.
Frequently Asked Question About Gingham versus Buffalo Check
What is the checkered pattern called?
It really depends on the style you are going after. If you are looking at the red and black alternating box patterns that have a larger print size, that is the buffalo check plaid. If you are referring to the smaller alternating white/red or white/blue pattern, that is the gingham print. Both prints are in the plaid family.
Gingham and Buffalo check prints typically have stripes that are equal in widths in both directions whereas other types of plaid (remember both are in the same umbrella under plaids) have designs in varying lengths of both color and size.
The colors typically vary, but you would use casual names in order to distinguish between the smaller check pattern (which is Gingham) and larger check pattern (which is Buffalo check).
What are some famous ways these patterns have been used?
With gingham, popular scenes using gingham includes Dorothy's dress in Wizard of Oz. Most recently, gingham plaid in the home decor space has taken off as a great print for upholstery if you want the farmhouse rustic design.
With Buffalo check, popular scenes using it include Brawney Paper Towel's Brawney Man as well as Paul Bunyam images.
What are some common ways to use gingham?
Gingham is a type of plaid which is commonly seen in kitchen towels, table napkins and tablecloths for picnics. They have been really popular in clothing design trends as shirts and dresses.
What are some common ways to use Buffalo check?
Buffalo check is a type of plaid that is commonly seen as flannel on outdoor clothing. They have also recently made their way as a trend in upholstered furniture, ditching the red for something more neutral like black and beige. If you want to see upholstered furniture in buffalo check plaid, check out my post on rounding up some of the best buffalo check accent chairs and sources!
Where did gingham check and Buffalo check originate from?
Both patterns are distinctly plaids.Historically, plaids were used in Scotland to indicate clans and families.
For gingham, there are debates on whether it originated from Western versus Asian culture, but the fabric has a long history in design. It has been worn all over and decorated in homes with design that transcend time. The name actually is derived from the Malay word genggang, which means striped!
Buffalo check originated about a century ago from a mill. The pattern designer had buffalo roaming his property, and that's the origin of the Buffalo check name.
Which one is more popular?
Gingham is a plaid print that is recognizable the whole word over as compared to Buffalo check. Gingham can be seen used more in kitchen and window areas, whereas Buffalo check is often used as upholstered fabric on furniture as well as duvet covers.
What are some common names for both patterns?
When referencing the smaller alternating pattern colors, the right term is gingham. You'll hear phrases like:
- Gingham plaid
- Plaid (which is not right, plaid is the family of patterns)
- Gingham check
- Gingham plaid check
- Gingham Buffalo (not right)
- Buffalo Gingham (not right)
When referencing the larger print, the right term is Buffalo check. You'll hear different phrases like:
- Buffalo plaid
- Buffalo plannel
- Buffalo plaid check
- Large gingham prints
Sources for Gingham Fabric and Buffalo Check Upholstered Fabric
Amazon - Of course, I didn't expect Amazon to disappoint. Amazon has a wide collection of buffalo check fabric as well as gingham prints. They also have a large collection of Gingham fabric for sewing as well.
Ballard Designs - Ballard Designs has GORGEOUS fabric by the yard, but it is quite expensive. You can sometimes catch them on the 25% off prices at the beginning of the season, which brings it down to $26 a yard (which I think is still pretty high).
Etsy - When I can't find what I need at online fabric store retailers, Etsy is my favorite stop to find fabric by the yard. Here's the collection of buffalo check by yard here and collection of gingham check by the yard here.
One King's Lane - I absolutely LOVE One Kings Lane. It's typically hit or miss because sometimes the prices are sky high. Often times, when you go at the right time, you can find amazing deals on upholstered furniture with these patterns.
Shop Gingham for the Home
Shop Buffalo Check for the Home
Now you have a pretty good idea of the difference between buffalo check and gingham prints should you ever need to pick between the two patterns.
While the two might seem similar, they are actually quite different in not only pattern and design, but also the history between each of the patterns.
Here's a basic rundown of each pattern and how I would use it in your daily life in design and function:
Gingham: I would use this for smaller home decor items in the kitchen. Typically the most common uses are clothing, trimming, aprons and children's fashion.
Buffalo check: For anything related to the living room or bedroom, I would use Buffalo check because it allows you to have a wider alternate line pattern, which will allow it to be paired with more things.
I hope this helps you understand the differences between the two prints and how it can help you!