Sound Like a Designer :: Greek Key

Have you ever seen the ubiquitous blue NYC coffee cup?  If you have, then you’ve seen the greek key motif!

via nycoffeecup.com

via nycoffeecup.com

The motif originated in Ancient Greece {thus the name, duh} and is an interlocking rectangular pattern made from one continuous line, also known as a “meander.”  One theory is that the motif is a representation of the mythical labyrinth that held the fearsome Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. The motif is also thought to represent unity and infinity.  In Ancient Greece the  pattern was featured on architectural friezes, pottery and bronze shields.  The pattern was later adopted by the Romans {as so much of Greek art and architecture was} and was seen on tiles, mosaics as well as architecture and later became an important element of the Neoclassical Style.  

The greek key is still popular today and comes in a variety of textures and applications.  It can be seen in carpets, accent rugs, fabric and china patterns among many other uses.  It’s an incredibly versatile pattern and works in both very formal and casual spaces and works with any decor style from traditional to ultra-modern.

How groovy is this console table!?

via the aestate

via the aestate

design :: tobi fairley

design :: tobi fairley

design :: jean-louis deniot

design :: jean-louis deniot

via the design sheppard

via the design sheppard

via summerfield design

via summerfield design

via decorpad

via decorpad

via elements of style

via elements of style

via jonathan adler

via jonathan adler

The greek key is especially popular in the Hollywood Regency Style.

via bellemaison23

via bellemaison23

mary mcdonald for f. schumacher

mary mcdonald for f. schumacher

Using a ribbon {also known as tape} with the greek key motif is a great way to bring it into your design.

via atticmag

via atticmag

I love the large-scale greek key border on this area rug.

Large Scale Greek Key rug via nuevo estilo.jpg
seen in traditional home

seen in traditional home

Here is a gorgeous modern interpretation of the greek key on a room divider by Jan Showers.

design :: jan showers

design :: jan showers

design :: maurico arruda

design :: maurico arruda

silvery greek key tray from horchow

silvery greek key tray from horchow

This bathroom is a great example of how you can combine the greek key with just about any pattern.

via style at home

via style at home

via zhush

via zhush

Adding a greek key tape to the leading edge and lower border of window treatments is another popular use of the motif.

The motif isn't limited to neutrals, as you can see in this bright "Very Stone" cotton rug from Madeline Weinrib.  For more on decorating with the playful combination of pink + orange, click here.

via madeline weinrib

via madeline weinrib

The greek key looks fab as a border in a pool too!

mcdugald architects

mcdugald architects

via the english room

via the english room

jacques side table from ebanista

jacques side table from ebanista

via amanda carol interiors

via amanda carol interiors

via gold + gray

via gold + gray

via little green notebook

via little green notebook

hart associates architects

hart associates architects

design :: lindsey coral harper

design :: lindsey coral harper

A simplified greek key is very popular on roman shades, like in this bedroom by Courtney Giles.

design :: courtney giles

design :: courtney giles

I love all the bright colors in this room by Rachel Reider, the greek key rug really grounds the room.

design :: rachel reider

design :: rachel reider


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