Chess Sets Chess Sets

Flip-flopping between being considered taboo and being revered, chess is esteemed among all people from boy geniuses to park dwellers. Though its origins are ambiguous, the chess game quickly spread throughout the world, from China, India, and Persia to Spain and throughout Europe. This storied history speaks about the similarities between all people, from peasant to prince, and holds the chessboard in high esteem in any interior.

The chessboard and its pieces come in an array of styles and materials, from plastic and vinyl to marble and oak. Everyone can find a set to reflect their taste. Due to the beauty and quality of the sets, you don't necessarily need to play the game to own one and fully appreciate it. They add a measure of class and refinement that equates to an heirloom piece or a collection of prized vases. A chess set placed upon a matching stand creates the same effect as a painting illuminated by a picture light. It can be a very dramatic accent to a room.

An alabaster pedestal board with matching chessboard displayed in a library, next to a fireplace, or in the breakfast nook creates a dramatic effect. While the pedestal boards come in many styles, one with antique finished worn wood plays up the long-standing tradition of the game. The antique style chessboard looks as comfortable in a museum as it does between two players. It definitely captures the eye as the board reflects light, and the tiny sculpted figures look like works of art. You can find the boards with brass corners, inlaid maple and walnut, Italian alabaster, and pewter.

The classic setting deserves a hint of marble or onyx or even natural stone. Chess sets in these materials complement a formal library or living room. One with marble colored soft natural beige tones will add a sharp contrast to a masculine room, reflecting light and the darker tones. Similarly, natural shades of black and charcoal create simple sophistication.

That something that may be missing from a room could be the appropriate chess set. While everything else is placed perfectly - the drapes hang beautifully and the furniture is positioned to accommodate everyone - this may be just the piece that adds that needed touch of elegance and design.

In a contemporary space, Chess Blocks would be the right counterpart. They're futuristic in appearance, lacking the traditional Victorian Age styling of chess pieces. These geometric shaped blocks of lacquered wood are touted as being ergonomically designed, looking the way they move. Economically priced, what they lack in detail and decoration they make up for in their quirkiness. Chess Blocks are definite emblems of originality (albeit, to some, peculiarity).

To liven up a room that feels dour, a theme chess set will definitely do the trick. Pieces modeled after characters from The Lord of the Rings, Camelot, the Civil War, or even The Simpsons can be a fun, if not funny, addition to a space. These are less expensive than the traditional crafted sets, making them more disposable. Yet, because they're slightly gimmicky, they add a special, undeniable lighthearted feel - maybe more appropriate for a child's room.

On a similar note, the chessboard that measures 8x8 feet with 7" tall Kings and Queens can make the owner feel like Tom Hanks in "Big." These are not mass-produced and so cost a nice sum of money. The chess pieces are made from solid white pine and are finished in the traditional black and white paint or stained and natural. Imagine an office with this gargantuan set off in the corner.

While everything in an interior may work together, adding that one timeless piece can give a strong, sophisticated, and regal touch-befitting that of a King or a Queen.


Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Design

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