If motifs were entering a popularity contest, the Greek key – sometimes referred to as the Greek fret -would win every time. Even today we see the Greek key everywhere in design – on the lead edge of a drape, on the border of throw pillows, on a bathroom listello. But how has the Greek key symbol managed to remain the coolest kid on the block for thousands and thousands of years?
No one knows for sure why this motif has stood the test of time, but there are a few things that make it highly seductive to the masses. First, this pattern’s ability to be highly decorative, yet simplistic appeals to all design types. Whether you are a maximalist, a minimalist or a traditionalist, the Greek key is never too much or too little. Often stylized in different ways, it can take on any color and any size without losing its appeal. Neither masculine nor feminine, the Greek key is equated with infinity and continuity.
Even though the most common version of the Greek key is thought to represent a meandering river in Greece, the earliest version of the Greek key didn’t originate in Greece. In fact, this pattern traces as far back as early Egyptian times, although Greece was the country that truly put it on the map (yes, pun intended). Completely smitten with this pattern, the Greeks used it in numerous applications including the interior and exterior of their buildings.
Clearly the Greeks aren’t the only people that can’t get enough of the Greek key. When it comes to the world of interior design, the Greek key has never been more alive.
This bathroom was beautiful to begin with, but adding that Greek key border takes it up even several more notches.
This Thibaut fabric blends two of my absolute favorite patterns in one – Greek Key and Ikat.
Designer Traci Zeller shows us that you can create contrast between similar colored walls and curtains by simply adding a beautiful Greek key border to the lead edge of a drape.
Designer Briana Nix tantalizes us with Phillip Jeffries, “It’s Greek to Me” wallpaper in this uber-cute powder room.