We’re Into: Fretwork

Lily Console from Ballard Designs

In the world of design, a “trend” often can have deep-seeded design roots that trace back hundreds, and even thousands of years. It certainly holds true for one hot design that’s trending now — fretwork. The interlaced decorative design has been on the scene for 3,000 years — it was first discovered on Egyptian furniture removed from sealed tombs — and has spanned the globe in its influence in art and architecture.

Today, the geometric motif has fast become a staple in today’s decor, and it’s making its mark on just about anything, from floors to walls. See how we’re using this pattern to punch up the personality in any space.

Dayna chairs from Ballard Designs

Elaborate fretwork was clearly evident on works by such famous 18th-century craftsmen as Thomas Chippendale. His designs were influenced by the geometric patterns found in early Chinese temples. Our Dayna Arm Chair captures the sophisticated soul of Chinese Chippendale styling with classic fretwork and bamboo-inspired turnings.

Tate Sleeper from Ballard Designs

Whether on a rug or upholstered on a piece of furniture, fretwork adds a fun graphic element to any room. It mixes well with other patterns, even one of its own. Here, we paired our trellis-style Pallini Spa Fabric by the Yard with the quatrefoil pattern of our Blair Rug. Both are a play on Moroccan architecture and fretwork.

Bornova side table

Can you spot the fretwork in this room? The pattern can be more subtle and still have a great impact on the overall style of the space. Our Bornova Coffee Table shows off an airy latticework design while a Chinoiserie-style fretwork motif is carved into our Classic Garden Seat.

Malaya Lattice Wall Decor from Ballard Designs

The geometric nature of fretwork transcends interior design styles, so don’t limit yourself. We can picture our Malaya Lattice Wall Decor in a traditional or contemporary setting. We love it in pairs or used singly. Hang one to break up the monotony of a gallery wall or to serve as an alternative to a mirror in an entry or dining room.

Isabella bedroom collection from Ballard Designs

Looking for another reason to love fretwork? The application can add texture to a room. On our Mariette Table Lamp, a lattice design is hand carved into the wood base, creating three-dimensional details.

Ceylon teak collection from Ballard Designs

The first fretwork applications were hand carved into wood. Here, we love the classic fretwork pattern featured in our Ceylon Collection. The lovely hand-carved details bring so much interest to an outdoor dining space.

Suzanne Kasler Directoire Collection from Ballard Designs

Of course, the safest way to commit to a trend is with throw pillows. Pile on the pattern on your seating. The fretwork pattern featured on our outdoor pillows is our Trellis Taupe Fabric by the Yard, made from Sunbrella® acrylic, so you can use it indoors or out. Pssst: note the border on our Suzanne Kasler Indoor/Outdoor Quatrefoil Rug!

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    June 30, 2021

    Hi, Gorgeous striped sofa in your living room fireplace picture. Do you know where i can get it?

  2. Reply

    Cat Pearsall

    July 4, 2017

    Wow! Beautiful designs!
    Where can I get the 4 mirror- framed prints in the first picture? They are stunning.
    Thanks so much,

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 5, 2017

      Hi Cat,
      We absolutely agree with you that those prints are stunning! They are called the “Alabaster Bloom Art” and can be found on our website here:
      Hope this helps!

  3. Reply


    April 27, 2017

    Hi! Love the designs! Do you happen to know the name of the rug style on pictures 1 and 4?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 2, 2017

      I’m so sorry but this rug has been discontinued! Our Adelaide Rug has a similar color palette though!

  4. Reply


    August 28, 2016

    I’d love to know the wall color… creamy white? I’ve been looking for something similar.
    thank u

    • Reply

      Lydia Merz

      September 7, 2016

      Hey Liz,
      That is Simply White by Benjamin Moore.

  5. Reply


    August 12, 2016

    Where can I find the striped sectional couch in the fourth picture? It’s beautiful!

  6. Reply

    Deborah Williamson

    July 12, 2016

    Do you sell the oversized aqua chair & ottoman inbthe pictures above?

  7. Reply

    Denise S

    March 21, 2016

    Beautiful decor that would fit my lifestyle. I’m a converted fan! Just lovely without being too formal or stuffy.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 22, 2016

      Thanks Denise!

  8. Reply


    February 8, 2016

    I love the cozy, comfortable look! I don’t have the confidence to decorate myself but I can copy ideas. Love the light, airy feel!

  9. Reply

    Lucy HAINES

    March 23, 2015

    All of the above pictures are so soothing. The fretwork brings interest to any room.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 25, 2015

      Thanks, Lucy! We’re thrilled you liked this post!