Checkmate Charm: How Chess Sets are Redefining the Coffee Table Book Trend

Checkmate Charm: How Chess Sets are Redefining the Coffee Table Book Trend

Over recent years, a perfectly positioned stack of statement books has served as the ideal bedfellow for a coffee table. However, times are changing, and people now crave originality over convention. A simple way to achieve this is by having a chess set as a centrepiece. In this feature, we look at some of the incredible sets created by Purling, and they all bring a ‘special something’ into the home.

Before readers get ‘up in arms’ thinking that I am sounding the death knell for coffee table books, I’m not. Coffee table books have been with us since the 1950s, probably before then, and they are still enormously popular today, masquerading as a discrete sign of wealth, knowledge and style.

Ladies playing a blue and white chess set on a coffee table

However, tastes change, and the days of books on a table, magnolia-coloured walls, beige carpets and drab greys seem to be drawing to a close, replaced by a feeling of individuality. This can be seen in the renewed interest in patterned carpets, bright-coloured furniture and exquisite wallpapers displaying a kaleidoscope of shades and patterns, rekindling an in-home ambience that has been missing for 50 or 60 years.

It’s not only those mentioned above bringing an individual feel into people’s homes. Chess sets are also experiencing a resurgence, partly due to the success of the popular Netflix show ‘The Queens Gambit’ and heightened interest in the World Chess Championships.

Backing this up, the luxury games brand Purling has seen more orders from interior designers, pointing the way to an additional new décor trend.

People playing a game on an illuminated board

Purling creates unique and customisable chess sets, enabling homeowners to elevate their living space with a bespoke statement piece that perfectly reflects their individual style.

The luxury games brand is known for fine craftsmanship, high-quality materials and expert design, making its chess sets highly sought after amongst art collectors, interior designers, and luxe accessory fans.

In a recent study, a third of art buyers revealed that they have spent between £1,000 and £5,000 in the past 12 months¹, highlighting that the demand for rare or collectable items such as chess sets is still prominent.

In addition to this, having a chess set as a central feature in your home has been labelled as ‘good for the soul’ and linked to the dopamine dressing trend, as outlined in Wayfair’s 2023 trend report.

Below I’ve featured a few examples of the beautiful sets available from Purling, which will be perfect for everyone regardless of their style. From art enthusiasts to those who are house proud, these chess sets will look beautiful on any coffee table or sideboard.

For the classic literature lover: Alice in Wonderland Chess Set (£3,000)

A close up look at the hand painted chess pieces

This Purling chess board by Nette Robinson draws inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

A side view of the board with all the pieces in their starting positions

The much-loved story has been recreated on this luxury chess set, containing a painted maple wood chess board in the style of the beloved novel. Its play with logic gives the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children.

For the art aficionado: Pale Blue & Apricot Chess Set (£8,000)

Olivia's pale blue and apricot set viewed from aboveOlivia Pilling, a landscape artist from Northern England, designed this extraordinary chess set. The large brushstrokes and the lack of blending give this set an organic, artistic feeling.

Two images showing the hand painted pieces from either side of the board

The chess pieces have been painted with spontaneous strokes while still maintaining their distinct colour themes. The artist insisted on coating them in resin to ensure each piece had a glistening, precious, and treasure-like quality. This chess set is the perfect gift for a loved one or a lovely addition to a coffee table.

For the astronomy fan: The Cosmos Chess Set (£10,000)

The Cosmos Chess set by Bristol-based artist Cheba

Inspired by the Hubble Telescope photographs, The Cosmos Chess Set is a stunning representation of outer space and its elements, such as planets, stars, and swirling nebulae. Its semi-translucent, shimmery, and resin-coated board pairs perfectly with its hand-spray-painted pieces.

Cheba's unique signature in a silver colour on the board

The paint contains glitter, which gives the whole set an unforgettable sparkle and shine, along with the Bristol-based artist Cheba’s signature.

This set brings uniqueness to any space in a home and is the perfect gift for a cosmos lover in your life!

For the interior design buff: Dazzle Dawn Chess Set (£10,000)

A side view of the Dazzle Dawn set showing how the paint on the pieces blends into the board

The Dazzle Dawn chess set takes a more artistic approach when compared to other chess sets, as it combines the classic black-and-white colour scheme with a creative twist.

Two images showing the detailing on the board and pieces with Willum Morsch's Dazzle Dawn Chess

The designer, Willum Morsch, wanted to express the theme of ‘hiding in plain sight’ by creating a chess set with several shapes and patterns which cause the pieces to camouflage against the board.

Inspired by the designs used on World War 1 ships, Dazzle Dawn is an eye-catching and unique chess set perfect for adding a pop of creativity to any home.

For the nature lover: Morpho Chess Set (£30,000)

An elevated view of the Morpho Chess Set

This one-of-a-kind board is made and designed with butterfly wings of iridescent giant blue morpho butterflies and Madagascan sunset moths. The wings come from a sustainable butterfly farm only after natural death.

A close up view of the blue pieces on the board

Each chess piece is hand painted, lacquered, and finished with an Italian Nappa leather base with an 18-karat gold Parling logo. This set would look stunning on any coffee table.

For more luxury games from Purling, visit the website,

¹ Share of art buyers purchasing art and collectables online in the last 12 months worldwide as of January 2022, by amount – Statista, May 24, 2022.

Read more art and design news, guides and features here.

Two images showing the attention to detail put into each boardCheckmate Charm: How Chess Sets are Redefining the Coffee Table Book Trend 2

Paul Godbold

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Paul is the owner and editor-in-chief of Luxurious Magazine. He previously worked as a fashion model, was in the British Army and created companies in the technology, venture capital and financial services sectors. In addition to writing, he also proofs, edits, designs, lays out and publishes all the articles in the online magazine. Paul is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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