Herringbone Hardwood Floor Origins, Materials and Modern Designs 1

The herringbone pattern is a geometric arrangement of rectangles named for a resemblance to the well-defined bone structure of the herring fish.

Herringbone patterns in flooring are usually rectangles, but can also be parallelograms. The edge length ratios are usually 2:1, and sometimes 3:1, but the length of the piece is easily customizable depending upon the desired aesthetic of your project.As one of the original parquet flooring patterns, the herringbone style draws inspiration from the look of intricate brickwork designs from centuries-old churches and other distinguished structures. With an angled turn of hardwood planks, the herringbone floor pattern creates geometric designs to give interesting detail and draw the eye to the floor, elevating the atmosphere of the room design.

Before you integrate this incredible hardwood floor design into your project, take a few minutes to learn of its origins, favored materials and modern interpretations.

Origins of Herringbone Hardwood Floors

The beautiful herringbone pattern has been utilized at numerous key points in history, in everything from road design to jewelry. Roadways across the Roman Empire, for example, were all wisely constructed using herringbone brickwork patterns. Jewelry designs with strong herringbone accents were even noted during the study of the Ancient Egyptians. Using herringbone for hardwood flooring patterns, however, did not occur until much later.  

In the late 1600s, maintenance-heavy marble floors were replaced with the first type of parquet flooring, called parquet de Versailles as it was the chosen design for the Palace of Versailles. Herringbone hardwood flooring was designed soon after to mimic the appearance of ancient brickwork used to create iconic churches and other buildings. The most notable of which is il Duomo, or the dome of the breathtaking Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, which is located in Florence, Italy. The rich history of the herringbone pattern for hardwood floors makes it a truly timeless choice for both residential and commercial building designs.

Differences Between Chevron and Herringbone Hardwood Flooring Styles

Despite the rich history of herringbone floors, they are still confused with chevron styles quite often. Unlike more intricate parquet flooring designs, the herringbone and chevron style floors feature small rectangular hardwood planks of the same size throughout the design. The planks are turned 90 degrees to each other to create a staggered arrow pattern. The pattern is best known to resemble the bones of a herring, a fish easily found in shallow to deep ocean waters.

The main difference between herringbone and chevron is the cut angle at the ends of each plank. Herringbone floors have straight edge to create the staggered pattern, while an angled edge for the chevron floors allows the design to follow a straight point for each row of hardwood planks. The less rigid structure of the herringbone pattern lends itself well to the use of two contrasting hardwood types to elevate the overall floor design.

Common Materials Used for Herringbone Designs

There are many different types of hardwoods you can use to create your perfect floor layout using the herringbone style. Each hardwood material has its own wood grain and color expression patterns, so it pays to understand the options available to you.

Common, high-quality hardwoods that work best with herringbone patterns include:

  • Walnut
  • Hickory/Pecan
  • White Oak
  • Sapele
  • Red Oak
  • Maple

All of these wood materials have the strength needed to remain in great condition through decades of heavy use. Only a minimal amount of maintenance and care is usually required to keep these hardwoods in excellent shape.

You can use a single hardwood type or choose contrasting colors and patterns to maximize the aesthetic value of your herringbone floors. The contrasting materials can give this iconic flooring pattern a personalized touch that makes it your very own. The use of a single hardwood, however, allows you to pay tribute to the traditional look and feel of herringbone hardwood floors.

You can acquire support from the experienced team at Saroyan Hardwoods  or your preferred designer to select the best combination of materials for your project or business location.

Modern Layouts Using the Iconic Herringbone Pattern

In addition to using contrasting colors to elevate the herringbone pattern, floor designers have started adding other modern touches to dress up this design. Many of the modern touches involve the use of stain to highlight the grain of the wood or cover it up completely. You will need to decide if the interior of your commercial or residential property would benefit from having the woodgrains visible or hidden.

If you prefer to highlight the woodgrains, consider using a tinted stain to brighten up the surface of your hardwood herringbone floors. Otherwise, freely choose darker stains to hide the woodgrain and transform your hardwoods with a solid finish. With this approach, you will still enjoy the robust strength of hardwoods while mimicking the look of stone or other hard to maintain materials.

You can also use the strategic placement of borders to personalize the look of your herringbone floors. Encase the herringbone planks in a contrasting border, consisting of geometric and organic shapes. You can even integrate custom elements into the border planks to create a unique design that is all your own. You will need to work with your hardwood flooring manufacturer and contractors to acquire the materials you need in the right quantities and styles.

Acquire Your Very Own Stylish Herringbone Hardwood Floors

Before you finalize your herringbone hardwood flooring plans, talk with an expert to learn about all of your material and design options. Your hardwood flooring expert can help you determine your overall material needs and make strategic changes to your plans to streamline your project. You can acquire all of the support you need by coming to your contractor and manufacturer early in the planning phases of your project.

Here at Saroyan Hardwoods, we specialize in the creation of hardwood flooring materials in herringbone designs and other iconic patterns. Our herringbone hardwood floors are built to last to elevate the look and feel of your home for decades to come. We are always available to discuss our hardwood flooring options and assist with your project plans. Give us a call at (800) 624-9309 to speak to our team at our headquarters and find the best service location for all your hardwood flooring needs. We look forward to assisting with your journey toward your perfect herringbone hardwood floors.