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7 Quintessential Wood Floor Patterns

July 17, 2020

People have been creating wood floor patterns for thousands of years—and it’s easy to see why. 

From the classic look of horizontal strips to the elegance of herringbone parquet, patterned wood floors are absolutely stunning! 

However: some of the most gorgeous wood floor designs can be tricky to install. Cutting and laying these designs requires a lot of knowledge about installing hardwood floors

Translation: some of these patterns may not be the best DIY wood floors for a first-timer, or even for homeowners having their flooring installed on a budget.

Plus, some types of wood flooring are good for certain patterns, but not others. And some of these gorgeous patterns can even be installed using types of flooring that aren’t wood at all!

Basically, there’s a ton of information you need to know about wood floor designs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the 7 quintessential wood floor patterns. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each of them, from their looks to their ease (or difficulty) of installation.

Don’t believe us? Tsk, tsk. Read on, you Doubting Thomas(ina)!

#1. Horizontal Strip Patterns

Horizontal strip wood floor patterns can make a room look larger and more spacious

Horizontal wood floors are a perennial favorite. Watch any interior design show and you’ll see how horizontal strips can make a room look larger and more spacious. 

If you’re considering horizontal wood floor designs, you’re in luck. Because this design is the industry standard, you’ll be able to take advantage of the endless click-together flooring options on the market. 

Click-together floors are exactly what they sound like: floors that use special grooves to “lock” together like puzzle pieces. No need to glue or nail anything down—just click the pieces together and lay your new surface over your subfloor as a “floating floor”. And if you’re wondering what subflooring is, it’s simply the raw surface below your finished floor. 

Are there some disadvantages of floating floors? Sure. But their installation is remarkably easy, saving you time and money. And since engineered wood can often be purchased as a click-together product, the cost to install engineered hardwood floors is usually less than the cost to install solid hardwood floors.

Now, speaking of click-together flooring…

Let’s talk about laminate flooring 

What is laminate flooring and why would you use it? Laminate flooring is one of the most widespread hardwood floor alternatives around. It’s affordable, it’s durable, and it can be made to look like just about anything. 

Best of all, it can almost always be bought as a click-together product. That means it’s perfectly suited for wood floor patterns that don’t need any angled cuts. Don’t believe us? Compare laminate vs. hardwood floors side by side and you’ll see why so many people are going with laminate these days.

And as long as we’re talking about laminate flooring…

Let’s talk about LVT//vinyl plank flooring

If you need waterproof and scratch-resistant flooring, LVT (aka vinyl plank) is a fantastic choice. 

One of the best types of vinyl flooring on the market today, vinyl plank is made of 100% synthetic materials. It’s durable, it’s incredibly realistic, and it’s the fastest-growing sector of the flooring industry. And like laminate, it’s commonly sold as click-together flooring.

#2. Diagonal Strip Patterns

Diagonal strip wood floor patterns are precisely what you’d expect—wood planks angled at 45 degrees! Beautiful and relatively easy to install (even for do-it-yourself flooring projects), diagonal strips can often be achieved using click-together materials. This means your wood flooring cost will stay relatively low. Plus, you’ll be able to choose between solid wood, engineered wood, and alternatives like vinyl plank or laminate.

#3. Mixed-Width Patterns

Mixed-width floor patterns, courtesy of shaw
Courtesy of Shaw

Mixed-width patterns are just like horizontal patterns—but they use (you guessed it) planks of varying widths! Like horizontal strips, these patterns make for some of the easiest flooring to install. If you go with a nail- or glue-down installation, they’re a cinch. If you go with a click-together installation, though, you need to make sure that all these planks have the same type of click-lock mechanism. After all, even the most durable wood flooring is only as strong as its installation! And if you’re installing a type of water-resistant wood flooring, the connections between planks can make or break the floor’s waterproof qualities.

#4. Herringbone Parquet 

Herringbone parquet wood floor pattern

We admit it, herringbone parquet is *chef’s kiss*. A classic design you often see in museums and palaces, herringbone is one of those wood floor patterns that’s somehow both posh and understated. 

Fun fact: the first herringbone designs weren’t made from wood flooring at all. During the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, cobblestone and brick walkways were constructed in a herringbone design. 

Because it doesn’t have any angled joints, you can get a herringbone floor with all types of wood flooring and click-together options like laminate and LVT. However: the distinctive pattern can make for a tricky installation. And if you’re buying hardwood floors, you won’t want them to be wasted by imprecise cuts. Our advice: hire a professional for this one!

We adore herringbone patterns with bamboo flooring, too

If you’ve been looking into the best bamboo flooring, you’ll know that it’s beautiful and that it comes in both solid and engineered varieties. And if you’ve compared bamboo flooring vs. laminate, you’ll know that it’s seriously strong as well. But don’t forget—you can also put it in gorgeous wood floor patterns like herringbone parquet, too! Check out the pros and cons of engineered bamboo flooring for more info.

#5. Chevron Parquet 

Chevron parquet wood floor patterns in a modern bedroom

Chevron floors originated in the late 15th to early 16th centuries and are also known as point de hongrie—a reference to the cross stitch pattern that inspired the design. 

Note that chevron parquet is different from herringbone, but to the untrained eye, they can be easy to confuse. The easiest way to tell the difference is to note that herringbone is made up of 90-degree angles, and chevron wood floor patterns are made up of 45-degree angles. 

Unfortunately, because of their angled cuts, it can be much harder to achieve chevron parquet patterns with click-together products. 

But don’t despair: many of the best hardwood floor brands sell engineered wood in both click-together and nail/glue-down setups! There are some engineered wood disadvantages, but versatility is not one of them—the best engineered wood flooring can be used to make any wood floor pattern on this list!

#6. Square Basket Patterns (aka Checkerboards)

Square basket parquet

Square basket patterns—also known as checkerboard patterns—are another classic. If you’ve ever been in a New York City apartment, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Creating these wood floor patterns can be accomplished using contrasting boards applied in an alternating fashion. 

Again: it depends on the types of wood flooring you’re using and the effect you’re trying to create, but these wood floor patterns can be difficult to achieve with click-together floating floors.

Square tiles are great for checkerboard floor patterns

If you want to ditch the wood basket pattern and go full-checkerboard, it’s actually pretty easy to do. If you’ve spent any time looking into tile vs. wood floors, you’ll know that there are some types of tile that look just like wood. Simply alternate darker and lighter wood-look square tiles and you’re made in the shade! 

And speaking of tiles, don’t forget cork!

While we prefer not to call it “fake wood flooring”, cork is an excellent quasi-wood since it’s made from tree bark. And since the best cork flooring options come in a variety of colors and textures, some of which look just like hardwood, you can easily achieve a wood floor pattern with this material.

Even better, you can find cork with peel-and-stick backing. If you’ve ever heard of peel-and-stick carpet tiles, it’s basically the same concept. Just peel off the backing and lay them in a pattern! Make sure you check out the pros and cons of cork flooring—cork is a super cool, eco-friendly option. 

#7. Painted Wood Floor Patterns

Painting is a great way to add fresh designs to your old wood floors (you can even bleach wooden floors, if you’re so inclined.)

You’ll often see this approach in New England, where many people paint their sunroom flooring. And if you’re interested in the best wood flooring for dogs, you’ll find that paint can be used as an additional layer of protection from scratches and scuffs. We love painted wood floor patterns because they can make something special out of just about any type of wood flooring!

Fun fact: you can even paint wood floor patterns on concrete. Yes, you read that right! Concrete flooring that looks like wood is surprisingly gorgeous and incredibly durable. If you need to redo your mudroom flooring (or if you’re on the market for outdoor flooring options) concrete can be a great choice.

The Truth About Wood Floor Patterns Is…

… that they’re only as good as your materials and the person installing them. If you’re working with subpar wood, your patterns aren’t going to pop. If you’re working with a subpar installer, your patterns aren’t going to gleam. Our advice? If you want the best hardwood floors, you need to go straight to the source: a local flooring store in your area

Independent flooring retailers know what they’re talking about—and they can help you with even the most complicated wood floor patterns. What big box store can do that?

Not ready to buy just yet? Check out these other resources to find the floor of your dreams!

About The Author

Dr. Sara Austin

Best known for being “not that kind of doctor” and never knowing which fork to use, Sara is a learning designer and writer, former real estate agent, and builder with a penchant for home design and remodeling.

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