October 24, 2019 | Updated: February 13, 2023

Trends & Styles

Herringbone flooring; timeless, classic and elegant

Sometimes the traditional way of doing things is hard to improve upon, which is the case with herringbone flooring.

The grand houses of years gone by typically had decorative floors, often featuring herringbone flooring pattern timber floorboards. Today, herringbone flooring continues to impress and delight but is much more affordable, and accessible to all.

Through this article, we explore the reasons why herringbone flooring is a great way to add a sophisticated touch to your home. Furthermore, we look at the different ways that you can exploit its potential in every room of the house, whether it be herringbone tiles, real timber or laminate.

Herringbone flooring

Smart Tanzania White 22×90 (Available in-store)


What is herringbone flooring? 

Have you ever contemplated the skeleton of a fish on your dinner plate, after stripping away its flesh? If you have, you’ll have noticed the criss-cross pattern of the bones. This is what inspires the name, herringbone, not to be confused with chevron, which we will look at separately. Nevertheless, both chevron and herringbone flooring consists of short linear boards laid at 45 degrees in alternating rows. They are both types of parquet flooring. That word derives from the French language meaning a small, enclosed area. Floor tiles that mimic the same pattern are also laid in a herringbone pattern.


▶ Herringbone Vs. Chevron Pattern

The difference between chevron and herringbone flooring is that chevron is cut at an angle to create parallel lines at junctions. In other words, the ends are adapted, while herringbone is square cut.

Herringbone pattern
Chevron pattern

Different herringbone flooring alternatives

The herringbone wood floor pattern can be applied to all sorts of flooring materials; from laminate to engineered, solid to reclaimed wood flooring. The only requirement is that the laying pattern and the straight-cut angles be respected. As well as wood, the most popular alternative herringbone flooring materials include the following.


#1 Herringbone Wood Flooring 

Wood flooring is favoured in the home because of the warmth and organic feel that it provides. The geometric motif provides visual interest. Furthermore, the material itself is warm and appealing underfoot.

▶ Where to use: The living room, for example, is an ideal location for herringbone wood flooring. Humid areas, however, are not suitable for wood flooring. Wood is a porous material, meaning it absorbs and releases moisture. On the other hand, special care should be taken with direct exposure to sunlight. Rugs can be used but care should be taken to allow the geometric motif to be appreciated.


Classic 1L Herringbone Camel 13×73.5×1.4 (Available in-store)


#02 Herringbone Tiles

Herringbone wood effect tiles are recommended for areas in the home where humidity and ongoing maintenance are a consideration. Areas where regular cleaning is required and resistance to spills and water damage is the decisive factor. Thus, because of these qualities, herringbone tiles appear sophisticated and elegant while remaining highly functional and unpretentious.

▶ Where to use: For the kitchen, the hall or the bathroom, herringbone tiles look like a million dollars and are easy to keep in mint condition.


Manhattan Colonial 29.4X120

Smart Tanzania Natural 22X90

Minessota Ash 25×150

Oxford Natural 19.3X120


#03 Herringbone Laminate Flooring

Engineered timber flooring and laminate timber flooring provide alternatives to solid wood floors. Engineered refers to a top layer of real timber bonded to a cheaper timer or plywood floorboards. Laminate is a synthetic product where layers of materials are bonded and finished with a decorative layer that simulates timber. With either engineered flooring or herringbone laminate flooring the costs are significantly reduced.

▶ Where to use: The laminate herringbone floor is ideal for living rooms and open-plan living. A continuous floor finish can help unify different spaces where contrasting demands must be satisfied. Engineered herringbone flooring will provide a classic elegant finish in reception areas and living rooms. The quality of the finish is noticeable underfoot.


#04 Herringbone Vinyl Flooring

The resistance and hardwearing qualities of vinyl can also be harnessed for other types of herringbone flooring, not just laminate. Even experts would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between vinyl and real wood nowadays. Herringbone vinyl flooring recreates a classic pattern with a very modern, sophisticated material.

▶ Where to use: Herringbone vinyl flooring is recommended for areas where humidity and heavy foot traffic are concerns. The kitchen, the hall and the mud rooms must resist wear and tear but also look good.


Herringbone Vinyl Flooring


How to choose herringbone flooring

Now that we have presented the different options in materials the next question is how to go about choosing the right herringbone flooring for your home. There are several criteria that will help in this regard:

  • Scale: The whole point of herringbone flooring is that it is attractive and appealing to the eye. So, therefore, it follows that it must be seen. Choosing the right size plank or tile for the space is important. Too small and the pattern becomes too busy and fussy. Too large, and the visual effect is lost.
  • Colour: With regards to timber herringbone flooring lighter woods tend to brighten darker spaces. However, the darker colour woods add elegance and a chic gravitas to living rooms. Whatever the colour choice the other elements of the room can adapt to lighten a darker wood or vice versa.
  • Finish: Given the additional effort and cost of herringbone flooring it makes sense to highlight the flooring material. For example, oak herringbone flooring combines quality timber with an elegant pattern. Similarly, terracotta effect herringbone flooring can add a solid elegant rustic-style look to kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Contemporary herringbone flooring: Tastes in home décor evolve over time, and flooring is no different. With choices like grey herringbone flooring or even white herringbone flooring we can make something classic feel very contemporary. This is a trend that has been around for a while now in living room areas and open-plan kitchens.

Bathroom herringbone flooring

With wood effect tiles in herringbone flooring, the modern bathroom can have the feel of a home spa. Given the reduced dimensions of the bathroom, it’s preferable to have a smaller or narrower tile. To add depth, angle the tile linear strip along the bathroom’s longest axis. Use contemporary colours like grey and white to really achieve the ‘wow’ factor.

Herringbone kitchen floor

The kitchen today is, more than ever, a space for entertaining as well as working. That makes herringbone flooring the perfect choice for elegant décor, marking its importance as the centre of the home. Herringbone kitchen tiles are now in wood effect, as well as hard-wearing vinyl or laminate. The meeting of technology and aesthetics is perfectly expressed and recognises the fact that the kitchen is where most of the budget goes on UK home refurbishment projects.


The decorative possibilities of herringbone flooring

When you lay herringbone flooring in a space, or a room people will notice. It is out of the ordinary and looks expensive, although it isn’t necessarily much more expensive than normal laying patterns. The herringbone bond is stronger and more interconnected by its very nature. For that reason, the entrance and the hall are also good places for herringbone flooring. It makes a good impression and provides a decorative flourish that will also add value to your home. But most importantly of all, herringbone flooring will repay you with its visual impact and practical performance.



Forest Acero 22X90 (Available in-store)


How to lay herringbone flooring

Herringbone flooring is not suitable for the DIY beginner. Thus, we highly recommend using a qualified tiler or carpenter, depending on the material. Whatever the choice of material, it’s important to calculate the area of the space in order to minimize waste and ensure a successful outcome. Furthermore, it’s important to note that herringbone flooring is more expensive than other alternatives because it involves more cutting of the material. Therefore, prior to commencing the project, it’s advisable to work out the pattern and plan accordingly.


Practical considerations with herringbone flooring

As well as the size of the space and the dimension of the tile, another consideration is the condition of the floor. Floating or non-glued down herringbone floors must be perfectly flat. The herringbone pattern is non-forgiving in that regard and can become damaged over time.


▶ With all these possibilities and potential, the most reliable way to choose the correct scale, colour and finish for your herringbone flooring is to see these options in reality. Follow this link to make an appointment at your nearest showroom. You can also browse our selection of products in our online shop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *