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Everything You Need to Know About Herringbone Floors

I have to admit I am totally obsessed with herringbone floors, especially those done with wood. They are stunning and really take a home to the next level design-wise.

Herringbone is a classic pattern that doesn’t really ever go out of style. It is a pattern made up of rectangles that are stacked in a staggered V-shape. The term herringbone actually is derived from the bones of a fish and how their backbones look (such as a herring).

Now I am sure that after you read this and see all the amazing photos you will be just as obsessed with herringbone floors as I am!

A kitchen with white outer cabinets and a sage green island with white countertops and herringbone floors.
Source: Emily Henderson

*This post contains affiliate links. For more details see my full disclosure.

Are herringbone floors out of style?

As I said before herringbone floors are a timeless classic design element that never goes out of style. There are times where it surges in popularity and others when it doesn’t.

Right now herringbone floors are very very popular and if you are putting down new floors or building a new house then you should definitely consider adding them.

Are herringbone floors a good idea?

Herringbone floors are a fabulous idea! They are beautiful and create a more sophisticated look to a home.

You can do herringbone floors in wood, tile, or brick. The possibilities are endless.

What’s the difference between herringbone and chevron floors?

Herringbone and Chevron all fall under a more broad term for these types of flooring that is parquet. If you are anywhere close to my age then you remember parquet from the old basketball courts and might give you a little shiver of disgust.

Parquet is basically a pattern made from cuts of wood. You have the old pattern that we won’t really talk about because it’s so out of style. Then you have chevron and herringbone.

A chevron pattern is when the wood is cut in a rectangle pattern and laid in a V-shape but the pattern is right next to one another and this gives you that line at each change of direction. The image below is a chevron pattern.

A large room with no furniture, white walls and chevron floors pointing toward a fireplace with a huge mirror above.
Source: New York City Wood Floors

The herringbone pattern also has the v-shape but it is stacked on top of one another and you won’t get that distinct line in between the changes in direction. The image below is a herringbone pattern.

A kitchen with dark green cabinets, white counters and a wood picnic style table on herringbone floors.
Source: V4 Wood Flooring

Are herringbone floors more expensive?

It is more expensive to install herringbone floors than it is to install wood floors in a straight line. The biggest reason is that it is harder and more time consuming so your labor costs will be up. There is also a slight difference in the amount of product you will need, herringbone patterns will use a bit more.

So all in all the average amount a herringbone floor will cost you is roughly 30% more than a traditional floor. Is it worth it? You bet it is! If you have the extra money then I would totally do it.

Is it difficult to lay a herringbone floor?

A herringbone floor in the middle of being installed.
Source: This Old House

Yes, it is harder to lay a herringbone flor than it is a traditional straight floor. The biggest reason is if you make even the tiniest of mistakes then the whole pattern will get thrown off. If one of your cuts is slightly off then the whole thing will get off.

I would definitely leave this type of flooring to the professionals. This isn’t something that the average DIY’er should attempt, you might be pulling your hair out by the days end.

Where should I install herringbone floors?

First let me tell you where you shouldn’t install herringbone floors.

Do not install herringbone floors in a room where you plan to put an area rug because you will just be covering up all that beauty.

Do not install herringbone floors in any room that is small and furniture will be taking up most of the floor space.

It doesn’t make sense to go through the added cost only to cover up all that beauty.

An entryway with a white staircase and light wood herringbone floors.
Source: The Fox Group

A great place to add herringbone floors is in an entryway. The pattern will encourage your guests to move through your home and it adds a huge amount of wow factor.

A kitchen with medium gray cabinets, white countertops and light herringbone wood floors.
Source: Devol Kitchens

A kitchen is also a great place to put in herringbone floors. They will make the space feel larger.

Home offices are another one that is great for herringbone floors. I also love to see them in bathrooms. You can choose to do the herringbone in wood or tile, they both have the same effect.

In what direction should I lay a herringbone floor?

An entryway with herringbone floors and a black interior door.
Source: Mrs. Paranjape

I love how in the image above the wood floors give you a sense of direction. When you walk in the door you get the feeling of being persuaded to move through the entryway on to the family room.

Always install the herringbone pattern to point towards the focal point in a room. Whether it’s a fireplace, another room the herringbone pattern will draw the eye towards that focal point.

Do herringbone floors make a room look bigger?

Yes they do. This is sort of a trick of the eye. The herringbone pattern give your eyes something to move towards and therefore create the illusion of a larger space.

Where to buy herringbone floors?

You can buy herringbone floors just about anywhere. You can go to a local store or order them online.

You don’t even have to purchase them as herringbone floors. You can order wood planks and your installer can cut them and install them as a herringbone pattern. Just make sure you check with them to see how much this will increase your installation costs.

One place that is really affordable to purchase herringbone floors is They have tons of options and good quality products.

A few tips on choosing floors:

  • make sure you get a satin or matte finish if you have kids or pets as they will show scratches less.
  • if you are purchase your floors unfinished and your installer is finishing them make sure you use Bona Traffic Hd. It’s a water based poly and will not turn your floors yellow with time.

How to clean herringbone floors?

Once you have your herringbone floors installed and finished you need to keep them clean. It’s really important to use the right floor cleaner so that you don’t damage your gorgeous new floors!

I highly recommend using Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. It’s safe for hardwoods and won’t leave a residue that will build up over time.

Other flooring posts you might be interested in:

Nine photos of herringbone wood floors and text overlay.

As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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