Design Guide: Endless Possibilities of Wood Flooring Layout Patterns

Design Guide: Endless Possibilities of Wood Flooring Layout Patterns

© Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)

Wood floors bring warmth, personality and style to any interior space, whether old or new. Rustic and elegant, wood also has excellent thermal properties, a pleasant temperature to the touch, and can even improve the acoustics of a space by absorbing sound waves. They are also very durable and resistant to daily use. It is therefore not surprising that they are one of the favorite and most coveted materials for residential interiors. Wooden floors are also very visually appealing, with a large amount of variation possible in their design. Parts can vary greatly depending on which part of the trunk they come from, even if they come from the same manufacturer and the same species of tree. Colors and designs also vary with different tree species, from light yellows to dark browns, with endless possibilities. In addition, it is possible to create different types of patterns when laying the floor, depending on the dimensions of the pieces used and the effect desired for the space.

Cortesia from Admonter Holzindustrie AG
Cortesia from Admonter Holzindustrie AG

Wood has a long history in interior design. Around the 16th century, some buildings were constructed with wooden floors. But without the modern tools to treat the wood and sand it, fix it and glue it properly, its appearance was coarse and unrefined, with rough surfaces and gaps between the boards. Louis XIVKing of France, commissioned in 1684 to replace the marble floors of the Palace of Versailles with a complex modulation of oak parquet floors, which created an instant frenzy among the French aristocracy. The palace floor pattern is still in use today and consists of an arrangement of rectangular and square rooms, framed by rectangular tablets. The use of smaller pieces – or parquets – allowed for a plethora of layout patterns, much like a large jigsaw puzzle, while preventing longer pieces from warping. There are currently many sizing options available on the market, from small nets to sturdy tablets. See some of the most commonly used wooden floors below:

Cortesia of Bjelin
Cortesia of Bjelin

Rectangular pieces

Rectangular.  Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Rectangular. Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)

This is the most commonly used model for long wooden floors. The panels are laid parallel to each other, with many professionals recommending that the installation be done perpendicular to the light entering through the doors and windows of the space, so that the seams are not as noticeable. It is also common to lay the planks in the direction of the smallest dimension of the room, in order to create an effect of widening the space.

Centered Home / also architects.  Image © Brandon Shigeta
Centered Home / also architects. Image © Brandon Shigeta

Because it is a natural material, wood expands and contracts slightly as temperature and humidity change. The larger the pieces, the greater the risk, as the aforementioned modifications can weaken the flooring. Therefore, it is always important that the junctions between the parts (the most fragile places) are evenly spaced.

Living with sunlight / MOVEDESIGN.  Image © Yousuke Harigane
Living with sunlight / MOVEDESIGN. Image © Yousuke Harigane

“Zigzag” pattern

Herringbone / Herringbone.  Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Herringbone / Herringbone. Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Cortesia of Bjelin
Cortesia of Bjelin

The zigzag or V layout is also known as herringbone or herringbone patterns. In the first case, the pieces of wood are rectangular and fit together at their ends, forming an angle of 90 degrees between them. The herringbone pattern is quite old, with traces of its use among the Egyptians and Romans, under the name of Opus Spicatum.

Apartment Wood Ribbon / Toledano+Architects.  Image © Salem Mostefaoui
Apartment Wood Ribbon / Toledano+Architects. Image © Salem Mostefaoui

The Chevron pattern is also derived from the zigzag shape, although what makes it unique is the way it is cut. The pieces are not nested, as in the other two examples, but cut to fit together perfectly along an axis, forming a line. This creates a stiffer, more angular look for the floor.

Square shapes

Basket weave / Diagonal basket weave.  Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Basket weave / Diagonal basket weave. Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Chantily/Versailles.  Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Chantily/Versailles. Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)

They are sets of pieces that form repeating square shapes. They can create a wide range of patterns, like the rather simple checkerboard, or more complex ones, like the aforementioned Versailles and others that form segmented shapes throughout the space. It is precisely for this reason that its use is recommended for large surfaces.

Reforma do Apartamento Alphonse / Match, architecture office.  Image © Antoine Bonnafous
Reforma do Apartamento Alphonse / Match, architecture office. Image © Antoine Bonnafous
Cortesia of Itlas
Cortesia of Itlas

Hexagonal and diamond-shaped pieces

Hexagonal / Diamond.  Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Hexagonal / Diamond. Image © Eduardo Souza (ArchDaily)
Cortesia from Admonter Holzindustrie AG
Cortesia from Admonter Holzindustrie AG

These models are the most complex to work because they lack precise angles, either 45 or 30 degrees, to obtain the exact arrangement of the parts. They appear as three-dimensional patterns on the floor, which can be amplified by using different shades on each piece.

Apartment B84 / Cantagalo Arquitetos.  Image © João Magnus
Apartment B84 / Cantagalo Arquitetos. Image © João Magnus

Although extremely durable and reusable, it is important that natural wood floors receive proper treatment to keep them moisturized and waterproof, for example by using varnishes and oils. Also, it is important to avoid exposing wooden floors to too much water, as this can damage the pieces.

See everything parquet product options on Architonic.

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