In this guide to wood floor patterns we share the most popular types of wood floor layouts & designs for your home projects. Wood floors are classic and popular for good reasons. They are durable, attractive, and highly customizable. Professional design and installation help will make your renovation or new construction a breeze, but there is a cost involved.
If you’re confident in your DIY skills and have some basic tools, it is absolutely possible to install your own wood pattern floor.
Whichever route you choose to take, you will benefit from knowing more about the materials, installation, maintenance, and pattern options available to you.
Wood Pattern Design
For wood pattern design materials, there are two choices — solid or engineered wood.
Solid wood floors, like the name suggests, are constructed of planks of real wood. Engineered wood can also use real wood, but it is a much thinner layer that is glued onto a base layer of plywood or HDF (high-density fiberboard.)
When it comes to installation methods, there are some terms you need to know. The first is ‘subfloor’. When your home was constructed, the joists went in first. These are the long strips of wood that will support the surface your family walks on.
A subfloor covers those joists and the gaps between them, providing a flat surface to walk on as the rest of the house is constructed. Usually, the subfloor is made of plywood.
When it comes time to finish the construction, choices must be made about what kind of floor to install. A glue-down or nail-down floor is attached directly to the subfloor.
The glue or nails hold the floor tightly to the subfloor, which eliminates any gap or air space. This type of installation is common with solid wood floors.
A floating floor is another option. Floating floors are not attached to the subfloor at all. There is a cushion of air between the floor and the subfloor, which can make it more comfortable to walk on.
However, this same feature can also change the acoustics of the floor and the room, as sound reverberates through the empty space. Footsteps may sound louder, and sound may bounce around more in a room with a floating floor.
Any wood will respond to humidity, expanding during periods of high humidity and contracting when there is less water in the air. In temperate climates, this does not pose a problem for either floating or solid wood floors.
Where there is exceptionally high humidity, a floating floor is not ideal, because moisture can get trapped between the floor and the subfloor, putting you at risk for mold and mildew.
Since floating floors depend on pressure to keep them in place rather than hardware or adhesive, they are at a higher risk for warping than solid wood floors.
Floating floors are generally constructed from click-together flooring, also called click-lock or snap-together flooring. Hardwood click-lock flooring is available, but it is less common than engineered versions of the product.
Snap-together flooring has a tongue-and-groove system cut into the sides of each plank, allowing them to interlock and eliminating any space between floorboards. The pressure and strength of this joint are what holds your floor together.
It is possible to mix and match different lengths, widths, and even styles of click-together flooring to custom-build the floor of your choice.
However, compatibility can be an issue. Different manufacturers may use slightly different shaped connections, so it is generally recommended to stick with one supplier for all your flooring project needs.
Even different products from the same line can have different installation requirements, so you may want to check with your local flooring installation professional, or talk to the salesperson at your local flooring showroom before making your final purchase.
Of course, you can get the look of wood without using wood at all. Vinyl flooring and laminate flooring have come a long way since being introduced to the market, and can reliably approximate the look of real wood.
It won’t feel exactly the same underfoot, and design hounds will be able to tell that it isn’t real wood, but it is attractive and very common.
The cost savings and ease of installation make vinyl or laminate an attractive choice for achieving a wood, or at least wood-like, pattern floor.
Vinyl or laminate floors are not possible to refinish. Engineered wood has a thin layer of hardwood on the top, called a ‘veneer’. It may be possible to refinish this veneer on some products, while others cannot be sanded down and refinished.
A solid hardwood floor is likely to last longer without requiring a replacement since it can be sanded down and refinished several times.
Wood Floor Layout Patterns
When the material for your floor has been determined, it’s time to turn your attention to the pattern of the floor. The pattern of a floor simply refers to the way that the pieces of wood are laid out.
From simple straight planks to intricate inlays, to patterns inspired by French kings, there is something to suit every taste, budget, and style of home. Some of the most common floor patterns are outlined below.
One of the easiest patterns to achieve, a straight patterned wood floor is a popular and easy to install DIY option. In this pattern, long horizontal planks are laid next to each other.
If you’re using solid wood floors, these are either nailed or glued to the subfloor. If you’re using an engineered solution, like click-together flooring, there is no need to secure it to the subfloor.
Straight patterned wood floors are a popular choice for first-time installers. Many types of tongue and grove flooring use a straight lay pattern as they fit together quickly for an easier install process.
In a diagonal pattern wood floor, the floorboards all go in the same direction but are laid at an angle to the walls.
The longest boards will stretch diagonally across the room, from corner to corner. Planks are cut into smaller and smaller lengths to fill the remaining two corners.
Suitable for the confident DIYer, diagonal patterned wood floors require more cuts than straight patterned floors. You will also need to make diagonal cuts where the floorboards meet the walls.
Diagonal patterned wood floors require careful planning to avoid wasted material. Consider having your cut plan reviewed by an experienced installer, if you know one, or better yet, hire this job out.
Herringbone Pattern Wood Floor
Herringbone is a popular pattern for everything from twill skirts to duvet covers to painted walls, and yes, it all started with wooden floors.
Named for its similar appearance to the skeleton of a herring, a herringbone-patterned wood floor is a repeating pattern made up of boards set at ninety-degree angles.
Each strip of wood is cut to the same size, usually about eighteen inches. The strips of wood are rectangles.
To start the pattern, the short side of the first piece of wood is placed touching the end of another piece of wood, along the second piece of wood’s longer side. This creates a V. The short end of the next piece of wood is laid parallel to the first, and so on.
The end result is that of long planks made up of shorter, diagonal pieces. There is a staggered zigzag shape across the floor.
This style is one of the oldest patterns for wooden floors, and as such, it is a great choice for homes with traditional or historic construction elements.
Double Herringbone floor Pattern
The double herringbone floor pattern uses two planks stacked side by side to create the design layout rather than one.
This pattern creates the illusion of more space by drawing the eye to the V within the layout. This pattern is often used in a smaller room design to help increase its size.
Chevron Pattern Wood Floor
A chevron-patterned wood floor can be thought of as the updated, contemporary cousin of the herringbone pattern. It uses a very similar technique, except instead of cutting the wood pieces that make up the larger planks into rectangles, they are cut into parallelograms.
This eliminates the staggered zigzag characteristic of herringbones and provides the clean look of boards coming together at perfect 45-degree angles.
It will require more expertise in cutting, so again, caution is needed to avoid wasting materials. This pattern is best suited for experienced DIYers or professional installers.
Versailles Pattern Wood Floor
The Palace of Versailles is known for its architecture and design. One of the most sumptuous royal residences ever created, every detail was intended to glorify the reign of design-obsessed Louis XIV. Intricately beautiful, this design is best left to professional installers.
The design consists of a series of squares, much like a patchwork quilt. Each square measures about three feet by three feet and has an outer border composed of 4 rectangular pieces of wood.
Inside the border, a criss-cross, lattice, or woven pattern is achieved with rectangular strips of wood, laid at a diagonal to the borders. The empty spaces are filled in with square pieces of wood.
Staggered Wood Floor Patterns
In this pattern, all the planks are the same width, but they are cut to a few different standard lengths. One row of flooring uses longer planks, and the next uses shorter planks.
The result is a staggered wood floor that looks intentional, rather than haphazard.
Basketweave patterned wooden floors are created by carefully cutting and laying down rectangular pieces of wood in a diagonal pattern.
The way they are laid makes it look as if one piece of wood is going under another, similar to the way fibers are used to weave baskets.
Where spaces between the basket fibers would be, the gap is instead filled in with square pieces of wood.
Basketweave patterns take one of the most attractive elements of the Versailles patterns, the lattice or woven pattern, but rather than breaking it up into squares with borders, the pattern simply repeats, covering the entire floor.
While the visual effect is simpler than a Versailles pattern wood floor, the installation can be more technically demanding. For this reason, a professional installer is recommended for basketweave pattern wood floors.
Double Basket Weave Floor Pattern
Adding to the regular basket weave floor pattern the double provides an extra plank to the weave design of the pattern.
This type of pattern hearkens back to the 1920’s time period where basket weave layout were widely used for interior design projects. Therefore it may be best used for those looking for a more traditional interior design style
The name says it all — wood is cut into rectangles the size of bricks, which are then arranged on the floor in the same way a brick wall would be constructed.
First, a row of bricks is laid down. The second row is staggered so that the middle of each brick is above the seam created by the bricks below it. This is a great pattern for bamboo floors, or for anyone who has lots of small pieces of wood to work with.
Stack Bond Floor Pattern
A stack bond floor pattern can be used to get a contemporary look for interior designs. It’s layout features planks laid in a straight line that are stacked horizontally one above the other in a grid pattern.
The stack bond pattern is often used in kitchen backsplashes bathroom tile and in commercial areas. It is one of the easiest types of tile patterns and as such is widely popular.
Checker Board Pattern
The checkerboard also called the ‘square basket,’ is a pattern that was very popular in the 1970s, and so it can look a little dated. Small square tiles are created by combining rectangles of wood.
These tiles are placed in an alternating pattern — first horizontal, then vertical — to create a square basket or checkerboard pattern on your floor.
Mosaic Floor Pattern
The mosaic floor pattern can have many different styles. Traditionally mosaic referred to different size glass or pottery tiles that were arranged together to form pictures or patterns.
For flooring many patterns typically fall under the term mosaic. These are frequently used as wood floor inlays that create interesting design elements inside a regular flooring layout.
This pattern is a variation on the straight pattern wood floor. When laid horizontally, meaning parallel to the room’s longest wall, evenly sized planks will provide the illusion of a larger, longer space.
The patterns discussed so far have been notable in that they all use planks of wood that are cut to a uniform width. A mixed-width pattern is suitable for a straight or diagonally patterned floor.
This design uses plans that are different widths — some wider and some narrower, to achieve a variegated look.
Best suited for spaces with a touch of rustic decor, this pattern looks fantastic in farmhouses or when created from repurposed or reclaimed barn wood.
Wood Inlay Patterns
Probably the most expensive, technically difficult, and visually stunning of any floor pattern, wood inlay is highly customizable. Different colors of wood are custom cut and carefully laid to create intricate patterns.
Wood inlay is similar to mosaic in that it uses many small pieces to create a larger design, but instead of tile, wood is used.
A master carpenter can design a wood inlay especially for your space. There are also common patterns to choose from. The more intricate a pattern is, the more you should expect to pay for design and installation.
Wood inlay floors often use specialty woods to achieve contrast, which can add to the cost of your wooden floor. Also, expect to pay more for materials, since there will be more scraps of wasted wood left over when your floor is finished.
However, if your budget allows for a wood inlay pattern floor, it may quickly become your favorite element of the room.
Tell us what are your favorite wood floor patterns in the comments below. For more related content visit our gallery of tile patterns.