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Updated March 1, 2023
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: picking the best wood floor brand is important and some of the most gorgeous wood floor designs can be tricky to install. Cutting and laying these designs requires a lot of knowledge and expertise.
Expertise matters, but so does the actual material and flooring brand you are working with. We talked to over 1,000 of our readers, and it’s clear that Doma is the most popular brand of flooring for customers looking to create interesting wood floor patterns. 2023 runner up was Proximity Mills and then Newton.
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 real 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 8 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.
PS: if you are looking to find the best wood flooring brand for your project, check out our review of the top 15 here. 👈
#1. Horizontal Strip Patterns
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.
What are click-together floating floors?
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 (and if you’re wondering what subflooring is, it’s simply the raw surface below your finished surface).
So what is a floating floor? It’s one of these click-together surfaces! They get the name because they “float” on top of your subfloor without actually being attached. There are some disadvantages of floating floors, but their installation is remarkably easy, saving you time and money.
Example: engineered wood can often be purchased as a click-together product, meaning the cost to install engineered hardwood floors is usually less than the cost to install solid hardwood floors.
What do floating floors have to do with wood floor patterns?
Why is this important when talking about wood floor patterns? Glad you asked! Since click-together floating floors are almost always installed in horizontal strip patterns, this is, by far, the cheapest wood floor pattern to install.
That being said, you can also achieve this look (and price range) with some other materials.
Laminate is also commonly installed in horizontal strip patterns
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 products like RevWood these days.
And as long as we’re talking about laminate flooring…
And vinyl plank (LVT) flooring is commonly installed this way too
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.
Basically, horizontal strip is the go-to wood floor pattern for most hardwood alternatives
All of that to say: whether you’re thinking of purchasing hardwood, a gorgeous wood-look laminate, or even from the best vinyl plank flooring brands, it doesn’t matter. You can install all of these materials in a horizontal strip pattern.
#2. Diagonal Strip Patterns
We know, that was a lot of information! We’ll stick to talking only about wood floor patterns from here on out, we promise. So: let’s talk about diagonal strip!
Diagonal strip wood floor patterns are precisely what you’d expect—wood planks angled at 45 degrees to the edges of a room.
Diagonal strip patterns are also super easy to install
Beautiful and easy to install (even for do-it-yourself flooring projects), you can usually install diagonal strips relatively easily. Why? because installing this pattern is the exact same as installing a horizontal strip pattern—just oriented at a different angle to your walls!
Translation: you can also achieve this pattern with click-together floors
And that 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. So whether you’re opting for the best hardwood floors or top-notch faux-wood flooring, this wood floor pattern is easy (and affordable) to achieve.
Diagonal strips can open up small rooms
Diagonal patterns are great for “opening up” rooms, giving the illusion of depth. That’s why they’re so good for smaller rooms that might not have a ton of space.
Just remember: diagonal patterns require more cutting
Because you’re installing from the corners of the room outward (rather than from the edges of the room outward), diagonal patterns require you to cut more wood to size. This will increase your labor costs, regardless of what type of flooring you’re using.
And that can increase prices
Keep in mind that some types of wood flooring are harder to cut to size. One of the disadvantages of hickory flooring, for example, is that it can dull saw blades with of its hardness. So installing hickory or another super-hard hardwood species might not be the cheapest option if you want a diagonal strip pattern.
On the other hand, the cost to install vinyl plank flooring probably won’t be affected too much by this wood floor pattern, as vinyl planks are super easy to cut to size.
#3. Mixed-Width Patterns
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.
Mixed-width wood floor patterns are very in-demand
And we mean that as a compliment! These days, everyone is into mixed-width wood floor patterns. They look great with both modern and classic room designs and—as a result—manufacturers are taking notice. There are more and more mixed-width designs on the market all the time.
Meaning you can now buy mixed-width click-together wood
These days, some of the best engineered wood flooring brands even sell click-together mixed-width wood planks. And we think that is awesome. It means you can easily get this wood floor pattern without having to pay a premium for expert installation!
#4. Herringbone Parquet
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.
Herringbone is also relatively easy to install
Because it doesn’t have any angled joints, you can get a herringbone floor with all types of wood flooring and some 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 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.
Remember: chevron and herringbone are not the same wood floor patterns
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, while chevron wood floor patterns are made up of 45-degree angles.
Chevron parquet is a little harder to install
Unfortunately, because of these angled cuts, it can be much harder (if impossible) to achieve chevron parquet patterns with a non-specialized click-together product.
In the picture below, you can see that chevron parquet needs to be cut at 45-degree angles, meaning that you’ll need to hire a pro for this one. And by that, we mean a real installer—not the back-alley “installers” Home Depot and Lowe’s subcontract with.
This can make it more expensive, too
Because it needs to be cut at an angle (and isn’t often sold in click-together versions), this parquet can be a little pricier than some others on this list.
However: 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—meaning you can use the best engineered wood flooring to make chevron parquet if you know what type to buy.
Additionally: some hardwood floor alternatives are now being sold specifically in this pattern. Find a flooring store near you to ask about it!
#6. Square Basket Patterns (aka Checkerboards)
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.
These wood floor patterns are always trendy
If you’re looking for a wood floor pattern that will stay trendy, you couldn’t do better than a square basketweave. They were at their most popular mid-century, but if NYC apartment prices are any indication, they’ll always be in style.
Unfortunately, square basketweave isn’t easy to create
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.
Additionally, engineered wood flooring that comes in pre-fabricated checkerboard basket patterns can get pricey.
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 tiles and you’re made in the shade!
Wood-look tile offers a fantastic way to get checkerboard patterns on a budget.
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 a 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, and most of the disadvantages of cork flooring simply come down to taste.
#7. Painted Wood Floor Patterns
We love painted wood floor patterns because they can make something special out of just about any type of wood flooring!
Painting is a great way to revitalize existing floors
Painting is a great way to add fresh designs to your old wood floors (you can even bleach your wooden floors, if you’re so inclined.) You’ll often see this approach in New England, where many people paint their sunroom flooring.
It’s also a great way to add durability
If you’re looking for the best wood flooring for dogs or other pets, you’ll find that paint can be used as an additional layer of protection from scratches and scuffs.
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.
#8. 3D Parquet
If you’ve ever had the privilege to tour the great manor houses of Europe (and if so, we’re jealous), you may recognize 3D parquet flooring. It’s a bold, beautiful, and dare we say trippy style of flooring that’s been in use for centuries.
3D parquet isn’t easy to achieve
Unfortunately, the illusion of three-dimensional flooring is not easy to create. It takes an expert installer, a good amount of time, and a good amount of wood. Everything must be cut to size, meaning you’ll need to hire someone who really knows what they’re doing.
Our advice? Talk to your local flooring store. They know this stuff inside and out.
But this wood floor pattern is absolutely stunning
It may not be the easiest flooring to install, but there’s no denying that 3D parquet is absolutely stunning. And if you choose to install it in your home, you can rest assured that you’ll be an absolute trendsetter. Just look at that picture above!
And it lets you incorporate different types of wood
Another fun perk of 3D parquet: it allows you to use different types of wood to create the effect. You really can’t get much more personalized than that. Want the appearance of ebony flooring and ash flooring? Incorporate them both into a parquet pattern!
Bonus: since each of those woods age and patina differently, your floor will stay unique forever.
Conclusion: 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!
And as always, if you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to reach out to our pro team directly!