UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2016
The ultimate choice for a luxury look, herringbone flooring – or parquet as it’s also known – is currently a big deal in the interiors world. Fresh, versatile and chic, the staggered chevron pattern mixes harmoniously with a range of vintage and modern styles.
The trend is high profile on Pinterest and even with a little wear and tear, it still looks a dream. However, it doesn’t come cheap so if you’re planning on working the trend in your own home there are plenty of things to consider. We turned to our expert panel for their tips on the classic flooring look.
When we’re in need of advice, we turn to Debra Kacher of DK Interiors. Known for cool, minimalist designs with a sophisticated edge, here are Debra’s tips…
Choosing your colour
The colour you choose should depends on the amount of natural light and the style of the property – greys always look contemporary, natural oak can look both classic and contemporary and warm woods are slightly more classic. You’ll need the colour of the timber to be sympathetic to the style of the surroundings and overall visual direction of the interiors.
How to maintain it
Timber flooring including herringbone is easy to maintain, a good vacuum – no sharp attachments as these will scratch the surface – a quick sweep and a damp not wet mop will do the trick but remember, no washing with water.
Choose natural wood over vinyl
Herringbone is slightly more expensive than other flooring types as it’s more labour intensive to lay but it’s so worth the cost. If you really want to opt for a more affordable vinyl option instead, Amtico Herringbone is great, but nothing substitutes real timber for quality and that luxury finish.
Factor in the cost
Herringbone can start at approximately £50 per square metre + vat. You’ll need to consider the room size and shape, and whether a border is required. A single or double border gives a more classic and traditional look, so if you’re after a more contemporary scheme, keep it borderless.
Either way, the skirting needs to be removed for laying, this way when the flooring is installed, you’ll achieve a good clean edge. The longer and slightly wider the herringbone planks, the more contemporary it will look but you don’t need to go too long or wide – a good proportion is 6ocm L x 10cm W.
Emma Hooton from Emma Hooton Bespoke Residential Interior Design’s aesthetic blends boutique hotel chic with sprawling country house style, so we asked the talented designer for her advice on how to work the trend…
Make your hallway stand out
Herringbone flooring looks impressive in entrance hallways, as it then feeds off to other areas that might be tiled or carpeted for a contrasting finish. It creates an interesting, layered look and feel, particularly useful in new-build houses where the blank interior is screaming out for splash of character. As it has quite an old school feel to it, it lends itself to study or library rooms, and when paired with colourful, handmade flat-weave rugs, gives interest to a scheme.
Opt for greys or soft blacks
For the cool, country-inspired look, we would always go for a grey or soft black stain to work as a neutral basis. Avoid orange toned oaks, and if you prefer the real wood look then a deep dark brown would be a good option.
How to look after it
This style of flooring is no more demanding than other types of wood. Some manufacturers will use a fine matte lacquer finish to their products which makes it super durable. Others will leave the finish natural to develop a patina over time – a natural finish can always be sanded and refinished should stains or scratches occur.
Inspired by minimalist Japanese aesthetics with a British twist, Rachel Laxer of Rachel Laxer Interiors gives us her tips on parquet flooring…
Add decadence to dining rooms
I love herringbone in the dining room – it’s my favourite place for a parquet design. It’s also a great option to maintain and clean as the dining room floor will inevitably get a glass of wine spilled or piece of cake crumbled at some point. When you select an interesting floor design, offset it with fabulous lighting, comfortable plush chairs and wallpaper in a darker colour and with a little added texture to make the room sparkle.
Let time do the talking
The wood will eventually show signs of use, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it will add to its character. I say embrace the patina of time and enjoy your space. Have it cleaned, polished but never be too concerned – it is wood and very durable.
Save or splurge?
Herringbone can be affordable – the key to making things look good is not the cost of the product, but the quality of the how it’s installed. Always ask to see previous work, or trust your designer to work with someone they’ve used in the past. Vinyl can be fun in a playroom, bathroom or cabana, but it’s not my favourite for primary rooms in the home.
An expert in anything from structure to soft furnishings, we asked Deborah Bass Creative Director and Owner of BASE INTERIOR for her take on how to make herringbone work in a home…
Go for larger scale spaces
We find that herringbone works really well when the scale of the pattern can be seen en-masse, so ideally it works well in larger rooms such as a grand reception or wide entrance hall or lobby, or if you are lucky enough to have a large bedroom it will look great there.
Laying herringbone in smaller spaces means the pattern may be cut down awkwardly – especially in a narrow corridor. If you’re using herringbone in a tight space, reducing the size of the blocks will help to achieve the look you are after.
Go for light tones
The herringbone pattern is so versatile, and is not limited to parquet timber flooring. It can be created using marble, porcelain or glass tiles, in brickwork and is often printed on textiles or woven.
In terms of herringbone timber flooring we would recommend using a slightly lighter colour or a timber with some variation in the grain. If the timber is too dark and consistent then you may not pick up on the definition of the blocks. For a more traditional effect, a natural oak or walnut would be ideal however, for a more contemporary look use grey stained or white oiled timbers.
Typical issues will be scratching and stains which can be avoided by minor measures such as trimming pet claws, using door mats effectively and avoiding abrasion where possible. Timber floors can be cleaned day-to-day with a vacuum cleaner or duster and for a ‘wet’ clean, there are specialist wood flooring cleaning products that can be added to water and used with a mop and bucket.
You should only need professional polishing or additional maintenance once a year, and this should avoid the necessity to sand back the wood for re-finishing.
Herringbone on a budget
There are some engineered herringbone floors on the market which may have a slightly lower price point and look good, they are probably initially easier to maintain as they are pre-finished and sealed. TedTodd.co.uk and HavWoods.co.uk would be a good first point of call.
In terms of a vinyl product then unfortunately you will lose the texture that herringbone creates as vinyl is essentially a flat sheet material rather than being made up of individual blocks. For a cheaper alternative, go for wood effect porcelain from someone like PorcelainWood.com – their Prescott Light range can be laid as a herringbone tile and will give a contemporary, clean look and will be very hardwearing.
Meghana Badiani takes a relaxed yet chic approach to design. Here, the Interior Designer and Owner of Elystan Interiors gives us her tips on getting the herringbone trend right…
Think about your space
Herringbone can be used in a wide range of rooms and some parquet floors can make small rooms appear larger when installed properly. Use a diagonal design if you want a small room to look bigger and for a larger room, use different-sized planks and contrasting arrangements for impact. Use wider herringbone planks in a large room to add to the feeling of space and proportion.
Blend with existing colour schemes
This is as much about personal preference as choosing the right colour for a scheme. I tend to use darker tones of wood in a larger traditional scheme as it complements the authentic style and adds warmth to large open spaces. Contemporary schemes tend to favour cool greys. It’s really important to look at the whole look and choose the colour and tone of the wood floor accordingly.
Work the distressed look
Some people really like the worn and torn look of herringbone or parquet flooring. It makes the floor seem authentic. It is possible to sand down, buff and stain a herringbone floor to make it feel brand new, too, so the effort is worth it, whatever look you go for.
Look for reclaimed parquet
It can be costly, but it’s worth looking for reclaimed parquet floor tiles to create a truly authentic look. I love the different tones of mismatched planks but there are many engineered herringbone design flooring options and they are beautiful as well as cost effective.
Contemporary interior stylist Mel Massey blends functionality with vintage and contemporary styles to transform properties anywhere from London to New York. Here are her top herringbone tips…
Make a statement
You can find Herringbone in many forms; tiles, flooring, fabrics, wallpapers and it creates a really beautiful, bold statement. There are no fast and hard rules about where you have herringbone in your home – it could look amazing as bricks in a fireplace, a ‘wow’ entrance hall or cladding on the ceiling of a loft room. I, however, advise to also use it sparingly – choose one area that you want to highlight and add herringbone in whatever form you feel is better - so that the beauty of its unique design pops out in your space.
Cool colour palettes
When thinking about the colour of your Herringbone, you have to consider the colour palette of your room, where you are placing it and what type of application you are using. This will dictate the colour – herringbone comes in an array of colours and textures; some with muted, complimentary tones, some with bold and contrasting. There are no right or wrong answers, just a question of how it fits in your space.
Keeping up appearances
As we’ve said, Herringbone comes in many different constructs so I can’t apply a flat answer to its maintenance. Having said that, I wouldn’t treat herringbone in a particularly special way. I would however ensure it was fitted by a trusted, recommended installer, to make sure that it was absolutely perfect.You don’t want to pay for a beautiful reclaimed oak herringbone floor to find that it’s uneven or has gaps between it. The same construct applies to beautiful herringbone wallpaper; it needs to match up perfectly.
Clever ways to reduce cost
What is affordable for one client, is unaffordable to another. A couple of considerations; think about longevity and sustainability when making your herringbone choice. However, I would suggest to budget (per m2) and application, then research the hell out of it. Always trying to keep an open mind – you never know what you treasures you might come across. Try reclaim yards, high-end companies that often have end of range items for a fraction of the price, or different departments within high street companies.
In terms of using making vinyl Herringbone look good, I would steer clients away from fake wood vinyl – fake always looks fake, so why not choose a creative alternative? I love Mura Floors herringbone or Restless Design’s mismatched herringbone.
How much does it cost?
How long is a piece of string! You can find Oak Herringbone Effect Laminate at Wickes for £19m/2 to £73 m/2 for a pre-finished engineered Oak Herringbone board. One thought is that if you can’t afford to add your favourite Herringbone detail in your whole space, you can part Herringbone it in with a more standard pattern.