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If you’ve been noticing an increase in herringbone wood floors appearing in design magazines and open houses, you’re not wrong. In the past few years, thanks in part the resurgence of mid-century modern styles, this classic custom flooring design has been making a huge comeback in new home starts and remodeling projects across the country. Let’s talk more about this popular design so you can decide if it’s right for your own flooring project.

A Quick History of Herringbone

As the name suggests, herringbone is a design inspired by (of all things) a fish. More to the point, the skeleton of a fish. If the inspiration for herringbone seems unattractive, the design itself can be quite eye-catching. This is why man has been using this pattern off and on for centuries. The earliest examples can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, where herringbone jewelry was popular. In ancient Rome, where builders used herringbone designs on their cut stone floors and even on their roads.

During the Renaissance period when wood flooring became more common in the homes of the wealthy, carpenters discovered herringbone also looked attractive with wood planking, the same as with stone. Examples of herringbone wood floors continued to occur all the way into the 20th Century, until the emergence of “wall-to-wall carpeting” overshadowed wood floors for a time. Today, however, we see the herringbone pattern reappearing almost everywhere, showing up in hardwood floors, tile flooring, accent walls and even fabrics.

Achieving the Herringbone Look in Hardwood Floors

Herringbone wood floors are a simple enough design, but they do take a bit of work and craftsmanship. True herringbone consists of perfect rectangular wood planks placed at exact 90-degree angles in a repeating “zig-zag” pattern. Although the pattern itself is quite consistent, you can achieve different looks  based on whether the planks are large or small, wide or narrow, etc. We can create even more visual interest by varying the shades of the planks.

Herringbone wood floors can evoke elegance and richness in any space large or small, but they also create a sense of movement which can also help add a warm sense of depth and spaciousness. To see examples of this popular custom flooring pattern and decide whether it’s right for you, give Renaissance a call today at 918-298-4477.