How To Use Herringbone Wood Floors in Your Home

Natural herringbone wood flooring in an entryway with a marble pedestal table
Above: Design by Carsyn Lamb | Photography by Davis Photo Designs - Matthew Davis | Floor featured: Old Town

Herringbone wood floors are here to stay. The timeless pattern has been loved for thousands of years, its 45-degree rectangles creating a distinct geometric array, that is complementary in clothing, jewelry, and even in flooring with a soft elegance that’s just as chic as the little black dress. In Ancient Egypt, royals wore herringbone jewelry, while Romans laid bricks and roadways in the strong, interlocking motif, and in 16th-century Europe herringbone began to appear in interiors. 

Why Herringbone

Why should you consider purchasing herringbone wood floors for your home? Herringbone fits in amid modern and traditional architecture and with styles in between. Use herringbone to highlight a certain space like a foyer, kitchen, or dining room, or create uniformity throughout an entire level. 

Design editors also predict herringbone will continue to be popular in 2024 due to the flooring’s eye-catching movement and texture, plus it can be used in a myriad of ways that will keep it feeling fresh for years to come. 

How to Install Herringbone Wood Floors

Traditionally, herringbone wood floors are installed with a painstaking sand-and-finish method. Planks are installed, sanded for an even surface, stained, and then sealed. While this method is common, it has its fair share of drawbacks, including a labor-intensive, time-consuming install that can leave sawdust all over your home. Want herringbone without the difficulties or dust? Our prefinished herringbone wood floors — Old Town and Sisu — are crafted to lay flat and can be glued down and enjoyed right away. 

Infographic showing facts about herringbone flooring

Mix and Match With Herringbone

Old Town and Sisu are perfect picks for those wanting easy-to-install, well-crafted herringbone floors. Old Town is stain-free with a matte acrylic finish to show off the beauty of natural oak. It will bring an Old World charm to your home. If you decide to use herringbone in one portion/room of your home, but traditional straight-lay planks in others, Tivoli, Frida, Happy Hour, Forest, All Aboard, and the soon-to-be-released floor, High Five, are ideal matches due to their natural oak tone. 

Sisu, on the other hand, is a modern herringbone with a soft blonde hue. It’s identical in tone to Fika, plus will complement our other neutral floors such as Swell, Little Square, Popup, and a soon-to-be-released veneer product, Giddy Up. 

Mix and match herringbone with traditional planks for a playful and unexpected design touch. 

When it comes to installation, there are a few technical things to consider. Sisu is about .2" shorter than Fika, for example. You could use an Overlap Reducer transition between the two to make up for this difference, or a more aesthetic option would be to ramp up the herringbone to equal the height of the straight plank by sanding down the boards so they lie flat. It's a more involved process and would require a talented installer.

One of our preferred installers, B.J. Brown, owner of Ingrained By Nature, has a few suggestions for meeting herringbone with a straight-lay floor. “If it’s a small area, like an entryway, identify the border and use a self-leveling compound to float up that .2 inches,” he says. 

“You don’t want any sharp edges popping up, so you could also use sheathing under the herringbone with masonite or thin plywood to make up the difference,” he adds. 

If you plan to combine herringbone with another floor, the best option would be to find an installer in your area to help you pull off beautiful, level flooring with ease. 

Image of herringbone flooring in a modern Brooklyn kitchenAbove: Design by Brownstone Boys | Photography by Nick Glimenakis