Wood Floor Layout Patterns: The Beginner’s Design Guide

Wood floors are beautiful all on their own. The grain of the wood, the natural or stain-enhanced colors, and the shine on the boards all make them stand out in your home. However, if you want to make them even more attractive, consider laying those floors out in a pattern. 

There are many different patterns to pick from, and putting them into place is easy, as long as you get those first planks into the correct place. Are you ready to see just how cool and attractive a patterned wood floor can be?

Different Types of Patterns

One of the best things about wood floors is that you have plenty of choices when it comes to installing them. Unlike tile, which comes in squares that limit the number of patterns you can attempt to pull off, hardwood flooring planks come in long segments that need to be cut down to size. 

Depending on how involved you want to get when developing a pattern, you can cut those planks in numerous ways to make them fit. The hardest problem you may have is choosing a pattern. Here are some of the most common ones.

Staggered Seams

As a standard floor pattern, it makes plenty of sense to set your hardwood planks up so that they’re at staggered lengths across the floor. Why? Well, to begin with, it provides plenty of visual appeal. 

A floor full of boards the same length placed right next to each other doesn’t look quite as nice. It’s clear that there are planks there. When they’re staggered, the pieces blend together better, creating a floor that’s easier on the eye.

In addition, the seams between the planks are fairly weak. They are where the individual planks push against each other when the weather warms up and where they shrink away from each other when it cools off. 

When the seams are straight and right up against each other, not staggered in any way, the wood floor is weak in those spots and more prone to cracking and other damage. Staggering those planks, on the other hand, makes the floor stronger.

Herringbone Patterns

There’s nothing quite like a classic herringbone pattern. Consisting of short wood planks laid in a v-pattern, next to more planks of the same size and width set up in an opposite v-pattern, a herringbone floor is easy to set up. 

You can even choose two different shades of wood and arrange them in an alternating pattern to add a little extra fun to the herringbone.

You’ll often see herringbone floors on the first floor of a home, particularly in the foyer, living room, and dining room, where visitors can see and admire them. 

Diagonal Patterns

A diagonal pattern is exactly what it sounds like. Take a traditional staggered wood plank floor and turn it on a diagonal. Instead of starting the floorboards so that they’re perpendicular to the wall and ensuring that they stay straight, depending on the direction the room faces, a diagonal pattern starts at one corner and works its way outward.

This type of pattern is pretty classic, and since it’s like a standard staggered floor pattern, it’s very easy to pull off on your own. If you want to make one or two rooms in your home stand out, then, by all means, place those boards on a diagonal.


A chevron floor requires some tricky woodcuts, as well as plenty of planning (definitely lay out the boards beforehand). However, the results are worth it. Remember the parallelogram from geometry class? You’ll need to use that knowledge here because each plank needs to be cut into a parallelogram, with half of them facing the opposite way of the others.

When setting up the floor, arrange one row of parallelograms, one on top of the other in a row, going from one wall to the one on the opposite side. For the next row, choose the parallelograms that face the opposite way and set them up the same way as the others, then keep alternating the rows in this manner until the entire floor is covered. A chevron pattern will appear as you install each row.


Dating back to Louis XIV, the Versailles pattern is fairly complicated, but it looks cool. We recommend you use this floor pattern (named after the French palace, Versailles) in smaller areas, like a foyer, where it can have more visual impact and won’t get covered by furniture or rugs.

Consisting of squares traditionally three feet square and bordered by straight planks arranged on a diagonal against those squares, the Versailles pattern looks a little like a quilt. It is a bit complex but is worth the effort. This pattern definitely needs to be laid out before you begin cutting the boards.

Basket Weave

Similar to the Versailles pattern, only smaller, a basket weave pattern consists of the same squares interspersed with longer, straight planks, only on a smaller scale. Unlike the Versailles pattern, basket weave works on larger sections of the floor because it’s smaller. It can be partially covered with a rug yet remain visible.

Like some of the more complicated patterns discussed here, you should plan out a basket weave pattern ahead of time to ensure that the lengths and squares are cut correctly and that the whole floor looks evenly designed. Definitely take your time with this one.

Mixed Widths

Just as the name implies, a mixed width floor is made up of floorboards that are different widths, placed next to one another. You can even use different wood colors to make the widths stand out a bit more on the floor. When it’s done correctly, a mixed width floor is visually stunning.

Installing a mixed width floor can be a bit tricky, especially since you’re dealing with different wood sizes. It makes sense to stick with two different widths and alternate them to make it easier, but if you’re up for a challenge, you can treat the entire floor like it’s a puzzle and piece it all together. 

Now, what rooms work best for this type of pattern? Just about all of them. It all comes down to how much time you want to spend arranging the floorboards.

Wood Inlays

Now, for a complicated floor pattern, there’s a wood inlay. These inlays take up a small section of a hardwood floor and are often designated by thin wood borders. Within the inlaid area, which is usually rectangular, you can choose to use another material, such as ceramic or porcelain tile, or even smaller pieces of wood to develop a cool pattern.

Just make sure that the pattern fits within the designated borders and consists of colors that contrast with the existing hardwood floor so that they stand out, and you can do any kind of design that you want. A wood inlay is meant to be striking, so put it somewhere you can show it off, like your entryway, foyer, or mudroom.

Choosing a Pattern

With so many different patterns to choose from, the hardest part will be making that decision. While you could technically put a differently patterned floor in every room, this can look overwhelming, so it’s better to pick one or two and stick with them. Also, when trying to pick the best pattern of floor for the space, keep the size of the room in mind. 

Some of these complicated patterns can be a bit much to install when placed in a larger room, so a smaller space will be perfect.

Installing Your Floor

Installing your floor from Hardwood Bargains is instantly made more fun when you choose to lay out the boards in a pattern. With so many to pick from, you need to make a decision and then plan out your floor using chalk lines and other tools to ensure it’s done right. 

Whether you want to use several different types of wood or just one, a patterned floor will stand out amongst the others in your home, providing some excellent visual appeal. After all, hardwood floors look great on their own. So, imagine how much nicer they’ll look when those planks are arranged in a beautifully unique pattern. 


How to Stagger Wood Floor Planks | SF Gate

Wood Floor Patterns | Design Idea

How to Install Prefinished Solid-Hardwood Flooring | DIY Network

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