Design Glossary: Herringbone and Chevron Floors

updated Jul 15, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The Galerie François I at Fontainebleau, c. 1528-39

Last week on Retrospect, we looked at the history of parquet floors, which are hardwood floors arranged in repeating geometrical patterns. This week, let’s look at two of the earliest and most enduring parquet patterns: herringbone and chevron. Lately I’ve been pinning herringbone floors on my Pinterest with abandon, I’m so in love with the look. But it took a second look before I realized there were actually two distinct patterns. Do you know the difference between them?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For more content like this follow

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A variation on Chevron or Point de Hongrie is Fougère, or “fern,” which inserts a straight plank along the axis

Today the style is less current than simple plank floors in different finishes, but for me, it will always be the height of beauty. I think my preference is for the herringbone version, with its more dynamic texture, but I also like the structure and regularity of the chevron. Which is your pick?

1 The François I Gallery at Fontainebleau, c. 1528-39, via Wikipedia
2 Chevron/herringbone illustrations from the Dictionnaire Encyclopédique et Biographique de l’Industrie et des Arts Industriels via Google Books
3 Godolphin House, Cornwall, c. mid-17th-century, via Treasure Hunt
4 16th-century flame stitch based on the point de Hongrie at Parham House, England, via Bargello Arts
5 The Queen’s Guard Room at Versailles
6 Paul Signac, Un Dimanche, 1888-90, via Wikipedia
7 Parquet fougère (fern), via Antikita