You've probably seen them in photos of stately old European buildings: scene-stealing floors, with the planks arranged in a distinctive 'V' shape. Perhaps you have wondered whether it would be possible to recreate the look in your own home. If so, you've come to the right place. There are, in fact, manufacturers who make wood flooring specifically designed to be laid in a herringbone or chevron pattern, so you don't have to cut anything (except at edges and corners, of course). We've rounded up some of the best ones out there.
What's the difference between chevron and herringbone? They both have that distinctive V pattern, but in chevron the planks are cut at an angle when they come together, which forms a straight line down the floor. The floor in the picture at the top of this post is herringbone; the one above is chevron. You can read more about the distinction, and about the history of the two patterns, in this column.
Because of the intricacy of the pattern, laying a chevron or herringbone floor takes quite a bit more time than a typical wood floor. The folks at Uptown Floors estimate that labor will cost about twice what it would for a typical wood floor — and recommend that you leave the installation to the pros, unless you really know what you're doing. (If you're brave enough to attempt it on your own, This Old House has a guide to installing a herringbone floor. It looks complicated.)
Tungston Plank Herringbone White Oak Flooring, starting at $5.39/sq ft from Build Direct. Planks are 4" x 16", and unfinished. (A higher grade of wood is available starting at $5.79/sq ft.) You can see it installed in Emily Henderson's kitchen above.
Madera makes all of their wood floors in herringbone and chevron patterns, upon request. Nethermead finish was used in the Park Slope home above. To the left is chevron in Berg, which has a lovely movement that adds a dynamic touch to an already dynamic pattern.
If you like the idea of a light floor, Kahrs makes a few different chevron floors, including the creamy white seen above, but also the variegated dark brown seen at left, light brown, and grey. It's mostly sold in the UK, but we found it here for $11.02 per sq. ft.
Another oak chevron floor in a London apartment designed by Frank Gilks (via Copperline). This finish is no longer available from Havwood, but is a close match to their brushed oak flooring from the Italian Collection. They also have herringbone as well.
The moody blue walls and floors in this Australian home are so beautiful. Coswick makes chevron floors in 12 different finishes, from the white-blond to the almost black. Pictured left is Milk Chocolate, which has a different look to the traditional European chevron but is equally gorgeous.
If you want to go darker, Carlisle makes herringbone floors in 12 finishes, in their Studio Herringbone and Manhattan Herringbone collections. (The one shown left is "Hyde Park".) You can buy it from Houzz, starting at $13.80/sq ft.
The floors in England's Dinder House (above) have a warmer tint. Mirage makes herringbone engineered wood flooring in 38 different finishes, including seven types of red oak (left). In residential applications, the finish is warranteed by the manufacturer for 35 years.
You might not be able to achieve the old world look of this French home seen in Vogue Living, but Havwoods International does make a Tumbled Oak finish, which is distressed for an always-been-there look.
Grey flooring is a huge trend now. The above image is from Kahrs, but Du Chateau flooring comes in almost any finish you can imagine, including this similarly variegated finish. The floors are made to order, and the planks can be cut to meet at a 45 or 60 degree angle.
If you love the look of wood but are looking for something particularly low-maintenance (or just suitable for a wet location like a bathroom), consider tile instead. It has the warmth of hardwood, but is more durable and easy to clean. Above, Room for Tuesday shared this Ohio kitchen with its tile floor laid in a herringbone pattern, which adds interest to the all-white kitchen. Wayfair has this 6" x 24" porcelain wood tile from Lea Ceramiche for $6.40 per square foot.