The term takes its name as the pattern has a resemblance to the bone of herring fish. In other countries such as Italy it is referred as ‘Spina Pesci’, the Spine of Fish.
The pattern uses rectangular pieces of wood of equal size installed 90° to each other to create 2 lines. The pieces are referred as battens (when used as solid wood 10mm overlay) or blocks (when used as 20mm solid wood).
This simple design has a multitude of options, each providing a unique look. Other shapes can be used such as parallelograms (Chevron Parquet) and hexagons but since there are so many options with rectangles this design guide will focus on rectangle shapes.
Traditionally the herringbone size is that the length is 5 times the size of the width 5:1. This will allow variations of the patter so that 5 pieces will always add up to a single length. However, if laying in a standard herringbone patter the length can be any size.
This is the first dilemma to consider that will effect the look.
Parquet flooring can be manufactured in 3 formats
The direction of the pattern is important. Look for a focal point to help you decide, such as a fireplace, double doors, bay window and the shape of the room. Generally herringbone looks good down the length of the room. However if you have a large patio doors looking out to a garden then it may work to point towards the garden.
You will have to decide where to start your design. Your first row should be centred to a focal point such as the middle of a bay window or fireplace. Consider the impact the starting point will have on other areas of the room as it may work better to centre to the middle of a room to avoid having small pieces left on the side of the room. If you are installing in multiple rooms without borders or thresholds then you will need to decide the impact it will have on those rooms too. Remember houses rarely have straight walls or rooms that a exactly parallel to each other.
Parquet borders provide function other than just being a decorative design. If you are installing in multiple rooms without borders or thresholds then you will need to decide the impact it will have on those rooms too. Remember houses rarely have straight walls or rooms that are exactly parallel to each other. without a border the direction will follow through into the next room and may not line up to a focal point in that room or worse be out of alignment with a wall. A parquet border will allow you to choose a direction and starting point for each room giving total control over the design.
Design options for parquet borders include: