So, you've decided to go with parquet – good choice! This type of wooden flooring is extremely ornate and durable. In contrast to floorboards, which consist of large-sized wooden planks, parquet produces a captivating impression by using a mosaic of small pieces of solid wood, called parquet blocks. There are any number of laying options, depending on preference and budget. Generally speaking, the more complex the pattern, the more expensive it will be. Thus, a simple design consisting of large, wooden planks laid in parallel would certainly be one of the most inexpensive parquet variations. On the other hand, a pattern composed of numerous small elements that need to be meticulously laid will be more expensive. Here we give a brief overview.

Photo: LOBA GmbH & Co. KG

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The laying pattern has a major impact on a room’s ambience. Parquet can make a room appear larger, narrower or even more majestic. The optical effect of the laying direction is as follows: if the wooden floor is installed transversely against the long side of the room, the room will feel wider. Laying parquet parallel to the long side will give it a longer feel. But what laying patterns are available?

Photo: Parketterei GmbH München

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Sectioned patterns

On a sectioned floor, the parquet strips lie parallel to each other in one direction. Here, the individual sections differ in whether the blocks lie offset, irregular or parallel in a certain direction. The direction in which the boards are laid selectively emphasises the room’s length or width. For example, laying parquet crosswise can make proportions more pleasing in a long, narrow room. Sectioned patterns with parallel layouts are very modern and emphasise clear, puristic interior design.

Photo: makasa

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Ship's deck pattern/Wild pattern

In the ship's deck pattern, joints are laid at irregular intervals. The varying colouration of the parquet boards underscores the irregular effect.

English pattern

In contrast to the ship’s deck, the English pattern features boards which are regularly arranged. The joints are located at the mid-point of each adjacent board.

Photo: Parketterei GmbH

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Parallel pattern

In the parallel pattern, the parquet blocks all have the same length and are not arranged at an offset. The length of the blocks produces an overall striped effect. The blocks' different wood colours add variety to the parquet floor. The uniform arrangement provides a modern, simple feel and goes well with a classic, timeless interior design style. The pattern is relatively easy to lay and inexpensive.

Photo: HELWIG HAUS + RAUM Planungs GmbH

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Herringbone parquet

The herringbone pattern is still one of the most popular designs when laying parquet. It's a characteristic of old buildings in Berlin circa 1900. In this pattern, pieces of wood are laid in a V pattern at a 90-degree angle (zigzag).

Photo: Concept 8 Architects

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With the French herringbone pattern, the wood pieces are beveled an additional 45 degrees along the top edge, so that the joints end up forming a long line. Herringbone is fairly laborious to lay and therefore expensive. Herringbone parquet's optimum effect unfolds in large rooms. Long, narrow rooms appear more proportional if the pattern is laid against the long side of the room.

Photo: 50 Degrees North Architects

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Checkered/cube floor

This pattern consists of squares made up of four equal parquet blocks which are alternately arranged horizontally and vertically, i.e. laid either parallel or perpendicular to the edge of the room. This pattern was particularly popular in the sixties and seventies.

Since cube parquet is uniformly applied, it has a neutral effect. It neither narrows nor elongates the room visually. Consequently, this pattern is useful if you’re already satisfied with the current ambience. It’s particularly good for square rooms.

Photo: Lauzon Flooring

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Basket-weave floor with cubes

The basket-weave floor is similar to the cube pattern – segments of parquet blocks are laid against each other at a right angle. However, the difference is that the segments consist of only two to four blocks and are not square, but rather rectangular. This simultaneously offsets the segments and pushes them into each other.

The resulting gaps are filled with a square piece of wood.


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Diamond flooring

Photo: Willton

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When dreaming up laying patterns, there are virtually no limits to one’s fantasy. For example, parquet can also be made up of diamond shapes. Diamond-patterned floors have a quirky effect. Unfortunately, this type of installation involves significant work and is therefore expensive, thus it’s seen fairly rarely.

Photo: Tabarka Studio DE

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Artistic inlay floors/panel parquet

Photo: penrose. wooden flooring

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Even more imaginative and playful is parquet with inlays, which fascinates with its ornamentation. Even coats of arms or symbols can be incorporated. This type of floor demands the highest technical precision and is often found in old castles and mansions which were built around the turn of the century. This laying method "accounts for only a fraction of the total demand," says parquet expert Mateusz Szylak at Parketterei in Munich. Individuals looking for such a stately floor will find what they’re after at specialised collectors and restorers.

Photo: Gaetano Hardwood Floors, Inc.

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What type of wood is suitable for which parquet pattern

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Theoretically, any type of wood can be laid in every pattern. However, the hardness of the wood (measured in Brinell) and the way the space is used are important to consider when selecting the appropriate material.

For example, since oak is a very hard and stable wood, it's suitable for heavily used areas. In the bathroom and kitchen (wet areas), oak and heat-treated wood can be used, i.e. wood types which don’t swell when wet. Even olive wood, a fairly unusual option, is suitable. Olive wood is extremely hard and durable and has a beautiful grain. "Olive wood parquet flooring has a longer life expectancy than humans," says Szylak.

In addition, the colour of the wood floor has a significant influence on the atmosphere in the room. “For instance, a light wood like maple makes the room feel bigger and friendlier. A darker wood like smoked oak tends to produce a warm atmosphere, which is why oak is so popular with us. Lots of our customers gravitate to this wood, which is also phenomenally well-suited to meet flooring requirements,” Szylak says.

Photo: Parketterei GmbH

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Parquet is just one of the reasons to love wooden flooring

First published on Houzz