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Design questions regarding a hardwood floor?

15 years ago


(Cross-posting from Flooring where I was told that I can get a more design-oriented feedback here on this forum).

We are planning to lay hardwood flooring in about 1000 sqft of our home. I have researched about hardwood flooring regarding Engineered/Pre-finished etc etc; but those are very technical details.

What I am not able to find is, aesthetic considerations in choosing the plank width and the pattern.

- is there a rule of thumb for choosing a plank width? (E.g. my living area is an open 15'x25' rectangle with windows on diagonal ends and lots of light on it).

- how do I select the direction of the flooring? I know that the planks, lengthwise, will make that dimension longer. How does this apply to my space?

For example, if the entry into this area is from the middle of the longer side of this rectangle, then should the flooring be seen horizontal or vertical?

- Would herringbone work? (My space is modern by the way). If so, any suggestions on the direction of the herringbone?

- We are sold onto a light-to-medium stain (we love dark but certainly do not want the space to look smaller). Will character hardwood look good or would it look too busy? We do plan to lay area rugs and though not over-furnished, we do have stuff in these areas. Also note that there will be a medium cherry dining table with 6 chairs over this surface and I do not intend to get a very woody look.

Any ideas/inputs will be appreciated! Pictures/links would be fantastic! Also if I missed any previous threads with this theme please point me to these. I tried searching on this forum as well as decorating forum but could not find it.

Thanks in advance!!!

Comments (8)

  • parma42
    15 years ago

    This is a pic from a house I saw for sale.

    I really like the look of hardwood on the diagonal and we had it done in our new house.

  • nanny2a
    15 years ago

    Our open living/dining area measures 18' x 30' with a central foyer located on the long wall also, so it is similar in area as yours. The only difference is that all our windows are on the long wall opposite the foyer. The plank width on our pre-finished engineered wood flooring is 3", because we wanted the more traditional look of this width. To make the room appear larger, and for best support because of the layout of our home's floor joists, our planks were laid length-wise along the longer dimensions.

    To me, the herringbone pattern has always seemed very old-fashioned, yet this may just be my own personal reaction because we had herringbone patterned floors in the military housing we lived in back in the 70's, and those homes were already 20 years old back then! One thing you should consider with herringbone is the cost factor, since I believe it would be much more expensive because so much more material is needed. If you were to have a herringbone pattern, I would suggest that it be laid with the angled pattern directed at the shorter wall dimensions, otherwise I think it would make the room appear much smaller.

    For some rooms with herringbone floor designs, go to google and type in herringbone wood flooring into your browser, then click on "images", and it will show you lots of photos so you can get an idea of how the pattern looks.

  • nanny2a
    15 years ago

    Parma's picture above looks very smart and contemporary, I think the diagonal layout looks very modern and attractive if that's what you're aiming for.

  • susanlynn2012
    15 years ago

    I do not like wood rooms on the diagonal for my own home despite finding them attractive in the homes of others. It is like dark walls that I love and admire in the homes of others but for my own walls, I prefer colors that are not too dark for my peaceful feeling when I am sitting in the room for a long time.

    Hence, I vote for wider planks or planks with variation in the widths and all going in the same parallel or perpendicular direction. Also the 3" wide traditional plank width would look nice in your room also since your room is a nice size and laying the planks length-wise would look very nice.

  • User
    15 years ago

    Hope this info helps you

    The floors must run perpendicular to your floor joists unless you would add a 3/4 inch plywood layer over your subfloor otherwise you will have some bowing of the floor over time.

    When you are considering plank width, keep in mind how much moisture is present in your home. A wider plank may cup (edges rise up) if the humidity gets too high. Three inches is pretty standard. I have 5 inch and did have some cupping issues in my hallway when it got really humid last year. if you like thelook, consider random width hardwood with a mix of 3,4 and 5 inch.

    As far as solid wood vs engineered...if you have a cement slab, you can't get a solid 3/4 inch hardwood. You would choose engineered which is 1/4 inch hardwood over a dimensionally stable plywood substrate. If you have a foundation, you can pick whatever you like.

    Good luck.

  • 2ajsmama
    15 years ago

    Ditto the info about width/cupping and laying out perpendicular to joists. If you like the herringbone look but are using prefinished, or just don't want all the waste (expense), consider something like what I did - works well in rectangular room:

    Of course it looked better when I didn't have a DR table on top of it! If you don't have a ton of furniture, and have a really big room, I think it would look stunning. Some waste, but not as much as herringbone (which is what I originally wanted).

    Now, not wanting a "woody" look - sorry, but with wood furniture and a wood floor, it's going to look "woody". Are you thinking you want contrast with your cherry furniture? Try oak. I used Brazilian Cherry since I have oak furniture, oak kitchen cabinets (visible from DR) and oak floors would be too much.

  • jacjul2226
    6 years ago


    We are thinking of removing our carpet on the upper level of our home which is about 1000 sq feet to match the wood flooring we have on the first level. Does the wood width need to be the same which is 31/4 inch width or can we use the wider plank which I really think looks smart. Our home is open concept and the staircase which is the same color as the flooring below will be running into the hallway above.

    This is the wood flooring on our first level....

    Thanks and we would appreciate your feedback...

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