Parquet, chevron and herringbone floors are hot. Here’s how they differ and why they work


You sashay across the Parquet de Versailles hardwood of your luxurious French chateau, looking onto the verdant lawn, fountains and parkland beyond.

But wait. Is it all just a dream?

Chances are you’re not in a chateau in France. But you can feel like you are with unique, patterned hardwood. It can bring Old World charm and elegance to the floors, ceilings or walls of your home, no matter how modest or grand its design.

Parquet flooring, built around a square border with sometimes intricate patterns inside, became popular in the 1600s.

Classic, patterned hardwood flooring — parquet and its sisters chevron and herringbone — has been adding beauty to European homes, large and small, for centuries. It is becoming a much-requested staple (in large part due to social media sites such as Pinterest) in our homes here because of its versatility and beauty, says Ashley Scott, Calgary showroom manager for Divine Flooring.

The company, with showrooms in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Chicago, has developed a wide variety of specialized hardwood products for every customer’s lifestyle.

Here’s a closer look at three patterns turning heads these days:


This classic hardwood pattern of geometric design built around square borders with angular insets is often the main, eye-catching feature of a room. While it started in Europe, Scott says it is gaining popularity in New York, Chicago and now Canada. Large diagonal squares (Parquet de Versailles) were first introduced in 1684 and replaced marble flooring, which required a lot of washing that led to rotted floor joints! Parquet quickly became the formal flooring of choice for French chateaux, and in the grand buildings of Russia’s St. Petersburg.

Herringbone offers a casual, less formal esthetic, with more knotting and distressing in the planks.


This pattern, made up of equal-sized rectangular pieces typically laid in a staggered zigzag pattern, was first employed by the ancient Romans who used herringbone bricks on roads. The design became popular in wooden floors in the 1600s in Europe. Herringbone offers a casual, less formal esthetic, with more knotting and distressing in the planks.

The lengths can be relatively short — from two to three feet — to up to six feet. Scott says it’s particularly well suited for larger open spaces.

Vancouver designer Jamie Banfield placed herringbone pattern flooring in the dining area of this Langley, B.C., home to highlight the dining room table.

Want traditional with a twist? Combine herringbone and regular planks in the same colour tones. Award-winning Vancouver designer Jamie Banfield says this detail is subtle but “makes a big difference with layering all elements of the home.”

The herringbone configuration can also be adapted in creative ways by stacking the planks in groups of two or three to create bolder zigzag patterns.

You can get creative with the herringbone theme depending on how you place the planks. Besides the traditional arrangement, top left, Divine Flooring suggests, clockwise from top right, Murato (brick pattern using three planks), Triplo (Herringbone using three planks) or Scale (planks laid in a railroad pattern).


Where herringbone employs square corners on rectangular boards, chevron uses mitred or angled corners and diagonal lines to conjure the sense of wealth and grandeur associated with historic estates. It offers a more minimal and modern look, says Scott.

Calgary designer Rochelle Cote used chevron hardwood on the ceiling, around recessed lighting to bring definition to the dining area in a lottery show home.

And it doesn’t just look great on the floor. Calgary designer Rochelle Cote took a contemporary approach by using chevron hardwood on the ceiling, around recessed lighting, in a spectacular lottery show home.

As with herringbone, chevron can also be adapted to create eye-catching, almost mesmerizing, patterns by stacking the same shaped boards atop each other.

As with herringbone, there are eye-catching alternative patterns for chevron besides traditional, top left. Other designs include, clockwise from top right, Cambio (single-plank zigzag), Stecca (three-plank bricked offset forming sticks and splint pattern) and Picco (three-plank zigzag that forms peaks).

Scott says whether your lifestyle design motif is rustic, modern, traditional, minimalist, regency or vintage, Divine Flooring has the patterned hardwood that fits any room, in eight colour tones from light to dark.

“They can be used throughout the whole home, or to add interest to smaller areas. And that applies, whether it is in a small apartment, a townhome, or a larger home, and whether in a bedroom, dining room or a hallway.”

The uniqueness of the patterned hardwood itself — and its versatility — means that every customer, “Can play around with them and make them their own,” says Scott.