Herringbone Pattern Floors
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.)