Throughout the ages parquet floors have featured in commercial buildings such as hospitals, factories, museums, libraries and hotels.
These hardwearing and highly patterned wood floors were not solely used within spaces with high footfall however, more refined and decorative installations were also featured in prestigious private homes worldwide.
In this article we look at the most popular parquet patterns and what a timeless investment they are, but first let's find out where this trend for patterned wood flooring originated from.
HISTORY OF PARQUET FLOORING
Parquet flooring was first used in 17th century in France, when wealthy aristocrats hired craftsmen who painstakingly arranged tiny pieces of hardwood in geometric patterns.
Hardwood floors of various types, including parquet in upper-end houses, were the staple for centuries, but in the post-war era carpet fast became an affordable favourite.
It changed when flooring manufacturers began to mass-produce thin parquet tiles in the 1960s and 1970s.
By creating engineered wood tiles with pieces of hardwood veneer arranged in geometric patterns, interior trends saw a revival of finger parquet, manufacturers reinvigorated the look of expensive parquet floors at a reasonable cost.
Homeowners began to remove carpet to install parquet floors.
PARQUET FLOORING PATTERNS
Below I have selected the most popular parquet patterns on the market.
Most high end flooring retailers will be able to offer these patterns in different sizes, grades and colours.
The most popular amongst parquet flooring designs and one of the most versatile.
If you lean more to a traditional, vintage style interior, opt for smaller pieces of herringbone with a rustic grade (more on grades later) to achieve that lived-in look.
Sizes for this option are usually 60mm(W)x100mm(L).
Adding a distressed edge, will add texture and character to the floor and the space.
For a more modern interior go for larger herringbone pieces in a prime grade to create a minimal and chic space.
Aim for parquet blocks to be around 90mm(W)x700mm(L).
You can use a ratio of 5:1 when it comes to the size, traditionally the lengths of the parquet are 5 times the size of the width, for example: 70mm(W)x350mm(L) which is a popular size.
A personal favourite and seen throughout Parisian interiors, this design never seems to date.
Chevron is one of the most popular patterns out there and it can be found on anything from a print on a cushion cover to wall tiles.
Chevron parquet flooring patterns are characterised by columns of short diagonal stripes that meet in a line of "V's", much like the skeletons of fish
The beauty of the chevron pattern is the uniformity, you end up with single lines that meet instead of a jagged angles, as seen with herringbone, which creates a cleaner pattern.
The chevron angles can be cut at a 45° or at a 60°, 45° being the more popular choice.
Because of the sharp, defined lines in this parquet flooring pattern, it makes the room feel more spacious.
Mansion Weave is an elegant inlaid parquet flooring design and works well in any sized space.
This bold pattern creates a dramatic and sophisticated flooring feature in any interior.
I think because of the element of grandeur this pattern gives off, it always looks better in a grey or darker tone.
The good thing with this pattern is that it is non directional, so it can be a perfect option in rooms that have a tricky lay out.
PARQUET DE VERSAILLES
The original parquet floor design which was installed in the Palace de Versailles in Paris, France, around 1684 and can still be viewed and enjoyed today.
This pattern is available as a panel or in a continuous pattern where each piece is laid individually by experienced installers.
This design is also often seen in Parisian apartments and high end establishments.
Sizes of the panel can range from 50x50cm to 1.5x15m.
These are patterns that are adhered to a plywood base and then glued down onsite.
There are many patterns and variations of designs available and they will differ from shop to shop but I have put a few images below to give you the idea.
Some of the designs that we sell will have metal and even marble in the floor's design.
CONSTRUCTION & SUBFLOOR
Parquet flooring is generally available in a solid or engineered construction but I tend to recommend engineered to my clients as this is a much more stable option.
Whichever construction you opt for, remember that you have to have an incredibly level subfloor. In fact it needs to be level within a 3mm deviation per 1m, this is usually achieved by laying a minimum of 9mm plywood as a subfloor.
FOCAL POINTS & BORDERS
You will need to consider where in the room you want your pattern to start.
This first row is usually started in the middle of the room or infant of a focal point such as fireplace.
If you are having parquet flooring installed in multiple rooms, think about what the door thresholds will be and how will that affect the doorways.
Keep in mind that older houses (especially London ones) rarely have straight walls or rooms that are exactly parallel to each other.
Also consider the impact borders will have on the space.
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, it also adds to the glamour of a parquet floor!
Remember to grab a sample of from your flooring supplier of the exact size of parquet that you are having so that you can get an idea of floor in your space.
Well made hardwood parquet flooring will add a timeless and chic interior to your home which will long out-live any trends.