Are you about to put in new flooring? Maybe you are installing a new shower or kitchen back splash? Can’t decide on herringbone vs chevron as a pattern to lay those floor panels or tiles?

Have you considered that laying those planks or tiles in a Herringbone or Chevron pattern might elevate the space a lot more than going with the standard straight board or brick pattern?

While many people have an opinion on which pattern looks better, making the decision on which to go with can all depend on what else is going on in the room.

To make things easier, we’ll be breaking down how each of these classic designs came to be popular, their key differences from each other, and some fun styling tips to help both of them stand out in your space. All with the goal of giving you the confidence to choose the right pattern to best suit your desired design aesthetic.

Herringbone Vs Chevron

History of Herringbone

Now, before we dive into the origins of the herringbone pattern, let’s first take a look at the history of herrings themselves. Did you know that herrings have been caught and consumed by humans for thousands of years? Yup, it’s true! They were a popular food source in ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. In fact, herrings were so important that they were often used as currency. So, what does this have to do with herringbone?   Well, it’s said that the herringbone pattern originates from the structure of the skeletal structure of the herring. And given that this pattern was used extensively in the paving and brickwork in the Ancient Egypt & Roman Empire, it kinda makes sense.  

Okay, now that we’ve got the fishy stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the bones. The herringbone pattern actually dates back to Ancient Egypt, where it was used in the construction of buildings and monuments. The pattern got its name because it resembled the shape of a fish bone. But, how did it become so popular in modern-day interior design? It’s simple; during the Victorian era, people became obsessed with intricate patterns and designs, the pattern had been used extensively in fabrics, so the herringbone pattern quickly became a popular choice for flooring also.

But, the herringbone pattern isn’t just for floors! These days, you’ll find herringbone patterns on walls, furniture, fabrics, and even clothing. The pattern has become a staple in modern interior design, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space.

So, there you have it! From ancient Egyptian architecture to modern-day interior design, the herringbone pattern has truly stood the test of time. So, next time you see this crisscrossed arrow pattern, you can impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.

History of Chevron

The chevron pattern, widely recognised for its V-shaped zigzags, has been around for centuries with V-shaped markings even dating back to the Neolithic age. A symbol that would seem almost too simple for royalty, the chevron made its grand appearance in ancient Greek pottery from the 8th century BCE. The Greeks viewed the V-shape as a symbol of power and harmony, a motif that was widely adopted by the Romans centuries later. Chevrons were also traced on the borders of tapestries, reminiscent of the luxury and elegance of the Middle Ages, and borrows heavily from French designs and influences for its richly detailed carpets with chevron patterns. Known officially by some architects simply as “Chevron” or “Parquet”.

Moving forward to modern times, the chevron pattern continued to impact the world of design. The 20th century saw the emergence of bold, neon-coloured chevron designs, particularly popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The pattern then managed to find its way into almost every part of our lives, from clothing, home decor, to even social media icons. Who knew a few simple ‘V’s could take the world by storm!

Another fascinating aspect of the chevron pattern is its use in fashion. The 1970s saw a rise in the popularity of the zigzag pattern, particularly for the bohemian market. Today, fashion designers still use the chevron pattern to create bold and dynamic looks, applying it to everything from dresses to socks to accessories. Whether it’s edgy or playful, the chevron pattern never fails to impress.

The interesting significance of the chevron is that it holds a meaning close to its shape. The V-shape suggests upward movement and positivity, often found in corporate logos and branding. The Chevron Corporation, a US multinational energy corporation, displays the chevron pattern in its logo as a representation of strength, stability and innovation.

Pros and Cons of Herringbone Vs Chevron

Pros Of Herringbone

  • Herringbone floors do make any sized room look bigger, particularly smaller or narrower spaces such as hallways, due to its pattern. Due to the illusion of movement, this style of is a fantastic space enhancer you should certainly consider for any room refresh.
  • It’s a timeless and unlikely to go out of style considering it has been used for centuries.
  • Herringbone adds interest to the floor or wall without being too busy.
  • Herringbone flooring with hardwood planks will add value because of the material alone  but the design could draw in even more buyers. In fact, studies have shown that herringbone can increase your home’s value by around $6,000.

Cons Of Herringbone

  • We generally advise wastage of around 10% for planks, and 12-15% for parquets, such as Herringbone or Chevron. Parquet wood flooring requires extra wastage because the constraints of the pattern and size of the blocks limit your ability to use off-cuts.
  • More expensive than standard straight board pattern.
  • Takes longer to install. 

Pros Of Chevron

  • The chevron pattern carries the main feature of being able to highlight the important parts of a room. While the traditional herringbone pattern can undertone the room, the chevron design creates a pattern that improves a room’s feature without beating it down.
  • The chevron floor is sleeker due to the symmetrical shape and generally fits better with a modern interior. 
  • Chevron is cheaper to install and produces less wastage and off cuts because of the way it’s cut.
  • Chevron can be used to make a room appear bigger.
  • During the 1900s the chevron pattern in flooring saw a decline in usage, but around the turn of the millennium popularity rose again. Nowadays, chevron is as popular as it has ever been, sitting alongside herringbone as the most frequently used parquet style.

Choosing The Right Colours

Once you have decided on the pattern you prefer, it’s time to select colours. When choosing a colour for your project, it’s important to think about where it will be used. For floors, using a grout that is similar but contrasting to the panels or the tiles is important. You want it to be cohesive but not distracting. The floor shouldn’t be a focal point. It should be a stylish accent. 

However, using a contrasting colour grout between herringbone or chevron tiled patterns on walls can add an interesting design element to further elevate the space.

But if you are using a high contrast grout for the floors, you may want to choose a low contrast grout for the walls and vice versa, so the room doesn’t end up looking too busy. Remember, it’s all about balance!

DIY Tips for Installing Herringbone and Chevron Patterns

Now, if you’re like me and love to sync your teeth into a DIY project, read on. That being said if you are planning to spend the money to install solid wood flooring you may want to hire a professional to take on this one, as you have to use precision when cutting and so mistakes can be expensive. On the other hand, if you are installing tiles a broken or miss-cut tile here and there isn’t going to break the bank, so you can have a bit of fun with it and if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. 

Before installing the pattern, you need to prep your surface. Whether it’s a floor or a wall, you need to make sure it’s clean and flat. If you’re working with a floor, remove any old flooring, and make sure the subfloor is level. If you’re working with a wall, remove any old wallpaper or paint, and fill in any cracks or holes. Trust me, the extra prep work will make all the difference in the final result.

When it comes to installing a herringbone or chevron pattern, you always start in the centre of your surface, and work your way out to the edges. This will help you create a symmetrical look, and avoid having tiny or awkward cuts at the edges. The first step in laying a herringbone or chevron pattern is to find the centre point of the floor or wall. Measure the length and mark the halfway point. Use a chalk line to mark the centre line, and then use a level to make sure your first row is straight. Once you’ve completed the first row, the rest of the installation will be a breeze.

Now, let’s talk about the actual pattern. You can create the herringbone or chevron pattern using almost any material, from tiles to wood to wallpaper. The key is to have patience and take your time, especially when making cuts or corners. Measure twice, cut once – or better yet, make a template to avoid mistakes. And if you do make a mistake, don’t worry, you can always cover it up with a piece of trim or grout.

Last but not least, finish off your herringbone or chevron pattern with some sealant and grout. This will protect your surface and make it last longer. Plus, it will give it a professional look that will make your guests wonder how much you spent on your new floors or walls.

You can find some links below which give more details instructions and clips to demonstrate the process.

DIY Herringbone instructions

How to install Chevron wood flooring (video)

How to install Herringbone wood flooring (video)

Ultimately, the choice between Herringbone and Chevron designs comes down to personal preference and how it will complement the other design choices you have made within a room. The complexity or busyness of the design combined with their unique patterning adds a lot of eye-catching detail to any space. Whether you’re looking for something classic and timeless or bold and modern – it’s possible to achieve a variety of looks depending on how you style your floor panel or tiling patterns.

So don’t be afraid to try something new to elevate your space and make it stand out from the rest. With careful consideration and attention to style, you can create something that is sure to turn heads in any room of your home.

Who knew that a simple flooring pattern could have such an interesting backstory? Whether you’re a fan of this pattern or not, there’s no denying that it’s here to stay. So, embrace the Crisscrossed arrows and V’s and let these timeless design patterns add some elegance and  sophistication by incorporating a unique and interesting part of our design history into your home or workspace. 

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