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Parquet Flooring 101: Exploring Patterns, History & Styles


Have you ever been spellbound by a mesmerizing geometric pattern on wood floors and wondered, what on earth am I looking at? Well, they are parquet flooring, a 16th-century French invention that has remained popular to this day.

Are you curious about what parquet flooring is, the different types of and what makes it so popular? Keep reading because today we’ll be discussing all things parquet! 

What is Parquet Flooring?

What is Parquet Flooring?

The definition of parquet is all in its visual. But as long as we’re going for definition in words: Parquet is a style of wood flooring that involves arranging small, often rectangular, pieces of wood in a pattern. Herringbone, chevron, Versailles, and basketweave are some of the most popular types of parquet flooring. They involve intricate woodwork and expert skills to arrange the wood strips in a particular pattern.

Fun fact: The term “parquet” is derived from the French word “parqueterie,” which means a small compartment or enclosure.

Parquet also have a royal and rich history dating all the way back to 16th century France when skilled artisans brought geometric patterns into the woodwork as a replacement for stone or marble flooring. The fact that they weigh way less than stone or marble, which reduced the pressure on timber framework, made them popular very quickly. Since then, it has been a symbol of elegance, luxury and prestige.

Types of Parquet Flooring

The essence of parquet flooring lies in the intricate arrangement of inlaid wood panels, which form a geometric pattern. It also means there is an infinite number of possible parquet designs. However, a few types of parquet patterns have made themselves quite popular, namely these four –

Herringbone Parquet

A timeless classic, herringbone parquet features rectangular wood pieces arranged in a V-shaped pattern. This style adds a touch of sophistication and works well in both traditional and modern settings.

Chevron Parquet

Similar to herringbone but with a contemporary twist, chevron parquet involves cutting the wood at an angle to create a continuous zigzag pattern. This design adds dynamic visual interest to floors, making it a favorite in stylish interiors.

Basketweave Parquet

Mimicking the woven appearance of a basket, this parquet style interlocks squares and rectangles to form a distinctive pattern. Basketweave parquet is an excellent choice for those seeking a classic yet intricate look.

Versailles Parquet

Inspired by the grandeur of French palaces, Versailles parquet showcases a complex and ornate pattern with interlocking geometric shapes. This type of parquet is synonymous with luxury and is often chosen for upscale interiors.

Fun fact: King Louis XIV replaced the marble floors Palace of Versailles with parquet flooring in a particular pattern, which is now known as “Parquet de Versailles.”

Brick Style Parquet

Resembling the arrangement of bricks, this parquet type features rectangular blocks laid in a staggered pattern. Brick-style parquet adds a sense of order and structure, making it suitable for both residential and commercial spaces.

Checkerboard Parquet

A playful and classic option, the checkerboard parquet alternates between dark and light wood squares, creating a timeless and visually striking pattern. It’s a versatile choice that complements various interior styles.

3D Parquet

Pushing the boundaries of traditional parquets, 3D parquet introduces depth and texture to the flooring. This type often involves varying the height of the wood pieces, creating a visually captivating and contemporary aesthetic.

What Makes Parquet Flooring So Popular?

Whenever I look at parquet flooring, something in my brain just clicks. I mean, all those right angles in herringbone and chevron or the perfect diagonal points in Versailles—uh, what’s there not to like? Indeed, parquet flooring has carved a niche for itself in the world of interior design, and its popularity can be attributed to a harmonious blend of timeless elegance and modern versatility.

Beyond its visual appeal, parquet flooring stands out for its adaptability. Whether gracing the floors of historical palaces or adding a touch of sophistication to modern homes, parquet effortlessly weaves itself into the fabric of any space. The variety of wood species available allows for a personalized touch, with options ranging from the warm tones of oak to the rich hues of mahogany.

Durability is another key factor in the parquet’s rise to prominence. As a solid wood flooring option, parquet can withstand the test of time, enduring foot traffic and daily wear with grace. This longevity, coupled with the possibility of refinishing, transforms parquet into an investment that not only adds immediate value but appreciates over the years.

Disadvantages of Parquet Flooring

  • Moisture Sensitivity: Parquet, being a natural wood product, can be sensitive to fluctuations in humidity. This may lead to potential issues such as warping or buckling over time, especially in environments with high moisture levels.
  • Maintenance Challenges: “Beauty is pain”—unfortunately, the same goes for your floors. The intricate patterns of parquet, while visually stunning, can pose challenges during maintenance. Cleaning may require a bit more attention to detail to ensure that dust and dirt don’t accumulate within the recesses of the patterns.
  • Visually cluttered: The geometric pattern can make or break the look of a space. For example, while it may add to the grandeur of a mansion, it might look overwhelming or dated in your small kitchen.
  • Initial Cost Investment: Parquet flooring, with its bespoke designs and premium wood options, tends to be positioned at the higher end of the cost spectrum. While it adds undeniable value and sophistication, budget considerations may guide some towards more economical flooring choices.
  • Installation Precision: You probably saw this coming already, but laying a parquet floor is no job for a rookie. Achieving the perfect alignment and pattern during installation requires a high level of skill and precision, which will potentially add to the overall installation cost.

Refinishing Parquet Flooring

As the parquet is made of solid hardwood, it can be sanded and refinished over and over like any other hardwood plank floor. Even some parquet tiles are thick enough so that they can be refinished and sanded as many times as solid hardwood.

However, when you get to the actual refinishing process, that’s where the trouble with parquet starts. See, the grain of the tiny slates that make up parquet is all over the place, which means you’d need to use handheld sanders and sand each section of unbroken wood separately. Also, there are risks of cross-grain scratching unless you’re very precise in the sanding process.

Is Parquet Flooring the Right Choice For You?

So, now that we know everything there is to know about parquet flooring, is it the right choice for you? Instead of answering when it’s the right choice for you, let’s go the opposite way and tell you when it’s not.

If you’re not that into aesthetics and looking for an easy-to-maintain floor, parquet is not the right choice for you. It’s also not the right choice for you if you have a small space. If you’re not planning to curate and plan each piece of furniture in your home according to your floors, steer clear of parquet flooring. Another thing to consider is whether you prefer a classic or modern look, as parquet can make your floors look a bit dated depending on the pattern you choose.

If none of the above applies to you, I’ll say go for that gorgeous parquet flooring and make royalty a comeback to your floors!

Parquet Flooring FAQs

Is parquet flooring expensive?

Yes, parquet flooring is generally considered to be on the higher end of the cost spectrum when compared to standard flooring options. However, parquet flooring is now available at a wide range of prices. The parquet-style tiles are more affordable since they don’t require as much expertise, and you can even DIY them. On the contrary, custom parquets can be pretty expensive, costing $20 to $45 per square foot to install and finish.

Can you create parquet flooring with materials other than wood?

Although parquet floorings are predominantly made with solid hardwood, you can find parquet in other materials such as laminate, engineered hardwood and vinyl.

Is parquet flooring real wood?

Absolutely! Parquet flooring is crafted from narrow pieces of real wood, often referred to as planks or fingers. These genuine wood elements are intricately joined together to form the distinctive geometric patterns that define parquet flooring.

Can you DIY parquet flooring?

While some may attempt a DIY approach, professional installation is recommended for parquet flooring due to its intricate patterns. Achieving precise alignment and ensuring a flawless result often requires the expertise of experienced installers.

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