The great tradition of parquet flooring has been somewhat ignored in recent years as interior design has focused more on minimalist and then utilitarian influences. But the art of parquet flooring – which is the use of veneer block patterns rather than solid planks of wood – has not been forgotten; and for homeowners looking for a cost-effective flooring solution that also offers something a little bit different, hardwood parquet flooring is certainly worth investigating.
Two of the big advantages of wood parquet are that it can be relatively easy to install (you can simply glue down the parquet tiles to a cement floor, much like ceramic tiles), and that the patterns that you can achieve with parquet are not only numerous, but provide instant texture and interest to your floor. Choosing a parquet floor also puts you in the company of kings and queens: the use of parquet floor tiles dates back to 17th Century France where it was the flooring of choice in all the best chateaux and this trend soon spread across aristocratic and well-to-do households throughout Europe!
Parquet flooring is again seeing something of a revival, with contemporary manufacturers offering both traditional and modern designs. And along with parquetry there is also a resurgence in its design-cousin marquetry (parquetry tends to use geometric, angular shapes whilst using curved shapes is usually known as marquetry), which allow for custom-made designs and inlays that are totally unique! Below is our round-up of the biggest trends in parquet flooring today and design ideas to help you decide if parquet will suit your home.
Contemporary Traditional Parquet Patterns
There are several parquet patterns that have been the traditional design choice over the centuries. The most popular of these is the herringbone parquet pattern, which can either be laid with the notch of the “v” of the herringbone lengthways along the room, or set at a diagonal to the room. Slight variations on the herringbone are the double herringbone, where there are double blocks of wood in the distinct interlocking pattern, and the chevron, where the ends of the blocks are cut off at an angle (see below).
Other traditional parquet patterns are the basketweave, where each relatively small tile made of three or four rectangular blocks are set perpendicular to each other in a sort of crosshatch fashion; the brick pattern, where small rectangular blocks are set lengthways rather like a brick wall; and the original Versailles pattern where a combination of rectangular and square blocks are intricately laid to mimic a woven fabric.
These wood flooring patterns are still the predominant ones being used in the industry, but we are beginning to see different ways in which designers are adding a contemporary spin to bring them bang up to date: for example using unusual types or styles of wood, using larger sized basketweave tiles or staining the parquet with a very dark brown and then adding a super glossy seal as in the image below. If your budget is limited, one of these contemporary traditional parquet floors is ideal.
Artistic parquet is something of a catch-all phrase for the vast array of wood inlays, borders and medallions that can be created for your wood floor. It is also increasingly being used to describe wood floor tiles that feature curvier, floral marquetry designs too. The great thing about artistic parquet is that – with a skilled artisan doing the work – just about any pattern can actually be made into parquet.
Artistic parquet allows for a lot of creativity and a lot of individuality to shine through on your floor. But beware if you think there’s any possibility that you may have to sell your home: making a floor overly personalized could detract from its appeal for future buyers! For example, the intricate marquetry in the image below is certainly quite stunning, but may not be to everyone’s taste.
If you are more on the conservative side of design, but still like the idea of artistic parquet, then the best option is to go for a simple inlaid medallion as a focal point in a hallway. A tasteful inlaid border to complement a traditional parquet floor can also work well. The key for making artistic parquet flooring work in a contemporary setting is to keep the rest of the space as simple as possible, so that the interest of the floor is not lost but rather becomes a feature that adds to the overall feel of the room. This is beautifully demonstrated in the kitchen below where the clean minimalist lines of the furniture are a fantastic balance to the more detailed parquet. For more on kitchen flooring options click here.
Modern Parquet Patterns
Whilst traditional parquetry and marquetry are clearly still alive and kicking, if what you crave is to be on the very edge of design trends, then you’ll want to look at the up-and-coming parquet designers who are shaking up ideas of what can be achieved with parquet. New patterns, mixing media and adding color are all ways in which today’s designers are updating the parquet look.
Some of the newer looks to come to the forefront are the parquets designed by Jamie Beckwith, who plays with new and different types of tile shapes – instead of the standard repeated square tile, Beckwith’s Enigma range of parquet tile patterns feature all kinds of fascinating shapes taking inspiration from waves, ornamental decoration, arabesque ceramic tiles and even jigsaw puzzles. Pictured below are two of the tiles from her range, Crescent and Sextant.
Also in the mix are the creative efforts of the family-run UK based parquet company McKay Flooring Ltd who are doing fun things like delineating different areas of a room by mixing ceramic and wooden parquet tiles on the same floor and updating traditional herringbone parquet by using different colored or painted blocks!
Of course, these more cutting-edge custom designed parquets don’t exactly come with a small price tag, but if you have the budget to commission a contemporary artisan, you’ll be rewarded with a parquet floor that is totally unique and very desirable! For our main hardwood flooring guide click here.