During installation of hardwood flooring, your first concern should be the direction of the hardwood planks in the room. The way you lay the hardwood flooring determines the beauty and aesthetic of the room. Also, the right laying of hardwood flooring makes the room look bigger and airy. But the question is in which direction should you lay hardwood flooring?
As per the general rules, you should lay hardwood flooring across the length of the room. To be precise, the planks should be placed in a perpendicular direction to the joists. However, there are other rules of laying hardwood flooring where you may follow other directions.
To have a neat, sound, and organized flooring, knowing about different laying directions would help you a lot. After knowing the directions, you can learn which one is the best for your room. So let’s dive deeper into the matter and see which direction to lay hardwood flooring.
5 Directions To Lay Hardwood Flooring: The Possible Ways
Though laying the planks across the length of the room gives a neat and organized look, there are other criteria too. Many other ways of laying the hardwood planks can adorn the floor beautifully if done properly. The ultimate goal is to make the flooring aesthetically pleasing by laying them in the right direction.
To help you decide, I am providing 5 options of directions that you may try out. Note that you should check the compatibility of the layout first and then decide. Make a rough sketch and consult a specialist about the layout you are thinking of and check whether it goes well with the room or not.
Here are the 5 directions to lay hardwood flooring:
1. Across The Length:
The most common and popular way of laying hardwood flooring is to go across the length of the room. This means the longest wall of the room would be the direction of the hardwood planks.
The biggest benefit of this layout is that it makes the room look bigger and spacious. The design is sleek and smart giving a very modern and classy look. For instance, if you extend the flooring vertically from the door straight to the other side of the room, the space looks longer than it is. Also, a consistent pattern is followed from the entryway to the room.
2. Across The Width:
The opposite direction of the length of the room is in another direction to lay hardwood flooring. But you can only choose this direction if the room is narrow and long in length but short in width.
Just to make the room look a bit wider than it is, you can try laying out the hardwood planks horizontally across the width of the room. It gives a very compact pattern making the flooring neat when the room is narrow. So you may try out this direction if you have an elongated room to create an illusion of greater width.
3. Follow The Direction Of Light:
If your space is exposed to enough natural light, following the direction of that light source is the wisest decision. Not only does the light fall parallel to the planks, but it also intensifies the beauty of the planks.
Now if you lay the hardwood planks in the opposite direction to the light, there is an issue you are going to face. The light will fall across the width of the joints making them prominent. And any uneven surface would be more visible in this way. On the other hand, laying them parallel to the direction of light would not make the joints much visible. Rather, it will merge with the light and give a subtle and calming look.
4. Diagonal Across The Corners:
People willing to have an out-of-the-box flooring pattern can choose to lay the hardwood flooring diagonally. Here, the planks move from one corner to the exact opposite corner.
The diagonal layout of hardwood flooring looks the best in large spaces. The design blooms more when the space is large and noticeable. The space looks even more stylish, spacious, and classy. Only well-maintained and neat places should try out this layout. But normally, trying it may not be very impressive. However, you can always try and check.
You can try laying out the hardwood flooring in different directions to create versatile patterns. For instance, the herringbone pattern is where one plank is placed diagonally to the other plank.
Next, you can also try the parquet pattern of laying hardwood flooring. In this, the planks make a quartz shape and the other planks go inside this shape. In this way, you can create different patterns by laying the hardwood flooring in different directions. These patterns look unique and excellent, especially in spacious areas.
Does It Matter Which Direction You Lay Hardwood Flooring?
Hardwood flooring direction matters as the right layout makes the hardwood flooring aesthetically pleasing. With a random layout, the flooring may look clumsy and distorted.
If the right direction of hardwood flooring is maintained, you can get neat and organized flooring. Also, the space looks larger than it is when the direction is right. For example, going across the length of the room makes a room look larger. Also, following the width of the room in a narrow room gives an illusion of a larger room. Therefore, for the aesthetics of the flooring, the direction matters.
Should hardwood flooring be installed parallel or perpendicular to the longest wall?
Hardwood flooring can be installed parallel or perpendicular to the longest wall in a room, depending on the desired visual effect and the specific characteristics of the space. Installing the flooring parallel to the longest wall can create a sense of depth and continuity, making the room appear longer. On the other hand, installing the flooring perpendicular to the longest wall can provide a more traditional or formal look. Consider factors such as room size, natural light direction, and the overall design aesthetic when deciding on the direction to lay hardwood flooring.
Does the direction of the hardwood flooring affect the perception of room size?
The direction of the hardwood flooring can influence the perception of room size. Installing the flooring parallel to the longest wall can create an illusion of elongation, making the room appear larger. This is especially useful in narrow spaces or rooms where you want to enhance the sense of length. Conversely, laying the flooring perpendicular to the longest wall can visually widen the room, which can be advantageous in square or compact rooms. Considering the desired effect and the proportions of the space will help you determine the most suitable direction for laying the hardwood flooring.
Does the type of hardwood flooring installation method affect the preferred direction?
The type of hardwood flooring installation method can influence the preferred direction of installation. For glue-down installations, it’s generally recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, as they may have specific recommendations regarding the direction. With nail-down or staple-down installations, the direction is more flexible, and you can choose the orientation based on visual preferences and room characteristics. Floating floor installations also provide flexibility in direction, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper installation techniques. Considering the installation method and any specific instructions will help determine the suitable direction for hardwood flooring installation.
Should Hardwood Flooring Go The Same Direction?
The general rule of laying hardwood flooring is to go in the same direction. If you install them horizontally, go in that way for the entire room for aesthetic reasons. However, exceptions are there.
In case you are creating a geometric pattern or design like a parquet or herringbone, you would need to change the direction in between a room. This is also aesthetically valuable but should be done tactfully. These designs are popular in commercial areas or large spaces. But normally, the planks should go the same direction.
Can You Change Hardwood Flooring Direction Between Rooms?
It is not a good decision to change the direction of flooring between rooms. Because as you open the door between the room, the dissimilarity becomes visible and looks odd.
You should try not to change the flooring direction between rooms. It creates an inconsistency between the flooring in different rooms. When the flooring direction is similar across the rooms, the consistency and uniformity make the rooms look more spacious, beautiful, and neat. It looks more organized and tidy if you don’t change the direction.
Can Hardwood Floors Be Laid Differently In Different Rooms?
It is not recommended laying hardwood flooring differently in different rooms. This destroys the harmony between the flooring in multiple rooms and looks odd.
Only if the joists change the direction, you would need to lay the hardwood flooring in a different direction. Otherwise, there is no need to lay hardwood flooring differently in different rooms.
You should always try to lay all the hardwood floorings in a single direction to maintain flow and consistency. Because that makes the flooring eye-soothing and sound.
When To Change Hardwood Flooring Direction Between Rooms?
The general rule is not to change the hardwood flooring direction between rooms. But there is one situation when you may need to change directions.
When the direction of the joist gets altered in the next room, the direction should be changed. Because the rule says that the planks should be placed perpendicular to the joists. So if the joists change the direction, the flooring direction changes too. If the joist direction remains the same, you should not change the flooring direction at all.
Should You Place Hardwood Flooring Horizontally Or Vertically?
The direction of the hardwood flooring depends on the layout of the room and the space you have.
Any general room should have hardwood flooring placed vertically across the longest wall of the room. This makes the flooring sound, pleasing, and spacious. But if the room is narrow, it is better to lay the hardwood flooring horizontally across the width of the room. This makes the room look more spacious than it is. So you should decide the direction according to the layout of the room.
To conclude, I suggest you first consider the layout of the room and then decide on the direction of the hardwood flooring. Consult an expert if required to experiment with the directions and check which one would look the best.
So decide the hardwood flooring direction cautiously to enhance the beauty of the flooring.