Does Herringbone Make A Room Look Smaller?

Herringbone is a type of pattern made up of rectangles that are arranged into the shape of the letter V. They are stacked on top of each other and resemble the skeleton of a fish, hence the name herringbone. 

This pattern has a rich history, dating back thousands of years. Woven herringbone jewelry was used in ancient Ireland, Egypt, and Rome. The Romans even utilized this pattern in their brick roadways. Today, it is used as a popular layout in the construction industry, especially when it comes to flooring.

What Is Herringbone Made Of?

The long and storied history of this flooring pattern has showcased many different types of flooring. In theory, you can use any type of flooring to make this pattern. Some of the most popular mediums include stone, tile, hardwood, bamboo, and vinyl. No matter the type of flooring you prefer, you can be positive that it is possible to work a herringbone pattern into it.

Does Herringbone Make A Room Look Smaller?

Herringbone can actually have the opposite effect on how the size of a room feels. One of the main reasons it is still a common pattern in today’s society is that it has the ability to make a room feel bigger than it actually is. This is especially useful in tight spaces like hallways and apartments.

That said, there are some caveats to this. The size and color of the pattern can affect how large a room looks. Regardless of these factors, herringbone will always make a room look more spacious.

Why Does Herringbone Make A Room Look Bigger?

It’s no secret that a floor with a herringbone pattern doesn’t actually make the room larger, it just looks that way. You can think of it as a beneficial optical illusion because it isn’t always possible or feasible to just add extra square footage to a room.

There is a famous illusion from the 1920s known as the Helmholtz illusion. Never heard of it? That’s OK, most people haven’t. In short, Hermann von Helmholtz realized that a square-shaped area with horizontal stripes looked longer from the top to the bottom. Even though the squares were the same size, the one with horizontal stripes looked taller and skinnier. A herringbone pattern is slightly different, but the same idea applies to both. The direction of a line can make an area look larger or smaller than it actually is.

Is Herringbone Cost-Effective?

As far as making a room look bigger goes, there are tons of different suggestions out there spread across the internet. Some are cheap and easy fixes, and some cost much more time and money. 

Depending on what type of flooring you choose to go with, laying a herringbone floor will usually be more expensive than other methods of making a room look bigger.  That is because most suggestions have to do with furniture or paint. 

This doesn’t mean that herringbone isn’t worth it, it’s actually quite the opposite. Installing new floors in your home is a great way to add to the property’s value. If you think that you may ever want to sell your home, then new flooring is a great investment. This is especially true because herringbone inflates how large the rooms feel.

What Should You Do?

If you would like to make your room feel larger and more open, then installing a herringbone floor is a great idea. There are a few rules you should follow to get the most out of herringbone floor. 

First, it makes the most sense to use a lighter-colored herringbone pattern to maximize the feeling of space within a room. This is because lighter colors are better at reflecting light, which will make your room feel bigger than it is.

You will also want to match the size of the pattern with the size of the room. Larger rooms will feel even bigger with a more considerable size of herringbone. The same rule applies to smaller rooms, make sure to use a smaller pattern. Doing this will prevent the room from feeling crowded or becoming hard to look at.

Finally, the direction of the pattern should run parallel with the shorter walls in the room. This means the V shape should point towards the longer walls. The angled lines of the pattern are what create the optical illusion that the room is more open.

Final Thoughts On Herringbone

Contrary to popular belief, herringbone can make a room feel more open and spacious. As long as you install it properly, use the correct color scheme, and match the size of the pattern to the size of the room, you can transform your space into looking and feeling much bigger than it actually is. 

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

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