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Matching your wooden flooring to the room

Some of these tips might go against the grain...
   Luke Arthur Wells  |  written on: 09-08-2019 12:30pm

When it comes to laying new wood flooring, I’ve specified a good few, and even laid one myself, and one of the big questions that always comes up is direction. And for good reason - it’s not something you think about until it comes time to install, but the visual effects can be quite different. The one good thing about it is that once it has been laid, you’ll never have seen the other option in real life, so even if you’ve laid yours and you don’t agree with my tips, you don’t need to worry too much!

There are two schools of thought that seem to wrestle it out on the internet for which way to lay wooden flooring - the first is with the planks parallel to the longest wall and the second is following the direction of the main source of natural lighting in the space.

Walnut,Timber,Kitchen,Bespoke,Designer,wooden,Contemporary,modern,Chic,Island,Sink,Marble,floor
Inspiration by Naked Kitchens

Of course, much like the old horizontal and vertical stripes in your wardrobe, there are simple ways that the orientation affect the visual impact - widthways will make the space look wider, while lengthways will make the space feel longer. If there’s a certain ratio you’d like to address in the room, then this is definitely one way to go about it.

worktops,kitchen,island,aga,seating,wooden flooring,granite worktop,drawers
Inspiration by Baker & Baker

However, my usual rule of thumb is to look at the light source, as suggested above, however also factoring in where the main entry door is located. I like the direction of the floorboards to lead the eye to the window - training the eye to lead straight to the exit of a room may seem counter intuitive to the hours of interior designing you’ve spent doing, but it’s about helping the space feel larger and unconfined. If your door is opposite your window, for example, then that’s an easy choice, but in opposite corners of a longer room, a lengthways plank may better draw the eye.

master bedroom,child's bedroom,modern,floorboards,wooden,open-plan bedroom,attic bedroom,nursery,playroom
Inspiration by William Garvey

If you can’t decipher your space in terms of light sources or longest walls, as in it’s relatively square and has a lot of sources of natural light, then it really won’t make a huge difference which you choose unless it interacts with your furniture at a certain aspect. In this case, ask your fitter which way they’ll find easier to lay - at least then you’ll have the hope that the fitting process will be easy and the finished result of perfect quality.

Also read:
The household butterfly effect

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Luke Arthur Wells


Luke is an interior designer, stylist and blogger at www.lukearthurwells.com. He’s a believer in understated interiors that don’t have to shout to be heard, and he’s currently practicing what he preaches renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, where he lives with his partner and two pampered pups. When it comes to his design style, he loves new and interesting building materials, a carefully chosen white paint and he also has a weakness for coffee table books and a fresh bunch of eucalyptus.

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