How to Use Herringbone in Your Home Décor

When it pertains to class style, few patterns in home decor come to mind more readily than herringbone. So named because of its similarity to the skeletal structure of a herring, the herringbone pattern is typically used in gentlemen’s suits, but it also has made its way into well-designed homes.


With its eye-catching zigzags, herringbone is a classic pattern that still works well with sleek modern designs because of its versatility. But at the same time, herringbone still fits comfortably with vintage architectural details.


Photo by Archi_Viz on Shutterstock

Want to give this classic pattern a try in your own home? Well then here are six ways you can put this all-purpose pattern to use in your interior design. 


1. Get Chic

If you want an upscale statement in your entry and living room, and you don’t have an upscale budget, herringbone is the miracle you’re looking for. A herringbone wood floor, when added to simple furnishings and minimal accessories, transforms plain into posh.


Similar furnishings and accessories combined with a straight-patterned wood floor look mundane by comparison.


2. Get Focal

Monochromatic and flowing spaces can be calming, but they’re also a design challenge. All that sameness leaves the eye to wander around with nowhere to land. Adding a herringbone pattern to such a room can create a much needed focal point.


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See how this works especially well in a kitchen? A herringbone backsplash is perfect for flat-faced cabinetry.


3. Get Glamor

If you want to use natural materials, let’s say in a bathroom, but you don’t want to end up with a monastic or rustic feel, herringbone can add the bit of flair necessary to create glamor in the space.


Photo by Jodie Johnson on Shutterstock

See how the patterned herringbone tile alters the feel of the bathroom above? To get the full impact, hold your hand out in front of you and block out the tile. You’ll see a basic bathroom. Now move your hand, and suddenly, you see luxury.


4. Get Larger

Although it might seem that such a “busy” pattern wouldn’t be a good fit for a small space, herringbone is precisely what a small space needs. Because the eye is drawn to the wide part of the “V” in herringbone, the pattern conjures an optical illusion that suggests a larger area.


Photo by Teeraphan Pensupha on Shutterstock

The above bedroom is a small, low ceilinged room, but the addition of the herringbone walls seems to expand the width of the room, creating a spacious feel.


Because of this effect, herringbone floors are good choices for compact spaces like laundry rooms, powder rooms, and entryways.


Photo by Agenturfotografin on Shutterstock

5. Get Texture

When all your design elements are smooth and sleek, a room can end up appearing flat and uninteresting. This won’t happen, though, if you send Herringbone Hero to the rescue.


Photo by Archi_Viz on Shutterstock

The floor in the bathroom above “holds up” the room with its eye-pleasing texture. The contrast and character of the herringbone pattern rescue this bathroom from being dull.


6. Get Bold

If your décor needs a little zing, herringbone has just what you need. It can add the pop you want with a light spray of wall color.


Photo by Archi_Viz on Shutterstock

Look at all the movement in the wall above. A plain turquoise wall would be too heavy for the room, but the turquoise herringbone pattern seems to dance with the other design elements.


Herringbone can also go bold on furniture.


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The herringbone dresser above is the perfect bit of glitz to go with the mirror above it. A plain dresser would have been a yawn by comparison.


Even a touch of herringbone in an accessory can make a big impression.


Photo by Beyond Time on Shutterstock

Just the one herringbone-patterned pillow packs a powerful punch in the room above. (If you don’t believe me, do the cover-it-up trick again, this time with your finger.)


The herringbone pattern’s adroit adaptability makes it any room designer’s best friend. Because it can be used on almost any aspect of a room (from floors to walls to furniture to accessories), herringbone might be just what you need to take your interior design from “just OK” to outstanding.


Thinking about giving herringbone a shot in your own home? Before you take the plunge, you can experiment with different herringbone house designs in House Tipster’s Virtual Rooms.

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