Achieve Visual Interest and Style With Plank Widths and Lengths
Published: April 27, 2021
Among the stylish looks you can add to a room – or to your entire home, for that matter – hardwood or laminate flooring in varied plank widths and lengths can help you make a statement. From rustic hardwoods that reveal all the knots and character of natural wood to not-so-faux floors with the care and cost advantages of laminates, express yourself as much in the dimensions of your planking as in the coloration and finishes you choose.
Herringbone patterns need well-aligned corners for a precise alignment, so you’ll have an easier time achieving this look with narrower boards. At the same time, however, you can use a mixed-width approach with herringbones, and even achieve interesting effects with chevron and parquet designs. These types of patterns also can make your room appear bigger because of the way they counter the obvious shape of the room. Like more-intricate patterns, diagonal plank arrangements also add visual interest. Plan for more material to achieve these patterns, however, because of the need to trim out planks for the specific lengths required.
Once you venture beyond traditional plank arrangements, consider whether you prefer mixed widths with a random or a specific pattern. In some ways, this may remind you of the difference between building a wall out of various sizes of stones versus opting for the uniformity of brick. If you vary plank lengths as well as widths, you can build a two-dimensional pattern – but be sure you fully visualize the final look to ensure that any repeats are as obvious or as subtle as you prefer. Truly long boards make wide planks even more dramatic in appearance and cut down on the end seams between boards for a cleaner presentation.
You’ll find abundant advice suggesting that you use three widths in a mixed-plank floor, with 1″-2″ of variance between widths, and some flooring manufacturers create collections that assemble three widths into a unified approach. If you’re working with hardwoods, remember that you’re likely to see more grain in wider planks than in narrower ones, and consider the impact of these natural features the way you would plan to place a patterned rug. The importance of these elements determines whether you achieve a formal look or a more-rustic one, and whether your floor becomes a true showcase for its materials.
The directionality of other elements in the room also takes on a big role in shaping your vision of flooring design. Along with the size of the room and whether it’s a box, a circle or an irregular shape, consider transitions such as stairs and hallways, and plan out your floor so it guides the eye harmoniously from room to room and floor to floor.
Just as a bordered styling can make a stylistic statement in a carpeted or tiled room, hardwoods and laminates can achieve the same types of effects. Whether you choose to build a border out of a contrasting plank width, or opt for a darker or lighter choice to add emphasis, borders can add the same type of impact as the frame you choose for a painting or photograph. In a truly irregularly shaped room or one with curved walls, borders can be difficult to add, but if your space is conducive to implementing them, they can present a distinctive appearance, especially if you continue them from room to room.
Materials and costs
When it comes to flooring costs, narrower and shorter planks tend to demand less of your budget than long and wider ones do, especially if you want hardwoods rather than laminates. That’s largely because plank dimensions determine how the boards are cut, and the size of the piece of wood that yields them. Depending on the style you want to achieve, laminates may make your vision easier to realize because they eliminate the surprises of grain structure and coloration that can vary in a natural product. However, to mimic every aspect of hardwoods with laminates, you’ll need some variance in plank length, and laminate manufacturers make products that go to great lengths – pun intended – to get that look.
Regardless of how you choose to style your rooms, spend some quality time thinking through, visualizing and confirming the look you’ll get. Flooring makes an enduring contribution to your home, so you’ll want to ensure that your results will live up to your vision. The design experts at Kermans have the flooring and the smarts to help you accomplish the ultimate expression of personal style and taste. Visit our showroom for an in-depth consultation and find exactly what you want.