Home Decorating What’s Hot in Herringbone?

What’s Hot in Herringbone?

The world is, literally, full of patterns. Look at a country field and you’ll find a natural floral pattern; take a spin into the city and you’ll see bold geometrics making up most of the buildings. The stones and boulders strewn along the edges of a beach create the most stunning, irregular organic patterns, while the sky itself if full of an ever-changing mix of abstract designs. We find it impossible not to love patterns, especially the age-old varieties that are still just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. Case in point: herringbone, an endlessly versatile pattern that looks terrific pretty much everywhere, from men’s suits to church walls and even area rugs.

Certaldo Tuscany Italy Blucarservice_2

Medieval street in Certaldo, Tuscany, Italy (photo via Blucarservice)

  The name herringbone is derived from the common fish, whose skeleton bears that distinctive pattern of Vs. Though the ancient Romans are credited as the first to develop this eye-pleasing geometric pattern—which differs from a standard zigzag or chevron in the way it breaks at the arris, or point of reversal, to form a grouping of interlocking rectangular units—its roots may actually stretch back to the Sumerians circa 2000 B.C.

Kurdistan ancient herringbone wall Student Reader

A wall in Erbil, Kurdistan, circa 2000 B.C. (photo via Student Reader)

  Regardless of its origins, the pattern made its way across the middle East, Africa (especially Egypt), Europe, and North America, where it’s found on everything from cathedral and train-station domes to castle walls and tapestries and . . . the Shroud of Turin. We kid you not.


Tamworth Castle, Tamworth, Staffordshire, England (photo via Exploring Castles)


Grand Central Terminal Whispering Gallery

The Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Station, New York City (photo via To the Next Stop]

  The reason herringbone has stuck around so long, especially on walls, floors, and roads, is because the interlocking rectangles are able to withstand more pressure than if they were laid out in straight lines. The same can be said of fabric, where herringbone’s interlocking weave helps it to resist punctures and tears. These are all great reasons to like herringbone, but our favorite is that pattern has energy and movement yet retains its subtlety—it doesn’t scream out for center-stage treatment, so it plays nicely with a range of patterns on furniture, decorative pillows, window panels, and other accessories.

Corcoran Group Real Estate herringbone wood floor

Herringbone wood floors (photo via the Corcoran Group)

And that’s why we love these new Dash & Albert Herringbone rugs. Made of lightweight yet durable woven cotton and in a range of hues, these rugs are an instant style infusion for any space. Choose a neutral for a more classic, sophisticated look, or pick one of these ready-for-spring colors for a room fresher-upper (by caroline). Or combine a neutral herringbone with a more colorful herringbone rug in different seating areas of the same room or in adjacent rooms for a modern look. It’s hard to go wrong with a pattern this classic in colors this versatile and eye-catching.   14HerringboneStone     rugcomp 1. Herringbone Citrus Woven Cotton Rug 2. Herringbone Swedish Blue Woven Cotton Rug 3. Herringbone Coral Woven Cotton Rug 4. Herringbone Stone Woven Cotton Rug 5. Herringbone Olive Woven Cotton Rug 6. Herringbone Sky Woven Cotton Rug 7. Herringbone Indigo Woven Cotton Rug 8. Herringbone Dove Grey Woven Cotton Rug

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