Lustro Italiano > Design & Decor > Herringbone vs Chevron

Herringbone Pattern vs Chevron Pattern

Whether you are laying ceramic or porcelain tile on a floor, placing subway tile on a backsplash, or constructing a paver patio outdoors, you may have heard of one or both of the patterns we are going to mention in this article. However, occasionally, people will confuse the two and call one of them by the name of the other. So, in this article we are going to look at each pattern and highlight some differences between the patterns. As we do, we will mention some common uses for both the herringbone and the chevron patterns.

Herringbone Pattern

The herringbone pattern is one that is not only visually appealing, but also flexible. The herringbone pattern variants are based on the proportions of the individual tiles, bricks, or pavers used. Professional tile installers, landscapers, and other craftsmen also change up the appearance based on the angles in the project. Before we talk about the variations though, let's first describe the herringbone pattern.

Forming a herringbone pattern is relatively easy and can done by following some basic steps. If you are using a unit that is 6" x 9", the herringbone pattern is made by placing the 6" side of one unit against the 9" side of another unit. Doing this creates an "L" shape. Placing the next two units in the same configuration while nesting them "inside" the previous "L" shape and repeating this process is what forms the herringbone pattern. As the units are placed in this sequence, the pattern appears to travel up and to the right. Of course, beginning the pattern with the units placed at a 45° angle, makes each pair of units resemble a "V" or a "✓". Then each additional pair sits directly on top of the one below it.

The herringbone pattern set on a 45° angle is the one that people confuse with the chevron pattern. In the image at the top of this article, the left side shows the herringbone pattern as it looks at a 45 ° angle. The right side of the image depicts the chevron pattern, which we will discuss later on in this article. Notice how the vertex of the "v" shape on the left is formed by lining up the 9" side of one unit with the 6" side of the other.

Herringbone Variations

The herringbone pattern also comes in variants. The main variations stem from the proportions of the individual units being used. Some of the variants are:

  • 1:2
  • 1:3
  • 2:2
  • 2:3
  • 3:3

Recall that in our first description of the herringbone pattern, each unit measured 6" x 9" and the 6" side of one unit was placed against the 9" side of the other. When using other size tiles, bricks, or pavers to create a variation of the herringbone pattern, you do the same thing, with one minor change. Let's consider the 1:2 herringbone pattern. Creating this herringbone pattern takes units that are 3 times as long as they are wide. For example, we could create it using units that measure 6" x 18". We would place 2 of the units' 6" sides against the 18" side of another unit. This would look like a capital "L" with two horizontal bars on bottom instead of one. Making a 2:2 variation would be similar except the pattern would be two units placed in one direction and two placed in the other direction. The variations are repeated as we described earlier.

Chevron Pattern

The chevron pattern is a dynamic looking pattern that is used for tiles, bricks, and pavers. The resulting pattern looks much like a herringbone pattern at an angle. The difference though is that the chevron pattern is not formed by placing one unit's side against another. Rather, the ends of each tile, brick, or paver is cut at an angle and then the ends are placed together to make a seam. The result of this is a series of "V", "M", or "W" looking shapes, depending on how you look at and on which part of the pattern you focus.

In the image at the top of this article, the right side of the image is a chevron pattern. The difference between it and the herringbone is that the chevron pattern is formed by tiles, bricks, or pavers that are in the shape of parallelograms and not rectangles like the herringbone. The look of the resulting pattern is a clean zigzag pattern with fewer visible seams. This is because the ends of the units line up straight and do not overlap like the units in the herringbone pattern.

Chevron Variations

Even though the units are not placed perpendicular to one another in the chevron pattern like they are in the herringbone pattern, variations are still possible. However, the variation in the results stems from different properties of the units. As we mentioned earlier, the variations in the herringbone pattern come from the lengths of the sides of the units combined with the number of units placed perpendicular to the others. On the other hand, the chevron pattern variations come from the angles at which the units are cut. Cutting the ends of the units can be done so that the pattern is taller or wider depending on the angle used for the end cuts.

Comparing Herringbone and Chevron Patterns

We have already touched on one feature of these patterns that differs. As you recall, we mentioned that the chevron pattern has fewer visible seams since the ends of each unit line up with the ones above and below it. Another difference between these patterns is he feel of them. Although both patterns form a zigzag shape, the herringbone pattern is a bit softer when compared to the bolder feel of the chevron pattern. Since there are fewer seams and the zigzags line up, the chevron pattern feels more extreme and exciting.

On the other hand, the herringbone pattern has more lines and projects a blocky feel. In fact, some describe the herringbone pattern as a "staggered zigzag" or a "blocked zigzag" type pattern.

Herringbone and Chevron Similarities

Even though these patterns are formed differently and have some differences, the do share some similarities. For example each forms a zigzag pattern that contributes to an elegant feel in a project. Additionally, both patterns look striking when created using long, thin units; whether it be wood, tiles, bricks, or pavers. And, as we have explained throughout this article, each of these patterns can be varied a bit to achieve a slightly different look.

In the end, there are a great number of looks that can be achieved with just these two patterns. Your choice of which one to go with will depend on your personal preference, the style of your project's design, and perhaps your color selection. In the end, either pattern can be used for creating stunning and compelling interior designs.

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