The way we react to things that we see is influenced by the experiences we’ve had throughout our lives.  When it comes to interior design or décor, how we perceive things depends on what we’re used to seeing in which setting.  For example, until a few years ago, a distressed, aged floor would have been perceived as uncared for and in need of repair.  Today this look is highly sought after, and both artificially aged and reclaimed flooring are in high demand.

[caption id="attachment_2916" align="alignright" width="400"] Narrow Wood Flooring (150mm)[/caption]

When it comes to wide and narrow flooring, we have a tendency to categorise these according to our life experiences.   In the same way that we associate hats on women with weddings, we have a tendency to associate highly polished, narrow board wood flooring with formal settings (or, depending on your age, school gyms!).  What’s more, in the same way that vertical stripes have a tendency to make ‘chunky’ people look thinner and horizontal stripes tend to make everyone look ‘chunkier’, wood flooring will affect the apparent size and shape of your room.

There’s no getting away from the fact that we associate narrow flooring more with formality than casual settings, but this needn’t necessarily be the case.  If you have a valuable, highly polished dining table for example and you want it to retain a formal and distinguished look, then choosing highly polished, narrow wooden floor boards will give an overall look of class and charm.  However, if you want the backdrop to your table to be more relaxed, then a wide board, distressed finish wood floor will help you achieve this feel.  So, as a general rule of thumb, if you assume narrow boards to look more formal and wide boards to look more casual you won’t go far wrong.

[caption id="attachment_2917" align="alignright" width="400"] Wide Wood Flooring (200mm +)[/caption]

The other thing that wide and narrow flooring will do to your décor is that it will appear to change the shape and, or dimensions of a room.  Here are some ideas to play with if you’d like to change the apparent shape or dimensions of your room:


  1. Small rooms. If you have a small room, wide boards will give and impression of greater volume to your room, particularly if they are light coloured.
  2. Big rooms. In big rooms you can normally get away with either narrow or wide wood floor boards, but ironically, while wide boards will make a small room look bigger, they can also make a big room seem smaller.  In big rooms, where you want the room to seem more proportioned, it is a clever trick to mix wide and narrow boards to create an illusion of bringing in the walls.  For example, if your room is rectangular, you could create a rectangle of either wide or narrow boards in the middle of your room where the sides run parallel to the walls.  Thereafter, you could place a border of the opposite type of board around the outside.  That’s to say, if you’ve created a central rectangle with narrow boards, you could create the border with the wide boards, or vise versa.  Cutting your room up in this way will cleverly reduce the impression of volume and add interest to your décor at the same time.
  3. Narrow rooms. A clever way to make narrow rooms seem wider is to use wide boards that are laid perpendicular (at right angles) to the long side of your room.  The effect of this will be that your room will seem immediately wider.
  4. Long rooms. In the same way that wide boards laid perpendicular to the long side of narrow rooms will make the room look wider, wide boards laid perpendicular to the long side of long rooms will make them look shorter.

While all of these effects are only visual rather than actual, the right choice of board can make a huge difference to the look of both your décor and your room size or dimension.  All of that said, with the immense choice of boards that are available today, making the right choice for your project can seem overwhelming.  So if you’d like some expert help in making sure you make the right choices, why not get in touch?