Choosing the Right Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring in Multiple Rooms

which direction to lay vinyl plank flooring in multiple rooms

The decision of which direction to lay flooring can significantly impact the aesthetic and functional value of your space.

Often overlooked in favor of color, design, or material, the direction of your flooring can be a game-changer in terms of visual impact and room flow.

This blog post will delve into the basics of laying vinyl plank flooring, unravel the significance of flooring direction, and give you an overview of some critical points, such as the impact of natural light, alignment with fixtures, and room size and layout.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision for your flooring project.

Things to Consider When Deciding on Flooring Direction

Room Shape and Layout

  • Impact of Room Shape and Layout on Flooring Direction

When I was first getting started in the world of interior design, I learned a valuable lesson about the impact of room shape and layout on flooring direction.

I recall working on a project where the living room was long and narrow. My initial thought was to lay the vinyl planks width-wise to make the room appear more comprehensive, but this resulted in a choppy aesthetic.

It was then I realized that laying the planks lengthwise, or parallel to the longest wall, created a seamless, unbroken line of sight that made the room look longer and more spacious.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the shape and layout of your room when deciding the direction of your flooring.

  • Visual Flow and Continuity between Rooms

Think back to when you visited a friend’s house, and as you walked from one room to the next, you noticed something slightly disorienting about the flooring.

Perhaps the direction of the flooring abruptly changed when you entered a different room, creating a disjointed and disharmonious visual effect.

This is a common mistake that many homeowners make when installing flooring in multiple rooms.

It’s essential to maintain a consistent flooring direction across different rooms to ensure visual flow and continuity.

I’ve learned from my own experience that this uniformity helps to create a sense of cohesion and harmony throughout the home, making it feel like a unified living space rather than a collection of separate rooms.

Natural Light and Windows

  • Impact of Natural Light on Flooring Perception

I can’t stress enough how natural light can dramatically alter the appearance of your floors. It’s one of the most crucial factors that can either enhance or diminish the overall beauty of your flooring.

I remember working on a beachside home where the abundant natural light streaming in from the large windows made the dark wooden floors gleam, highlighting the grain and texture.

The light seemed to flow along the direction of the boards, emphasizing the length and space within the room.

The direction of the floor was laid parallel to the incoming sunlight, creating a beautiful, elongated visual effect.

  • Utilizing Natural Light to Enhance Visual Appeal

Over the years, I’ve discovered that you can strategically use natural light to amplify the aesthetic allure of your floors.

My advice would be to observe the path of the sunlight at different times of the day in your room. Consider the source of the light and how it hits the floor.

I once suggested a client install translucent window treatments in their sun-drenched living room. The resulting diffused light softly illuminated the floors, giving them a warm and inviting look.

The direction of the flooring was placed perpendicular to the windows, which helped distribute the light evenly and made the room appear wider.

So, if you’re fortunate to have an excellent natural light source, use it to your advantage. It’s all about creating harmony between the elements of your room to bring out the best in your flooring.

The Longest Wall Rule

The ‘Longest Wall Rule’ is a principle that I often resort to when laying floors. Essentially, this rule suggests that planks should be laid parallel to the longest wall in the room.

This guiding rule can significantly influence the aesthetic and spatial perception of a room, manipulating it to appear either stretched out or more expansive depending on the specifics of your layout.

I recall working on a project for a homeowner with a narrow, rectangular dining room. It was rather long but not so vast, which made it feel cramped.

After having a good look at the room, I decided to apply the Longest Wall Rule. The flooring planks were installed parallel to the longest wall, instantly giving the room a sense of width and spaciousness.

  • Identifying the Longest Wall and Why It Matters

Identifying the longest wall in your room is a straightforward task. You need to measure the length of all the walls in your room. The one with the highest measurement is your longest wall.

But why does it matter? Well, when floorboards are laid parallel to the longest wall, they draw the eye along the length of the space, creating an optical illusion of a more expansive room. Essentially, you’re manipulating perception to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the room.

A few years back, I helped a friend redo the floors in their hallway. It was a long, narrow space that felt like a tunnel.

I suggested we lay the floorboards parallel to the longest wall, effectively leading the eye down the hallway and making it feel more comprehensive than it was.

The difference was remarkable. It completely changed the feel of the space, making it seem far less confined.

Remember, flooring is about more than just choosing a beautiful material. It’s also about how that material is laid out. It can make a world of difference in the overall look and feel of a room.

Flooring Direction Options and Their Effects

Parallel to the Longest Wall

1. Benefits of Laying Vinyl Plank Flooring Parallel to the Longest Wall

One of the most substantial benefits of laying vinyl plank flooring parallel to the longest wall is its ability to enhance the scale of your room visually.

I once had a client with a small reading room; it was quaint but somewhat claustrophobic. I decided to install vinyl plank flooring parallel to the longest wall.

The result? The room seemed to breathe out, and the sense of claustrophobia dissipated. Vinyl plank flooring not only offers a range of aesthetic options to choose from but also provides the added advantage of durability.

The material is resistant to scratches and dents, making it a top choice for high-traffic areas.

2. Creating a Sense of Space and Continuity

The direction in which your floor is laid can create a sense of continuity, making your space appear more cohesive and harmonious.

I worked on a project where the living room and dining area were one ample, open space.

By installing the vinyl plank flooring parallel to the longest wall in both areas, I enhanced the flow between the two spaces, making it feel like one vast, unified area.

It’s fascinating how such a seemingly minor decision can significantly influence the atmosphere of a room.

Remember, when installing new flooring, consider more than just the material.

Consider how the direction of the floor can enhance your space, making it not just a room but a haven.

Perpendicular to the Longest Wall

Laying Flooring Perpendicular to the Longest Wall

There are instances where laying flooring perpendicular to the longest wall is the strategic choice. One prime example comes to mind.

I once tackled a project involving a narrow corridor in a home. The corridor already felt tight and uninviting, so laying the flooring parallel to the length would have only exaggerated this problem.

Instead, I installed the vinyl planks perpendicular to the longest wall, effectively breaking up the tunnel vision effect and making the corridor feel more expansive.

The homeowner was pleasantly surprised by the transformation, and the space became more inviting.

Visual Interest and Dimension with Flooring Direction

Laying flooring perpendicular to the longest wall is also an excellent strategy for adding visual interest and dimension to your space.

I recall an exciting project where the client had a unique, eclectic style. They wanted a room that was more than functional; they wanted it full of character.

So, I installed the planks perpendicular to the longest wall, which created dynamism and movement in the space.

The flooring pattern led the eye around the room engagingly, introducing an element of surprise to an otherwise standard layout.

The client was thrilled with the added visual interest that this simple change in flooring direction provided.

It’s moments like these that demonstrate the power of flooring direction in transforming a space into an expression of the homeowner’s unique style.

Diagonal or Herringbone Pattern

There’s a world of imaginative possibilities when you step outside the realm of standard flooring layouts, and that’s where diagonal and herringbone patterns come into play.

One of my most memorable projects involved a dynamic couple who wanted to breathe life into their vintage living room.

They were looking for a flooring pattern that could hold its own amidst their collection of antique furniture and art pieces.

And so, we decided to venture beyond the traditional and installed a diagonal pattern. It was not the usual choice, but it worked beautifully.

The diagonal lines of the floor created a sense of motion, giving a vibrant energy that swept across the entire room.

It was a creative solution that complemented their aesthetic and brought their vision to life.

The distinctive and stylish effects of these layouts

Herringbone patterns, particularly, have a unique charm that can elevate any space. I still remember the first time I used this pattern – it was for a sophisticated dining room needing a certain je ne sais quoi.

Installing a herringbone pattern was like waving a magic wand over the room. The crisscrossing planks created a captivating visual rhythm that immediately drew the eye.

The once plain dining room was transformed into an elegant space full of personality. It was a perfect example of how these distinctive and stylish layouts can have a dramatic impact on a room, enhancing its character and visual appeal.

Transition Areas Between Rooms

Transition Strips in Flooring Direction Changes

Transition strips are more than just functional elements in flooring; they are the unsung heroes of interior design.

They create a seamless connection between rooms, ensuring that the change in flooring direction doesn’t cause a jarring visual impact.

I recall working with a client with a striking checkerboard pattern in their kitchen and a more subdued diagonal pattern in the dining room.

The transition strip allowed for a harmonious flow between these two different patterns. It was almost like a visual sigh of relief, bridging the bold and the subtle without causing a clash.

Tips for Creating Smooth Transitions

Creating smooth transitions between rooms can seem daunting, but with a few straightforward techniques, it can be achieved.

  • Match the Color

One of the easiest methods is to match the color of your transition strip with the dominant color in either of the rooms.

I once worked on a project with a dark walnut floor in the living room and a lighter oak floor in the dining area.

We chose a walnut transition strip that blended seamlessly with the living room floor, creating a natural progression into the dining area.

  • Go for Contrasts

Another approach is to use contrasts. It may sound counterintuitive, but a contrasting transition strip can beautifully highlight the change in direction.

I remember a project where we had a rustic brick pattern in the hallway leading into a sleek marble floor in the bedroom.

We used a distressed wood transition strip that strikingly brought out the contrast, making the change in direction an exciting design feature.

  • Consider the Width

The width of the transition strip also plays a crucial role. A wider strip can help to visually ease the transition between dramatic changes in direction or pattern.

When I was working on a cottage with a herringbone pattern in the living room leading into a straight pattern in the kitchen, we used a broad, painted transition strip.

It helped to soften the abrupt shift, ensuring a more visually pleasing flow from one room to the other.


In this article, we’ve covered several critical considerations when planning floor transitions. We started by matching the color of the transition strip to either room.

This technique was vital when I worked on a project that involved a rich walnut floor in the living room and a lighter oak one in the dining area.

We also discussed the effectiveness of contrasts, as seen in a project that involved a rustic brick hallway leading to a sleek marble bedroom.

Lastly, we considered the width of the transition strip, which can soften dramatic changes in direction or pattern, just like in the cottage with a herringbone pattern room leading to a straight patterned kitchen.

It’s essential to reiterate the critical role of thoughtful planning when deciding the direction for vinyl plank flooring in multiple rooms.

This decision creates the visual flow of your space, impacts the room’s functionality, and can even affect the perceived room size.

As we’ve seen from my experiences, choosing the correct transition technique can make a significant difference in achieving a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result.

As you embark on your flooring journey, I encourage you to consider aesthetic and practical factors.

Remember that your flooring is a critical component of your home’s overall aesthetic, but it must also meet your practical needs for durability, maintenance, and comfort.

As seen in the projects I’ve shared, when these factors are considered in harmony, your space can indeed come alive.

Don’t shy away from contrasts or unusual choices – sometimes, they are the perfect solution. Happy planning, and here’s to a beautiful home.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

Recent Posts