How to Decide Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

direction of vinyl plank flooring

How to Decide Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

A popular flooring option these days is luxury vinyl plank flooring, a solid, durable type of flooring that resembles wood. Vinyl plank flooring is more cost-efficient, sustainable, customizable and comfortable than most hardwood, and it’s easier to install. 

It is water-resistant, so it’s perfect for rooms where spills are common such as bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, entryways and porches. It is resistant to daily wear and tear and can handle heavy foot traffic. It is also easy to maintain because it only requires mopping and sweeping, not refinishing. 

Once you know you want vinyl flooring and where you want it installed, it’s important to decide which direction to have the flooring laid. 

What to Consider When Deciding Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl planks can be laid horizontally or vertically or have a herringbone or diagonal pattern. The direction of the flooring changes the look and feel of the room. When considering which way vinyl plank flooring should run, there are a few factors you can consider to make your decision easier.

Adjoining Rooms

Generally, the room or rooms the vinyl plank flooring will be installed in will connect to other spaces. If you aren’t redoing the flooring in both areas, you want the transition between the two to look similar and smooth so the flooring doesn’t look mismatched. In this case, you might decide which direction to install vinyl plank flooring based on the direction the flooring in the adjoining room follows. 

If the flooring in the adjoining room is carpet, it doesn’t matter which direction you lay the vinyl flooring in, so other factors can help you decide. If the flooring in the room is another type of hard flooring and you want distinct transitions between the rooms, have the vinyl flooring put in the opposite direction. This will also draw attention to the flooring of both rooms. 

Room Shape and Features

The room’s shape can help you determine how you want the flooring placed: 

  • Narrow: If the room is narrow, like a hallway, the planks should run the room’s length. This will elongate the space. 
  • Small: If you have the planks installed in a room you want to appear more spacious, running the planks parallel to the longest wall will achieve this. If you want the room to appear more expansive in the opposite direction, have the planks placed horizontally. 
  • Angled: If the room has a lot of sharp angles, diagonal or herringbone patterns can help detract from them. 

There may be a feature in the room that you wish to emphasize, such as a fireplace, art piece or antique desk. If you have the planks laid perpendicular to the feature, you create a natural focal point in the room.

You can also have the planks mimic the direction of the room’s most used or main entrance. If installing the planks in the living room, have them placed perpendicular to the front door. 


Flooring usually follows the direction of the main light source or natural light. When sunlight streams in through windows or a glass door, it will create a pleasing visual effect on planks that follows the same direction.

Flooring Features

The plank style itself might help you decide which direction to have your flooring installed if you’ve chosen a design that mimics the natural grains and swirling patterns in hardwood. If you’ve already purchased your flooring or have a specific type in mind, consider how the planks best fit together according to their appearance.

Personal Preference

If you have an idea of how you want your flooring laid, but it doesn’t follow the usual design standards, that’s perfectly fine. The direction of the flooring is only about aesthetics. It doesn’t affect the quality or condition of the floor. 

Consult your qualified installer about your idea and get their professional opinion. Chances are your layout idea will work and look great.


Some plank installation options might be costlier than others, depending on your room’s layout, square footage and plank dimensions. If you’re working on a tight budget and aren’t set on a specific style, your installer can help you determine which layout might be the more cost-efficient option based on the amount of flooring it would require to complete.

Tips for Choosing Which Direction to Lay Flooring

Consider these tips while designing your flooring layout:

1. Consider Patterns

Planks are traditionally laid horizontally or vertically, but they can have diagonal or herringbone patterns. Herringbone is a pattern of parallel lines that slope differently in two adjacent rows. Herringbone or diagonal floor patterns are more attention-grabbing than traditional flooring, but they may be more costly to install.

2. Draw a Plan

It helps to visualize and consider all your options when installing new flooring. Take measurements of your room and note where a professional will make cuts. When the flooring is parallel to the longest wall, it will lessen the number of cuts needed. 

If you draw two plans for each direction, you will get an idea of how the finished product will look. This visual can help you decide which layout you like best. 

3. Have Sample Planks Laid Down

Your professional may lay some planks down for you in the directions or patterns you are considering, so you can see what they would look like before installation. Take some pictures of planks running in both directions, then compare the images to decide which you think looks best. This will help you imagine how the finished product will look and make your decision easier. 

4. Take Your Time

All of these options and considerations might feel overwhelming, but try not to stress about it. The direction of the flooring will only impact the look and feel of the room, not the quality of your flooring. This decision is based entirely on what you like and think looks best. 

If you have trouble deciding, speak with your professional installer to review everything. They might be able to help you decide or narrow down your options. They’re familiar with all the latest trends and style options in flooring, and they can help you brainstorm the best option for your room and vision.

Schedule an Appointment With Metro Flooring Contractors Today

Metro Flooring Contractors provide quality, brand-name flooring options for less in Maryland, D.C., Delaware, northern Virginia and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. We work with you every step of the way. Our mobile sales representatives are available to come to your home and show you various flooring samples so you can decide which color and pattern you like the best. 

Once you’ve chosen the flooring you want, we will install it as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment to start your home renovation project, or learn more about our vinyl flooring options.