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Originally posted 27th November 2016

Last updated 14th November 2023

Which direction should I lay laminate flooring in?

Laying a new floor in your home can be a bit of a daunting task...

Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

5 min read
Written by Expert

Laying a new floor in your home can be a bit of a daunting task, especially when you second-guess yourself at every turn. One of the first complications to arise is which way you should be laying the flooring in the first place. Which direction is best suited to the material of your flooring, your home itself and the actual aesthetic you wish to achieve?

We’ve looked at the different flooring directions you can use, whether you've opted for laminate flooring, solid wood, luxury vinyl tiles, engineered wood or vinyl flooring.

Laying your floor easily

Technically, when it comes to laying your floor any direction is possible. The way in which you decide to lay it simply boils down to a matter of taste. A general rule of thumb to apply when considering which way to lay your flooring is to consider where your light source is and the most frequently used point of entry for the room in question.

Image of a well lit room

Typically, laying your floor in the same direction as the light source and in the same line as the entry to the room is the most attractive method of floor fitting. However, if your floor has several sources of light and/or several points of entry, then fitting the floor in the simplest way possible is recommended. Which way to lay laminate flooring will work best for you? Let's examine the options.

Horizontal flooring direction

There are certain benefits you can consider when deciding on your flooring direction, including visual tricks that can improve the look of your home. If the floor in which you are preparing to fit flooring is particularly narrow, laying the floorboards across the room in a horizontal fashion will help make the room look wider than it is.

Image of room with horizontal flooring direction floor

This is a good trick for narrower rooms and hallways, where space isn’t as much of a priority. It can help to make these types of spaces feel larger than they are so that your home feels grander, airier and, as a result, more welcoming. It also has the benefit of hiding the seams of the planks from view as you enter the room.

Vertical flooring direction

Just as laying your floorboards in a horizontal fashion can help to make a room look wider, laying your new flooring in a vertical flooring direction can help to make the space look longer than it is.

This can help to add depth to a shorter room, or a room and most of the time this is the most attractive flooring direction to choose as it leads from the point of entry and runs along the length of your property. A drawback to this direction, however, is that you will be able to see the seams between the boards more easily as you enter the room.

Diagonal flooring direction

Image of room with diagonal flooring direction

If you are fitting new flooring in a particularly small space, then considering a diagonal flooring direction may be a wise move in improving the feel of the square feet available to you. What looks best in your home will depend on the nuances of the space and light.

If you’re still finding it hard to decide which direction to lay laminate flooring after considering these options, we would recommend laying the floor in whichever way is easiest for you.

Which direction to lay laminate flooring in bedrooms

When deciding which direction to lay the laminate flooring in your bedroom, you need to take  a number of factors into account, such as the size and shape of your bedroom, the positioning of the windows and doors, and whether or not the room is an open-plan style. Before getting started, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with how to accurately measure a room for laminate flooring, to avoid complications later on. 

As a general rule, it’s recommended to run laminate flooring in the direction of the longest side of the bedroom, which will mean that less cuts are required - especially in longer, more narrow rooms. 

While this is the most sensible option from a practical perspective, it’s not always going to tick all the boxes on the aesthetic side of things. 

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Generally, laminate is laid parallel to the longest wall of the room, or parallel to the window or primary light source, but there’s no set rule for which way it should be laid.

You’ll typically be accustomed to seeing floorboards laid along the longest length of a bedroom, so doing the opposite may initially seem a little strange to look at, but this can be a preferred aesthetic for some homeowners and can create a striking appearance for those who want to add a quirky but subtle touch to their bedroom. The only instance in which you’d want to avoid this is where bedrooms have an adjacent room, as the flooring needs to match up with any neighbouring spaces.

Changing the direction of flooring between room

It’s generally advised to avoid changing the direction of laminate flooring between rooms, minus a few exceptions. For example, some contractors may suggest changing the direction of your flooring in oddly-shaped rooms, and to use a transition piece or threshold in the doorway.

It may also be recommended to change the direction of the flooring if the wood joists change direction, but again, it’s generally advisable to avoid this unless absolutely necessary, as it can cause visual disharmony within a room, and can also ramp up the cost of installation if a decorative transition is required between the two floors.

Our Flooring Calculator

When you browse any type of flooring at Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, each product has a flooring calculator on the page. Simply enter the surface area in either metres or feet squared and our My Project flooring calculator will tell you how many packs you’ll need and how much it will cost you.

By simply measuring your room and entering your dimensions, we will provide you with an instant price which will show on every type of flooring you browse across our website. You can either input the total coverage or your width and length measurements, in meters or feet. You can even save your measurements room by room to make your shopping experience stress-free.

It also offers to add an extra 10% for wastage. While this may cost a little bit more, we highly recommend adding it just in case there are mishaps during the installation process. Enjoy the My Project flooring calculator below:

Let us know how you got on in the comments section.

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About the Author

Paul Hambidge, Managing Director

Paul has 32 years of flooring industry knowledge & experience from both an installation and manufacturing perspective. He started out as installer of very large commercial flooring projects for multiple retailers. As director of Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, he has been involved in all aspects of flooring and has worked with some of the largest producers of wood flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate floors.