All About Wood Floor Inlays, Borders, Medallions and Parquet

Posted by Aaron Schaalma

One of the best things about wood flooring, as opposed to other options, is the opportunity it gives a homeowner to inject his or her personality into a room. Unlike carpeting, where you can basically choose a color to show off your taste (you could, theoretically, go with the long fiber shag if you’re wanting to communicate your love for the 1970s), wood flooring lets you choose color, hardness, grain type, plank size, and finish.

Another great way that wood flooring can be accented to reflect a homeowner’s tastes or preferences is through implementing wood floor inlays, medallions or parquets. These elements add a flair and design that commands attention and disrupts the lateral flow of traditional wood flooring.

In short, they look incredible.

wood inlay floor border

oak herringbone floor medallion 2 - Medallion at Bottom of Stairs

These flooring elements are crafted by artisans and installed by professionals to provide rooms an exotic look. Although implementation may vary based on the preferences of the individual, there are three categories of wood floor inlays.

1. Borders

Wood floor borders are one of the more common inlaying techniques. They usually run around the perimeter of a wood floor (often installed 6 - 10 inches from the wall) and can range from a basic high-contrast wood tone stripe to a more intricate pattern with 3-dimensional illusory effects.

basic wood floor border

This basic floor border adds a distinctive and minimalistic look

dynamic laser wood floor

This intricate border pattern brings a high level of energy. Image credit to Dynamic Laser Co

Wood floor borders have been popular choices for homes looking for a luxury wood floor look since the turn of the century. Wood floor borders are great in large rooms with classic, ornamental decor.

2. Medallions

Have you ever taken a look at your area rug and wondered if there was a better option out there? Medallions are an elegant alternative to an area rug’s dominance as the centerpiece of a wood floor.

Wood floor medallions feature designs and patterns that are meant to act as solitary pieces of artwork. They are often custom-made by the homeowner, and will occasionally reflect interests, decorating themes, or lodge memberships. Radial/Circular patterns tend to the be the most common with the compass rose taking the cake for most-widely implemented.

5 - Compass Rose Medallion

 Medallions can be used in conjunction with wood floor borders, or by themselves. Unlike floor borders, that usually work best in large room areas, medallions can be in smaller hallways and landing areas to great effect.

6 - Hallway Medallion

Medallion being installed in hallway. Image credit to Wendy Owens on Flickr

7 - Rose Farm Inlays

 Image credit to Rose Farm Inlays

If you’re considering medallion installation, your options are wide open. Patterns and colors can be custom crafted for the unique look your room is seeking to achieve. Medallions are versatile elements that manage to make a room look refined and distinguished regardless of their specific designs.

3. Parquet flooring

Although the word parquet may be associated with tennis courts, it is also a method of flooring that can affect a variety of interior decorating styles and make your floor an exciting conversation piece.

Parquetry (the term given to the process and product associated with parquet flooring) means cutting different-toned and grained wood veneer into geometric shapes and combinging them for a decorative mosaic effect.


Parquet flooring is a very old art that dates back three or four centuries. If you’ve ever toured old European castles like Versailles, you’ve seen plenty of parquet flooring.

9 - Parquet at Versailles

These days it can be used with a variety of deocrating styles to give a floor a 3-dimensional look. It’s also the easiest form of flooring inlay to install - taking on a more similar installation method to tile than other forms of wood flooring.

Parquet is a unique and popular choice for decorative wood flooring. In fact, scouring Pinterest for parquet flooring turns up boards with names like “Parquet Lust”, “Perfect Parquet” and “Parquet <3”

Herringbone is the far-and-away most popular parquet pattern, although like any other wood flooring element, the beauty is in the customization.

Thinking about having a wood floor inlay installed? Our history in Oshkosh, Omro, the Fox Cities and Beyond has given us experience to help you make your signature, custom flooring decision. Contact us today