Parquet flooring is an ancient floor-making technique that has its origins in seventeenth-century France. The word ‘parchet’ is French for ‘a small enclosed space’.The technique involves crafting wood pieces to create small units that are then arranged in geometric shapes and patterns to form the floor. The pieces are held in place by being glued together to form a singular unit.
The decorative effect is stunning and richly rustic. The technique became very popular until the post-modern era where its use has diminished. In recent decades, however, parquet floors have seen a resurgence in popularity while also undergoing transformation to accommodate more modern aspects and textures.
Parquetry is often associated with the use of small pieces of wood to create a design mosaic but less utilized is the parquet de Versailles, which is a version of parquetry that utilizes larger wood pieces.
The motifs made were ornate and designed to fit different shapes together more like a puzzle. These sophisticated designs were largely found in the homes of the aristocracy and in grand churches.
Beautiful as parquetry may be, you may want to inject some vitality into your old floor, and below are a few strategies for you to try:
How to Modernize Your Parquet Floors
Change your Decor
Parquet floors are intricately designed since many small units fixed together form the design of the floor. Over time, this could create the illusion or the feeling that the place is cluttered or too busy. One of the most effective ways to completely alter the room is also the easiest to execute since you will not need to interfere with the flooring itself.
Determine a cool or neutral color that pleases you and get a large carpet that covers three-quarters of the room. For the best effect, get one that has no design patterns to completely neutralize the effect of parquetry. A dark to navy blue should add a cooling aura to your space. A gray carpet is also excellent if you do not want a dark shade.
Granted, this means you must also change out the rest of the furniture to blend if not to match your new carpet. Go for neutral-colored couches and throw pillows and minimize patterns as much as possible. Pull down many if not all pictures and paintings and leave the walls bare.
Change out your curtains in favor of ones matching your new carpet and stick to those with minimal patterns. All or a combination of these changes should leave your new room feeling more modern while still having a touch of that warmth that parquet floors provide.
Bleach the Floors
Parquet floors are basically wood. Wooden decor deteriorates in color and luster over time as they hit the two-decade mark. If the wood has darkened, it is undoubtedly creating a gloomy feel that doesn’t please and is no longer inviting. It may be that all you need to do is strip the wood of this color and it will reveal itself afresh.
Store-bought wood bleach or homemade bleach should be sufficient to get the job done. Consult a professional to get the best result. Depending on how light you want your floors to become, bleaching may need to be done more than once. Some shades need up to five rounds of bleaching to achieve.
This means the job must be done in such a way that each individual piece is bleached to perfection to achieve total evenness in every piece. This is painstaking work that is better left to a professional.
Bleaching strips the floors of the top layer and may also interfere with the joined edges which means repair must be done once the bleaching is finished. Bleached floors can then be left bare although a top coat of clear varnish should be applied to protect the wood.
Bleached parquet floors are singularly breathtaking and well worth the investment. The new lighter color coupled with the geometric shapes will feel like a completely new space.
Paint the Floors
Another way to modernize your parquet floors is to paint them. Paint allows you a wealth of choices and shades to choose from which alone should give you a new look without changing anything else about the room. Any color you choose for your paint will work given that it is quality paint with adequate coverage.
Ensure that you repair any damaged pieces before embarking on this project. Painting entire wood floors is back-breaking work and should only be attempted if you are certain it is what you want. A gloss or semi-gloss finished cream paint, a deep violet shade or a brilliant white should turn your floors new and fresh. For the best results, contact a professional painter.
Stain the Floors
If you wish to retain the natural look of wood on your floors then staining is the way to go. Unlike painting, staining does not conceal the wood so the grain and the natural texture of the wood will remain visible. Painting wood will conceal the characteristic appearance of wood creating a new surface entirely.
There are a number of wood stains you could choose from. Darker shades tend to be all the more attractive with the aim being to achieve the bespoke dark richness of new walnut or the imposing majesty of dark mahogany.
Staining requires sanding down your floors to strip the varnish or top layer for optimal absorption. Applying stain on sanded wood should be easy but it should also be done by a professional to achieve as close to perfect a result as possible.
The finished product should be a marvel. A top coat of gloss varnish to seal the wood will provide protection and an aesthetically pleasing sheen making your new floors both elegant and modern.
Parquet floors are definitely making their way back to our spaces. The warm opulent look is timeless and with modern materials and innovative patterns incorporated, floor parquetry is going to be a top contender for classy, tasteful decor and design.