How to Create Herringbone Pattern on Furniture

The herringbone pattern, with its distinctive V-shape, embodies both elegance and intricacy, making it a timeless choice for adding visual interest to furniture. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner looking to tackle a new project, creating a herringbone pattern on furniture can transform an ordinary piece into a statement piece.

How to Create Herringbone Pattern on Furniture

This guide on how to create herringbone pattern on furniture will walk you through the steps to achieve this classic design, providing tips and tricks to ensure a successful outcome. From selecting the right materials to the final touches, you’ll learn how to infuse charm and sophistication into your furniture pieces with the herringbone pattern.

What is the Herringbone Pattern?

The herringbone pattern is a repeating arrangement of rectangular shapes that resembles the bones of a fish, hence the name. It has been used in various forms of art and design since ancient times, including architecture, textiles, and new furniture.

This pattern is created by laying out individual pieces at an angle to one another, creating a V-shape that overlaps with the adjacent pieces. The result is a visually striking pattern that adds depth and texture to any surface it adorns. You can use this pattern on a variety of furniture pieces, including dressers, coffee tables, and even walls. The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating the herringbone pattern into your home decor.

Materials Needed

To create a herringbone pattern on furniture, you’ll need the following materials:

Furniture Piece of Choice (Such as a Table, Dresser, or Headboard)

It’s best to choose a piece of furniture with a flat surface and minimal detailing for the herringbone pattern to stand out.

Wood Strips or Reclaimed Wood

You can purchase precut wood strips from your local hardware store, or you can use reclaimed wood for a more rustic look.

Measuring Tape and Pencil

These tools will help you mark and measure where each piece of wood will go on your furniture.


You’ll need a saw to cut the wood strips at an angle if you’re using precut strips.

Wood Glue or Nail Gun

Wood glue is a good option if you want to create a seamless look, while a nail gun provides more stability.

Sandpaper and Stain or Paint (Optional)

If you want to change the color or finish of your herringbone pattern, sandpaper and stain or paint can help achieve your desired look.

12 Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Create Herringbone Pattern on Furniture

Step 1: Prepare the Furniture Piece

Start by cleaning and sanding the surface of your furniture to create a smooth, clean canvas for your herringbone pattern. It’s best to remove any existing finish or paint if you’re planning to stain or paint the wood strips later on.

Sanding the Surface of Your Furniture

You can also leave the original finish intact if you prefer a natural look. The choice is yours. But make sure to sand the surface lightly before moving on to the next step. The goal is to create a flat and even surface for your herringbone pattern. But be careful not to sand too much and damage or weaken the furniture piece.

Step 2: Measure and Mark the Center Line

Using a measuring tape and pencil, find the center of your furniture piece’s top surface. This will serve as your guide for laying out the herringbone pattern. Mark this line with your pencil. It’s also helpful to draw a perpendicular line through the middle of your center line, creating a crosshair effect.

This will help you keep your herringbone pattern straight and symmetrical. You can also use painter’s tape to create these lines instead of using a pencil. It’s easier to remove the tape after you’re done laying out the pattern.

Step 3: Cut the Wood Strips

If you’re using precut wood strips, skip this step. But if you’re using reclaimed wood or want to cut your own strips, use a saw to cut them at an angle of 45 degrees. You’ll need two sets of wood strips – one set with the angled cut on the left side and the other set with the angled cut on the right side. This will create a perfect V-shape when they are placed together.

The length of the wood strips will depend on the size of your furniture piece and how wide you want your herringbone pattern to be. It’s better to cut the wood strips a little longer than you think you’ll need, as you can always trim them later.

Cut the Wood Strips a Little Longer

Step 4: Start at One End

Begin laying out your herringbone pattern at one end of your center line. Some people prefer to start from the middle, but starting from one end can help ensure a more symmetrical pattern. Apply wood glue or use a nail gun to secure the first piece of wood in place according to your center line. It’s best to use a level at this point to make sure the first piece is straight.

But don’t worry too much about perfection, as slight imperfections add to the charm of the herringbone pattern. You can also use painter’s tape to secure the wood strip in place while the glue dries. The first piece of wood will serve as your guide for the rest of the pattern. The next pieces will be placed at an angle to this piece, creating the V-shape.

Step 5: Alternate Sides

After securing the first piece of wood, continue laying out your pattern by alternating the sides of the wood strips. For example, if your first piece is angled to the left, your next piece should be angled to the right and so on. This will create a zigzag pattern that resembles a herringbone.

You can use a small piece of cardboard or spacer in between each wood strip to ensure equal spacing. It’s also helpful to use painter’s tape to hold the wood strips in place while you’re working on the pattern. The tape can be removed once the glue dries. You can also use a nail gun for added stability, but be mindful of the placement to avoid visible nails on the surface.

Step 6: Trim the Excess

As you work your way down the furniture piece, you may encounter areas where the wood strips need to be trimmed to fit properly. Use a saw or sandpaper to trim and shape the pieces as needed. This is where it’s helpful to have a few extra wood strips on hand in case you need to replace any damaged or misshapen pieces.

You can also use wood filler to fill any small gaps or imperfections between the wood strips. The goal is to achieve a seamless and uniform herringbone pattern. It may take some trial and error but don’t get discouraged. It will all come together in the end. It’s also helpful to periodically step back and take a look at your progress from a distance.

Step 7: Continue Until Complete

Continue alternating sides and securing the wood strips in place until you reach the other end of your furniture piece. Make sure to check that each piece is straight and symmetrical as you work your way down. It’s also helpful to step back and take a look at the pattern as a whole to ensure everything looks even and straight.

If any pieces need to be adjusted, now is the time to do so. You can always add or remove wood strips if needed. There’s no right or wrong way to create a herringbone pattern, so have fun and trust your instincts.

Step 8: Allow Glue to Dry

Once your herringbone pattern is complete, allow the wood glue to dry completely according to the instructions on the label. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the type of glue used.

Once Your Herringbone Pattern is Complete

Avoid touching or moving the furniture piece while the glue is drying to prevent any shifting or misalignment. The longer you let the glue dry, the stronger and more stable your herringbone pattern will be. It’s best to let it dry overnight if possible. You can also use clamps to hold the wood strips in place while the glue dries for added stability.

Step 9: Sand and Stain (Optional)

If you want to change the color or finish of your herringbone pattern, now is the time to do so. Use sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of your herringbone pattern to remove any rough edges or imperfections. Then, apply a wood stain or paint in the color of your choice according to the instructions on the label.

You can also keep the natural wood look if you prefer. Just make sure to protect your work area from any potential drips or spills. It may also be helpful to seal the wood with a clear coat for added protection and durability. You now have a beautiful and unique herringbone pattern on your furniture piece, adding character and charm to your home decor. The possibilities are endless with this technique, as you can apply it to any furniture piece or surface.

Step 10: Seal and Protect (Optional)

To protect your herringbone pattern and keep it looking beautiful for years to come, consider adding a sealant or top coat. This will help prevent any scratches, water damage, or fading from sunlight.

There are many different types of sealants available, so make sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of wood used and the finish you want. Follow the instructions on the label for application and drying times. Once your sealant is dry, you can proudly display your stunning herringbone pattern furniture piece in your home.

Protect Your Herringbone Pattern

Step 11: Get Creative

While herringbone patterns are most commonly seen on furniture pieces like tables and dressers, there are many other ways to incorporate this stylish design into your home. You can use the same technique to create a herringbone pattern on accent walls, floors, backsplashes, and even ceilings.

You can also experiment with different types of wood or stain colors to create a unique look that matches your personal style. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new. Herringbone patterns are timeless and add a touch of elegance to any space in your home.

Step 12: Maintenance

To keep your herringbone pattern looking its best, make sure to dust it regularly with a soft cloth or duster. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the wood or stain. If there are any spills or stains, clean them up immediately with a slightly damp cloth and mild soap if needed.

For deeper cleaning, use a wood cleaner specifically designed for the type of wood used in your herringbone pattern. With proper maintenance, your herringbone furniture piece will continue to be a beautiful and eye-catching addition to your home for years to come.

Following these steps on how to create herringbone pattern on furniture, you can create a stunning herringbone pattern on any furniture piece and add a touch of sophistication to your home decor. With patience and attention to detail, you can achieve a flawless herringbone pattern that will be the envy of all your guests.

So why not give it a try and elevate your DIY skills with this timeless design?  Keep creating and experimenting, and you’ll be amazed at the beautiful herringbone creations you can make. Happy crafting!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While creating a herringbone pattern on furniture may seem straightforward, there are a few common issues that can arise during the process. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you overcome these challenges:

Uneven Wood Strips:

Wood Strips Are Not Lining Up Perfectly

If your wood strips are not lining up perfectly, use a level or ruler to ensure they are straight. You can also lightly sand the edges of the strips to help them fit together more smoothly. Additionally, make sure to secure each strip in place with enough pressure to prevent shifting.

Glue Drying Too Quickly:

If your glue dries before you have a chance to adjust any misaligned wood strips, try using slower-drying wood glue or adding a little water to the glue to slow down the drying process. You can also work in smaller sections and allow each section to dry before moving on to the next one.

Stains or Imperfections:

If your wood strips have stains or imperfections, you can either sand them down or strategically place those strips in less noticeable areas of the pattern. Alternatively, embrace these unique characteristics as part of the natural beauty of your herringbone pattern.

Creative Variations and Design Ideas

Once you have mastered the basic herringbone pattern, there are many creative variations and design ideas you can try. Here are a few examples to inspire your creativity:

  • Mix and Match Different Types of Wood for a More Colorful and Unique Look.
  • Use Diagonal Cuts Instead of Straight Cuts for a More Intricate Herringbone Pattern.
  • Create a Larger or Smaller Herringbone Pattern by Adjusting the Size of Your Wood Strips.
  • Add a Pop of Color by Painting or Staining Every Other Strip in a Different Shade.

The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make this timeless design your own.  Now that you know how to create a herringbone pattern on furniture, go forth and bring this elegant and stylish look into your home! 

Legal and Safety Considerations

Before starting any DIY project involving power tools, make sure to read and follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you are unsure or inexperienced with using certain tools, consider taking a class or seeking assistance from a professional.

Additionally, when working with wood stain or paint, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear proper protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Always read and follow the instructions on the product labels for safe and effective use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Create a Herringbone Pattern on Any Type of Wood?

Sealing the Wood Can Help Protect It

A: Yes, you can use any type of wood to create a herringbone pattern. However, keep in mind that different types of wood may have different textures, colors, and densities, which can affect the final look of your pattern. It is recommended to test out your chosen wood on a smaller project before attempting a larger one. 

Q: Is It Necessary to Seal the Wood After Creating a Herringbone Pattern?

A: While it is not necessary, sealing the wood can help protect it from damage and give it a more polished look. However, if you choose not to seal your herringbone pattern, make sure to dust and clean it regularly to maintain its beauty.  Similarly, refrain from placing hot or moist objects directly on the wood to prevent potential damage.

Q: Can I Create a Herringbone Pattern on Already Assembled Furniture?

A: While it may be more challenging, it is possible to create a herringbone pattern on already assembled furniture pieces. Just make sure to take extra care and precision when cutting and placing the wood strips to ensure a seamless and professional-looking design. It may also be helpful to use clamps or weights to hold the wood strips in place as the glue dries.  Always remember to take your time and have fun with the process!


Incorporating a herringbone pattern into your furniture breathes new life into even the most mundane pieces, infusing them with a touch of elegance and character. While the process requires patience and precision, the outcome is undeniably rewarding.

By following the steps outlined in this guide on how to create herringbone pattern on furniture, you’ll gain not only a beautiful piece of furniture but also the satisfaction of creating something truly unique with your own hands. Remember, the key to a successful herringbone project lies in careful planning and attention to detail. Happy crafting, and may your furniture transformation journey be both enjoyable and fulfilling.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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