We are laying down flooring in our kitchen, living room, and dining room. I'm wondering what direction to lay the planks, because the rooms are connected without any separators one room looks good vertically and the other looks good horizontally. Should we do it all the same direction or try to switch in the middle somehow? Is that possible?
The first thing to consider is the kitchen. Please read the floor maintenance article in the "How To's" section of my web site, to get an idea of what it takes to maintain a wood floor in a kitchen area. I never suggest anyone lay a wood floor in a kitchen. But I have done dozens, for folks who have been warned.
So after reading the article and knowing now that this floor will need
re-coating often, you should always make sure that the floor boards are ended and headed off at the kitchen entries. This allows you to re-coat ending at the seam of the floorboard at this entry. Don't go for the flow through effect from the kitchen to other rooms as you will have no place to end this frequent recoating, and will end up recoating the entire room next to the kitchen instead.
If you have at least 3/4" plywood sublfoor you can install up to a 3" board in any direction you wish. Each room any have a special focal point (window, fireplace etc.) and you will want the floor to point in that direction. But that said in an open concept room like yours it may be best to keep the floor running in the direction of the longest dominant wall. If the subfloor is thinner or made from OSB let me know as you may have problems.
You may also find these articles helpful:
1. Case Study Wood Flooring - Wrong Way Floors
2. Case Study Wood Flooring - Wrong Way Floors Conculded
3. Stopping Those Annoying Squeaks In Your Wood Floors
4. Laquer Finish Floor Fires
5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors