Tile Layout Patterns - A Complete Guide
Picking a tile pattern is one thing. But how are you going to lay them out?
Tiles come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and there are tons of ways you can lay them out. Whether it's for your kitchen backsplash, bathroom floor, or living room floor - you need to be aware of different tile layout patterns so you can make the space stand out and uniquely you.
In this article, we'll teach you how to pick a layout pattern, and we'll go over all the most popular patterns based on the tile shape. This will give you a pretty good idea of how the tiles are going to affect the space before you lay them out.
How To Pick A Tile Layout Pattern
Picking a layout pattern depends on a couple of factors, which is why you need to plan these things out ahead. Every tile shape offers a couple of ways you can lay them out. Some patterns will have a lot of waste because they'll involve more cutting. Some more complicated patterns require professional assistance when laying it out.
With that said, the patterns and layout are mostly affected by these three factors:
Scale: The size of the tile really matters. A small space will look even smaller with tons of grout lines in it. The fewer the joints, the bigger the space will look. On the other hand, you can make a large space look much cozier and warmer if you go for smaller tiles.
Budget: No matter what pattern you go for, there's going to be tile wastage. Some patterns can have up to 20% of tiles wasted on cuts alone, so be considerate about that.
Decorative tiles: Not all tiles are meant for intricate layout patterns. The more decorative the tile design, the less likely it will look good in a complicated layout.
Square Tile Layout Patterns
For some reason, most people think that square tiles are boring. We beg to differ - square tiles are timeless! Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques and installation patterns, square tiles can be a focal point of the room. Plus, they’re perfect for both floors and walls.
Here are the four most popular layouts for this type of tile:
Grid / Staggered Bond
Once upon a time, a grid pattern was the most popular way to lay square tiles. Sure, it's a bit plain, but if you combine this layout with glossy or rustic tiles, the results can be quite striking.
You can mix it up by going with a staggered bond layout.
This layout features square tiles that are shifted half a tile respective to the other row. It does involve more cutting - but the waste is minimal.
The diamond pattern features square tiles that are laid at a 45-degree angle. This pattern can be quite transformative and will add character to just about any space.
You can make this pattern even more striking by mixing contrasting monochrome ceramic tiles. This chequerboard pattern is perfect as a wall or floor centerpiece.
Rectangular Tile Layout Patterns
Rectangle tiles are the most versatile when it comes to layout patterns - they can be arranged in an almost endless range of orientations and combinations. Most patterns look good on both walls and floors. That said, you should reserve the more complicated layouts for specific areas where you really want to make a statement.
Offset/One-third Offset :
An offset pattern is probably the most common pattern for rectangle tiles. It looks good on just about any surface. You create this pattern by simply shifting one rectangular tile one-half (or one-third) with respect to the row beneath.
If you want to add more flare to it, you can play around with the grout color and the tile finish.You can also mix it up by switching the orientation and laying the tiles vertically. That’s perfect for shower cabins and kitchen walls.
Horizontally/vertically stacked rectangle tiles (aka subway tiles) are anything but visually striking. However, this pattern works great for outdoor floor tiles. Plus, the amount of waste is almost nonexistent.
The herringbone features tiles that are laid in a 45-degree pattern. It is one of those diagonal patterns that doesn't look that good on the floor but can really accentuate the width and height of walls.
The block herringbone pattern involves arranging rectangular tiles at a 90° angle to each other, creating a simplified and more linear variation of the traditional herringbone design.
Rectangular tiles are organized into groups of two or three, alternating in both vertical and horizontal alignment. We recommend using this layout for bathroom tile since it creates tons of visual interest. Another good use case for this pattern is for kitchen backsplash.
Plank Tile Layout Patterns
Plank tiles are most commonly used for floors and can be laid in tons of different patterns. However, these are the three that are most common.
One of the most common ways to lay out plank tiles is in a simple offset pattern. The best thing about it is that you can play around with the offset and give the pattern a personal touch. You can even experiment with different tile widths to make the pattern stick out more.
Plank tiles are relatively similar to rectangle tiles, so it's no surprise that they're often laid in a herringbone pattern. We recommend using this pattern for wood-effect porcelain tiles because it will make the floor look like it has a parquet laid out. If you want to make this classic layout stand out even more, you can use the double herringbone pattern.
Chevron Pattern Tiles
The chevron pattern is especially well-suited for floor tiles - although it is versatile enough for wall application, too. Its visual appeal is best experienced in areas with ample space.
It resembles the herringbone layout but has a distinctive feature – the edges are cut at an angle where the tiles meet.
In essence, the longer plank tiles are arranged at a 45° angle, while the junctions remain straight rather than angled.
Geometric Shape Tile Layout Patterns
Geometric tiles are perfect for creating accents. The two most common types of these tiles are hexagonal and fan-shaped.
Unfortunately, because of their shape, you don't have a lot of freedom when it comes to patterns, but they come with pretty intricate finishes and designs.
Hexagon tiles create the pattern with their geometry. Although you don't have a lot of freedom with these tiles, they work great for kitchen backsplashes, flooring, laundry rooms, and especially bathroom walls.
If you're going to lay them on the wall, go for tiles with cool and intricate designs.Fan PatternImagine a curved, fish-scale tile – it's got that scallop shape, like a fish's scales.
The way you lay these bad boys depends on their geometry, and it's a game-changer. The pattern rocks when the bigger curve is either pointing up or down.
Fan PatternImagine a curved, fish-scale tile – it's got that scallop shape, like a fish's scales. The way you lay these bad boys depends on their geometry, and it's a game-changer.
The pattern rocks when the bigger curve is either pointing up or down.
6 Tricks For A Perfect Tiling Job
If you plan to do the tiling yourself, it's understandable to be a bit nervous - especially if it's your first time doing this type of job.
Here's the thing:
Tiling isn't that difficult - it's pretty straightforward when you get a hang of it. You just have to keep calm, be careful, and be methodical.Here are some tips and tricks we picked up along the way to give you a bit of a head start.
Buy More Tiles Than You Need:
If you've ever bought tiles, the salesman probably told you to buy more than you need. It's a standard practice amongst tilers to buy 10% more tiles than you actually need. These additional tiles cover all the little miscalculations and breakages that'll inevitably happen.It's fine if you go over the 10% norm. If you end up with leftover tiles in unopened packaging, you can always return them to the store and get a refund.
Start Tiling From The Middle:
Whether you're tiling floors or walls, start from the middle and work your way outwards. This is a bit counterintuitive, but if you start from the corner, you'll end up with messy edges, inconsistent grout lines, lippage, etc.
Practice Before You Commit:
If you plan on tiling your floor, this is something to keep in mind: Before you apply adhesive, you should lay out the tiles to ensure you end up with evenly sized cuts at the edges. That way, if you notice that the edges are uneven, you can always make them as symmetrical as possible before starting the application process.For wall tiles, you can use a pencil to mark where your tile will go so you can calculate whether the edges are going to be symmetrical or not.Oh, and always remember to leave enough spaces for grouting - otherwise, you've done all that planning for naught.
Make Sure Everything Is Leveled:
It's crucial to keep all the tiles leveled as you stick them to the adhesive. You can do this with a laser leveler and our very own
The laser leveler will ensure the tiles and grout lines are level, while our clip wedges will prevent any lippage.
Make Sure The Gaps Are Even:
We recommend using tile spaces such as our Clip Gang Wedgies to ensure the gaps between the tiles are even.
Whatever you do, don't take the wedges out before the tile adhesive is completely dry. Otherwise, you risk the tiles shifting and messing up your grout lines.
Measure Before You Cut:
There's an age-old saying, "Measure twice, cut once.
"That’s especially true for tiling work. Before you start cutting anything, make sure you've double-checked everything. Otherwise, you'll end up with way more waste, and not to mention the tiles won't look good.
Small mistakes are fine; it's the big mistakes you should be worried about when cutting tiles. We suggest cutting a little bit at a time and checking whether the tiles fit in between cuts.
You can check out our Big Daddy angle grinder blades for the best cuts. They're perfect for making neat cuts and avoiding common issues like chipping or uneven edges.
As you can see, pattern ideas are as endless as tile shapes. The best tile pattern ultimately depends on the space you're laying them in and your budget.
We hope this article helps you get a general idea of how you want your space to look like.