How to Choose the Right Tile Layout

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When deciding on floor or wall coverings there are a number of elements that you need to consider which will differentiate an area from another. It could be choosing the right material – whether that is natural stone or ceramic – choosing the right color or even size. Another element which you need to consider is choosing the right layout for your tile. 

Depending which layout of the tiles you choose you might gain an extra sense of space or make a unique statement. Choosing the right pattern can mean the difference between a bland renovation and a standout. There are a number of options that you can consider depending on the room, on the type and size of your tiles and off-course on personal preferences. Check out the most popular ones here


If you're using a rectangular or subway tile as it is called, a brick pattern is the classic layout. In a brick pattern, each row of tiles is typically offset by half a tile width, resulting in long, horizontal lines which create the impression of a more wide space. To make this tile layout more stylish, you can opt to use contrasting grout colour, such as using gray grout with white tiles to place more emphasis on the repeating geometric pattern. This layout is timeless and can work for any rectangular tile, making it a great option for virtually any space.

 Vertical Brick

If your target is to emphasize the height of a space instead, using the brick pattern vertically will give you that effect. It is an unexpected touch that turns a classic look to a more contemporary one. Use the vertical brick pattern in a compact bathroom to lift the ceiling height. 

 Large Tile

The shape might be the same but in the case of an oversized tile the effect can be very different. The pattern helps minimize the visual impact of the grout, allowing the tiles to have a more seamless appearance, especially if you color-match the grout to enhance the effect. Use oversize tiles in brick layout to make the space appear as a continuous unbroken material. Great for large spaces.


As simple as you can get! In a stacked pattern, the tiles are aligned to form a basic repeating grid. This results in a modern look that works well with clean shapes and crisp angles, and plays against the organic forms of exotic woods. Use it in a modern space with rectilinear forms, especially with a beveled-edge tile or bright grout, which emphasizes the Zen-like simplicity.

 Solid slabs

Using solid tile slabs is becoming popular these days especially for backsplashes. This may cost more than smaller tiles but is worth the extra investment if using in a compact kitchen. It achieves a very open look and can be created with one single material piece cut to form a matching backsplash and counter.
For a budget-friendlier option, you can also look for off-cut slab pieces to create a short backsplash in a luxe stone, and use a less expensive material for the counter that picks up on the veining tones to coordinate beautifully.


A mosaic tile pattern need not involve complex images and patterns. It is simply the use of small tiles in repeated shapes which are often pre-glued into easy to install sheets these days. This tile pattern is best used for accent walls in fairly dry areas. Just take note that the mosaic tile pattern uses more grout and can be very painstaking if installing each tiny tile instead of using pre-glued ones. In the case of a shower stall floor, the additional grout can be a benefit, as it helps create a less slippery surface.

In general, mosaic makes a great counterpoint to larger tiles, because the dramatic shift in scale makes the mismatch clearly intentional. Mosaics come in a wide variety of colours and styles and are fantastic to use as an accent or feature wall. 


The herringbone pattern may be the most complicate layout pattern there is, however it offers a sophisticated look with a high-end appeal no matter how simple the material is. It is achieved by laying tiles at right angles into zigzag formations or by a preformed mosaic. However, this pattern will inevitably require additional cutting of tiles at the borders, so it can create some extra material waste. It is wise to refrain from using the herringbone tile layout for very large surfaces to avoid overwhelming people visually.
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Use it In a traditional or transitional kitchen (especially in classic white on white), or with a long, thin tile to form a powerful accent anywhere.

 Basket Weave

 An in-between solution that will offer some extra drama without the cutting of a lot of material is 

the Basket-weave patterns which can turn subway tiles into square units.Perfect for giving contemporary décor something extra to complement it with.

 Harlequin Pattern (square tiles laid on a diagonal)

Almost exclusively used with square tiles, the Harlequin layout pattern is simply a grid pattern but set on the diagonal at 45° to the walls. What this does is to give an illusion of greater space, making rooms seem bigger than they are; and it is particularly useful in spaces that have unconventional shapes, as the pattern pulls focus (see image below).

The Harlequin tile pattern is most commonly used with black and white tiles to create the classic checkerboard pattern, but works equally well with one single tile color. 

 Accent borders

Although a border strip of accent tile can be added purely for visual interest, it can serve another important function beautifully with just a little planning. When tiling a full wall, it’s common to find that the ceiling height is not an exact multiple of the desired tile size, meaning tiles at the top or bottom will have to be cut to fit. By including a slightly wider or narrower stripe, your tiles can add up to the exact height of the wall and avoid costly (and possibly unattractive) cuts. 


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