Different Tile Patterns: Which Floor Tile Pattern is Right For You?
Floor Tile Patterns
Welcome to our tile patterns guide! It’s no secret that we love floor tiles here at Home Flooring Pros – the variety of looks, colors, textures and styles that are available mean that tiles will often be a great solution for home flooring projects, especially in the bathroom or kitchen areas.
February 17, 2023, by: Greca Fotopoulos
The great thing about tiled flooring is that, because of their inherent geometric shapes, there are tons of layout options for tiles – affording a huge variety of looks to even the most basic square tile.
This is great news for those with tons of creative flair. But for others, all this variety can be massively overwhelming. So here we round up eight key floor tile patterns for inspiration. But do remember to check with your tile retailer about other tile pattern options: often retailers will have a folder of tile patterns that match a particular brand of tile.
The most common way of laying out square or rectangular floor tiles is in a simple grid pattern where the edge of the grid lines up to the walls. Depending on the size of your tiles and the room, this can be a very cost effective and easy to apply layout, as there may be no need to cut tiles or have any wastage.
This is the prefect tile pattern if you are using encaustic cement tiles which have their own inherent pattern; or if you don’t wish to draw too much attention to the floor. However, this simple layout can also be eye-catching if you want: using contrasting grout to highlight the pattern, or alternating tile colors to create a further layer of pattern are both excellent options for adding flourish to a grid pattern.
OFFSET PATTERN – AKA RUNNING BOND OR RUNNER
Also known as the Running Bond or Runner pattern, the next easiest tile layout to consider is to offset the tiles, as if you were laying bricks. This pattern can be done with either square or rectangular tiles; simply lay the first row of tiles and then instead of running the next row directly under the first, offset the row so that the corner of the tile below sits at the center-point of the one above.
The advantage of this tile pattern is that it creates a little extra texture that softens the overall space – particularly good for kitchen areas where cabinet and appliance doors can sometimes look a bit sharp and angular. It is also a great floor tile pattern to use with wood-look ceramic planks, as it better mimics real wood floorboards (in this case aim to offset one third down the length of the plank rather than at the center-point, or chose different offsets for each row of planks for greater authenticity).
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.
A perennial favorite in the wood parquet flooring domain (and one of our favorite tile patterns), the Herringbone pattern layout is becoming equally popular among tile aficionados – so much so that there are a lot more rectangular and small plank style ceramic tiles sizes on the market these days. This iconic pattern is made by laying interlocking rectangular tiles set at a 45° angle to the wall. Usually the pattern is laid length-ways along the longest wall to maximize the effect.
Depending on the size and style of your tiles, the Herringbone tile pattern will be more obvious. Plank-style tiles with a 3:1 ratio will create a crisper, more defined herringbone pattern – especially if matched with dark grout; whilst brick-style tiles with a 2:1 ratio create a less obvious herringbone pattern. Either option results in an overall look that will add texture and interest to your floor.
A close relative to the Herringbone tile pattern, the Chevron pattern is have a major moment in flooring right now, in part due to its impressive ability to make any room look instantly classy! You know for sure Chevron is having a moment because tiles makers everywhere are beefing up their collections to include the parallelogram tile shape that you need. If you can’t find that shape in the tile you like, then you can cut rectangular tiles to fit the pattern – but be sure to use high quality tile cutters to get the job done right.
The Chevron tile layout is basically rows of parallelogram tiles, with each row facing in the opposite direction to the one next to it, creating a V shape. The neat way the tiles fit together, the sharp central line where the V meets, and the textured zigzag horizontal pattern all work together to make this tile pattern super chic. Using slightly contrasting tiles colors to subtly define the zigzags, or blending block-color tiles with wood-look ones are very on-trend ways to work this look.
There’s a growing problem with this supposedly traditional tile layout – everyone is doing different versions! In it’s purest form the Basketweave tile pattern is two brick-shaped tiles set horizontally against two brick-shaped tiles set vertically, as shown in the image below with the green toned tiles. It’s a simple and easy pattern to achieve and offers a textured field without too much effort.
Somewhat more labor-intensive and much more textured in appearance, the other Basketweave version is where brick-shaped tiles are set in an interlocking pattern with smaller square tiles filling the space in between, as shown in the image below with the arched door. If you like this version but want an easier installation, some tile makers have mosaic Basketweave tiles already attached to backing mesh, so you don’t have to fiddle around with the super small square tiles.
One of the loveliest floor tile patterns, especially if you have some special tiles to highlight, the Windmill pattern is a real classic. Made using square and brick sized tiles, the brick tiles form a kind of frame around the central square tile. This pattern is fairly labor-intensive to lay, but gets quicker once you get into the rhythm of the pattern. Lots of mosaic tile makers are now offering this pattern already backed on a mesh, which of course makes it easier.
As mentioned, this tile pattern works particularly well if you have something like the wonderful Mexican Talavera tiles shown in the image below, where they are paired with deep terracotta bricks to great effect. Using the smaller mosaic Windmill version results in a highly textured pattern that will pull focus in the room, so best used with a plain décor scheme.
HOPSCOTCH PATTERN – AKA PINWHEEL
Also sometimes referred to as the Pinwheel pattern, the Hopscotch pattern is similar to the Windmill but here you only use square tiles. A small, square tile is surrounded by larger square tiles; it is also possible to replace the single small square tile with four mosaic tiles, as seen in the image below.
The overall effect will depend on whether you choose to highlight the pattern by using contrasting feature tiles for the small square, or use the same tile throughout to add texture to the visual field. Either way, it is a clever tile pattern that suits many design styles.
So, which pattern will you choose? Check out more tile patterns on our Pinterest board and get a good sense of all the different possible patterns before you decide!
About the Author:
Greca is the lead style writer at Home Flooring Pros (more), with a BA in Technical Art, she’s focused on flooring trends, flooring ideas, and flooring brand reviews.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a home that you love. The hardest thing about this job is trying not to covet all the great floors I get to review; if I could remodel my home every month, I would!”
One thought on “Different Tile Patterns: Which Floor Tile Pattern is Right For You?”
If I have a rectangular room and rectanangular tiles, should I lay the tiles parallel (longitudinal?) to the long direction or transverse?