As one of the most versatile wall and floor materials available, tiles give you almost limitless choices. With a plethora of options for size, shape, colour, style, finish, design and effects there’s at least one tile to suit any style - no matter how unique.
But your power to personalise your space doesn’t end there! Tiles can be laid in a range of patterns to bring out different styles, transform a room or highlight some of the special characteristics of the tiles and your space.
From the most popular and classic tile patterns to some that are more unique (and a little trickier!), we have compiled a list of the 14 tile patterns you should know before planning your renovation.
These are the true timeless laying patterns for floor and wall tiles. Any classic layout will look smart in any space, modern or traditional, and have the added benefit of being the easiest patterns to lay if you’re tiling yourself.
The most popular and the simplest tiling pattern sees your tiles laid out in straight lines to form a neat grid. Because the tiles also line up with the edges of your wall and floor this layout is perfect for a DIY project, especially if it’s your first time.
This pattern suits square tiles and rectangular tiles.
The classic diagonal pattern is exactly like the traditional stack except (you guessed it) rotated 45 degrees. Laying square tiles instantly turns them into diamonds and is perfect for floors in tighter spaces like small bathrooms because it highlights the longer lines that run diagonally across the room.
Diagonal tiling is also great for small wall features like splashback tiles.
Brick Bond Tile Patterns
Tiles in a brick bond pattern are laid out in rows, with each row offset half a tile length from the row either side of it. Just picture how bricks are laid in a wall and you’ve got it. The traditional way of laying subway tiles, the brick bond pattern creates a staggered look that is still cohesive and pleasing, without the regimented order of a strict stacked pattern.
Brickbond can be horizontal, vertical (running up and down a wall, or along a floor) or even diagonal.
Alternating Stacked Layouts
If you’re a fan of hybrids, an alternating stacked layout may be the one for you. Blending the best of the traditional stacked and brick bond patterns, these layouts nevertheless have their own distinctive style.
To create an alternating stack pattern, simply start with a normal stacked layout and shift every second row up half a tile width. If you’re feeling geometrically brave, start by picturing a brick bond layout and rotate every tile 90 degrees.
One of the most striking and effective tile patterns for any wall or floor, big or small is herringbone. Perfect for when you want to draw the eye through a space, this direction pattern is achieved by laying rectangular tiles in a zig-zag pattern.
The 45 degree herringbone pattern takes the simpler 90 degree herringbone pattern up a notch, where you make sure the tiles are angled 45 degrees to the surface your tiling. The “vertical” variation of this pattern ensures the pattern points upwards (for a wall) in into a room for a floor. The horizontal variation flips this around, with the direction of the pattern pointing along a wall or across a room.
Ready to push the envelope a little? These four tile patterns turn up the heat (and the difficulty factor) a couple of degrees, but are still versatile enough to work with most spaces and styles.
A close cousin to herringbone tile patterns - thanks to its suggestions of direction and movement, the step ladder pattern involves alternating horizontally and vertically laid rectangular tiles. When the eye notices just the tiles in one direction, the effect is of a series of tiles stepping up and up diagonally across the surface.
This pattern also answers to Basket Weave, because the finished effect is like a woven basket. This simple and effective layout is created by laying rectangular tiles in pairs rotating each pair 90 degrees to create the impression they weave under and over each other.
Cross hatch is an easy pattern to achieve for any DIYer and can be taken to another level by using different coloured tiles. You can also get the effect by alternating tiles with a strong grain.
In this incredibly simple yet dramatic variation of the classic stacked or diagonal tile pattern, light and dark square tiles of the same size are alternated to create an effect like a chess board.
For a subtle effect, choose tiles that are closer in colour or shade or go all-out for the luxe look with bold black and white marble-look tiles.
If checkerboard is at one end of the order vs. chaos spectrum, random is surely right at the other end! With a random pattern, simply mix together different colours of the same tile and arrange as randomly as you like. A random colour mix works fantastically well with subway tiles and especially hexagons - even on floors!
It’s also possible to create patterns that mix together tiles that are different sizes and shapes. Because of the added level of intricacy, these patterns are often most effective on larger floors like in living rooms or outdoors. That said, they can also make great features if you get the proportions right.
On first glance, French Pattern may look random, but over time the intricate pattern and careful planning becomes apparent. Using four different sizes of tiles, this pattern is popular for outdoor areas and is often seen with travertine tiles.
Also called hopscotch, the pinwheel layout surrounds a small square tile with much larger square tiles, creating a spinning pinwheel effect. The small central tile in the design is the perfect excuse for a subtle feature in a contrasting colour, material or a bit of mosaic bling.
The windmill pattern is similar to pinwheel, but in this case a central square tile is surrounded by four rectangles that together form a larger square around the one in the middle.
You can also create incredible tile patterns just be being a little bolder with shape. Shapes are trending, but two of our favourites that have definitely stood the test of time are:
Add a couple of sides to each of your tiles to add a whole extra dimension to your layout. Six-sided hexagons are the perfect shape to balance geometric complexity and repeatability. Hexagon tiles come in all sizes from large right down to no bigger than penny round mosaics, meaning there’s a hexagon for every surface.
Chevron is another close relative of herringbone, but with a small change that makes a big difference to the overall effect. Instead of using purely rectangular tiles, the ends of each tile in this pattern meet the sides at a 45 degree or 30 degree angle. This parallelogram shape creates a more angular and unique layout.
Remember when you’re planning your tile layout that it’s always a good idea to “dry lay” your tiles before sticking them down to make sure you’re 100% happy with the results.
Be sure to share your layout ideas with any of our expert staff when choosing your tiles. Depending on the pattern and tiles you choose we can help you plan out the quantities you need, the cuts and anything else you need for a job you’ll love for many years to come.