November 24, 2022

Ask the Expert

Tile Layout Patterns & Design Ideas

Never underestimate the potential of tile layout patterns to radically alter the result of your tiling project. In fact, after the choice of tile, the most important decision you can make is the tile layout pattern.

Visually, a plain tile can be made interesting, a practical tile can be made beautiful and an expensive tile can become sublime. It’s simply a question of identifying the right pattern to suit your project. The following article looks at the variety of tile layout patterns, for walls and floors. We provide a beginner’s guide to give you a broad overview of the enormous range of options for tile layout patterns.


Tile layout patterns and designs

Matika Bone 45×90 / Matika Topo 100×100 (Available in-store)


Tile patterns layout

First things first, how to decide on the right tile pattern? Every tile offers several possibilities with regard to tile layout patterns. The choice depends on several factors, so be careful and plan beforehand. Some patterns will involve additional waste because they involve more cutting. Others are somewhat complicated and require specialist assistance when laying out and installing, i.e., unsuitable for DIY tilers. We, therefore, recommend that you first consult with your showroom specialist. Nevertheless, these considerations are a good starting point:

  • Scale: Be careful with the size of the tiles. Smaller spaces can look even smaller when there are too many grout lines. Counter-intuitively, the fewer the joints, the bigger a small bathroom will look. The larger bathroom, on the other hand, can become warmer and more intimate in scale with the right pattern.
  • Budget: Some patterns will inevitably involve tile wastage, no matter how experienced the installer you choose. This can be up to 20% for some specific patterns and must be included in your overall budget.
  • Decorative tiles:  Not all tiles are suitable for elaborate tile layout patterns. The more decorative the tile, the less likely it will look good in complicated layouts. On the other hand, a very plain tile can acquire a very luxurious quality.


Different types of tile layout: a guide

We have organised the tile layout patterns according to the shape of the tile. This guide includes both wall and floor tile layouts. There is a vast array of patterns to choose from but all begin with the shape of the tile.


Filter by tile shape:



Contrary to popular belief, square tiles are far from boring. This is largely due to new manufacturing techniques and installation patterns that allow square tiles to make a design statement wherever they are used, both on walls and floors. The following are some of the most popular square tile patterns, as well as some of their variations.


Square tile layout patterns



Formerly, the most popular way to lay tiles is a grid pattern, with square tiles laid on top of each another. Linear is a practical, non-nonsense tile layout. If combined with a glossy or rustic style tile, the pattern can look very contemporary.


▶ Variations:

  • Staggered bond: features square tiles that are shifted one-half tile with respect to one another for the respective rows.



The square tiles are laid at 45° on a wall or a floor. The visual effect is highly transformative and adds character. The pattern is however more suited for a plain tile or a mixture of plain and decorative tiles.


▶ Variations:

  • Chequerboard: where monochrome tiles are alternated creating a contrasting combination of colours.



Rectangular tiles are probably the most versatile in terms of laying patterns, as they allow for a wide range of possibilities with different orientations and combinations. Some of these patterns can be used either on walls or floors or indeed both, more elaborate patterns however should be restricted to specific areas.


Rectangular tile layout patterns


Offset / Staggered brick

Probably the second most commonly seen tile pattern for floor and wall tiles. Generally speaking, a rectangular tile is laid one half-tile shifted with respect to the row beneath. This pattern resembles the typical pattern of brickwork used in construction. To make it contemporary play with the grout colour and tile finish.


▶ Variations include:

  • Staggered brick bond: the tiles are slipped one-third or less distance with respect to one another.
  • Vertical stepladder: rectangular tiles are laid vertically, on walls.


Stack Bond

Tiles are laid directly over one another. The grouting joints should line up to create a grid effect. The tiles can be aligned vertically or horizontally.



Complete rectangular tiles are laid in a 45° pattern that, on walls, they can be either horizontally aligned, or vertically aligned. For walls, either of these tile layout patterns can emphasise the height or width of the space.


▶ Variations:

  • Block herringbone: rectangular tiles are laid out 90° to one another in a simplified, more rectilinear version.


Basket Weave

Rectangular tiles are grouped into blocks of two or three and alternated in vertical and horizontal alignment. The tiles should be matched so that the height is two or three times the width, including the grout.



Plank tiles, which are typically used on the floor, can be laid in a variety of patterns, helping to create a unique flooring design. Here are a few of the most common ones.


Plank tile layout patterns



Rows of plank tiles are laid parallel to each other. As a result, the floor will resemble a brick pattern. You can use plank tiles of the same width or experiment with different plank widths to add dynamism to the pattern.



The herringbone pattern is also popular in plank tiles, such as wood-effect porcelain tiles that look like real timber flooring.


▶ Variations:

  • Double herringbone: plank tiles are arranged in two-by-two blocks in a herringbone pattern.



This layout is particularly suited to floor tiles but can be used on walls as well. The pattern requires space to be appreciated visually. Similar to the herringbone layout but the edges are cut at an angle where the tiles meet. In other words, the longer plank tiles are laid at 45° but the junctions are straight, not angled.



Geometric tiles are visually striking, with options that include hexagonal tiles and fan-shaped tiles, among others. The design possibilities of using geometric tile patterns are numerous and they’re ideal for accent walls, backsplashes, bathrooms, and floors.+


Geometric tile layout patterns



The hexagon pattern is created by the geometry of the tile. Each tile slots into place and the variations on this pattern are restricted to the tile colour and/or motif.


Fan Shaped

A curved, scallop-shaped tile that looks like the scales of a fish. The geometry of the tile determines the pattern which looks better when the larger curve points upwards or downwards.



Finally, you can create a more complex pattern by combining tiles of different sizes. This will give the room depth and make it appear larger. Simple square and rectangular tiles can be easily transformed with a composite pattern.


Composite tile layout patterns



Different shape tiles of the same finish that work within a set of given dimensions and can be randomly organised into a random pattern.



Here, different shape tiles are used to form a repetitive pattern over the wall or floor surface. Squares or rectangles of different sizes form a rectilinear or a 45° angle pattern with one of the shapes. Generally, the layout is formed by a square tile at the centre around which the other tiles are arranged. This pattern can suggest a kinetic movement, hence the name.



Imitating the decorative timber floors of the past, these timber effect tiles recreate a criss-cross layout with angled and straight individual tiles.


Floor tile layout patterns

One of the most established reasons for featuring tile layout patterns on floors is to lend character and gravitas. So for living room floors the herringbone, or chevron, is a simple but highly effective pattern. Similarly, the parquet tile can also transform a characterless living room into something altogether more substantial and luxurious. Even the straightforward act of choosing the diamond pattern for square kitchen tiles adds enormously to the ‘feel’ of the space. And for an outdoor terrace, playing around with a modular pattern, or a geometric tile provides a chic decorative flourish.


Floor tile layout patterns

Forest Acero 22X90 (Available in-store)


Wall tile layout patterns

Large areas of the wall, like a fully tiled bathroom or an extensive kitchen backsplash, can be made more interesting through tile layout patterns. The perception of a space can be radically altered. So for instance a low-ceiling bathroom can be enhanced with a vertical stack bond tile. A very ordinary bathroom wall can be transformed into a contemporary designer statement with a stack bond pattern. In kitchens, a simple metro tile can acquire an entirely new quality with a basket weave pattern.


Wall tile layout pattern

Parma Leather 8X30X0.85 (Available in-store)



Download the complete guide to tile layout patterns and get started on your tiling project.

Remember that an extra 20% of tiles is recommended for intricate tile layout patterns, so double-check before purchasing your tiles. Please contact us or visit your nearest store if you have any questions.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *