Tile Combination and Layout Ideas

There are so many choices involved in material selection. Not only do you need to choose color and size, but tile layout as well. Here's some general design rules we follow, plus some specific collections and ideas to pull off popular tile combinations and patterns. People are easily visually overwhelmed, and while it may be tempting to install all the fun mosaics and colors there’s probably a simpler way to pull off the look you want. Be conscious of the whole picture.

Lead your eye through the room with directional patterning

herringbone wood look floor tile with glossy subway wall tiles in bathroom

Do something that will highlight a subtle element of interest and not simply the size of the room. Start at the door and point your herringbone pattern towards the shower. Utilize a diagonal-set square tile. Mix it up with a 45 degree angle on your wood-look plank porcelain tiles.

Our current favorite wood look porcelain (though there's so many to choose from!) is Timeless Porcelain Tile from Systematic Supply.

timeless wood look porcelain tile on living room floor herringbone

Stack your subway and flatten your finish

Subway tile is here to stay. Thank goodness there's so many variations of it now to keep things interesting. Go matte for a more modern look, and consider stacking the tile in a grid rather than off-setting them.

stacked subway tile matte in small bathroom white light

Pull off this look with Genesi Ceramic Wall Tiles in 2-1/2"x10" Matte Bianco. Or you could go larger! Use Contract White Wall Tiles in 12x24 or even 12x36.

Consider the light in your space before choosing matte. It is considered quite modern, but may not add light to a darker space. Glossier tile can add interest and reflect more light.

White or light colors can create openness

Think of it as adding an extra source of light to the room. Whites and lighter colors will reflect any light the room does have and amplify it. For this reason, people will often choose their darker colors for the floor. It provides balance in the room, and you can always pull some darker tones from the floor up into an accent tile band, light fixture, or other post-construction detail.

bevel subway tile white in small bathroom with patterned floor

(Like the bevel look? Try Hawthorne Ceramic Wall Tile.)

Or go dark

All rules are made to be broken, and a nice dramatic dark wall can add just as much interest in a small space as a fun pattern or shape. Perhaps consider a dark grey subway tile or deep 12x24 for your wall. Even think about carrying your floor tile up onto the walls for cohesion and modern flare.

Sequence porcelain grey tile with herringbone in the shower

This is the popular Sequence Porcelain Tile from Florida Tile. Check out the page for all the amazing options, including the mosaic choices.

Utilize geometric shape for interest

Hexagon floor charcoal tile in small bathroom

Perhaps you want to draw the viewer’s eye away from the fact that it’s a smaller space, or just bring more attention to the brand new tile instead of the boring bathtub and fixtures. Add a fun shape that your guests will walk away remembering.

This is one of the most popular looks in tile! It's incredibly timeless and lovely, so we've got you covered for sources: Konzept Porcelain Tile, Attitude Porcelain TileNewberry Porcelain Tile (for a bit more variation tile to tile), and Bee Hive Porcelain Tile (for a giant 24" hexagon). Need even more? Visit the Geometric and Specialty Shaped Tiles Collection.

Now let's get into tile layout

Got a square tile?

square pattern ideas tile

How about rectangle?

rectangle tile pattern ideas

Or even a mix?

mixed size tile patterns

If you decide to go with brick-set, just remember to not offset by more than 1/3 of the tile. A certain amount of bowing is allowed in production of larger porcelains, and setting them at 50% can cause your floor to have "lippage", or tiles that stick up higher than others.

brick set pattern

Do you have fun install ideas or finished job photos? Share with us on Facebook or Instagram. Have questions? Feel free to contact us. Happy tile shopping!


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