Square, hexagon, small or large. The choices for floor tile are practically endless. Those choices are also supremely important for your luxury home décor. Tiles can create a mood, define a space within a space and even lend a masterful piece of art to a room. That’s why it helps to get interior design advice from a professional. An interior designer can guide you to the right floor tile.
If you haven’t yet consulted an expert, that’s okay. These professional tips will teach you how to incorporate the tile of your dreams into a home that you love.
Different Types of Tile Patterns
There are countless tile patterns you can use to achieve the look you want, but these are the patterns designers turn to time and again.
Straight lay is a standard grid pattern that’s beloved by designers for its classic simplicity. This pattern involves laying tile of the same size and color, so it matches up perfectly edge to edge. The intersecting lines are then filled with grout, which can be adjusted to suit your style. For instance, the Fitch in Fawn is nicely defined by thin white grout lines between each square.
- Pros: Straight lay is incredibly easy to work with because the flat edges all line up with one another. From a design perspective, straight lay doesn’t compete with other elements in a room. If you have a floor-to-ceiling fireplace or dazzling mirror on display, straight lay tile floors won’t overpower these more glamorous focus points.
- Cons: Like all floor tile, straight lay requires a little bit of planning. Though the tiles used in straight lay are usually square, your room probably isn’t.
This pattern is very similar to straight lay, except you turn the tiles 45 degrees so they form a diamond shape. With a marble-look porcelain tile, like the Blast in Statuario, the diagonal pattern can look absolutely stunning. It’s also a popular arrangement for checkered tiles, like the classic black-and-white combination.
- Pros: Diagonal patterns are a simple twist on straight lay, but that slight angle actually makes quite the visual impact. Because your eyes follow the pointed edges of the diamonds forward and out, diagonal layouts can make a small room appear much larger.
- Cons: There are no flat edges with a diagonal pattern, so plotting the layout is a bit trickier than the straight lay.
Running bond & English bond
Also known as the brick pattern, running bond is another classic style. The end of each tile is lined up with the center of the tile above it, which creates that nice brick overlap. In the English bond, the technique is the same, except each row alternates between the square tile and rectangular tile.
- Pros: Running and English bond are perfect for older homes or awkwardly shaped spaces because the staggered grout lines make it harder to see minor imperfections – like a crooked wall or dinged-up baseboard.
- Cons: Depending on the size of the tile, these brick patterns may be too busy for your space. Use it sparingly and only when you really want your floor design to shine.
Herringbone was popular in Europe for hundreds of years and it has yet to go out of style. The pattern is created by laying rectangular tiles at a 45-degree angle to form a V shape. Because herringbone provides texture and dimension on its own, designers usually choose a neutral color tile. Lefka porcelain tile is available in five toned-down finishes that come with natural shading to play up the herringbone effect.
- Pros: The wide Vs act like an arrow that points your eye outward, making small rooms appear much wider. That’s why herringbone is popular in bathrooms, hallways and home offices.
- Cons: Herringbone is not easy to install. Depending on resources, a designer may overlook herringbone unless it adds significant value to the home.
If you add a small square tile to the herringbone pattern, you get cobblestone. The square tile makes for a larger footprint that allows you to stretch the herringbone even further.
- Pros: The cobblestone arrangement can be made with almost any size tile you want, which means you can achieve unique designs. In a custom-built home, that may be reason enough.
- Cons: Like herringbone, cobblestone is not forgiving during the installation process. It can also lend too much texture to a space, which is why designers tend to save cobblestone for outdoor spaces.
Imagine a woven basket that alternates vertical and horizontal crosshatches. To achieve that look with floor tile, two rectangular tiles are laid side-by-side to make a square block. The next pair of rectangular tiles are laid down at a 90-degree angle to the first pair. That pattern is repeated to complete one row. On the row above it, the tiles are laid the same way but in the opposite direction to achieve that over-under “weave.”
- Pros: Basket weave brings a great deal of texture and interest to your floors. To prevent it from overwhelming, designers will do a basket weave arrangement with matte porcelain tile, like the Cremo. It’s also common to find the basket weave pattern in mosaic for easier installation – another design bonus.
- Cons: The intricate design is better suited for small rectangular tiles, which may limit its use in open-concept living spaces.
To create a pinwheel pattern, four rectangular tiles are arranged around a small square tile. Traditionally, the square tile in the middle is a lighter or darker shade in order to create eye-catching contrast. In luxury homes, the pinwheel is often used with marble or marble-look porcelain tile.
- Pros: This tile pattern has a lot of movement, which will surely grab attention in your interior design. Designers also love the pinwheel, because more manufacturers are offering it in mosaics like the Dolomite Pinwheel Mosaic.
- Cons: Because of all the movement, pinwheel doesn’t play well with others. The rest of your room’s décor will need to be pared down, so your floors can take the stage.
The Versailles tile pattern is made with a mix of square and rectangular tiles in four different sizes. The French-inspired floor design is often created with travertine or another stone. But designers can get the same effect with a porcelain tile that has some sfumato, like the Pietra d’Assisi.
- Pros: Versailles is a popular pattern in luxury tile floor. It can be incorporated inside and outside, from kitchens and baths to patios and walkways. While it’s most commonly found in traditional homes influenced by the European countryside, the right tile makes Versailles a contemporary favorite, as well.
- Cons: Because Versailles uses a number of different sizes and shapes, significant and thoughtful calculation goes into the floor plan.
Interior Design Advice for Square Tiles
Designers often choose square tiles, because they can pull off a ton of different styles. A large porcelain square with a chalky gray finish lays perfectly in a contemporary home, while a small white rectangular subway tile arrangement can create farmhouse charm. Square tile is also easy to work with because the edges line up and measurements are straightforward.
Square tiles are available in a range of sizes, but flooring usually starts around the six-inch mark and goes up to 48 inches squared. The function and feel of your room will dictate which size works best. The smaller, six-inch squares are usually reserved for bathroom floors. They can also be used to form a frame that better defines an area within a large room.
The best patterns for square floor tile:
- Straight lay
Interior Design Advice for Rectangular Tiles
The steam of the subway tile is what put rectangular tiles on the map. They rolled onto the design scene in the early 1900s when New York City decorated its subway stations with the simple, running bond layout. Of course, subway tiling is still a popular design choice, but it’s not the only way to incorporate the elongated shape. Designers often manipulate the rectangle into unique design patterns that add texture to your floors. You’ll find rectangular tiles in various sizes. Anything longer and thinner becomes a plank tile, which is a class all on its own.
The best patterns for rectangular floor tile:
- Straight lay
- Running bond
- Basket weave
Interior Design Advice for Plank Tiles
Plank tiles were practically invented for one sole purpose: to mimic wood floors. Because wood is not always practical, technology made it possible to turn more durable ceramic and porcelain tile into wood-like planks. Looking at the Cypress tile, you can see the aesthetic is uncanny – which is why many designers use plank tiles in their home renovations.
The best patterns for plank floor tile:
- Straight lay
- Running bond
Interior Design Advice for Intricate Tiles
Hexagons, octagons, and ovals, oh my! These non-traditional tile options provide texture to a stark-white space and let you make a mural on your floor. An especially bold interior designer will take on the challenge of laying intricate tiles because the payout is worth it. There is one caveat, though. Oddly shaped tiles create their own tile pattern, which is why you’ll usually find them in a mosaic.
Simplify Your Design Choices
The experts at Happy Floors understand how overwhelming it can be to pick out floor tile, which is why they’re always available to offer interior design advice. Give them a call today, and they’ll walk you through the best tile and tile patterns for your home.