I’m in the process of redesigning my kitchen, and I’m struggling a little bit with picking tile. I really want my kitchen to be special and unique, but I’m drawing a blank as far as what to do with all the fun sizes and types of tile I’ve seen at the store.
Can you help me out with some layout ideas?
-Kim in Texas
One of the greatest things about tile is the ability to install it in so many different layouts, creating an almost endless number of possible looks. You can really let your creativity explode with all of the different sizes and styles of tile and accessories on the market today. Below are some popular tile layouts. Remember that tile setting professionals in different areas may have different names for these layouts.
- Straight lay – any size laid square
- Diagonal – any size laid on a 45 degree angle
- Running bond – any size laid with the joints staggered in a brick pattern
- Checkerboard – any size tile with alternating colors
- Diagonal with dots – larger size tiles with smaller tiles placed in the joint intersections
- Area rug border or picture frame – in the center of an area, border tiles are used to outline the area to look like the border of an area rug or picture frame with a different tile in the center
- Diagonal running bond – any size laid with the joints staggered in a brick pattern and laid on the diagonal
- Modular – different size tiles are laid in a modular pattern such as using 4×4, 12×12 and 4×12
- Area rug border with inset – in the center of an area, border tiles are used to outline the area to look like the border of an area rug. The border tiles are laid straight while the center of the area is a pattern such as turned on the diagonal, diagonal with dots, or diagonal running bond.
- Herringbone – elongated shaped tiles installed in a herringbone pattern (example 3×6 or 6×12)
- Basket weave – elongated shaped tiles installed in a basketweave pattern (example 3×6 or 6×12)
- Pinwheel – tiles in corresponding sizes such as 12×12 and 4×4 where the smaller tile is laid straight in each of the 4 corners of the larger tile
Designs with Mosaics
- Used alone with no other size tiles on a wall or floor
- The center of an area with a border
- Used as the smaller tile in a basketweave pattern
- Used as the smaller tile in a pinwheel pattern
- Used as the dot in a diagonal with dots pattern
- Used as the smaller tile in a modular pattern
- Used as a feature strip in a tub or shower (one row installed about eye level)
- Used as the border in an area rug or picture frame installation
- Part of a border tile or listello
The more complicated the layout or pattern is, the more expensive a professional installation will be. This is due to the time it takes to layout a complicated pattern. More cuts are usually involved and the whole job is more labor intensive.
Be sure to consult with your designer or tile installation professional about a pattern before purchasing the tile. Not all patterns will work in all spaces. Some spaces are too small or too irregularly shaped for some patterns.
Also, remember that not all tiles come in every size. Be sure to check with your retailer about the available sizes before getting your heart set on a particular pattern. If you know you want a pattern before you begin shopping for tile, be sure and let your sales consultant know before you begin the selection process.