The Best Tile Patterns

You’ve spent a long time looking at tile. You’ve practically memorized the colors, shapes and materials. And now, just when you thought you had finally considered all of the options and landed on the perfect tile, you’re still left with one final question: What pattern will you lay this tile in?

The fact is, there are several options that can really enhance the look of your tile and add unique interest to your space. So, let’s get into the popular patterns for you to consider!

STRAIGHT LAY PATTERN

best tile patterns

This is the most commonly used tile pattern of all, and the easiest to do. The tiles are simply laid side by side in a straight line, to give an overall even grid pattern. It’s a good choice of pattern for rooms where you don’t want the tiles to distract from other design features.

RUNNING BOND/BRICK PATTERN

best tile patterns

This is another simple and attractive option for your space. The end of each tile is lined up with the center of the tile above and below it to create staggered grout lines. It’s commonly used on backsplashes and walkways. Running bond is becoming more popular for indoor tile floors because of its great advantage of hiding imperfections like crooked walls. Offset grout lines make it difficult for the eye to focus on minor flaws. It’s also a good way to add the illusion of space and height.

HERRINGBONE PATTERN

best tile patterns

It’s a look created when rectangle tiles are installed in a 45-degree angled V shape. Popular in Europe for hundreds of years, this herringbone pattern is an elegant way to expand a small room visually. The wide V’s create movement, drawing the eye outward to create the illusion of more width. The pattern is at its best with neutral colors in a narrow hallway or small bathroom, but can be too busy for a large room. This involved design is too tricky for DIY installation, so it’s good that we provide excellent installation services to do it for you the right way!

CHECKERBOARD PATTERN

best tile patterns

Checkerboard alternates two colors of the same-size square tiles in either a straight line or diagonal pattern (like an actual checkerboard…get it?). Although traditionally created with black and white tiles, you could also use different shades of a color for a subtle look or go wild with bold, contrasting tones. The checkerboard pattern makes a strong statement, so it’s most commonly used in smaller spaces like bathrooms or mudrooms. When planning the installation of this design, first use chalk lines to find the center of the room and dry lay your first four squares around that point. Work the pattern out to the walls, so cuts will be around the perimeter of the room, and only set the permanent installation of the pieces when you are happy with the design.

WINDMILL & PINWHEEL PATTERNS

Windmill

best tile patterns

Pinwheel

best tile patterns

One of the loveliest tile patterns especially if you have some special tiles to highlight, is the windmill pattern—it’s a real classic. Made using square and brick-sized tiles, the brick tiles form a kind of frame around the central square tile. This pattern is fairly labor-intensive to lay, but gets quicker once you get into the rhythm of the pattern. Lots of mosaic tile makers are now offering this pattern already backed on a mesh, which of course makes it easier.

Pinwheel is similar to the windmill but here you only use square tiles. A small, square tile is surrounded by larger square tiles; it’s possible to replace the single small square tile with four mosaic tiles.

A great way to achieve a similar windmill pattern is the basket weave mosaic, which just so happens to be one of the most popular styles and the next pattern we’re going to discuss!

BASKETWEAVE PATTERN

best tile patterns

The basket-weave pattern gets its name because it actually looks similar to the pattern on a straw basket and appears to weave the tiles over and under each other. This is a throwback to the ornate Art Deco era of the early 1900’s, and its intricate pattern works best in smaller areas such as powder rooms or shower stalls. Although this design looks difficult to install, it’s often offered as a mosaic tile that can be laid out in sheets, which makes it easier for you or professional installers.

DIAGONAL PATTERN

best tile patterns

Sometimes referred to as a diamond pattern, the diagonal tile pattern uses square tiles laid on a 45-degree angle to create a diamond effect. This classic pattern can be very effective at making small rooms appear larger. That’s because it focuses your eye on the widest part of the diamond and the wide angles of the grout lines, making it feel like you’re in a much larger space. Diagonal patterns do require more cutting when you come to the corners of a room, so there’s waste and extra thought involved in the way the tile will lay out. 

CHEVRON PATTERN

best tile patterns

A close relative to the herringbone pattern, the Chevron pattern is having a major moment in flooring right now, all because of its impressive ability to make any room look instantly classy! The chevron tile layout is basically rows of rectangle tiles, with each row facing in the opposite direction to the one next to it, creating a V-shape. The neat way the tiles fit together, the sharp central line where the V meets, and the texturized zig zag horizontal pattern all work together to make this tile pattern super chic. Using slightly contrasting tile colors to subtly define the zigzags, or blending block-color tiles wood-look ones are very on-trend ways to make this look work.

HEXAGON PATTERN

best tile patterns

Hexagon tiles were usually white and were a very common choice in floor tile for the post WWI period. Rather than a solid white floor, often the white hex tiles were broken up into elaborate designs by careful placement of colored or patterned tiles or laying intricate borders. Today, patterned hexagons create stunning feature walls on floors, mixed with plain hexagon tiles for the ultimate effect.

Now that you’ve learned about all the creative options, the question still remains. Which one will you choose? If you’re having trouble with deciding, make sure you stop by one of our 14 locations to meet with one of our talented design experts to help you out!


At Avalon Flooring, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we’ll be there every step along the way. Consider us your “One-Stop Shopping” destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!

Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

If you have any questions, please email us.