Tile Sizes and Shapes Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing tile for your kitchen or bathroom, there’s an endless amount of shapes, patterns, styles and colors to choose from. So, when wondering where to start, it’s no surprise that the process can be a little overwhelming. But, understanding the different types of tile shapes and sizes can help you determine what’s best for you and your space.

In this blog, we’ll get into different tile shapes and their sizes and how they can influence the appearance of your space, to help you choose the right kind for your home.

Penny/Round Tiles

Interior of bathroom with sink basin faucet and mirror. Modern design of bathroom
Hudson Penny Round Tile in Marine

The penny tile, or round tile, is a common shape that’s been growing in popularity. It gets its name from the fact that the circles are similar in size to pennies. Originally popular in the early 20thcentury in black and white patterns, the penny tile is now available in a wide range of colors, materials and finishes.

Penny tiles are evenly spaced and attached to a mesh backing so that they can be installed without any difficulty. While you can purchase these made from ceramic, more often than not they will be made from porcelain, which takes better color and is more durable. For a retro-looking wall or floor that you won’t see every day, penny tile is a great choice.

To learn more about penny tile, check out our other blog here.

Mosaic Tile

Painted Desert 2" Hexagon Mosaic Matte Porcelain Tile in Blue featured in living room
Painted Desert 2″ Hexagon Mosaic Matte Porcelain Tile in Blue

Mosaic has its roots in the ancient world and continues to be used in a wide variety of locations in the home. Mosaic tiles are usually small square tiles about 2 inches by 2 inches or smaller, going down to about ½ inch by ½ inch, and are produced in a wide range of colors and materials.

Because of their small size, mosaic tiles are very versatile and can be used to create a range of patterns including borders and murals. When used as a border, the tile can help define zones or areas of a room, and it can create focal points when used to create a mural.

To learn more about mosaic tile, check out our other blog here.

Square Tiles

Boucle 12x24 Porcelain Tile in Bianco featured in bedroom
Boucle 12×24 Porcelain Tile in Bianco

Square tiles are easily the most common choice and come in lots of different sizes from fairly small to very large. Though some manufacturers have their own, non-standard sizes, most square tiles come in the following sizes: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 18 and 24 inches; and most tiles that are specifically made for flooring are found in larger sizes from 6” and upwards.

Square tiles have the advantage of being easy to work with because they have no specific direction so, it’s easy to calculate how much tile you’ll need. And it’s a breeze to mix and match with other tiles of different colors or shapes (like a skinny, rectangular tile next to a square tile).

Subway/Rectangular Tile

Highland Park 3x6 Glossy Crackle Finish Subway Tile in Morning Fog featured as backsplash
Highland Park 3×6 Glossy Crackle Finish Subway Tile available at Avalon Flooring

Ah yes, the classic subway tile. Originally introduced in the early 20thcentury to line the walls of the NYC subway stations, subway tiles have become an anchor of the tile industry because of their simplicity, versatility and elegant proportions. As a part of the rectangular tile shape family, which come in a range of dimensions, subway tiles most typically come in a range of widths of 1, 2, 3, 4 inches, with lengths of 4, 6, 8, and 12 inches.

Subway tiles are most frequently used on walls for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, but they also function well when used on the floors. Different patterns can be created by stacking the tiles straight and even for a contemporary look, like a classic brick pattern, or even a modern herringbone pattern.

To learn more about subway tiles, check out our other blog here.

Plank Tile

Legend 8x48 Wood Plank Tile in Sand featured in bathroom
Legend 8×48 Wood Plank Tile in Sand

Plank tiles are yet another common variation on basic regular tiles that are becoming more and more popular as new-tile printing technology develops. These print improvements help the tile resemble wood or stone making it hard to tell the difference between the prints and the real things!

The most common plank tile sizes are:

4 inches x 12 inches and 48 inches

6 inches x 24 inches, 36 inches and 48 inches

7 inches x 20 inches

8 inches x 32 inches , 36 inches and 38 inches

9 inches x 36 inches

12 inches x 24 inches and 48 inches

16 inches x 32 inches

Also, the longer the plank, the more realistic the tile will look, particularly if you choose a grout color that’s very close to the darkest tone in the tile. Shorter plank tiles can be arranged in patterns, like herringbone, to add texture, which is great in large or medium sized rooms.

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon 2″ Matte Mosaic Tile in Black

Hexagon tiles are often called hex tiles for short. Generally, they are used on the floor, but can also be used on the wall. The hexagon is one of the most favored floor tile shapes by those who are looking for something vintage but not circular for tile installation. While it has always been popular in mosaic form, it has also become fashionable in larger sizes and even as outdoor tile. They generally come in 4, 6, and 8-inch sizes.

Octagon Tile

An octagon tile is one of the most classic ways to decorate a bathroom floor. Often, the octagons are used with contrasting colors, like black and white. This style is known as an “octagon dot” style and can serve as a classy backsplash. This octagon dot tile has been popular for quite a while and continues to be a trend.

Triangle Tile

While it may seem like a broad category, triangle tiles are often the go-to choice for those who want smaller, square-shaped tiles in their homes. Because, by putting two triangle tiles together, you can create a square, with as many colors and designs available as you can think of!

How Your Tile Shape and Size Can Influence Your Space

  • You can make a small room look larger by using larger sized floor tiles. In part, this is because there will be fewer grout lines breaking up the flow of the flooring. Also, you can improve this further by choosing a grout that’s very similar in color to the tile. But be aware that if the room is very, very small, then tiles that are larger than 18” will be too much for the space.
  • Small mosaics on a floor will add texture and despite the much more frequent grout lines, they can also make space flow well as the mosaics can easily fit around toilets, sinks, baths, etc.
  • If you have a long, rectangular space, laying rectangular or plank-shaped tiles horizontally on the floor will make the space look wider and more spacious than it actually is.
  • If you want to define a space more clearly, using smaller tiles to create a border or edge with larger tiles in the middle will make the space look cozier.
  • To add some texture to your space, use the same color and finish of tile, but in different square and rectangular sizes to set a unique, random pattern.

Now that we’ve gone through all these helpful details and points, the next step is to stop by one of our locations to see all these tile shapes in person!

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.

Updated on 6.29.22