Different Tile Shapes

How to Use Different Tile Shapes to Make Any Surface Look Amazing

Tiles are for creating straight-line designs on floors or shower walls, correct? They certainly can be used for that, but their potential stretches far beyond simple patterns. Tiles come in a variety of shapes, which can be used on their own or with others to create amazing patterns. When you begin to explore the many shapes that are available, you'll discover just how versatile and intriguing this medium can be. Ahead, learn how to use different tile shapes to enhance areas throughout your home.


Mix Basic Shapes for a Hexagon Pattern

Simple shapes don't have to be boring. Rather, they can serve as the building blocks for nearly any tile pattern that you wish to create. The entryway below uses only two colors, but the design formed by the tiles is strikingly beautiful. The alternating direction of the light-colored forms a hexagon pattern, while the basic grey shapes give the illusion of negative space. The hexagon design creates visual interest without overwhelming the mid-size space of the entryway.

Hexagon Tile - View Details>>


Create a Mural with Tiny Mosaic Shapes

Tiles come in sizes from large to tiny. The smallest shapes are ideal for forming beautiful designs. From flowers to portraits to animals, if you have a vision, it can be brought to life with tiles. Mosaic art rose to prominence during the Byzantine Empire. Ancient artists from long ago developed the practice of creating tesserae, shaped pieces that can be arranged in a complex design. Modern artists continue to build on and enhance this time-honored practice as they craft beautiful works with tiny tiles. Tiny tile shapes allow us, mosaic artists to create intricate, even lifelike, works of art, such as this swimming pool. 

Custom Reef Mosaic - View Details>>


Increase Visual Interest with Two Contrasting Shapes

Monochromatic color schemes are a good design choice for any space, such as the entrance. Although the color palette in a monochromatic design is limited, the room need not lack visual interest. One easy way to enhance a monochromatic room is to incorporate two or more tile shapes.  

Photo by Ahmed Hussein

Porcelain Waterjet Tile - View Details>>

The color scheme of this shower is not only monochromatic but also neutral. The mix of gray, cream and black could easily bore, but thanks to a variety of different tile shapes, there's no danger of that happening here. Basic rectangular tiles form the background for the design. They surround a much less common shape: hexagons in two different sizes. Thin black borders provide the finishing touch.


Turn Straight Lines into Round Designs

Can you make a curved design using only straight lines? You absolutely can! You can also use straight-edged tiles to create compelling circular designs and curved lines. The process isn't quite the same as it is with a paper and pencil, but it uses the same basic principle: Put together enough small straight lines, and the resulting figure will approximate a curve. In the below picture, you can see how small geometric shapes were arranged to form a wave design for an accent wall. As the designs move horizontally, the tiles become more trapezoidal. At the center of each circle is a cluster of triangular wedges or a solitary round tile.

Wave Mosaics - View Details>>

The wavy patterns further emphasize the curved theme of this accent wall. The involved tiles are mostly straight-edged geometric shapes, but the lines that they form are curved.


Use Narrow Tiles to Form a Border

A border serves the important role of directing your attention. It encloses a space and draws your eyes to what is within. Of course, the border itself is not typically the main design. It should highlight what is most important without drawing undue attention to itself. That's why simple narrow tiles are often the best choice for forming borders. 

Lace Tile - View Details>>

In the above bathroom, the black tiles on the wall and on the floor direct attention to the respective patterns within. On its own, the subtle nature of the mosaic patterns might be easy to overlook. However, the border ensures that the design captures the spotlight in this room.


Use Curved Pieces to Assemble an Intricate Pattern

Tiles don't always have to be straight-edged. Custom-cut tiles can be made in nearly any shape. Careful crafting allows one curved tile to line up perfectly against another. Similar to the process of assembling a puzzle, the artist forms a detailed design by adding one piece at a time until the picture is complete.  

Penny Tile Patterns - View Details>>


Simulate the Look of Planks with Long Rectangles

Plank flooring has long been used to furnish the floors of American homes. In colonial times, wide wooden planks were nailed in place. Colonists left the boards unfinished; years of daily use provided all of the polishing that was needed. By the late 1800s, however, polished and varnished boards had become the wooden flooring of choice. Despite the long history of American hardwood floors, the look fell out of favor around the middle of the 1900s. Today, however, this traditional style is experiencing a revival among homeowners who want to trade carpet for an easier-to-maintain material. Although polished wood has a timeless beauty, marble tile is even more elegant. When you choose the right style of tile, you can have the best of both worlds: the traditional look of plank flooring and the rich luxury of marble.

Lt. Emperador Plank Floor

Floor Tile - View Details>>

In this home, the kitchen is outfitted with long, wide rectangles of marble. Variegated shades, which add interest to the design, call to mind the 19th-century practice of using multiple species of wood within a single floor design.


Tiles in Your Home

Which of the ideas in this guide to how to use different tile shapes is most intriguing to you? Will you opt for tiny tiles made into intricate patterns or broad rectangles that resemble a wooden floor? The best thing about tile is that you don't have to choose! When you incorporate tile into rooms throughout your home, you can include a wide variety of shapes.
Back to blog