Tile Layout 101

Feature tiling is my new obsession this week. I love that it adds a graphic dimension to a room whether it’s subtle or loud. And re-tiling a small area is something you can do yourself, think kitchen splashback… or it’s a quick way to update an area for big impact with the professionals in. Below are some inspirations for your next tiling adventure, or even just for your general knowledge.

Running Bond or Subway


Now I know this reminds some people of a public bathroom or a common subway station, especially when the tile is white and the grout is black, which is so on trend right now. Walk into any new cafe in Bondi and you’re bound to see this look! It’s all about making the common cool, and the retro back into fashion. Now when I say retro don’t think Happy Days fifties, I’m talking gritty 1920’s butcher with natural timbers, exposed light bulbs, hanging utensils and minimal colour. Practical. I just love the simple pattern it makes, and it doesn’t only have to go straight across, you can see the unique take on the herringbone layout that uses the subway formation in my last photo. LOVE.

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Straight Lay or Stacked

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Now this one is a new love for me. If someone said to me a year ago, lets have a bathroom with stacked tiles, I would have scrunched up my nose at them… but these photos below show how beautiful and graphic it is. If you’re a person who loves to compartmentalise things into boxes within your life, then this tile is for you! It’s clean, estimated, everything lines up…and it leaves such a beautiful graphic pattern with opposite coloured grout and tiles.. or subtle with the same coloured grout and tile. And why stack horizontally when you can stack vertically!

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This has been a favourite of mine for a while. I find it so beautiful in a tilted off center way. Now this is a broken or inverted zig-zag pattern, different to the chevron pattern which is next on the list! It’s been around for a long time, originally making an appearance on Roman roads around 500BC as the interlocking system helped move the masses of people around… “All roads lead to Rome”. It’s a classic, chic and timeless style. Again choose opposite tile and grout colour and you have a graphic explosion, or you could opt for a more subtle look with white on white. Oh and this one is mad on floors, walls and splash backs…. and don’t even get me started on wooden parquet flooring! (google it)

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Do you see the subtle difference to the herringbone pattern? It’s an inverted “v” pattern, which gives more of a zig-zag look than the herringbone. I love this layout in a more subtle look, and more as a feature wall than an entire area… something about it being too obvious makes it child like, for a nursery or children’s room. But done right it’s so Parisian chic!

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Fish Scale or Scallop

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Now this is a fun one, and in my head I can’t associate this tile with not being in a wet area. There’s something whimsical about it, especially when in blues or greens… almost like a mermaids tale. Laid with the curve facing upwards it looks art deco, something you’d find somewhere in Gatsby’s house. Laid with the curve the opposite way it becomes very fishy, marine like. The blue-green bathroom below makes you feel like you’re in an ocean full of ripples. And how beautiful is the fish scale tiles cut into the wooden floor! Swoon….

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Penny Rounds

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How cute is this tile layout! There are more spaces for the grout to shine through but the penny’s make such a cute pattern! Why not be playful with colour, or be dramatic with black? I would probably stick with this tile in the bathroom as cleaning all that grout off a kitchen splash back would be a disaster!

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They are what they sound people. I love that they give a contemporary honeycomb look. Don’t be afraid to play with the sizes! This look can be finished off with the tiles cut to a straight edge or see below leaving them staggered, disappearing into the wall.

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This isn’t a tile layout as per se, but I couldn’t go past this lot. An encaustic tile is a ceramic tile with a pattern on it as a result of different clay pigments. They normally come with two different colours but can come with as many as six. This is definitely an easy way to bring pattern to a room in an unique way with big impact!

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Well that’s the end of my tile layout 101 class, yeah I didn’t cover all, but it’s a good start of my favourites.

Happy styling! xx