Common Patterns For Setting Tiles


There are so many options to consider when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom – layout, what kind of sinks, color schemes, tiles and much more. One aspect that is often overlooked about tiles is the pattern that they will be laid in. Many people concentrate more on the style, color and texture of their tiles and don’t consider their options in tiling patterns. If you have a tiling job that needs to be done, talk to Tim Hmelar and his team at The Kitchen and Bath Company of Palo Alto for some great advice.

Straight Lay

The most common pattern for setting tiles is the straight lay. It’s the most simple way to lay them; uniform tiles are laid side by side in straight rows. The grout lines form a grid pattern that have a clean and modern look. The straight lay pattern is a great option if the room has a lot of other design features and you don’t want your tiling pattern to clash or seem too busy. It is also the simplest way to tile if you are planning on some DIYing. You don’t have to worry about complex patterns or angles, so it’s a great choice if you are new to tiling.


If you want another simple look that can make your room seem more spacious, perhaps the diamond pattern is the right choice for you. It’s exactly the same as the square lay, but set at a 45 ̊ angle to the walls. Diagonal lay provides an optical illusion, because the longer lines make the space seem much larger. It’s another more subdued style that can be great if the room has other features that you would like to highlight, or you would like something that’s not too challenging to try yourself. To mix things up a little more, you can even combine this pattern with accent tiles to add a little more complexity to the interior decoration.

Running Bond

The running bond is another simple pattern. It is also called the brick or offset pattern, because it is the most common way that bricks are laid. It is similar to the straight lay pattern, except that the rows are staggered, so that the ends of the tiles in one row line up with the center of the tiles in the next. It is good for uneven surfaces, because the staggered lines make it difficult for the eye to spot flaws. It is commonly used for walls and splashbacks, but it can be used anywhere. It’s another relatively simple pattern to lay, but you need to make sure that the gaps between the tiles are precise, so that the length of the overlap remains the same.


Just like a chess or checkerboard, this pattern involves two alternating colors of tiles. It is a style that was traditionally done with black and white tiles, but any colors that match each other and the rest of the room can be used. This pattern can be set either straight or diagonally depending on your preference. It is a classic look, but it needs to be considered carefully along with the design of the rest of the room. The pattern can easily look overwhelming if there are contrasting aspects in the space. It’s just as easy to install as the straight or diagonal lay patterns.


The herringbone pattern is named because it looks similar to the rib pattern of herring skeletons. It uses rectangular tiles, each laid perpendicular to each other in a V-like shape. The tiles alternate, pointing outwards, in a way that can make small rooms seem bigger. For this reason, the pattern is commonly used in narrow hallways to make them look more spacious. Laying this tile pattern isn’t too difficult, but it is certainly a step-up from the straight-lay.


Modular tile patterns incorporate tiles of different sizes. The simplest designs tend to use three different sized tiles, while some of the more complex designs use a lot more. This style is commonly used in flooring, particularly outside, because the eyes cannot simply follow the lines to the edge of the space. It can be one of the more complex tile patterns to lay.