Big, Small, Round and Square: How Size and Shape Affect Tile Design

When choosing a tile for your project one very important aspect is the tile’s shape, size and the resulting pattern. Just like any other factor in your tile project, the ultimate decision as to what size, shape and tile pattern you will use is up to you. That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t a few rules and guidelines to ensure that your tile project is pleasing to nearly everyone.


Here are a few examples of tile shapes from the folks over at World of Tile:

Familiar grid patterns convey a strong, solid look.

Rotate the Straight Layout to a 45-degree diagonal and you’ve created a diamond pattern with added interest.

Achieve two different looks with a Pinwheel Layout:
Mix two tile sizes for a cobblestone feel that emphasizes areas, rather than straight lines.

Combine large tiles sprinkled with much smaller ones…decorative dots create a distinctive appeal.

A Herringbone Layout creates more movement…and utilizes new and increasingly popular rectangular tiles.

The Brick Layout pattern also uses rectangular tiles…an easy way to break up grout joints.

Take your Brick Layout a step further and use the Offset Stagger layout. Since no two grout joints line up, even the simplest tile looks more interesting.

The Versailles Layout incorporates four sizes of tile in a fascinating, more intricate pattern.


Tiles, typically thought of four-sided coverings, have not only expanded their repertoire to other common shapes such as the circle or triangle. Now, tile is available in any shape imaginable and can be custom-cut to deliver on your needs.

The square and rectangular shapes are definitely the most common and offer the advantage of easy and quick installation and layout. The square, like all patterns can still very its shape in subtle manners such as the thickness of the tile, the amount of bevel in the tile and other edge effects.

Simple tile shapes can be as beautiful as the most intricate designs, but likely will distract from the overall feel of the room much less. Custom shapes can be used as unique shapes without meaning, or to fit very specific room themes. Be sure to ask us what kind of tile shapes are available and how to fit that into your project.

Shapes are one of the things few people ever question. Tile is not and should not be limited to what you see on a store’s wall’s and samples.


Tiles come in just about every size and makes most tile projects and patterns easily scaled to fit your project and needs. Large tiles can be used in large spaces to cover ground quickly, but in small rooms, larger tile can make a big statement and appear to open the room. Small tile allows intricate designs and accents in otherwise solid swaths of tile or the smaller tile can be used in it’s own right to create a heavily texturized look in a room.

Like any other facet of selecting tile, shape, size and pattern is something we can certainly help you with here at Raleigh Tile. Seeing projects year after year, we know what works and what will not. Again, this is your home-design decision, and tile is one of the most versatile and potentially beautiful materials you could choose.