Different Patterns for Tile Floors


Tiling your floor is a long-term commitment. Strong patterns can add personality to a room but they sometimes commit you to table or chair placements. Before you decide on a strong pattern for your floor, create a simulation of the pattern by painting it on a tarp or brown paper and living with the pattern for a few days.

The Chessboard Pattern

  • The chessboard pattern alternates dark and light color tile every other square both horizontally and vertically. This kind of pattern will make the room look smaller while one continuous color will make the room look larger. Black and white are popular choices for Fifties-style rooms, and red and white tiles match an Italian style kitchen theme. You don't have to be restricted to red, black and white, though; other color combinations might fit your personal palette better, such as dark blue and mint green. Remember, laying down tiles isn't like painting; you can't change them on a whim in one day's time, so consider future color themes when making your color choices.

Diagonal Patterns

  • Laying tile in a diagonal pattern will help hide flaws in the shape of the room. Rooms, especially on older homes, often aren't square, meaning walls drift from a 90-degree angle. The building settling, an unusual design or construction errors can cause these off-angle walls. Unfortunately, diagonal flooring requires more tiles. While you can sometimes use the cuts from one edge to fill in at another place, this requires more time -- another added cost unless you are tiling the floor yourself. Like all flooring, diagonal-pattern flooring work should begin in the middle of the floor and work outward to the edges.

Central Design

  • If you have a large open area, consider placing concentric squares, rectangles or even an octagon in a contrasting tile color. You can use as few as three tile colors with a central shape, a border around that central shape and then one continuous color on the rest of the floor, reverting back to the outline color around the edges of the room. If you want to break a large room into several smaller seating areas, repeat the central pattern, usually in a smaller format, elsewhere in the room to create another space.


  • To create a herringbone pattern, use rectangular tiles. These tiles can be all the same color or be similar colors with just a bit of variation to accentuate the pattern. Shape the herringbone pattern by snapping your guideline down the long length of the room and aligning the corner of your bricks down that line. The herringbone pattern starts from two bricks, one laid at a 45-degree angle off the central line but with one corner on the line. Orient the second tile 90 degrees from the first and abut the short end up to the long side of the first brick so that the outside edges form a V.

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