In this tile application, a rectangular tile, like subway tile, is lined up directly above the one beneath it, creating a horizontal stacked pattern, also called a grid pattern. This tile pattern creates neat rows and clean lines. It also works beautifully with square tiles. A stacked backsplash in a single color is subtle, but incorporating two or even three colors of popular traditional or contemporary tiles can add more interest.
A simple variation on the stacked tile pattern is to flip your tile vertically. This approach offers the same tidy lines, but can be a great choice to highlight the height of a space, like along a shower wall.
A running bond, also called an offset bond, offers a slight variation on a stacked tile application. In this tile pattern, each tile is placed at half their width, so that the middle of one tile is aligned over the ends of the two tiles beneath it. In a running bond, every other row lines up, whether installed vertically or horizontally.
1/3 and 1/4 Offset Bond
Two additional variations on the stacked bond are 1/3 and 1/4 offset options. If a regular running, or offset, bond is installed at half width, 1/3 and 1/4 offset bonds are installed at 1/3 and 1/4 of the width of the tile in the previous row. These options, which can be installed in vertical or horizontal applications, can make a big impact, but will require a bit more patience as tiles will need to be cut to fit the various lengths within a 1/3 or 1/4 scheme.
Combining both vertical and horizontal stacked bonds, a basketweave tile pattern can be a visually appealing installation choice where space allows. In this tile pattern, you create squares out of rectangular tiles and alternate vertical and horizontal stacked bond applications, for a woven look. If you’re using a standard 3×6-inch subway tile, this would look like three vertically stacked tiles next to three horizontally stacked tiles, repeating throughout the space. If you are using smaller or larger vertical tiles, the number of stacked tiles required to make a repeatable square will differ.
For a showstopping tile pattern that’s outside of the stacked bond family, turn to a herringbone tile pattern. Herringbone is a classic pattern for wood floors that translates neatly to floor tiles and backsplashes alike. In this pattern, rectangular tiles are placed at 45 degrees and nestle into each other, creating rows in a V-like pattern.
Similar to herringbone, a chevron tile pattern incorporates rectangular tiles at an angle. Unlike herringbone, however, where rectangular tiles nestle into each other, in a chevron pattern, angled tiles line up end to end, forming a zig-zagging pattern. Thanks to its geometric design, a chevron tile pattern inherently has a bit more modern appeal than its counterparts and can be especially dynamic when utilizing contrasting grout or multiple tile colors.
If you’re working with square tiles and like the angled look of chevron or herringbone patterns, consider a diamond, or diagonal, tile pattern. This application flips square tiles 45 degrees so that the corner of one touches the corner of the next, creating rows of diamonds. A diamond tile pattern is an attractive choice on both floors and backsplashes, and can also be used in combination with a stacked bond pattern to create a focal point or complementary border.
Use large and small square tiles to create the illusion of movement in a pinwheel tile pattern. In a pinwheel design, a smaller square tile lines up with the bottom corner of a larger tile above it, then the next large tile is offset by the size of the small tile. Depending on the size difference in the tiles, a pinwheel design can look small and almost swirly (hence the name!) or larger and more geometric. This application, which is a great choice for floors, allows you to incorporate a complementary color or small dose of pattern into a space through the use of a secondary tile.
In multi-tile designs, square and rectangular tiles play together, resulting in intricate tile floor patterns. A popular multi-tile pattern, Versailles, involves creating a pattern from four different-sized tiles—two sizes of rectangles and two sizes of squares—then repeating. In multi-tile designs, it’s important to use tiles with complementary dimensions to create a neat repeating pattern. For instance, ensuring the two small tiles, say an 8×8-inch and an 8×16-inch tile, can be arranged alongside the larger 16×16-inch or 16×24-inch tile. Using tiles in similar hues for a multi-tile design can create an elegant effect underfoot.