Mission Tile West

Embrace the Shapes – Tips for Designing with Unusual Tile Shapes

Go beyond the square and use unusual tile shapes with these tips

Embrace the Shapes – Tips for Designing with Unusual Tile ShapesWhen most people think of tile, they think of utilitarian, square or rectangle tiles or pavers. While it’s true that square tiles can create a big design impact, they do it through bold colors and decorative motifs. When you use the shape of the tiles themselves to create visual interest and texture, you end up with something just as interesting and a lot more unique in today’s design environment. Here are some tips for designing with unusual tile shapes.

Know Your Tile Shapes

Tiles come in all kinds of shapes, not just squares and rectangles. Hexagons are probably the next most common shape and are often used to create honeycomb patterns on bathroom floors. Don’t forget to consider diamonds, pickets, chevrons, x-shaped tiles, and of course the wide variety of arabesques. When looking for unusual tile shapes, your best bet is to choose a tile influenced by Moorish or Moroccan designs as these often feature very complicated designs made from many different tile shapes.

Limit Your Color Palette

If you really want to draw attention to the shapes of the individual tiles you’re using on your floor, wall, shower stall, backsplash, or patio, it’s best to choose a limited color palette. You might use five different tile shapes but just one color or use shades of a single color. That way the color won’t distract the eye, and you can also prevent the pattern from looking too busy or overwhelming.

Don’t Cover the Whole Room

One downside of designing with unusual tile shapes is that it can be expensive. The more complicated your pattern, the more painstakingly it will need to be laid out and the longer it will take to install. You can limit this problem by using the really wild tile shapes sparingly. For example, you might choose to scatter little medallions made up of Moroccan tile shapes in amongst an expanse of more sedate tile shapes. Set them off with a frame of rectangular tiles or moldings.

Need Inspiration?

Some of the most fabulous tile patterns of all time can be found in famous Moorish buildings like the Alhambra. Browse architectural photos of mosques, grand hotels, and other buildings in countries like Morocco to gather inspiration for interesting mosaic tile designs incorporating stars, chevrons, bars, diamonds, and more. You can also stop by one of Mission Tile West’s extensive tile galleries to browse tile samples. A design consultant will be happy to help you bring your tile dreams to life.