Getting in Shape: The Skinny on Tile Shapes & Patterns

7 min read

Getting in Shape: The Skinny on Tile Shapes & Patterns - Architessa

Losing weight stinks. Many of us use the New Year to kick off a new exercise plan. At Architessa, we've done a little exercise of our own to come up with some of our favorite tile shapes and patterns. Let's get the skinny on a few tile shapes and patterns, and see how clients used them. As for losing weight, we can all start by tossing that heart-shaped box of chocolates from Valentine's Day.


Tile Shapes & Patterns

Navigating your way through the numerous tile shapes and patterns out there is an almost impossible task, but don't sweat it. With our list that describes common tile shapes and patterns, we'll help you work out what's what. Now give that thumb a workout and start scrolling...



Square: Simply put, a geometry teacher would describe a square as a plane figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles. Square tile, however, is anything but simple because of its range of sizes and material choices.

What size fits you best? When considering large-format square field tile, common sizes are: 12"x12", 18"x18", and 24"x24". Decorative or square accent tiles are most commonly seen in 4"x4" or 6"x6". Lastly, square mosaics are often mesh-mounted in a 1"x1" or 2"x2" size.

Ceramic, marble, porcelain, glass -- Square tile is available in a variety of material types. When paired with sizing options, square tile has several common combinations. At Architessa, we have endless porcelain and marble options available as a 12"x12" field tile. We offer numerous glazed ceramics in a 4"x4" and 6"x6" in size. As for square mosaics, Architessa carries a wide range of options in all material types.

Try playing with our sizes filter to see the range of in-stock or special order square tiles featured on our website. Whether using the 12"x12" product search or 24"x24" product search, we make browsing simple. And your choices don't end there. To browse all Architessa has to offer, visit one of our DC-metro area showroom locations.

Rectangle: Quick, when we say rectangle, what do you think of? Probably a 3"x6" subway or a 12"x24" field tile. They could be considered the meat and potatoes of rectangular tile shapes. But if you're looking for more variety in your tile diet, consider other sizes such as: a 6"x24" plank, a 6"x12" elongated subway, or a 1"x2" mosaic.

As for a 12"x24" tile option, we love too many to choose just one. Use our 12"x24" product search to browse through our featured marble and porcelain collections that include a 12"x24" field tile.

Hexagon: Eat your heart out. Designers and homeowners love this six-sided shape no matter its size. Hexagons are popular as a mesh-mounted mosaic or as a larger field tile.

To see collections available with Architessa that feature hexagon tile, visit our hexagon product search here. LOVE AFFAIRS is one of our personal favorites, featuring several lovely marble-look hexagon tiles.

Penny round: You don't have to rethink the wheel, or the penny round, when it comes to tile shapes. Typically seen as a meshed-mosaic, penny round tile is known for its small size and adaptability to various areas in your home. Penny round tile works well as a fireplace surround, kitchen backsplash, or bathroom and shower floor.

To see our featured collections that include a penny round mosaic, visit Architessa's penny round product search here. To explore our full offering, visit one of our DC-metro area showroom locations.

Specialty: Looking for something special? Try thinking outside the box with tile shapes that may have a few more sides or curves to them. Specialty shapes include tiles such as: diamonds, ogees (an arabesque, fan, or wave), pickets, and triangles.

To see Architessa's variety of specialty tile, please visit one of our DC-metro area showroom locations. We offer a wide selection of specialty options from our vendors like Encore Ceramics, Pratt & Larson or Tabarka Studio. Making specialty tile is their specialty. As a result, the tiles are often made by hand and sold by the piece.


Single-Tile: A single-tile pattern is created by repeating one tile shape. It's hard for us to single out just one pattern that's our favorite. At Architessa, we offer a range of single-tile patterns such as: chevron, diamond, herringbone, subway half-offset, subway straight-stack, and parquet.

These single-tile patterns have stood the test of time. You're welcome to spend some time with us in one of our showroom locations, playing hands-on with tile to create a pattern that fits your style.

Two-Tile: To illustrate what a two-tile pattern looks like, we look to two examples: a basketweave and pinwheel. Both patterns use just two tile sizes to create their timeless looks.

Basketweave:Popular as a shower floor option, a basketweave pattern uses a square and rectangular tile. The small-scale mosaic works well as a shower floor because the tiles themselves are less than 4 inches, allowing for a proper slope toward the drain.
While ceramic and marble finishes are most commonly seen in this pattern, Architessa offers a basketweave porcelain with the look of marble but the ease and durability of porcelain. Our in-stock Coach Collection, made to looks like Statuary marble, features a basketweave pattern, as well as a 12"x24" and 3"x12" field tile, and a herringbone mosaic.

Pinwheel:Similar to a basketweave, a pinwheel pattern is another small-scale mosaic that uses two tile sizes. A 1"x2" rectangular tile rotates around a 1-inch square tile. If you're renovating a bathroom in your home from the 1920's or 1940's, you may be taking out this tile, because the pattern was commonly used on the floor.

Multi-Tile: Tile patterns that use three or more tiles are considered multi-tile patterns. A Versaille pattern, for example, uses four tiles to create its layout. It is commonly done in travertine, because the pattern and natural stone both come from France.

The range of multi-shaped tile patterns doesn't stop with what is shown above. The pattern combinations are endless. Stop by one of our showroom locations to pull together multiple options that work for you.


Shaping Up: An Exercise in Modern & Classic Design

Can you achieve a modern look with classic tile shapes? By pairing a modern open-concept layout with simple tile choices, the answer is yes. Here, Four Brothers Carpentry, Architessa and our client put together a one-of-a-kind space.


A Four Brothers Carpentry design, featuring tile from Architessa; image via Architessa's Projects page on Houzz.

This master bathroom retreat feels open and airy not only because of the layout, but because of the selections as well. The tile choices throughout the bath are simple in shape and color.

A Four Brothers Carpentry design, featuring tile from Architessa; image via the Projects page on Houzz.

In the shower, the walls and floor are light and bright. Our City Hall 3"x6" subway tile was used from floor to ceiling. The rectangularshape wraps seamlessly into the window well because of the collection's coordinating long and short-sided bullnose. The crisp white tile and grout are a quiet backdrop to the skylight above. On the shower floor below, our marble Calacatta Chablis 1" hexagonwas used. The color of this grey-veined marble mosaic works well with the other grey marble pieces used on the window ledge and bench seat. The small size also works well to direct water toward the square stainless steel Kerdi drain.


A Four Brothers Carpentry design, featuring tile from Architessa; image via Architessa's Projects page on Houzz.

Moving into the main area of the bathroom, the City Hall 3"x6" rectangular subway tile continues on the wall behind the vanities. This time, it is capped with our Bianco Venatino marble chair rail. The main floor features our 12"x24" rectangular field tile, also from the Bianco Venatino collection.


Oh Gee, What Do You Mean?

Arabesque, fan, fish scale, lantern, wave -- The name ogee refers to a group of specialty tiles that all use curves to create their shapes. By definition an ogee is 'a double curve, resembling the letter 'S', formed by convex and concave lines'. How those curves come together give the general ogee tile its more specific name and shape. How our DC-metro area client's master bathroom came together, leaves her with a soft and calming feel. Because of its color and curves, the arabesque accent tile in the tub and shower areas is just that, soft and calming.


Master bath design featuring Architessa accent tile and marble tile; image via Architessa's Houzz Project page

The light blue arabesque pairs well with our 12"x12" square tile. The Bianco Venatino grey marble tile cladds the tub surround, covers the shower walls, and carries on to the main floor of the bathroom.


Master bath design featuring Architessa accent tile and marble tile; image via Architessa's Houzz Project page

Here, the master bathroom design is an excellent example, that a simple and hard-lined shape like a square can work in the same space as a specialty shape like an arabesque with curves. The juxtaposition is subtle but there. Because of the soft and natural veining in the 12"x12" tile, it softens the lines of the square shape. The movement in the veining and the repetition in the arabesque mosaic move your eye throughout the design.


Pattern Play: The Difference Between Chevron & Herringbone

Chevron and Herringbone. The two pattern types are commonly mistaken for one another. It's easy to see how, because both a chevron and herringbone pattern use single tiles. So let's cut to the chase. The main difference between the patterns is how the tile is cut. And in the end, it's how the tile is laid end-to-end that creates their respective looks.


A herringbone pattern, shown to the right, uses a single unmodified rectangular tile, that is rotated 90 degrees to create it's classic layout.  


A chevron pattern, shown to the left, uses a single rectangular but cut tile, that is mirrored 180 degrees to create its more modern layout. Our Brocade Collection includes a white and grey marble chevron mosaic.

For further questions about our products featured here, or to place a tile order, please contact Want weekly updates about Architessa and our product lines? Join our newsletterhere.

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