November 14, 2016 - Tilespect

Tile Layout Ideas and Functionality – Tile Design Notes for Bathroom #2

Tile Layout 

tile layout ideas for your bathroom design (actually just some personal tile design notes)

The suitability of a tile for an area takes in functional aspects but goes deeper than just physical properties. To explain and using our bathroom theme lets remember that the bathroom, even one which is shared, is a private space. To me its a blend of functionality, comfort and a for the time you are in it. its a private haven.

So I will touch briefly on functional aspects but I suspect since most of you already can figure out what these will be I am not going to dwell on these. In brief they are ease of cleaning, resistance to wear, water and staining. For floor tiles, slip resistance and wear resistance is paramount and of course, ease of laying may be a factor, especially in challenging situations or for the “do it yourself”renovator or builder. Just to recap – wear resistance, slip resistance, stain resistance, ease of cleaning and ease of laying.

Got it; Good because these are obvious and while not trivial, the internet already yields no shortage of the advice so I’m going to pass on it for now because at some point I am going to publish a simple one page, printable sheet anyway. On to my tile design notes.

bege-bathroom granite-look-imaginative-use1

Now, on to the real topic I want to discuss – aesthetic  functionality.

Yep, that’s it, this is about the visual effects of a tile installation. This is one of the biggest utilitarian advantages of tiles from a bathroom design perspective and it is the reason they are so popular. As such, I hope these notes help you to develop some creative tile layout ideas.

And if you think about it, if this were not the case then you could just have polished cement. Or those gigantic wall panels. But no, most designers, home owners, architects and fashionistas actually exploit the unique effects of a tiles surface design which don’t come from any other type of interior finish.

Visual functionality is not “false”functionality. Good tile design and certain looks have the type of appeal that enhances ones feeling of space, comfort, perspective. And it can be useful for making a statement, or just to make you feel comfortable in the space.

I think its worth a wee little blog article of its own and we will delve deeper into this aspect of design and choice.


Lets begin;

We tend to think of the shape of a tile as a geometrical limitation on the visual appeals that can come from it. But is too facile an interpretation because the shape actually allows a huge number of design variations and effects to be exploited.

At its most basic level, a plain white tile, for example, can still be interesting because in combination with the necessary grouted joints the surface develops its characteristic depth perspective.

Depth perspective is a hugely and largely subliminal property and different geometric arrangements can either accentuate depth.

In additional a change in the orientation of the tiles, vertical, horizontal or diagonal places an emphasis on the height, length, breadth and restfulness of any space.




Diagonal orientation accentuate depth and introduce a sense of movement.

Long tiles could accentuate the length of a hallway.theme5b

Long Tiles laid against the length of a room could induce a rustic sense.



Vertical length suggests height and work best in walls that extend from floor to ceiling

Horizontal length works well as a contrasting feature and could offset a bench or working area that breaks the vertical line.

The magnitude of any dimension, (horizontal or vertical) is accentuated when the wall tiles are aligned in that direction.

Tile Design and layout ideas:


Excepting plain tiles, tile patterns influence design choices with regards to tile orientation, joint spacing and colouration.

Linear patterns – example wood grain, parallel lines or travertine looks have an in-built directionality that imposes itself upon the tile layout laying pattern.

Non-directional stone patterns tend to mask the visual influence of joints. This is particularly emphasized by the trend towards narrow joints, in concert with rectified edges.

Rustic tiles often emphasize joints and can encourage the use of contrasting joints colours.

Tiles are there to make the room look great, fantastic even. The geometric shapes are architecturally interesting and allow the designer to play with aspects of orientation.

And they are designed to make any space feel larger more organized – but they can also create some unexpected effects.


  • The most obvious is that depth perspective, particularly in walls tiles, has the unexpected effect of flattening foreground objects.

Take the example of a glamorous celebrity actor on the red carpet. They will never be shown with a symmetrical, geometrical tiles backdrop at a straight-on angle right behind them;

instead the geometric backdrop will always be shown stretching away at an oblique angle. The first angle has the effect of flattening the person or object in front of the backdrop.

The symmetry of a tiled background will also highlight a person’s lack of facial symmetry.



So bathroom design is inherently linked to the tile design. And the tile shape and size, its arrangement and alignment, that is, the tile layout has a critical design function in any room. I hope you enjoyed these tile design notes. Please feel free to leave some feedback including letting us know your own tile layout ideas.

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