Updated: July 2023
One of today’s most creative tile trends is a staggered tile installation.
In a “staggered” installation, the tiles’ natural shape makes the edge of the tiled area rather than the tile being cut to fit a straight-edged area. This “unfinished” look, both casual and refined, can showcase the craft of tile installation.
A staggered tile pattern adds a unique flair to any project, with no “box” to reign in your imagination — choose any tile pattern and shape. You can transition from one type of tile to another, or from tile to another surface, such as a wall or a wood floor.
This installation style takes a bit more planning to achieve, but don’t worry — we’ve collected some of our favorite staggered tile examples from Instagram to inspire you.
Where to Use Staggered Tile
Where’s the best place to show off a staggered tile pattern? Here are some of our favorite spots.
Staggered Backsplash Tile
A backsplash is the perfect place to install staggered tile if you want to put it front and center. And with designs such as the one above, who wouldn’t want a staggered tile backsplash?
Staggered Wall Tile
Can’t confine your staggered design to a backsplash alone? Extend it across an entire wall. Staggered wall tile is a good choice if you plan on using larger tiles, like those above.
Staggered Floor Tile
Staggered tile floor installations are especially popular with transitions to wood looks (more on this later). What do you think of the hexagon and wood-look staggered floor tile pattern above?
Staggered Shower Tile
What better way to start your day than admiring a staggered tile shower while getting ready! The staggered tile frames the shower and toilet, separating this space from the rest of the bathroom.
Staggered Bathroom Tiles
Staggered bathroom tiles certainly aren’t limited to the shower. In fact, the bathroom is one of the most popular spaces for this trend, with options that span the walls and flooring.
Staggered Kitchen Tile
As the heart of the home and the natural gathering place during get-togethers, the kitchen is an excellent choice to show off staggered tile.
Best Patterns and Shapes for Staggered Tile
Staggered Herringbone Tile
The unique “V” pattern of a herringbone tile layout creates a zigzag edge when laid in a staggered design. How you lay your herringbone tile makes a difference — consider whether you want it to face down, up, left, or right.
Whether you’re working with a tile-tile transition or a tile-other transition, consider whether you want contrasting colors to emphasize the zigzag of the quirky design, or similar colors to quiet the quirk.
Staggered Subway Tile
Subway tile has been a trusted decor staple for over a century, and naturally we will keep finding creative ways to use it. When staggered, subway tile creates a unique pattern reminiscent of stair steps!
Staggered Hexagon Tile
We are a bit partial to using hexagons for staggered tile patterns because it results in a cheeky honeycomb shape. You’ll likely see more staggered hexagon tile than any other shape — and with limitless color, grout, and design combinations, no two installations are the same.
Staggered Diamond Tile
Diamond tile is another great option for a staggered tile pattern, and it can look completely different depending on how you lay it out. Create waves by laying the tiles side to side, or create cubes with a 3D effect. You could even randomize your staggered diamonds for a playful maximal look.
Staggered Triangle Tile
Sharp zigzag or subtle? Triangle tile lets you choose either — or both. Rest your peepers on this ultramodern installation. Triangle tile is already highly unique, and a staggered transition makes for a truly one-of-a-kind tile installation.
Staggered Square Tile
Square tiles lend themselves to staggered transitions, too! This shower tile creates a back-to-back staircase transition to flaunt a unique black and white design. Another idea? Create a tetris-like transition with bright colors that pop.
Staggered Rectangle Tile
This staggered rectangle tile reminds us of a city skyline!
Rectangle tile can be staggered vertically or horizontally. This example draws your eye up toward the contrasting paint color as the floor tile continues from the floor to the wall without interruption.
Staggered Tile Design Options
How you lay your staggered tile pattern can change the design of your installation completely, so consider the kind of transition that will best suit your space.
Transition From One Tile Color or Design to Another
One way to incorporate staggered floor tile into your home is to choose two different tile styles that you like and that complement one another, and then create a staggered design to transition from one to the other.
Here are some examples.
Transition From Black Tile to White Tile
Take the most classic color scheme in the book — black and white — and transition from one to the other. We love how the white tile underneath the bathtub transitions to the black tile in an irregular fashion, with a few white tiles randomly “splashed” into the black.
[Related: Black and White Tile Designs for Every Space]
Transition From Light Tile to Dark Tile
Similarly, light and dark versions of the same tile design are good candidates for staggered tile transitions. The staggered transition here is less stark than it is with the black and white tile, especially with the slight variegation.
Transition From Monochromatic Tile to Patterned Tile
Another idea is to transition from a monochromatic tile design to a patterned tile design.
In the first photo, using green grout with the blue tile helps tie the floral and solid tiles together. In the second photo, the white hex design on the blue tile creates a similar effect.
Transition From One Tile Shape to Another
Staggered installations can use the same tile shape on both sides of the transition, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
See how this hexagon bathroom floor transitions into other hexagon tiles as it continues up the bathroom wall but also as it transitions to a square tile grid as it spills out into the hallway. Staggered tile transitions give you unlimited options, including the ability to use any tile shape(s).
[Related: Tile Trend Idea: Think Outside the Box]
Transition From Tile to Another Material
Technically, you can transition from tile to a variety of other flooring materials, and wood is especially appealing to open-concept homeowners.
This transition allows you to use ceramic tile in your spaces exposed to wet conditions (such as the kitchen, bath, entryway, laundry room, or outdoor space) and create an organic transition to other living spaces without an awkward straight line division.
Whether using hardwood, engineered wood, or wood-look tile, staggered transitions from ceramic tile to a wood look are designed to impress!
Transition From Tile to the Wall
You also have the option of transitioning from tile to the wall.
Staggered tile-wall transitions are popular for backsplashes, where you want to protect the wall behind a water source but may not want to cover the entire area. Remember to choose tile and paint colors that contrast in order to show off the transition.
Regular Tile Transitions vs. Irregular Tile Transitions
You’ve chosen where you want to install your staggered tile, what tile shape or layout you want, and what you want to transition to and from. Now comes the question of how you want to stagger your tile—in a regular or irregular stagger.
Both examples above feature regular tile transitions — the staggered pattern is uniform across the entire application, creating a consistent design.
The photo below shows an irregular stagger. While appearing more random, we know the layout was designed with care to fit a creative vision.
Staggeringly Beautiful Ceramic Tile
Does the creativity of these staggered tile transitions have you swooning? Yeah, us too!
For more inspiration, browse our Staggered Tile Design Pinterest board and start dreaming up your own unique staggered tile transition!