One of today’s hottest tile trends is a staggered tile installation. “Staggered” refers to a pattern of installing the tile so that the tiles’ natural shape is the edge of the area rather than the tile being cut to make a straight edge. This look embodies an “unfinished” style that is at once both casual and refined, with an opportunity to showcase the craft of tile installation.
Staggered tile installation adds a unique flair to any project, with literally no “box” to reign in your imagination. Choose from a large selection of different tile patterns and shapes that you may want to transition from one type of tile to another or from the tile to another surface, such as a wall or a wood floor.
The transitional 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.
Best Patterns and Shapes for Staggered Tile
Staggered Herringbone Tile
The unique “V” pattern of a herringbone tile layout creates a zigzag edge when paired with a staggered design. How you lay your herringbone tile makes a difference — consider whether you want it to face down (first photo above) or up. You can also choose to face your pattern either left or right (second photo above).
Whether you’re working with a tile-tile transition (photo below) or a tile-wall/floor transition, choose contrasting colors for your tiles and/or other surfaces to emphasize the zigzag of the design.
Staggered Subway Tile
Subway tile has been a trusted decor staple for over a century, but you’ve probably never seen it like this before. When staggered, subway tile creates a unique pattern reminiscent of stair steps, suggesting quite aptly that there’s nowhere to go but up with this tile design!
Staggered Hexagon Tile
We are a bit partial to using hexagons for staggered tile transitions because the staggering accentuates the fun honeycomb shape. You’ll likely see more hexagon tile in staggered installations than any other shape — and with limitless layout, color, grout, and design combinations, no two installations are the same.
Staggered Diamond Tile
Diamond tile is another great option for a staggered tile transition, and it can look completely different depending on how you lay out the tile. You might create waves by laying the tiles side to side, or create cubes with a 3D effect. Additionally, you could stagger your diamond tiles randomly for a playful 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 tile 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. We love how these tiles draw your line of sight up toward the contrasting paint color, and especially how the floor tile continues from the floor to the wall without interruption.
Staggered Tile Layout Options
How you lay your staggered tile can change the design of your installation completely, so consider the kind of transition that will best suit your space.
Tile-Wall Transitions vs. Tile-Tile Transitions
When creating a staggered tile transition, you have the option of transitioning from tile to another surface (photos above) or from one type of tile to another (photos below).
Staggered tile-wall transitions are popular for backsplashes, where you want to protect the wall behind a water source but don’t want to cover the entire area. Remember to choose tile and paint colors that contrast!
Staggered tile-tile transitions work well for any application where you want to contrast two different tile designs. Use the same tile shape throughout with different colors or designs to mark the transition (first photo below), or use two completely different shapes (second photo below). Ceramic tile’s versatile style options make any look possible!
Ceramic tile to hardwood flooring (photo below) is an especially versatile design option 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.
Regular Tile Transitions vs. Irregular Tile Transitions
You’ve chosen your tile shape and know whether you want a tile-tile or a tile-wall/floor transition. Your next option is choosing between a regular or irregular stagger.
The two examples above feature regular tile transitions — the staggered pattern is uniform across the entire application, creating a consistent design.
The photo below is an example of irregular stagger. However random the staggered transitions may appear, we know that the layout was designed with care to maximize the creative potential of the installation.
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!