Square tile doesn’t mean your creativity is boxed in. In fact, these square tile ideas certainly qualify for thinking “outside the box,” for unique ceramic tile ideas.
If you thought square tile was simple or tame, take note — square tile is making a design impact, largely thanks to new manufacturing techniques and installation patterns that make square tile anything but, well, square.
Let’s take a look at how to make square tile unique, including 18 popular square tile designs.
1. Alternate Colors: Checkerboard Tile
It’s the oldest trick in the design book: Rather than using monochromatic tiles, alternate square tiles of two different colors to create a checkerboard design. Most commonly used with black and white tile designs, checkerboard tile creates a luxurious flooring design out of a simple tile shape and layout pattern.
[Related: Black and White Tile Designs for Every Space]
2. Mix It Up: Square Tile in Random Colors
An alternative to a set color pattern is to sprinkle square tiles of different colors into your design, a trend called mixed geometrics. In this case, a grid layout lets the random tile colors do the talking.
When choosing which colors to use for your pattern, consider how different colors can impact your mood. For example, blues can create a serene and calm environment; yellows are uplifting and cheerful.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Mixed Geometric Tile]
3. Color the Lines: Square Tile With Colored Grout
If you prefer a monochromatic design for your square tile, you can give it contemporary flair by pairing it with colored grout. Choose a fun color that contrasts with your tile for a playful look or, as in the photo above, a matching color to create a minimalist seamless-looking surface.
[Related: Grout Color Guide: How to Choose the Right Grout Color for Your Tile]
4. Go Natural: Square Tile in Natural Looks
Square tile is often paired with natural designs such as stone, slate, marble, and granite looks. For an elegant and understated natural look, you can’t go wrong with square tile — just look at the square slate-look tile above for proof.
[Related: Biophilic Design and Ceramic Tile]
5. Add a Fun Design: Patterned Square Tile
Another foolproof tile design ideal for use on square tile is to choose an interesting pattern. Options abound, including geometric and graphic designs, Art Deco motifs, florals and leaves, and more.
You have two options when designing patterned square tile: to go with square tiles with individual patterns on them, as in the photo above, or to choose a pattern that spans multiple tiles, as in in the photo below. Note, some tile designs change depending on how you arrange the individual tiles. You can be consistent with the design or alternate the direction of the tiles to achieve a one-of-a-kind look.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Geometric Tiles & Pattern Play]
6. Unsmooth Sailing: Textured Square Tile
Texture adds visual interest to any tile design, whether it’s a monochromatic tile grid or delicately patterned tile as in the backsplash pictured above. The simplicity of the tile layout will let the eye linger on the subtly uneven surface instead.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Textured Tile]
7. Add Dimension: 3D Square Tile
Turn textured tile up a notch by going fully three-dimensional. Three-dimensional tile doesn’t need intricate tile shapes to make it interesting — its grooves, slopes, and angles will do that!
We love how the three-dimensional surface of the bathroom wall above casts shadows, adding complexity to an otherwise straightforward design.
8. Go Small in a Big Way: Square Mosaic Tile
Who knew square tile could be so mesmerizing? Square tile mosaics are sure to make an impact, especially when paired with creative colors and shimmery finishes. We love square tile mosaics for feature walls, backsplashes, and shower floors and walls.
9. Go Big: Square Gauged Porcelain Tile
On the other end of the spectrum is gauged porcelain tile: tile panels and slabs as long as 15 feet and as thin as 6-12 mm. Choosing square gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs is a great idea to create a wallpapered look, mimic the look of large slabs of natural stone or gemstones, or achieve a minimalist effect with few grout lines.
Whatever look you choose, square gauged porcelain tile is sure to make a big impact.
[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Gauged Porcelain Tile]
10. Mix and Match: Multiple Sizes of Square Tile
Can’t decide between multiple sizes of square tile? Use both! Combining different square tile sizes draws attention to the grid pattern itself and creates a graphic look.
11. Lay It Diagonally: Diagonal Square Tile
As with checkerboard tile, a diagonal layout is another uncomplicated way to make square tile more interesting. Simply rotate your square tile by 45 degrees and voila — you have diagonal square tile!
12. Offset It: Square Subway Tile
Another impactful way to lay your square tile is to add an offset. A subway tile pattern is typically a rectangular tile with a 50% offset, so if you add the same offset to square tile, it has an effect reminiscent of subway tile.
We hope to see square subway tile patterns (such as shown above) used more frequently.
[Related: Everything You Need to Know About Subway Tile]
13. Think Outside the Box: Square Tile Combined With Different Shapes
Using square tile doesn’t mean that you can’t use other tile shapes, too. In fact, combining squares with other shapes is a great way to create a one-of-a-kind tile design. And boy, do you have a lot of tile shapes to choose from: circle tile, hexagon tile, diamond tile, triangle tile, fish scale tile… we could go on and on.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Think Outside the Box]
14. Trust in the Tried and True: Square Tile Layout Patterns
Rather than combining square tiles with other tile shapes in your own design, you could choose a tile layout pattern that utilizes squares and potentially other shapes. In addition to the standard grid pattern, there are a number of tile layout patterns that include squares, such as the hopscotch pattern, corridor pattern, windmill pattern, and pinwheel pattern.
[Related: Improve Any Room With These 15 Easy Ceramic Floor Tile Ideas]
15. Add a Rug: Square Tile Rugs
Define a specific area of your space by incorporating a tile rug into your square tile design. Tile rugs can be delineated using a tile border or simply by choosing a different design for the tiles in that area, as in the living room above. We often see tile rugs in living rooms, under kitchen islands and dining tables, and in entryways and hallways.
16. Move Outdoors: Square Tile Pavers
If you’re using your square tile outdoors, tile pavers are a unique option because they can be installed individually, directly on the ground as shown above. Tile pavers are ideal for outdoor walkways, decks, porches, and patios.
[Related: Get Outside With Our Guide to Outdoor Tile]
17. Add More Squares: Squares on Squares
Can’t get enough squares? Add more! We love the square-on-square aspect of the square tile bathroom wall with a diagonal checkerboard square design (with multi-colors!). And, it just goes to show that you can’t have too much of a good thing.
18. Keep It Simple Silly: Standard Square Tile
Sometimes, less really is more— there’s a clean, efficient, and even comforting appeal to monochromatic square tile grids — just look at the orderly living room above.
Tile Style Squared
If you’re anything like us, you’ve fallen in love with square tile and found a square tile design or two you’d like to try in your home. But the fun doesn’t have to stop here! We have even more unique square tile designs on Pinterest for you to explore — check them out or be square!
Where to Buy Tile
Use the search tool at the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) to find a ceramic tile showroom in your area for a more individual, one-on-one shopping, design and education experience, or visit a home improvement or flooring retailer.