Playing with Pattern | Guide to Tile Layouts | Marlborough Tiles Skip to main content
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Playing with pattern

Good design is all in the detail. And when it comes to wall tiles, there are plenty of details to consider...

It is not only aspects such as the colour, shape, glaze and texture of your tile that will create an impression. While some might take it for granted, the pattern in which you choose to arrange your wall tiles will make a real difference to the look and feel of your space too. Popping the tiles up in the first arrangement that springs to mind can be a real missed opportunity!

Begin by considering whether you would like your tiled area to quietly yet elegantly support the rest of your scheme, or if you would like to use your tiles to make a design statement. There is no right answer - this is simply about taking the time to consider the overall look you wish to create for your space.

In today's article, we share a variety of looks to inspire and help you choose the perfect layout for your next tiling project.


Brick bond

With its clean, simple lines, the traditional brick bond layout is a truly classic look that will work beautifully in any setting.

Here, tiles are arranged horizontally in rows, with each row staggered against the row below. Rows can be offset by half, quarter or a third of a brick.

The half-brick bond is perhaps most traditional and creates a 'subway tile' look, also known as 'brick pattern'. Here, the centre of each tile is aligned to the edge of the tile below it.

You might choose to accentuate the subway look with contrasting grout, or you could opt for grout in a colour that harmonises with your tiles for a softer, more subtle look. Learn more about choosing the perfect grout colour in our recent article.

For a twist on the brick bond layout, consider aligning your brick bond vertically. Also known as the 'stepladder' pattern, this layout will accentuate the height of your space. Or for something really different, try an offset layout using squares.



This elegant pattern features brick shaped tiles angled ninety degrees to one another to create ‘V’ shaped rows.

Arranging the V shapes pointing upwards has the effect of drawing the eye up, accentuating the height of your space. You could also choose to arrange the chevrons to point horizontally which will widen the space, or you might consider running the bricks perpendicular to the floor to create a staircase effect.


Basket weave

Reminiscent of woven baskets and textiles, this pattern places horizontal and vertical bricks at right angles to one another, lending a modern, geometric appeal to a space.

This layout is particularly lovely when used in a small area such as above a sink or range cooker.


Straight lay

In this classic arrangement, tiles are laid directly on top of each other with their corners aligned to create a grid.

If you're looking to create a subtle backdrop to other design elements, you might choose some beautiful handmade white square tiles with a soft, light coloured grout. Or for a more dramatic look, pair tiles in a bold colour such as Manton Hollow from our Savernake collection with a contrasting grout in a lighter tone.

Alternatively, stacking long bricks (such as those from our Kennet collection) vertically creates a really striking look.


Ways with scallops

The pretty delicacy of the scallop shape offers an abundance of creative pattern layouts.

Lay yours with the curve uppermost in the pattern in a fan shape for an Art Deco effect, or turn them the other way up to create a ‘fish scale’ pattern. Alternatively, they look just beautiful when arranged in a playful Arabesque pattern, which really emphasises their looping, soft curves.



In our Latitude collection, you’ll discover hexagons in a host of gorgeous blues, greens and greys which coordinate beautifully with wooden flooring. Choose a single shade for a colour block effect, or a mix for a more creative composition.

Don’t feel you have to use hexagons throughout a room - they’re stunning in a small panel or on a feature wall. Thanks to their size, our Latitude hexagon tiles work well with tiles in other shapes - try them alongside bricks to create impact.

Wall of cool grey matt hexagon tiles behind a grey oak work top and  styled with white vases

Latitude Shannon matt hexagon tile finished with White grout

We hope this article has provided lots of food for thought and inspiration for your next project, but if you're uncertain about where to start, our design team is on hand to help. Simply get in touch.



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