An Ode to Square Tile

Serving the Greater Portland Metro area

Square tile is infinitely versatile, endlessly beautiful, and a dream to design with. We love it and think you will, too. If you don’t believe us, check out the examples below. Then, let us know what you think.

Why Square Tile Is So Versatile

The square shape allows all kinds of design possibilities. Create an all-over look with the same tile or different ones in the same size. Combine multiple squares of different sizes from 1″ to 2″ mosaics to very large sizes. Mix squares and rectangles, not to mention other shapes such as hexagons, and triangles.

Square tile works as well on floors as it does on walls. And when it comes to walls, you have so many options for making a design statement, especially given the extensive range of textural effects!

  • A dramatic backsplash in a kitchen
  • A fireplace surround
  • Decorative bands in bathrooms, showers, and in tub areas
  • An interesting alcove
  • Even an outdoor entertaining area

On floors, you might have an all-over terra cotta look or opt for decorative patterns made with small square tiles or larger decorative patterns that you border with a solid square tile in a contrasting color.

Finally, there’s how you choose to install the tile, with or without a vertical or horizontal offset.

Beautiful square tile display available at Classique Floors + Tile.

The Range of Square Tile Sizes and Finishes

The range is extensive when it comes to sizes and finishes for square tile. As you can see from the display image above from the Classique Floors + Tile showroom, you’ll find matte tile, glossy tile, textured tile, and tiles with mixes of color, pattern, and finish. Some of the patterns relate only to the individual tile; some have patterns that work together based on how you combine four tiles.

Notice, too, the square tiles assembled into rectangular formats, with textural patterns that work across the larger size tile.

Square mosaics come in 1×1 and 2×2 sheets.

Decorative patterned tile generally falls into the 4×4 to 6×6 category.

Larger square sizes – 12″, 24″, 36″, and more – stunningly capture the veins, swirls, and other striations of marble and other types of stone, as well as more contemporary looks such as concrete.

Marvelous Trim Pieces for Squares

Marvelous Trim Pieces for Square tiles

When you work with decorative square tiles, you have the possibility of adding trim pieces to your design.

These can amplify color, shape, and texture depending on the style of tile you are working with. Add them as a border; include them as part of the overall design. Regardless, you’ll be able to create the perfect look for your home.

Have Fun with Grout!

Grout is an important design element of every tile installation project, and yet it isn’t always used as creatively as it might. For example, have you considered using an unusual grout color to create visual interest?

Take the outdoor kitchen pictured below and notice the orange grout used in the installation of the white square tile. Don’t you think that delicious pop of color ties together the tile with the cabinetry and the decorative accessories? It draws the eye and strongly suggests that this space is one dedicated to good times.

Have Fun with Grout!

This small-scale square tile highlights how important the grout color is to the design. The dark charcoal grout makes the white tile pop! It integrates the grey countertop into the overall installation and creates a strong focal element.

This small-scale square tile highlights how important the grout color is to the design.

How Square Tile Fits Into Specific Design Styles

As a classic shape, square tile easily adapts to any design style. That said, the square adapts itself particularly well to the following styles.

Victorian

Opulence, bold colors, detailed, complex patterns, and high-quality materials such as tile define many aspects of the Victorian style. As Victorian Tiles Style Guide explains,

“Geometric floor tiles were commonly used during the late 1880s and are still a great way to restore Victorian charm to a contemporary styled home – be it on a verandah, kitchen, hallway or bathroom floor.”

Vibrant colors, square tile patterns, elegantly textured surfaces, and decorative trims all enable you to update your Victorian-inspired home and recreate vintage looks.

Mid-Century Modern

Perhaps Mid-Century Modern is more your thing. There, too, the square plays a critical role. Whether in solid colors or in playful geometric patterns, you are sure to find the perfect look.

Moroccan Zellige Square Tiles

The square tile that has captured so many hearts for its undulating surface, glossy imperfection, and high color variation is the Moroccan square Zellige Tile. It can fit a more traditional environment as well as a more contemporary one.

Moroccan Zellige Square Tiles

These are but a few of the reasons for loving square tile so intensely. Below, you’ll find more visual inspiration highlighting the versatility and beauty of this tile.

Square Tile Installation Style Examples

Here are images to help illustrate some of the ways of installing square tile.

Vertical Offset

The kitchen below showcases a square installed with a vertical offset, accentuating the feeling of height and vertical space. By the way, notice the brass fixtures, and the Victorian-inspired green of the cabinets.

Square Tile Installation Style Examples: vertical offset

Horizontal Offset

A horizontal offset accentuates length.

Notice the edges of the tile; they aren’t perfectly straight. That imperfection adds interest to the installation and the space.

Square Tile Installation Style Examples: horizontal offset

Below you see a Zellige square tile in a similar horizontal offset installation. Notice the undulating tile surface that reflects light and accentuates warmth.

Zellige Square Tile Installation Style Examples: horizontal offset

Traditional Square Tile Installation

This straightforward installation truly highlights the beauty of Zellige Tile, maximizing the handmade qualities of the tile, the glaze, and the tile colors. The wall comes to life.

This straightforward installation truly highlights the beauty of Zellige Tile

Large Format Square Tile Installation

Large format squares beautifully capture the striations of natural stone. Imagine combining that large format with smaller-sized Zellige tiles. Isn’t the effect stunning?

Large format squares beautifully capture the striations of natural stone.

Large format squares make a strong statement as a dark slate-inspired floor tile. Here is a 24″ square tile installation.

Large format square makes a strong statement as a dark slate-inspired floor tile. Here is a 24" square tile installation.

Image going even larger with your tile! Here you see how beautiful a 31.5″ square tile floor looks!

Image going even larger with your square tile! Here you see how beautiful a 31.5" square tile floor looks!

Installations with Decorative Patterns

This next installation beautifully combines a square deco pattern with subway tile.

Installations with Square Tile Decorative Patterns

The strong deco pattern of the backsplash tile in the image below beautifully coordinates with the blue cabinetry and the terra cotta of the square floor tile. Did you notice the offset installation pattern?

The strong deco pattern of the backsplash tile beautifully coordinates with the blue cabinetry and the terra cotta of the square floor tile.

In these next examples, the walls are monochrome whereas the floors showcase decorative patterns.

Square tiles on the floor and walls.

Notice the space created below with the section of solid-colored floor tile. Contrast that with the highly-glossy green wall tile.

Notice the space created on the floor with the section of solid-colored floor tile. Contrast that with the highly-glossy green wall tile.

The square floor tile pattern in the kitchen below anchors the cabinetry and the activity.

The square floor tile pattern in the kitchen below anchors the cabinetry and the activity.

The pattern in the floor below results from alternating small square tiles of different colors.

The pattern in the floor results from alternating small square tiles of different colors.

Abstract Square Tile Designs

Square tile can showcase the influence of terrazzo. Notice the bright flecks of playful color.

Square tile can showcase the influence of terrazzo.

Combining solid squares with abstract patterns also suggests playfulness while adding visual interest.

Combining solid squares with abstract patterns also suggests playfulness while adding visual interest.

Go a step further with bold strong geometric patterns.

Go a step further with bold strong geometric patterns

Bold patterns can be more subtle when they are part of the tile’s surface texture.

Bold patterns can be more subtle when they are part of the tile's surface texture.

What About Combining Squares With Hexagons?

The square is so versatile that it can easily work when you combine it with other shapes, such as this undulating shape.

The square is so versatile that it can easily work when you combine it with other shapes, such as this undulating shape.

Hexagons are also classics. Yet, they can’t possibly look boring combined with unusually patterned abstract square tile!

Hexagons are also classics. Yet, they can't possibly look boring combined with unusually patterned abstract square tile!

Here you see hexagon wall tiles combined with square floor tiles. Notice the delicious color variations on both the wall and the floor.

Here you see hexagon wall tiles combined with square floor tiles.

Square Combinations

This next installation beautifully combined squares in different sizes. The textured abstraction of the wall tile adds strong visual interest.

This next installation beautifully combined squares in different sizes. The textured abstraction of the wall tile adds strong visual interest.

This installation combines a square with a similarly scaled rectangle to create strong visual interest. The glossy surface reflects the light.

This installation combines a square with a similarly scaled rectangle to create strong visual interest. The glossy surface reflects the light.

Square Color Pops

Tile effectively introduces pops of color as you see in the image below. The blue wall contrasts perfectly with the terracotta floor tile. Notice how a rectangular tile standing on end effectively separates while integrating at the same time the wall and floor squares.

Notice how a rectangular tile standing on end effectively separates while integrating at the same time the wall and floor squares.

Pops of floor color work magic, too, as you see below!

Pops of floor color work magic with these square tiles.

Square Tile Design Idea Resources

If you’re looking for additional ideas on how to create stunning designs with square tiles, you’ll enjoy these resources:

>> The New York Times, The Ceramics Obsession Has Moved to Our Walls

>> Southern Living, What You Need To Know About Zellige Tile, The Home Decor Trend That’s Here To Stay

>> Architectural Digest, The Moroccan Tile Trend Designers Can’t Seem to Get Enough Of

Are You Ready to Explore Portland’s Best Assortment of Square Tile Firsthand?

 

Are You Ready to Explore Portland’s Best Assortment of Square Tile Firsthand?

If and when you’re ready, we invite you to visit the Classique Floors + Tile showroom in Portland where you can see a full range of square tile patterns and styles firsthand. We look forward to helping you.

Thanks for reading!

VISIT OUR SHOWROOM: WALK-INS ARE WELCOME!

An Ode to Square Tile in Portland OR

Serving the Portland Metro Area and beyond

Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Gresham, Troutdale, Clackamas, Tigard, Wilsonville, Vancouver, Camas, Ridgefield, Orchards, Bend, Salem, Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach

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