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Design & Inspiration

Design Trends: Pairing Specialty Shapes and Field Tile

By Kali |


Sometimes you want the best of both worlds...when it comes to tile. It can be difficult to choose between a specialty shape and field tile, but guess what? You actually don't have to. Specialty shapes and field tile pair together with relative ease, whether you would like to use two different shapes or sizes in your project or if you'd like to create a focal point in your installation.

We're sharing design ideas below:

Your Floors and Walls:
It is most common to see different shapes and size pairings in a bathroom or kitchen setting. To keep it looking clean, you just need to consider proportions. For example, in the bathroom many people will choose to scale down to a smaller sized tile for the flooring. If you go with a 3x6 Subway tile on the walls,  3" Hexagons for the flooring will create a clean, proportional transition.

Tile Shown: 3x6 Subway Tile in Sky Blue and 3" Hexagons in Calcite; Custom color Old California 7 handpainted tiles as trim.

Color can also be a clean way to mix specialty shapes with field tile. We like how the installation below is so tonally cohesive, making it so the three different sizes work together.

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme tiles in White Wash.

If you aren't afraid of pattern, go for it! We love how the colorful (but tonal) bathroom below pairs field and specialty shapes:

Tile Shown: On the floor - Ogee Drops in Rainy Day, Tusk & Sea Glass; On the walls - 2x6 glass tiles in Hydrangea Matte, Queen Anne's Lace Matte & Blue Grass Matte.

In a Niche:
Do you have a niche in your bathroom? If so, this can be great place to add a surprising pop to your installation.

Tile Shown: 3x6 Subway Tile surround a niche of Mini Star & Cross tiles, both in Daisy.

Create a Focal Point:
A specialty shape can work wonders as a focal point in a kitchen backsplash or as an accent in a bathroom setting.

We love how the installation below turned our specialty shape Picket vertically to contrast with the horizontal offset of the 2x8 tiles:

Tile Shown: 2x8 tiles surround Pickets to create a focal point; both in Blue Spruce.
Image: Peekaboo Photos

You can also pair specialty shapes and field tile on adjacent walls. One of our San Francisco showroom bathroom shows off how you can do this and in a mix of materials too (glass and tile).


Tile Shown: Wave tiles in Cyclone and 2x8 Glass tiles in Jasmine.


Love any of the featured colors? Order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented design consultants will get back to you shortly