There’s Nowhere to Go but Up With Vertical Tiles
Have vertical tiles caught your eye?
Whether you’re wondering what this new trend is or looking for specific design ideas to install in your home, we have everything you need to know about vertical tiles right here.
What Is Vertical Tile?
Simply put, vertical tile is tile that’s laid vertically rather than horizontally.
Vertical tile layouts have been trending, initially as a creative use for subway tile. Laying subway tile vertically is more than a new approach to the classic look. It also draws the eye upward to create the illusion of higher ceilings.
All sorts of shapes can work in a vertical layout. If a tile is laid vertically, you can consider it a vertical tile — whatever the tile shape.
Pro Tip: Vertical rectangle tiles that are not staggered are often referred to as vertical tile grids.
Is It Better to Tile Vertically or Horizontally?
The advantages of installing tile vertically or horizontally depend on the look you want to achieve.
Vertical tile draws the eye upward and visually elongates a space. This makes vertical tile ideal for drawing attention to a certain focal point or adding visual height to a room.
Similarly, horizontal tile can visually widen a space.
If you want to make a wide wall without much height feel taller, you might opt for a vertical layout. And if you want to widen a small space, a horizontal layout could help.
Another element to consider is creativity. Horizontal tiles may be more suitable for a traditional or classic look. But if you want something more unique, vertical tiles are trending with contemporary decor and have the versatility to coordinate with styles such as minimalism and boho.
Mixing Vertical and Horizontal Tiles
Before you choose vertical or horizontal tiles, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be either-or!
Sometimes incorporating both vertical and horizontal tiles is just what a space needs. In fact, some popular tile patterns do just that.
For example, the running variation tile pattern lays subway tiles both vertically and horizontally, creating “L” shapes across a surface. Vertical shower tile accents — often contrasting a vertical strip of vertical mosaic tiles (yes, vertical on vertical) against larger horizontal tiles — are popular as well. (More on this design later.)
Our Favorite Vertical Tile Patterns and Looks
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular vertical tile patterns.
Vertical Subway Tile
When it comes to subway tile, vertical installations create a fresh take on the timeless design.
Note that vertical subway tile has an offset, whereas vertical stacked subway tile (or vertical stacked tile) does not. So, you may also see vertical subway tile referred to as “vertical offset tile.” The common brick/subway pattern is simply turned 90 degrees to achieve this look.
Vertical Stacked Tile (aka Vertical Tile Grid)
Vertical subway tile’s close cousin is vertically stacked subway tile.
The key difference between the two patterns is that the vertical stack pattern lacks the staggered design of vertical offset tile. Understanding this and using the names properly will ensure you properly communicate your desired design to your designer and/or installer.
When should you use the staggered versus the stacked vertical tile pattern?
Vertical offset tile retains more of the original subway tile look and the staggering might also add a touch of playfulness to your installation.
The vertical stacked tile pattern creates a sleek grid layout that can lend a sense of order to your space.
[Related: Trend Alert: Stacked Subway Tile]
Vertical Picket Fence Tile
Not all vertical tile has to be rectangular. In fact, our next design idea is a spinoff of hexagon tile.
When you lay elongated hex tiles vertically, you create the look of a classic picket fence — especially if you use white tile. Vertical picket fence tile creates a nostalgic, yet playful look that’s sure to make a statement.
Vertical Wavy Tile
Vertical tile tends to make heavy use of straight lines, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As long as the tiles create a sense of vertical direction, vertical tile can come in any shape — straight-edged or not, such as the vertical wavy tile shower above.
Vertical Mosaic Tile
Considering a tile mosaic for your space? Mosaics and vertical tile layouts are highly compatible.
Vertical Diamond Tile
There’s nowhere to go but up with diamonds, right? That’s what we had imagined, and these diamond-inspired vertical tile bathrooms confirm it.
Vertical Running Bond Tile
We’re used to seeing wood-look running bond tile on floors to create the look of classic hardwood. But who’s to say it doesn’t belong on the walls as well?
(Even More) Creative Vertical Tile
We couldn’t help ourselves, so we’re including a couple more unique vertical tile looks below.
Vertical Tile by Installation
Now let’s take a look at some of the best places to install vertical tile.
Vertical Tile Backsplash
Vertical tile is the perfect choice to lend height to backsplashes, which tend to be wider than they are tall. Backsplashes also often create a focal point in a room. What better way to show off your personal style than with a ceramic tile backsplash?
Pro tip: When designing a vertical tile backsplash, just be sure to choose a tile size that enables you to install enough rows of tile. If you have a short backsplash area and choose a long tile, you may not be able to install enough rows to sufficiently show off the design.
[Related: 81 Bathroom Backsplash Ideas]
Vertical Wall Tiles
Vertical wall tiles that extend across an entire wall can add order and calm or present an opportunity for a one-of-a-kind design element. The design you choose can completely change the look and feel of a space.
Next up is perhaps our favorite place to use vertical tile: the shower.
Vertical Tile Shower
When it comes to shower tiles, “horizontal or vertical?” is a common question. And while it’s true that people often use horizontal tiles to make narrow walls (like those in showers) feel wider, vertical tile in shower applications can make a shower feel majestic. Vertical shower tile layouts often give balance to narrow shower walls.
Bonus: Vertical Shower Tile Accent
When it comes to shower tile, vertical accent stripe additions are a stylish way to add a unique tile feature.
Vertical accent tile in shower applications enables you to add just the right amount of flare. We typically see mosaic tile used in these designs but, depending on the size of your desired accent stripe, you could go larger.
Our favorite vertical shower accent tile ideas include:
- Tiling just a section of the shower, as in in the photo above
- Accenting a shower niche or bench
- Using the same tile style that’s in the rest of your shower, but with smaller vertical tiles as an accent
- Contrasting the color of your accent tile against the rest of your shower’s tile (such as using colorful or patterned tiles for an accent area and more neutral tiles for the rest of the shower)
Vertical Bathroom Tile
Vertical bathroom tile isn’t limited to showers — it looks great throughout the rest of the room as well. For example, vertical tiles in bathroom spaces often highlight backsplashes, walls, even counters and vanities.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Bathroom Tile]
Vertical Kitchen Tile
Consider using vertical tile in your kitchen on a backsplash, wall, or kitchen island, or use a vertical flooring pattern. Any surface that could use a durable and easy-to-clean material is a good place for vertical ceramic tile. And, let’s face it, that’s every kitchen surface.
White subway tile is a classic look for kitchen walls and backsplashes, and remember that there are plenty of options to get creative using vertical tile while maintaining a traditional look.
Take Your Design to New Heights
We hope you’ve found a vertical tile design idea to take your home’s interior decor straight to the top. But if you’re still searching for the perfect design, be sure to check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration.
Where to Buy Tile
Your next steps are simple:
- 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.
- FIND A CERAMIC TILE SHOWROOM NEAR YOU
- For specific products and installation-related materials, you can consult the product locator of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).
- Download our Tile Buying Guide below to share with your contractor or designer or bring with you to the showroom. Having these tips handy will make it that much easier to shop for your tile.
Your Tile Buying Guide…and get started now!
Author: Roxanne Morris
Roxanne Morris is the Marketing and Media Relations Manager at the Tile Council of North America America. She writes about tile product development, standards, and design trends for various trade publications. Roxanne is also an editor at WhyTile.com and manages the Why Tile Partner network at Partners.Whytile.com.