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Sharing with you what I learned and observed when it comes to picking out the tile size for a checkerboard design. Let’s explore some spaces with checkerboard flooring so you can pick out the perfect tile size for your space.


In my search for square tiles for our mudroom, I noticed the most common square tiles are 12 x 12 and 18 x 18. For super big ones, I found sizes of 24 x 24 or even 30 x 30.  If you want to look at the smaller tiles, you typically have options for 4 x 4, 6 x 6, and 8 x 8.

You should consider these 3 things when it comes to picking the right checkerboard tile size for your space. So the first question to ask yourself is…

1. Will the tile size I choose layout evenly from wall to wall?

To explain this, take a look at this beautiful space again. You can see how they carefully selected the tile size so that 4 black squares would run horizontally with an exact even cut on the white square before the border tile.

The borders seem to work really well with a checkerboard floor and can help you work with different sizes. I can even see how the center tile lines up perfectly with the center of the door.  Mix in these arched architectural details with the dramatic angles of the floor.

You have design perfection right here! I think this is such a gorgeous space!

Making sure the tile is symmetrical on both sides of the room is pretty important and will likely help you decipher what size of tile you will need to create that balance.

We can look at this entry to see the same attention to tile size to create the appropriate midlines and edges.

However, if you are working with a bigger space, lining up the edges don’t need to be quite as important or noticeable.

This lovely dining area, which appears to have either 12 x 12 or 18 x 18 tiles, could have worked with bigger or smaller tiles. It would not be as important to get all the edges the same or have exact directional lines.

Here is a beautiful bathroom in the Ham Interiors home that I’ve been sharing in the series. It’s one of my favorite homes!

Now, I imagine they used this size of tile in this smaller bathroom because that was what was being used throughout the rest of the home.

However, that black tile nearest to the window had to be cut making the flooring not as symmetrical as it could had they used smaller tiles or even a tile border.

It’s not terrible to have to do that, but it would have been less noticeable with smaller tiles. 

In the instance of this bathroom, I do feel like the tiles are too big for the space, and you would be able to see more of a pattern had they gone a bit smaller.

These tiles are so big for such a small space, you hardly get any view of a complete tile pattern.

You could set a general rule of smaller room, smaller tiles, bigger room, bigger tiles.

This is a safe place to start, and clearly worked well for this big dining room to have these big 30 x 30 tiles.

But we all know the saying “rules were made to be broken”, so when determining your tile size you could also ask yourself this question…

2. Do you want more of a dramatic design impact or a more subtle one?

In my observation, the smaller the tile, the more noticeable or dramatic the look you get. It just looks busier with smaller tiles, which might be the goal.

Take a look at this green and white checkerboard floor.

It looks like 4 x 4 squares to me and it creates a very dramatic floor! It would likely be the very first thing you would notice while walking into this space with otherwise very simple furniture. You can see how they even moved the small tiles up the wall.

This space also seems to have 4 x 4 tiles which draws your eyes to them immediately.

It makes for a busy floor, but the subtlety of the rest of the design choices really makes it feel very balanced and interesting.

Let’s look again at this outdoor Studio McGee space.

It is a very large open space, but they used relatively smaller tiles than you might think would be the best choice for such a large area. They could have gone bigger, but again, I think the smaller tile choice made for a more dramatic impact.

Contrast this perhaps to this image again where I feel like the size of the tile is more at scale with the size of the room.

Something else that might determine the size of tile you choose is…

3. What size is available to you in the style you want?

You may luck out and find the exact color and material in the size you want. Sometimes what is available on the market or for your budget is different than what you want. You might have to be more flexible.

I loved the size of this tile when I saw this entry space and used it for my inspiration when designing my mudroom floor. My guess is that it is an 8 x 8 tile.

I also really wanted honed marble which I could not find available in that size. So I had to make the choice between the more readily available 12 x 12 honed marble tiles or settle with black and white ceramic tiles–which were actually more difficult to find in my budget–believe it or not!

Conclusion: Choosing the Tile Size for Your Space

My advice here is to make sure you know what size is available for your tile preferences before you set your heart on a specific size.

Alright, I hope that the questions and inspirational images here will help you design your own checkerboard floors!

Let me know in the comments if you have a preference for smaller or larger tile sizes for the checkerboard look. It would be fun to hear what you think!

Make sure you catch up on the entire series I published on checkerboard flooring.

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