Horizontal vs Vertical Bathroom Tiles: Which One You Should Choose?

People renovate their kitchens and bathrooms for different reasons; some people want to have new look for their kitchen or bathroom while some people only remodel them before selling the house – to increase its market value. Although there are many types of tiles when it comes to layout however the two most popular ones are square tiles and rectangular tiles. When people select rectangular tiles for their space, they wonder whether it would be suitable to lay them horizontally or vertically.

This is a common dilemma that happens because we see both of these styles all the time. In public bathrooms and other places, horizontal and vertical both tiles are used. Horizontal and vertical tiles have a huge aesthetic difference and designers use them strategically in different types of spaces. The popular belief is horizontal and vertical tiles make the space look bigger and this is true to some extent. Of course they don’t make your kitchen or bathroom physically bigger but it is more like an optical illusion.

What Happens When You Use Tiles Horizontally?

Actually tiles are not horizontal or vertical, they are just rectangular and you can use them either way. So, there is not any structural difference between both. Horizontal fitted tiles can make your kitchen or bathroom look wider. This layout is particularly suitable for tall yet smaller bathrooms and kitchens. Because of this specific layout, the space looks visually open, wider and bigger in both dimensions (Width and depth, not height).

In our experience, the horizontal tiling visual illusion only works with reasonably sized tiles instead of larger ones. Also, you can enhance the illusion by using mosaic or a color contrast combination. Using smaller tiles, you would be using lots of joints that would create the illusion of a wider space as our brain cannot perfectly process the depth. The following video is a good example of what horizontally stacked 3″ x 6″ porcelain tiles look like using a 1/16″ grout joint.

What Happens When You Use Tiles Vertically?

Using tiles vertically is quite similar to using them horizontally in terms of creating optical illusion but it works exactly the opposite way. This tiling layout is specifically suitable for wider kitchen and bathroom space with relatively less height. This usually happens in houses where the owners decide to skip the expense of removing the old tile floor and decide to lay the new floor on top of it.

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This practice reduces the height of the bathroom which is not exactly a big concern on its own but to make the kitchen or bathroom look aesthetically pleasing, it is better to use rectangular tiles strategically. When you install tiles vertically to for the optical illusion of making your bathroom or kitchen taller, use larger tiles instead of smaller ones (like we did in horizontal tiling case) because lesser joints would make things look congested.

What Are Some Other Popular Tiling Layouts?

Tile installation in Los Angeles is a modern and innovative industry where we experiment with new things regularly to discover new gems. The Following are some other popular tiling layouts that can help you make your kitchen or bathroom space aesthetically pleasing.  Note, if you want to learn see a more exhaustive list of tile patterns, check out this exhaustive guide.


Brick layout has been a popular layout for decades and as you can imagine its name came from the classic brick wall design where each brick is set on two other tiles (divided 50-50). There are some variations in this layout yet classic brick layout is suitable for any kind of bathroom or kitchen space. The brick pattern is mainly used horizontally but you can also use it vertically to make the room look taller.

Usually the brick layout works better if you use a contrast grouting to emphasize the division between times. If you want something bold, exotic and interesting, you can use multiple colors and textures to give the wall a modern and abstract look. However, the design of the bathroom or kitchen must be compatible with the architectural style of the house.

Oversize Tiles

The price of tiles per square foot increases with the size of the tile because the manufacturing process of larger tiles is more difficult than the smaller ones. Using oversize tiles in a bathroom or kitchen can give the space a seamless look. Usually smaller grout joints no larger than 1/16″ and as small as 1/32″ are used. Also, unlike your standard brick layout, it is suitable to use matching color grout as opposed to darker color grout for contrast. Although this layout is good for any kind of tile, it looks great with stone tiles, stone or porcelain slabs, or large format porcelain tiles.


Usually mosaic refers to lively patterns with exotic and complicated colors and textures but in tiling industry mosaic refers to smaller tiles regardless of their texture and colors. These tiles are so small (1 by 1 inch is a typical size) that is very difficult, expensive and time consuming to install them one by one so they come on sheets. There are thousands of permutations of mosaic tile colors, textures, tile size and sheet size. Some tiles even come with patterns that can make your bathroom or kitchen space come alive.


Herringbone is a relatively newer tile layout but it roots go back to hundreds of years when this pattern was used in making brick roads. This layout is achieved by putting tiles diagonally, quite similar to brick layout but the pattern is more uniform and sophisticated. Unfortunately, you need extra cutting to make the edges compatible with each other that mean the cost of tiles would increase.

However, Herringbone looks great with every type of tile and you can use this pattern on bathroom walls as well as bathroom or kitchen floor. Just like the brick pattern, you need to use a high contrast grouting to pop up the tiles and give them a modern look.

Basket Weave

Basket Weave is not a popular pattern as others mentioned above but it is worth mentioning here we it is a bold design that a small percentage of people might like. The idea behind this particular layout is to use rectangular tiles to form square tile pattern. Like every other sophisticated tile layout, basket weave also needs contrast grouting in order to emphasize on the pattern itself.