Diy random tile patterns

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing tile follows the same process regardless of the type of tile; thinset acts like the glue for tile and grout fills gaps between the tiles. The major deviation in tiling projects comes from the patterns used in the installation of tile. Preset patterns, such as brickwork or herringbone, lay out the tiles in specific manners to achieve a design. Random tile patterns require creativity with the tiles. Two options include shattered tile installation and alternately shaped tiles mixed into standard tiles.

Lay out the base tile into a desired pattern to act as the base pattern without the use of thinset. Insert tile spacers to ensure the spacing is accurate.

Lay out additional tile on top of the base pattern in a random fashion. The additional tile can be of alternate shapes or sizes as desired. Position the alternate tiles so that they visually break up the seams of the base pattern without disrupting the whole pattern.

Mark the position and dimensions of the alternate tiles with a marker onto the base tiles. Remove any base tiles that are marked. Cut the base tiles along the marks with a tile wet saw which is available for rent from most hardware stores.

Lay out the cut tiles and the alternate tiles into the desired pattern, similar to assembling a puzzle.

Add additional elements, such as tiles of alternate colours or additional embedded patterns, as desired. Install the tile following normal tile installation procedures one section at a time to avoid disrupting the positioning of the random patterns.


An alternative to breaking up a pattern without major effort is to break several tiles within the pattern. Wrap the tiles in cloth and hammer at them with a rubber mallet to break the tiles into smaller, puzzle-like pieces. Reassemble the broken tile, removing several small pieces. Install the tile onto the thinset in the reassembled form leaving gaps. The end result will have the appearance of damaged tiles intentionally placed within the overall pattern creating a visually pleasing element to the floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Tile wet saw
  • Marker
  • Tiles
  • Tile spacers
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