If you are among those who have been wanting to lay down a herringbone pattern but are hesitating because it looks complicated, it might not be as hard as you thought it was. It is, however, time consuming. Nevertheless, if you are patient enough to dedicate time and effort to achieve it, you will find that the result is highly rewarding. 

Herringbone tile pattern is aesthetically pleasing, and it lends the space a cleaner and more organized look and feel. 

Tips for Laying Down Herringbone Tile Pattern

So how does one go about laying down a herringbone tile pattern? What are the tools that you will need? Which way should the pattern run? 

You probably have a million questions but the basic tips that you should keep in mind are simple: 

Lay the tiles out first before putting it on the wall:

It is recommended to lay out your tile first before adhering or cutting it. This way, you can be sure that they will fit into the space they are supposed to go into. Some people prefer to cut as they go. However, if you are a novice in laying down a herringbone pattern, it is wiser to lay down your tiles first to have a general idea of how much space you need and how much of the tiles you need to cut, if any. 

Lay the tile at 90 degrees to the tile adjacent to it:

This is the basic rule in laying down the pattern. When you lay each rectangular tile at 90 degrees to the tile next to it, you will eventually have a “fishbone pattern”. This will look something like triangles or a set of arrows. 

The type of grout you will use is a matter of personal preference:

You do not really have to stress about which type of grout you should use. You can use any type you want. However, some people like to match the color of the grout with the color of the tiles they are using. If you want your herringbone pattern to really stand out, you can use a contrasting grout that will frame the pattern that you are trying to achieve. 

The tiles that need to be cut in a herringbone pattern depends on the area you are laying the tile on:

If you want to make sure that you are following the basics in how to tile a herringbone pattern, it is highly recommended that you lay your tile first without adhesive before you cut it. This way, you can first try to assess whether the tiles require cutting to fit into the space it is meant to be laid on. If there are tiles that need to be cut, put a mark on it and then proceed to cut it. Remember that all cuts must be done at a 45-degree angle in order to achieve a herringbone pattern. 

Use tile spacers:

It is imperative that you use tile spacers with any pattern, most especially the intricate ones. You can either use a T-shape or wedge tile spacer. However, it is more advisable to use the T-shape tile spacer because the T shape fits excellently into the staggered joints. Likewise, it is easy to remove the tiles. The wedges help in ensuring that you can trim the tiles into your desired size. 

Cover and pad anything that you do not want to be scratched:

Keep in mind that when working with tools, heavy things can get drop or drag or moved around. It is important to protect the things that you do not want to damage. For instance, when laying down tiles on the bathroom wall and you are working close to a bathtub, you can lay down fold towels and cover it with a plastic sheet that is taped around the wall to avoid damaging it if you accidentally drop a tile or mortar. 

If you want an easier way to achieve a herringbone pattern, use a mosaic sheet:

Hiring an expert to lay down a herringbone tile pattern can cost you a lot. Doing it yourself may not give you the best result you want to achieve if you are a novice at tile-laying. However, if you want a herringbone pattern badly and you do not have the budget to hire an expert or the confidence to do it yourself, you can go for a mosaic sheet that comes in a herringbone pattern. 

A mosaic sheet can be easier to install in a DIY fashion because fitting partial sheets can easily be done by snipping the fiberglass backing in order to achieve your desired shape. 

Now that you know the basic things to remember, you should also know how to lay herringbone tile pattern in a step-by-step tutorial: 

  1. Locate the center point of the wall and measure the length of the wall. Indicate the halfway point by marking it. 
  2. Decide on the starting point. If you are tiling a floor, start at the center and work your way towards the wall on either side of the room. If you are tiling a wall, start at the bottom because gravity is at work, and it can ruin your pattern by dragging your tiles down. If you want to start in the middle, you can use a ledger board, which is just a straight board that you mount on the wall where the tiles can rest on. Remove the ledger board when you are complete. 
  3. Lay the first tile by laying it on a 45-degree angle by using a combination square or by drawing a line with a trim square.
  4. Continue laying down your tiles but check for level every few rows so you can adjust it as necessary


A herringbone tile pattern can make a room look bigger as the pattern has the effect of expanding the width of a wall or the room itself. Thus, it is perfect for small spaces such as powder rooms. The expanding effect works best when the room is a square space.