Explore the Wonders of Mosaic Shapes with Kate

Explore the Wonders of Mosaic Shapes with Kate

Posted by Kate Spencer on Apr 11th 2024

Have you explored the wonderful world of mosaic shapes? When you do, you'll find circles, squares, and rectangles, not to mention hexagons, octagons, and other whimsical shapes to delight you.

Kate Spencer addresses this very topic in this article.

Learning More About Mosaic Shapes with Kate

What makes the wealth of mosaic shapes available particularly wonderful (other than they are just plain fun to look at - i.e., think 'eye candy') is that they enable all kinds of interesting tile installation possibilities. You can use them to create a focal wall, a backsplash, a design element... Even combine them with an otherwise tame looking tile and create a drop-dead-gorgeous effect.

That said, there is no way we can cover every type of mosaic shape in this article. (For an overview, see The Ultimate Guide to Mosaics). We will though explore the following categories:

  • Geometric Designs and Shapes
  • Hexagon & Octagons
  • Round Mosaics
  • Square Shaped Mosaics
  • Strip Mosaics
  • Waterjet Cut Mosaics

Mosaics in Geometric Designs and Shapes

Geometric designs have many shapes including lanterns, herringbones, basketweave, diamonds and more. Here we'll focus on lanterns, herringbones, and scales.

Lantern Shaped Mosaics

Lantern shapes are among the most whimsical of mosaics. As you can see, they're curvaceous and contrast beautifully with strong and straight lines.

This lantern is a Carrara marble mosaic.

Here's how that Cararra Lantern mosaic looks installed in a bathroom. Notice how well it looks in combination with a square mosaic that outlines the mirror.

This ornamental style works equally well in a kitchen for a backsplash. You'll find these lanterns or ornaments in different colors and stones.

Here's another example in multicolored glass tile.

To help illustrate the multicolor look in a lantern shaped mosaic, here's an installation we found on Houzz:


This image is from Houzz.

Herringbone Shapes in Mosaics

A herringbone mosaic design consists of brick shapes installed in a zig zag as you can see in the image below.

This shape adds whimsy because the zigzag implies movement. Combine that with color variations and the end result is pretty magical.

Below you see a backsplash done in herringbone mosaics.

Not only are these looks popular in mosaics, but you can also install subway and wood planks in the herringbone design to create a larger scale herringbone design.

Fish Scale or Half-Moon Shaped Mosaics

Scales or half moon shapes are just a few of the terms used to refer to this mosaic.

Scales are becoming a new trend with larger formats and can be used on the floor and walls. Below you see an example of the look done in one color for the walls and another for the floor.

In the example below, you get a great sense for the shimmery quality of the scales when you add colors and more variation in color and/or pattern.

Hexagon and Octagon Shaped Mosaics

Whereas lanterns and scales are about curves, Hexagons and Octagons bring in angles. The 6-sided hexagon is particularly popular with small-sized versions and oversized ones.

Hexagon Mosaics

Hexagon mosaics can be found in multiple sizes ranging from 1” to 3” formats. You will see these mosaics in natural stone, porcelain and glass finishes.

The mosaics above were featured in the shower of one of the A&E Flip Wars: Buying Blind remodels.

>> See Flipping Houses? Remodel with Tile From Tile Outlets of America ;)

This mosaic is the Tour White 2” Hexagon mosaics. It has stone and glass and really complements the Carrara subway tile.

Below is another version of the same hexagon mosaic.

It is the Tour Grey 2” Hexagon used in another A&E Flip Wars: Buying Blind episode for a kitchen backsplash. This mosaic featured stone, glass and a newsprint feature behind the glass tiles.

>> See Partnering With Flip Wars: Buying Blind

Octagon Mosaics

As you can see with this very classic-looking black and white octagon mosaic, this tile has eight sides.

With the Octagon, you have the opportunity to have a different color dot in the corners.

You'll find Octagon mosaics in natural stone and ceramics. You can use these on the floors and walls to create this checkered design.

Note that this black and white concept is one we featured on Finding Tile for a Bathroom Remodel with a Masculine Look.

Round Mosaic Shapes

Round mosaics refer to the shape of the design and the round-shaped pieces in the mosaic as you can see below in the image of Lt/Dk Emperador Marble Circle Mos 12x12. This marble mosaic can be used in shower floors, walls, and backsplashes.

Circle mosaics can be whimsical as you can see below, adding contrast to the rectangular shapes of the wall tile, the floor tile as well as the tub itself.

Here's an example of similarly-sized circle mosaics known as penny rounds.

Penny Rounds are fun and decorative – this is a blue penny round.

Imagine changing the grout color and how this will completely change the design idea.

>> See How to Use Pebbles and Penny Mosaics, Patterns and Ledger Panels in Your Home

Below you see porcelain penny rounds used in a pool waterline.

The watch out is to make sure they are porcelain for pool use.

Square Shaped Mosaics

Square shaped mosaics are classics and will always be around. These are the most versatile mosaic shape to use. They can be cut up and used as linear accent pieces, use in whole sheets for the shower floor or installed as a backsplash in a kitchen. There are so many uses for the square shape mosaic that we cannot leave it out.

Above you see a 2x2 mosaic in multi-stone looks. This type of mosaic will work well with any color cabinet and granite countertop.

You can use square porcelain mosaics in pools for waterlines as you see below.

The puzzle mosaic falls into the square mosaics. The design is made up of square tiles in different shapes. You can also use these glass mosaics in pools, backsplashes and cut them into strips to use as a linear decorative strip in a shower.

Here's another example of a square mosaic shape. This 2x2 mosaic is glass and stone with a patchwork decorative print on the glass.

You can use this mosaic to make a decorative strip in the shower or backsplash in a kitchen. Look how beautiful it looks in the shower below. You can imagine a niche done similarly, too.

Strip-Shaped Mosaics

Strip mosaics are just that: strips of materials and colors to make a linear mosaic.

You can cut these mosaics down into different strips to make a linear decorative listello, or use them in whole sheets for a backsplash. Strip mosaics are available in glass, stone, metals and in a combination of them all.

Below you see metal and glass used in this kitchen backsplash.

This glass strip mosaic adds color to this white kitchen.

Waterjet Mosaics

Waterjet mosaics are handcrafted and cut to make very intricate designs. These mosaics really make a statement.

Check Out these Two Videos of Kate and Mosaics

You'll enjoy this social short video as Kate shows you what you can do with mosaic tile shapes.

Here you see Kate discussing mosaics when she visited with Suncoast View.

Ready to Design with Your Own Wonderful Mosaic Shapes?

We hope this story inspires you to include different shapes of mosaics in your next home remodel. They are truly versatile and dress up any number of large size tiles.

>> Explore Design Ideas

>> Shop Mosaics at Tile Outlets of America

Experiment with different colors, textures, and design elements. Remember that we are here to help you pull your design together and create the space you are inspiring.

Let us know which ones you find most wonderful.


Note: We originally published this article on August 16, 2018, and have updated it.