What is Inset Tile?

Inset tile is a tile design technique used to create patterns or visual interest by embedding tiles of different colors, materials, or shapes within a larger tiled area.


Inset tile refers to a tile design approach where select tiles, differing in color, material, or shape, are embedded within a larger tiled surface to create distinct patterns or to add a dash of visual interest. This technique allows designers to incorporate intricate designs, logos, or even directional cues into flooring, walls, or backsplashes without overwhelming the space. By carefully choosing the inset tiles and their placement, one can achieve a subtle yet impactful statement or a bold, decorative feature within an interior or exterior space.

The practice of inserting distinct tiles into a larger layout opens up numerous creative possibilities. It can be used to add depth and dimension to spaces, demarcate areas within a room, or introduce a pop of color or texture contrast. Whether used sparingly for a modest accent or more extensively for complex patterns, inset tiles can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of a space. Moreover, this technique serves not only as an artistic expression but can also be functional, such as creating wayfinding paths in public spaces.


Inset tile is commonly found in residential and commercial spaces, including bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, and public spaces. For instance, a series of tiles with a contrasting color or texture might form a border around a bathroom floor or a kitchen backsplash to frame the area and draw interest. In commercial settings, inset tile designs can include company logos or function as wayfinding elements in large buildings.


  • Can inset tiles be used on walls and floors?

    Yes, inset tiles can be used on both walls and floors. The technique offers flexibility in design, allowing it to be applied across various surfaces to achieve the desired aesthetic or functional objective.

  • Are there limitations on the type of tiles that can be used as inset tiles?

    Inset tiles can be made from a wide variety of materials including ceramic, porcelain, glass, stone, and more. The key is to complement the base layout while ensuring the inset tiles are suitable for the intended application, considering factors such as durability and maintenance.

  • How do I choose the right inset tiles for my project?

    When choosing inset tiles, consider the overall design theme, the color scheme of the surrounding area, the size and shape of the space, and the functional requirements. Consulting with a professional interior designer can also provide valuable insights into selecting the perfect pieces.

Practical Application

When incorporating inset tile into your design, start by defining the purpose of the design element - whether it's for aesthetic appeal, functionality, or both. Then, carefully select the materials and colors that will best complement the space. Plan the layout meticulously, ensuring the inset tiles are harmoniously integrated into the larger tiled area. Utilizing this technique can add a unique and memorable touch to any project.