I'm tiling a kitchen backsplash. I need pattern ideas!
October 27, 2017 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I have 4 colors, in the following ratios: 2-white, 1-off white, 1-medium grey, 2-dark grey. The layout will be diamonds (roughly perfect squares on the diagonal), 3 tiles high, across a kitchen backsplash. How would YOU apportion these colors?

Personally, I would just go for purely random, but assuming that's not a choice, what are some aesthetically pleasing color layouts (repeating or not repeating patterns, pseudo random, etc) with these ratios? Are there any online line tools that could assist with visualizing various patterns? Please, do your worst! I mean best!
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any online line tools that could assist with visualizing various patterns?

You should look into quilting software. I don't quilt myself, so I can't recommend anything specific, but when I had to design a maze where the walls and tunnels were the same thickness (which regular maze-making software didn't support), I discovered a huge world of quiltmaking pattern software.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:56 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]

I'd go for random, too.

Old-school stone masons used a method to assure they didn't end up laying stones in visible patterns by dumping all the stone into a pile and simply grabbing one without looking. You could do something similar by mixing all the tiles together face-down in a big box and just grabbing a tile and putting it up, no matter what color it is.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:56 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]

I would not want the two whites or the two greys to be next to each other. It might look like a mistake. I would go like this:
white::dark grey::white::med grey::off white::dark grey

But in reality, what I would do is lay them out on the floor and photograph them in different arrangements, then pick the one I like the best.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:57 AM on October 27

Random will look terrible- it will look like you were too lazy to put together a pattern, or that you tried but failed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:12 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]

There are generators online for this.
posted by xyzzy at 10:13 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]

Neither of those generators seem to support diagonal patterns, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on October 27

I kept thinking about this so I looked around at diagonal tile patterns, and I found this one which I really liked and modified it to fit the proportions of tile colors you have.

In doing so, I also discovered the semi-obvious overall point that if you find a pattern intended for three tile colors in equal proportion, you can easily modify it for your needs by taking one of the pattern colors and alternating your off-white and medium-grey tiles where that color was intended to go.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:45 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]

Crocheter / quilter here:
I'd go more for picking one dominant color and doing a random mix of the others, say every fourth diamond in the alternate colors. The first and third rows would have the same pattern, and the middle row would be offset.
The dark grey probably has the best contrast for the dominant color (without pictures to judge). How much contrast between the white and off-white tiles?
Trying to keep two lights / a medium / a dark from being unbalanced... not my style.

Particularly, I'd set up a trial pattern on some cardboard and leave it in a poorly-lit room, then come back later and glance at it. I'd check for the basic pattern without the distraction of color and see what pops out. Maybe the dark grey is more dominant against the other three colors, and the white and off-white actually register as the same shade.
Also, have another person take a glance at it and find out what draws attention.

It's interesting that you are working with greys... making a mock-up in greys to get the light / dark balance is my method. Then I can drop any color in and it usually comes out pleasing, as long as I'm subbing in tints and shades.

If someone offered a free set of only one color, which would you choose? That probably is your dominant color. Perhaps only one contrast color is needed.
posted by TrishaU at 4:51 AM on October 28

Here are the actual tiles: https://i.imgur.com/TaiMAwS.jpg
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 5:02 AM on October 28

When you say that the arrangement will be three tiles high, will it be like: column of three, column of two, column of three, or will it be column of three, column of three, column of three? (I've been noodling around on graph paper because this question is scratching a weird math itch for me right now.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:00 AM on October 28

It will be identical to the tile shown here, below the cabinets: https://i.imgur.com/tdd7hV8.jpg.

And thanks, I appreciate any suggestions! Since I don't yet have the tile, I'm going to get some post it notes in these colors and experiment with those.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 11:22 AM on October 28

Decided to mess around in photoshop a little, so here's one possible tiling pattern, which could be described as alternating vertical columns of [white, offwhite, dark] and, to the right and shifted half a tile up, [medium, dark, white]. Then shift half a tile down and start again. That gives you a pattern that repeats in six tiles in the 2:2:1:1 ratio and doesn't have like colors touching.

The pattern extends up and down as well; it looks like in that photo you just posted, the upper strip wouldn't show any vertical repeat but the lower strip will see a bit of a fourth tile counting top to bottom for the half-a-tile shifted rows. Which may be worth taking into account in terms of how much tile you're using! Could throw off ratios if you aren't able to get two partial tiles for those bits out of a single whole tile.

If you've got access to Photoshop and want a copy of the photoshop .psd file I used for the mockup, mefimail me and I'll send it your way.
posted by cortex at 11:58 AM on October 29

Now I'm on the hunt for post-its in shades of grey...
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:54 AM on November 1

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