Using different colored or patterned wall tiles can make some creative layouts for tile patterns, such as herringbone, offset, crosshatch and straight set. Using mosaic tiles -- either the long, skinny horizontal patterns or the squares -- as an accent also adds some visual appeal to a backsplash. Contrasting color tiles of the same size also enhance the decor. When designing the layout, consider the size of the space, the style of furnishings or appliances, and personal taste.
The herringbone pattern is fashioned after the cloth of the same name. Two tiles sit at 90-degree angles to each other, and the pattern repeats throughout the piece. This option is quite busy, so the tiles are usually muted, and the mosaic tile accent generally doesn't work.
The offset tile pattern is the one most associated with subway tiles. One option is to put the edge of one tile directly under the midpoint of the tile above and below. The other is to put that edge about one-third of the way from the end of that tile. Option one gives more of an ordered look than option two. Both looks work well with tiles of the same color, but option one is more forgiving if two different color tiles are used, especially if they complement each other nicely.
Crosshatch places two tiles horizontally and two tiles vertically right next to each other. This is repeated across the entire wall. This works well with tiles of the same color -- perhaps with a row of the mosaic tiles for contrast. The straight set tile pattern works to make spaces look longer or taller. All the tiles in one row align perfectly with the next. This is another pattern that benefits from a mosaic tile accent.