Lock Tile Blog

The Psychology of Floor Tile Shapes

ByAllen Czermak


So, you finally decided on the type of flooring that you are going to purchase for your brand-new finished basement. The planning for this extraordinary addition to your home has been in the works for years. As your children grew, your specifications changed, and it is now time to act on your dream project. Your architect or designer has already framed out your basement architecture so now the fun begins with decorating according to your own taste. No decorator is going to be involved since you are the type of person who wants to create her own style.

 As most designers will explain, it’s bottoms up when your initiative is launched. The floor is always the place to start decorating from. Avoid getting caught up in paint colors before choosing your floor. Interlocking floor tiles do come in many different colors however, mixing and blending paint colors to match the tiles is the correct way to start. Remember, your lock tiles will still be around long after you have painted and repainted your basement walls.

Although interlocking tiles come in squares only, they can be cut into either triangles or rectangles at an extra cost per tile. Let’s have some fun learning about the psychology of tile shapes as they pertain to our own personalities and interests.

There is a popular psychological test that asks the participant to draw a picture using these five shapes, a square, a rectangle, a triangle, a circle, and a squiggle. The repetition of the participant of a certain shape determines how they will be identified. For example, if the participant uses the square more than the other shapes he falls into the square category.

The Square (Rectangle)

You’ve got to be pretty ancient to remember when a nerdy person was referred to as a square. Over fifty years ago, there was a different language for hipsters, such as, “You’re groovy, or you’re square”. This particular shape places great emphasis on structure and organization. A person who prefers this shape will often enjoy working with statistics, numbers, and computer programs. A “square” personality enjoys crosswords, chess, and mathematical puzzles.  As a child it was particularly important for a square person to color within the lines in their coloring book. He believes in the hard work ethic and his favorite saying may be, “Give me a deadline and I’ll get it done.” He is also probably meticulous and impervious to change. There is good chance such an individual will gravitate to such careers as, systems analyst, accountant, actuary, or teacher (aka, Bill Gates). The triangle and the square are the most common shapes used to construct man- made objects. They represent security, balance, and stability. In fact, 72% of the world’s most famous companies use the shape of the square in their logo.

The Triangle

The ancient Egyptians buried their kings in pyramids. When an army, church, or government organization wants to list their hierarchy they use the triangle to show where the power is concentrated with the leader on the top of the triangle. The positive traits of a triangular personality include charisma, leadership, and assertiveness. A triangle personality does not like restrictions and as a child had difficulty staying in the lines when coloring in a coloring book. The negative personality traits of such a person are self-centeredness, aggressiveness, and impatience.

The Circle

The circle is the symbol of the cycle of life. It imparts a carefree and happy feeling when looking at it.  A person with a circle personality is most caring and kind with a priority of smoothing the waters to preserve the peace. With excellence in both communicating and listening these people tend to be in the medical field as nurses, doctors, and psychologists. There is a huge emphasis on religious leadership among circle personalities and Mother Teresa would be a good example of such a person.

The Squiggle

It could be that normally the squiggle would not be included in the group of the four main universal shapes. However, for the psychological shape test it’s probably the most revealing. A squiggle is always considering different and original options to get the job done. Squiggle’s think out of the box and as children did not want to use a coloring book but rather draw their own original creations. The pitfalls of such a personality are impracticality, disorganization, and unrealistic dreaming. Some ideas of career choices would be a musician, scientist, chef, and inventor.  Walt Disney is a perfect example of a squiggle personality with his absolute amazing imagination and creativity. How is it possible that an entire theme park, cartoon series and TV shows such as the Mickey Mouse Club all originated because of a fictional little mouse (with a squiggly tail).

Bob the Builder

Several years ago, Bob the Builder was a popular children’s video personality. Looking on one day, as my grandchildren enjoyed one of the videos, I learned an important lesson myself. The subject of the video was laying outdoor slate tiles. The tiles were all prepared and piled up neatly in Bob’s wheelbarrow waiting to be laid. While Bob was busy with another project someone accidently pushed over the wheelbarrow and the tiles fell and broke into uneven pieces. If Bob had been a square personality, he might have lost his cool and gone back to “square one”. However, luckily in the episode Bob displayed the creativeness of the squiggle personality. He began to lay the odd-looking shapes in a pattern of color and texture that was unique and beautiful. The homeowner was thrilled with the results since it would cost so much to cut those unique shapes ordinarily. You might think I am slightly crackers, but I learned a lifelong lesson from the video and hoped that the message did not go over the kids’ heads.

I believe this analysis of different types of personalities is significant when choosing the shapes and laying patterns for your interlocking floor tiles. I visited someone’s home recently and stepped into the kitchen. While researching this article I read somewhere that hexagon shaped tiles give a tranquil atmosphere. I beg to disagree. Although this family’s hexagon tiles were in a warm terra cotta color, I was disturbed by the over-busy look. For the short time I was there my eyes kept gravitating to the floor. In my opinion, when you walk into a kitchen you should look equally at each part of the room, the cabinets, appliances, and floor.

Can Interlocking Tiles Be Laid Diagonally?

Squared or rectangular tiles are the neatest and the easiest on the eye. Some home decorators may be looking for more excitement and may choose unusual shapes for the tiles and others are looking for the squares and rectangles. There can be several ways of laying square interlocking floor tiles.

If you want a more abstract and complex look, lock tiles can be cut into rectangles or triangles at an extra cost. One homeowner asked her builder about laying her ceramic tiles on the diagonal. Her builder quoted her an additional charge of one to two dollars per square foot. Factoring in the cost of inexpensive tiles to the upped price for diagonal laying per square foot, the charge would be significant in relation to the cost of the tile. The homeowner who inquired about the additional charge for diagonal direction only paid about four dollars per square foot for her ceramic tiles. You can look at this additional cost in two ways. Saving money on tiles so there will be extra to have the floor laid in a unique direction. Or the husband may claim that the reason you purchased the cut- priced tiles was to save money, so why add the additional cost of a diagonal design?

Another name for the diagonal configuration is the diamond square layout. If you are laying your own lock tiles and are in a hurry this is not the way to go. Diamond patterns do add visual interest when everything else in the room is square or rectangular shaped such as the cabinets and appliances. Also, it is pretty straight forward that you will have to pay more for the additional cuts that will have to be made. Even though there will be cutting of the tiles even in a standard placement of the tiles it could be twice the number of cuts with a diamond pattern.

Final Words

Be aware that deciding on the shape and in which direction to lay your floor tiles is just as important as their color. You may find your own personality in one of the shapes we wrote about above and this revelation should be helpful to you in both the shape and direction you will use.

Often, being in a tile store and seeing the limited sample tile designs may not be enough to give you a feeling of how they will look in your home. Liking a design in the store is one thing, living with the design is a totally different issue. If you buy extra tiles that can be returned you might have the leeway of setting the tiles temporarily in a diamond shape in the room, you are filling. By finding the center of the room you can begin to put down the tiles and see if the design appeals to you. Even if you think you belong in the square category you may surprise yourself as you are drawn to a more creative pattern. Just remember lock tiles are removable so you will not be stuck forever with a pattern you don’t like.

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