Your Guide To Checkerboard Floor Design And Installation

Majestic hallway with high vaulted ceilings, adorned with black and white checkered marble floors, leading to a grand doorway

Checkerboard flooring is an iconic style featuring alternating square tiles in contrasting colors. This ageless design has graced floors for centuries and remains a dominant force in the design world. Whether in a traditional or innovative layout, checkerboard flooring is guaranteed to steal the spotlight in any home.

Are Checkerboard Floors Still Fashionable?

Absolutely! Checkerboard floors epitomize timeless elegance in the realm of interior design. Trends may fluctuate, but the wisdom of choosing everlasting styles for significant investments like flooring never fades. For instance, it’s more cost-effective to update smaller decor elements like throw pillows rather than overhauling your floors with every fashion wave. Integrating checkerboard floors with other timeless elements such as white kitchens and marble countertops ensures a design that remains stylish and cohesive through the years.


Elegant entryway with a staircase featuring light wood steps, a cozy grey bench, and a basket of greenery on polished grey and white checkered tiles


Selecting the Ideal Tiles for Your Checkerboard Floor

When searching for the perfect checkerboard floor design, you'll find a plethora of inspiring options. As you browse through ideas on platforms like Pinterest, consider these key factors to help you make the best choice for your home:

Style Considerations

Evaluate whether the room you're designing is a formal setting adorned with upscale decor elements or if it has a more relaxed ambiance. Aim to find design inspirations that align with the atmosphere you're trying to achieve.

Size and Scale

Tiles are available in various sizes, and the choice can dramatically alter the appearance of your checkerboard pattern. Smaller tiles are typically used in compact spaces to maintain proportion, whereas larger tiles can make a bold statement even in smaller areas. A general guideline is to ensure that at least three full tiles can be laid out across each dimension of your room, maintaining a balanced look.

Color Coordination

Reflect on how the colors in your chosen inspiration match or contrast with the existing palette of your home. Whether you're drawn to vibrant, bold hues or prefer softer, neutral tones, selecting the right colors is crucial for creating a cohesive interior design. Consider the colors you intend to use throughout the space to guide your tile color selection for an integrated aesthetic.

Gather Some Samples

To truly appreciate the impact of your design choices and ensure the best fit for your space, it's essential to explore different tile samples. You can conveniently order a variety of samples for just $1 each from Edward Martin's website, allowing you to assess different sizes and looks directly in your home. Additionally, aid your decision-making process with our innovative Augmented Reality (AR) tool. It lets you visualize the selected tiles in your actual space, providing a realistic preview of how the checkerboard pattern will look. These resources make it easier to choose tiles that not only complement your style but also fit your room dimensions perfectly, ensuring long-term satisfaction with your flooring choice.


Spacious dining room with large windows, featuring a dark wooden table, brown chairs, and stylish grey and white checkered marble look flooring


Planning Your Color Palette and Layout

Typical checkerboard tiles feature black and white or grey and white combinations, offering stark or subtle contrasts respectively. For a more understated elegance, beige and white make a chic pairing. The choice of color and pattern should align with the overall aesthetic of your room to ensure the best fit.

Checkerboard patterns can also be arranged in traditional grid layouts or more dynamic diamond configurations. In designs for spaces such as the mudroom/laundry area, a diamond layout adds an intriguing visual flow, especially when viewed from connected spaces like the kitchen.

Affordable Alternatives for Checkerboard Flooring

Natural materials like marble are highly valued for their beauty and uniqueness, making them a popular choice for many homeowners' designs. However, it's recognized that not everyone may share this passion or have the budget to incorporate marble into their flooring projects.

Fortunately, there are fantastic alternatives available that can fit any budget. These options not only come at various price points but also offer benefits in terms of durability, maintenance, and ease of DIY installation.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is an affordable and practical flooring option that offers a variety of designs, making it suitable for households looking for versatility and durability. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind with LVT. While it is moisture-resistant and capable of handling frequent use from kids and pets, LVT may not contribute as significantly to the resale value of a home compared to more traditional materials like hardwood or natural stone. Additionally, some types of LVT can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are a concern for indoor air quality, especially in tightly sealed environments. Over time, LVT might also show wear patterns in busy areas and can be susceptible to punctures and tears from sharp objects.


Porcelain tiles offer an excellent blend of durability and aesthetic appeal, often at a price point that is more accessible than marble. Porcelain is incredibly hard-wearing, making it ideal for busy areas in the home or commercial spaces. Its surface is resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture, which not only prolongs the life of the flooring but also makes maintenance a breeze. Additionally, porcelain tiles come in a vast array of designs, including those that mimic the look of marble, wood, and even rare stones, providing endless design possibilities to elevate any space without the high costs or maintenance concerns of natural materials.

Each of these flooring options offers unique benefits, making it essential to consider both the aesthetic desires and practical requirements of your living space when choosing the right material for your checkerboard floor.


Close-up of black and white checkered marble look flooring in a well-lit, elegant room with paneled walls and a large window


Installing Your Checkerboard Floor

Installing checkerboard flooring can dramatically transform any room, combining classic style with personal flair. Whether you are updating an old area or completing a new one, the steps provided here serve as a general guide to assist you. However, for the best results and to ensure lasting beauty, we strongly recommend consulting with professional flooring installers. Professionals can ensure that the installation is done correctly and efficiently, taking into account the specific conditions and requirements of your space.

Subfloor Preparation

During new construction, subflooring is installed as part of the building process. In renovation scenarios, however, old flooring must first be removed. The existing subfloor is then evaluated for damage or unevenness. If the subfloor is not adequately smooth or is damaged, it will need to be replaced with new cement boards to ensure a stable base for the new tiles.

Tile Placement

After preparing the subfloor with cement boards, the next step is planning the tile layout. For rooms that are symmetrical, it is often best to start laying the tiles from the center and work outward to ensure the pattern is centered in the space. To maintain the alignment of the checkerboard pattern, use a laser level or draw chalk lines on the subfloor as guides. This helps prevent the tiles from being laid askew, which is crucial for achieving a professional finish.

Applying Mortar

Begin the tile installation by applying mortar to the cement board, using a technique called back-buttering. This involves spreading an even layer of mortar on the back of each tile, similar to buttering a slice of bread. Use a notched trowel, which has teeth that create uniform trenches of mortar, to ensure proper adhesion. The size of the trowel's teeth should correspond to the size of the tiles; larger tiles require a trowel with larger teeth to accommodate more mortar.

Spacing and Leveling

Place level spacers at each corner of the tiles to maintain consistent gaps and ensure that each tile is level with its neighbors. The common thickness for spacers used with larger tiles is 1/8 inch, but thinner spacers can be used to achieve finer grout lines if desired.

Choosing and Applying Grout

When selecting grout for checkerboard marble look tiles, the color is typically chosen to either coordinate with the lighter tiles or to contrast with the darker tiles. For busy areas, a darker grout can be more practical as it will show less dirt over time. The type of grout used is crucial; unsanded grout is recommended to prevent scratching the surface. The grout should complement the overall design and be suitable for the wear the area will receive.

Through careful preparation, accurate placement, and appropriate maintenance, the beauty and integrity of checkerboard flooring can be preserved, enhancing any space with its classic appeal.


Cozy kitchen with beige cabinets, a gray countertop, and a classic checkered floor. Open shelves display jars, dishes, and decor


Potential Applications of Porcelain Checkerboard Flooring Across Your Home

Porcelain tiles offer a unique combination of durability and aesthetic versatility, making them an ideal choice for checkerboard flooring across various areas of the home. Whether replicating the look of marble, stone, or wood, porcelain can elevate the style of any room while meeting practical needs.


Incorporating checkerboard flooring in the entryway can serve as a bold statement that sets the tone for the entire home. Opting for larger, high-gloss marble look porcelain tiles in a classic black and white pattern can amplify the space's impact, providing a luxurious welcome. The choice of materials should be durable enough to withstand heavy use, with darker grouts to minimize visible wear. This setup not only impresses guests but also establishes a sophisticated ambiance right from the doorstep.


For a kitchen, checkerboard flooring is both practical and stylish, blending seamlessly with various interior styles from modern to traditional. Using porcelain tiles with stone or terrazzo looks can offer durability and ease of maintenance—essential for busy kitchen environments. The contrasting colors of the checkerboard pattern can also complement both light and dark cabinetry, enhancing the kitchen's aesthetics while making the space appear larger and more dynamic.

Living Room

In the living room, checkerboard flooring can be used to create a visual pathway leading to a focal point, such as the fireplace. Choosing a softer look like polished stone can add elegance without overpowering the room's decor. The pattern's bold lines can draw the eye towards the main seating area or fireplace, making these features stand out. Additionally, the use of underfloor heating under porcelain tiles can enhance comfort, turning the living room into a cozy gathering space for family and friends.


Checkerboard flooring in a bathroom adds a layer of classic sophistication, especially when using materials like porcelain that mimics marble or onyx textures. The timeless pattern can make a small bathroom appear more expansive and luxurious. For added safety and comfort, choosing slip-resistant finishes is advisable, especially in wet environments. The aesthetic appeal combined with practical considerations can transform a standard bathroom into a more refined and inviting space.

Laundry Room

In laundry rooms, the practicality of porcelain tiles comes to the forefront, especially when selected in concrete or stone looks for a checkerboard pattern. This flooring is capable of withstanding the humidity and spills typically associated with laundry spaces while still offering a visually appealing design. The checkerboard pattern not only adds interest to a typically utilitarian space but also camouflages spots and spills, reducing the appearance of messes and wear.

By thoughtfully applying checkerboard flooring throughout these key areas, homeowners can create a cohesive and striking interior that is both functional and stylish, ensuring each room is visually connected and beautifully presented.


Elegant hallway featuring black and white checkerboard marble look flooring, with arched windows and doors, framed by classic paneling


Frequently Asked Questions About Checkerboard Flooring

As we conclude our comprehensive guide on checkerboard flooring, you might still have questions about the best materials, maintenance practices, or design options for your space. Below, we address some of the most common inquiries related to checkerboard flooring to help you finalize your decisions and ensure you're fully equipped to bring this stylish and versatile choice into your home.

What are the best materials for checkerboard flooring in busy areas?

For busy areas, porcelain tiles are highly recommended due to their durability and ease of maintenance. Porcelain resists scratches, stains, and moisture, making it an ideal choice for busy spaces like entryways and kitchens. Its ability to mimic high-end materials like marble also allows for stylish design without the high maintenance requirements of natural stone.

Can checkerboard flooring be used in outdoor settings?

Yes, checkerboard flooring can be adapted for outdoor use, particularly when made from materials like porcelain or natural stone that can withstand weather conditions. However, it's important to choose tiles with appropriate slip resistance and to ensure that the substrate and installation methods are suitable for exterior conditions to prevent water damage and ensure longevity.

How do I maintain checkerboard flooring to keep it looking new?

Maintaining checkerboard flooring involves regular cleaning with a pH-neutral floor cleaner to avoid damaging the tiles. Porcelain tiles, while less demanding, still benefit from occasional deep cleaning to remove any buildup of grime.

Are there any eco-friendly options for checkerboard flooring?

Yes, eco-friendly options for checkerboard flooring are readily available, particularly through Edward Martin's offerings. Our tiles are crafted with sustainability in mind, featuring 95% locally sourced materials and 45% recycled content. This commitment ensures that our products not only support local industries but also help reduce environmental impact. 

How do I choose the right size tiles for my checkerboard flooring project?

The right size tiles for your checkerboard flooring project depend on the dimensions of the room and the visual effect you want to achieve. Larger tiles can make a small room appear bigger, while smaller tiles work well in compact spaces or to create more intricate patterns. As a general rule, ensure that the tile size maintains proportional balance within the space, allowing for full tiles to be displayed prominently.

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Elegant hallway featuring black and white checkerboard floor tiles, large arched windows, and a grand chandelier
Close-up of polished black and white checkerboard marble look floor tiles with elegant paneling and a window reflecting natural light