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Insiders Guide to Tin Tile Patterns

Picking out your favorite pattern is as simple as finding what you like, right? Perhaps it’s not quite as simple as it seems. There are many other factors to consider, like how large a pattern you should pick, whether it goes with your design style, and so much more.

Here’s everything you need to know before you make your final decision.

Tray ceiling with gold tin tile in a self-contained pattern.

Seeing Beyond

The tricky thing about patterns is that you rarely get the full picture from a sample or product swatch on a website. At American Tin Ceilings, we have three types of patterns: repeating patterns, tessellating patterns, and self-contained patterns.

Each individual tin tile at American Tin Ceilings is 24 inches by 24 inches. Sometimes a pattern will take up the whole tin panel. Sometimes you’ll see a pattern repeated multiple times within a single tile. Sometimes you won’t see the entire pattern until you put panels together. If you don’t expand your vision, you may miss seeing the whole picture.


White tin tile in a small self-contained pattern on a tray ceiling. 

Self-Contained Patterns

A self-contained pattern has the entirety of the pattern on a single tin panel at least once. With a 24-inch self-contained pattern, the pattern takes up the entirety of the panel. You can see the whole pattern when you look at one tin tile; the pattern doesn’t go beyond the borders of the tile.

There are also 12-inch self-contained patterns. On these panels you’ll see the entire pattern repeated four times. The panel is still 24 inches by 24 inches, but the pattern itself is 12 inches by 12 inches,

Last, but not least, are 6-inch self-contained patterns. Within the 24-inch tin tile, you’ll see the entirety of the pattern 16 times. These are the ideal choice for backsplashes and smaller spaces as you’ll be able to see the entire pattern many times.

Self contained tin tile patterns close up.

What It All Means

With a self-contained pattern, if you’re looking at a full 24-inch tin tile, what you see is what you get. There won’t be any surprises when you start putting the tin tiles together. Your ceiling or wall will be covered with the same pattern repeated over and over.

We recommend looking at all available images for your chosen pattern so you can get a sense for what a repeated, self-contained pattern will look like full scale.

24” Self-Contained patterns: 6, 7, 12, 14, 15

12” Self-Contained patterns: 1, 5, 16,

6” Self-Contained patterns: 17, 20, 21, 27, 30, 31, 36


A tessellating pattern in copper tin tile on a ceiling.

Tessellating Patterns

Tessellations are patterns that interconnect so as to create a larger pattern over an expanse. There is no beginning or end to these patterns; they could go on forever in any direction. Tessellating tin tiles have the majority of the pattern on a single panel but there will be incomplete elements at the edges that will be continued on the next panel.

When you put several panels together, you’ll be able to see the entire pattern. What you see may surprise you a bit. You’ll see new patterns emerge that you didn’t know were there when you looked at just one tin tile. American Tin Ceilings has tessellating patterns in two formats: 24-inch and 12-inch.

The 12-inch tessellating pattern features what appears to be four of the same pattern, much like a 12-inch self-contained pattern except that the edges are part of a pattern that is continued on the adjacent panel.

A 24-inch tessellating pattern features what appears to be one pattern but the edges connect to adjacent tin tiles to create the interconnecting pattern. We recommend that these patterns be used in large spaces like ceilings of big rooms.

View of a kitchen looking up at a copper tin tile ceiling with a tessellating pattern.

What It All Means

Tessellating patterns are a beautiful design element. They are perfect for large ceilings or walls yet don’t feel cut off when you come to the edge of a room. They are excellent combined with crown molding or trims to give the room a finished look.

We recommend that you look at all available images for tessellating patterns. You need to see the patterns that emerge once the panels start coming together. You need to see how the infinite pattern looks when it is cut off. This will help you visualize the full look better and determine how you want to place the tin tiles when you begin installation.


Tessellating tin tile patterns up close.

24” Tessellating patterns: 23, 11, 28, 29, 41

12” Tessellating patterns: 18 2, 8, 24

6” Tessellating patterns: 3, 19


Large scale repeating pattern in bronze tin tile surrounding a pendant light.

Repeating Patterns

Our 48-inch repeating patterns are the largest patterns available at American Tin Ceilings. The pattern spans across four 24-inch panels for a grand total of 48 inches by 48 inches.

These stunning patterns are often used as medallions in the center of a room surrounded by other, smaller patterned, tin tiles. They are an excellent addition to tray ceilings or other architectural applications. They can also be used alone but are recommended for very large spaces like hotel lobbies or vast restaurants.


Large scale repeating patterns up close.

What It All Means

Once again, we recommend that you view as many images of these patterns as possible to get a feel for their scope. They can overwhelm a space of smaller proportions but are a grand addition when used well.

48” Repeating patterns: 9, 33

Now you’re fully equipped to pick the right pattern for you. Take a closer look at your favorites in the inspiration gallery.


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