How do I Choose the Best Brick Design?

Judith Smith Sullivan
Judith Smith Sullivan
A brick trowel and bricks.
A brick trowel and bricks.

There are many varieties of brick design, ranging from simple patterns to intricate curving shapes. Choosing your design will depend on the area where the design will appear and its size and style. A large patio or driveway will need a different design than a small fence or a house. Bricks come in many shapes, sizes and colors, so there are many designs to choose from.

Bricks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
Bricks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

Most brick designs are made of one or more of three basic designs: the bond, the herringbone and the basket weave. Sometimes these are combined with a curved design, especially in irregularly shaped areas. A skillful craftsman can use these designs in virtually any space, whether it is curved or angled. Bond designs are more common in structures, but almost any design can be used in paving.

The most common brick design is called the running bond. Each row starts halfway into the first brick of the prior row, which staggers the seams of the bricks. It is a classic look, although it is not very interesting. A variety of the running bond is the stacked bond, which does not stagger the brick seams.

The running bond works well with any color of brick. Sometimes a variety of brick colors are used, but such a design runs the risk of looking messy. For a clean, elegant design, choose a dark brick arranged in the running bond design. To add variety to structures that use brick designs, use the running bond on the walls and add arches over rounded doors and windows.

For paving, the herringbone design is popular. Bricks are placed at a 45 degree angle to one another to make V shapes. It is not difficult for the mason to create, and it adds visual interest. The herringbone is also a classic design which does not go out of style.

An alternative paving design is the basket weave, which is created by placing two bricks vertically and the next two bricks horizontally. The pattern works best with older homes. On new construction, it has a dated feel, and the herringbone is a better choice.

A curved brick design is more difficult to construct, since the bricks must be cut to fit, which will increase the cost of labor. Curved designs are very elegant, and a greater variety of patterns are possible in a curved design than in other types. You can customize the pattern to include geometric shapes or floral patterns, and the versatility of a curved design lends itself well to new and old homes alike.

There is room for personal preference in paving brick designs, but options for structural brick designs are limited. Structures, like walls and fences, need a design which can bear a great deal of weight. Although the herringbone and basket weave patterns could be worked into a veneer, they do not function well as structural brick designs. A running or stacked bond is the best brick design for load-bearing structures.

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Discussion Comments


You're right, Glasis, and fake brick facades and flooring come in a variety of colors and patterns to match your home.


Other ways to incorporate brick design into your home include brick barbecues or fire pits and interior brick walls.

For those looking to have the look of bricks inside without the cost of remodeling or hiring a brick mason, there are a variety of synthetic, wallpaper-like designs that can be used on walls, as well as linoleum or laminate options for floors.

Most homeowners can install these themselves relatively quickly.

Although they may not last as long as actual brick work, most are durable and give the impression of real bricks.

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    • A brick trowel and bricks.
      A brick trowel and bricks.
    • Bricks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
      Bricks come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.