Kitchen tile ideas to add style and personality to your walls

Coming in every size, shape, pattern and colour under the sun, tiles are full of possibilities
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • When designing your kitchen there are so many surfaces and materials to consider. Make a practical and design-led choice by using kitchen tile ideas to give your walls the wow factor. From patterned or coloured options, to shaped or simplistic, the right tile and laying pattern can make all the difference in creating your dream scheme.

    The perfect material no matter your kitchen ideas, tiles are an opportunity to experiment and have some fun. ‘The kitchen provides the perfect blank canvas for expressing your true sense of style,’ says Amanda Telford, Marketing at CTD Tiles. ‘Whether you are looking for a tile that evokes the texture and characteristics of natural stone, or hoping to go more decorative with a geometric tile, most tiles are suitable for installation in kitchens.’

    From choosing a quirky shape to playing around with colour blocking, these kitchen tile ideas will get your imagination flowing.

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Whichever style of these kitchen tile ideas you take on board, do note that you may need to use a sealant. ‘All tiles, aside from ceramic and porcelain, should be sealed with a recommended sealant before installation,’ says Damla Turgut, founder of Otto Tiles & Design.

    ‘This protects the tiles, which are naturally porous, from everyday dirt, grime and stains. If you don’t want to do this, then opt for a ceramic or porcelain tile which can be easily cleaned with a wet sponge or cloth.’

    1. Combine tonal shades

    Kitchen with grey island and hexagonal splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti

    ‘Neutrals, greys and creamy whites are always popular for kitchen colour schemes on walls,’ notes Damla from Otto Tiles. ‘Lighter tones inherently look fresh and clean.’ Instead of choosing just one of these warm neutrals, consider combining several tonal shades instead. By limiting yourself to a strict colour palette, the overall effect will feel cohesive and natural.

    Opt for tiles with a naturalistic finish for a truly warm and relaxed effect.

    2. Use vinyl tiles

    White kitchen with grey tiles splashback and brass tap over sink

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Tiled splashbacks are always effective but whether for time or money, it’s not always possible. Instead, cheat your way into a new splashback with kitchen tile decals.

    Instead of classic tiles, get the effect using a roll of tile-effect sticky-backed vinyl film. Edge the vinyl with a painted wooden batten for a neat finish.

    3. Create pattern with colour blocking

    Pink, white and yellow kitchen tiles arranged to form stripes

    Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott

    You don’t have to use patterned tiles to achieve a patterned finish. Give brick tiles a twist by arranging them in horizontal stripes of colours for a fun kitchen splashback.

    Play with widths of the coloured tiles on the floor to see what effect looks the best. If you’re using more than one colour, break them up with white to give the shades room to breathe.

    4. Introduce character with exposed brick

    Grey kitchen with exposed brick walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    If you want enduring beauty and individual character, look no further than exposed brick. A classic option for feature walls, this material can work equally as well all over, including on splashbacks – although they will need to be protected with a sealant.

    You don’t even have to have original brick walls in place, or commit to building new walls. Brick slips – tiles manufactured to look like bricks – achieve the style with much less fuss and cost.

    5. Tile your cupboards

    Green kitchen cabinet with pink tiled interior

    Image credit: Blakes Kitchens

    When considering kitchen tile ideas for your walls, think outside of the box. Or, well, inside. Elevate glazed kitchen cupboards by tiling the insides. This can be done in the same tile as the rest of the wall to create a seamless look.

    Alternatively, only tile this area for a statement focal point.

    6. Link with an unexpected surface

    Kitchen with green tiled breakfast bar and blue tile splashback

    Image credit: CTD Tiles

    Create a cool and contemporary look with your kitchen tile ideas with some unexpected co-ordination. ‘For those looking to create a designer look,’ advises Amanda from CTD Tiles, ‘consider positioning your tiles in a unique format for a striking focal point’

    Tiling the sides of a breakfast bar or kitchen island ideas in the same laying pattern but different shade to your walls will result in a unique and stylish effect.

    7. Get bold with colour

    Kitchen with yellow tiled splashback and pink and green cabinetry

    Image credit: Pluck Kitchens

    ‘In kitchens we’ve noticed recently that it’s all about statement colour and a lot of people are using their kitchen splashback ideas as focal points,’ says Amanda from CTD Tiles.

    ‘We’ve seen everything from bold and bright hues to more natural tones that deliver an earthy aesthetic. There really is no rulebook to what colour you should go for and there is no right or wrong answer, however we recommend opting for tiles in a striking colour such as blue, green or even vibrant red as its adds contrast to interiors.’

    Choose a contrasting shades to your cabinetry for some serious colour-blocking cool points.

    8. Play with colour, shape and pattern

    White kitchen with pink hexagonal tiled walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee

    More sometimes really can be more. Instead of choosing shape, colour or pattern, why not have fun with all three? A shapely tile, in a bright colour, with a pattern.

    To make the look seem cohesive, choose a pattern which links each tile together, rather than creating a patchwork effect.

    9. Add interest to metro tiles

    Green kitchen with marble metro tile splashback

    Image credit: Verona Group

    Metro kitchen tile ideas are a cool contemporary go-to. Add extra interest to yours by mixing up the material. Choose a marble, or marble effect, stone cute into metro tile rectangular shapes. You’ll still achieve the chic, minimalist effect of classic metros, but will an added extra something.

    10. Add a hint of colour and pattern

    White kitchen with single tiled splashback in colourful tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Wreford

    For a subtle approach to adding colour to a kitchen tile ideas, form a splashback using a row of single tiles. This sophisticated kitchen colour scheme is uplifted by the addition of muted coloured encaustic tiles, placed along the wall behind the sink.

    The use of colour and pattern is not imposing, merely enhancing – especially given the tones are echoed throughout the space via lighting and crockery choices.

    11. Break up block colour with classic white tiles

    Kitchen with green island, pink walls and white tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    Add interest to a shaker kitchen by wrapping tiles around the room. Use classic white tiles to act as a neutral between two strong colour choices, one for the cabinetry and the other for the walls. As is the case in this statement kitchen the white tiles wrapped around the room breaks up the punchy green units and the delicious pink painted walls. A neutral coloured tile gives you the freedom to change the wall colour as the mood takes you.

    Tiling half the wall this way is practical and will protect your walls from any kitchen splashes.

    12. Add an extra dimension with hexagon tiles

    Kitchen wall with white hexagonal tiles and copper pipe rail

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    You don’t need colour to make a statement. This effortless white kitchen idea shows how filling the space with different textures, materials and shapes will add interest – without the need for colour. Kitchen wall tiles are perfect for doing this. This honeycomb tile blends seamlessly into the white washed walls to create a sleek contemporary look.

    13. Mismatch shapes and patterns

    Blue kitchen with patterned floor and white tiled walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    If you’re looking at kitchen floor tile ideas along with the walls, don’t be afraid to mismatch the shape, colour and even finish. On the floor it can be tempting to opt for a simple design, however you can use this space to make a statement with a patterned tile. Then keep the walls in a plain tile to invert the typical way to tiling the two surfaces.

    14. Coordinate colour on different surfaces

    Blue kitchen island and cabinetry with patterned tile splashback

    Image credit: Ca’ Pietra, Atlas tiles

    Use patterned tiles in a bold coloured kitchen to add further interest. Use your kitchen cabinetry as the starting point for your kitchen tile ideas. With a paint sample to hand, find a colour match to a patterned tile to use on the surrounding walls.

    The effect will be bold but also feel cohesive, so won’t overwhelm the eye.

    15. Balance a busy pattern with a plain

    Industrial grey kitchen with geometric floor tiles and copper handles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Jonathan Jones

    When tiling multiple surfaces it’s tempting to mix things up, to add interest – using patterned tiles alongside plain designs. The rule of thumb is to choose one surface to use each style, to help balance the look. Using pattern on the floor in a kitchen will help to anchor the decorating scheme.

    16. Use slate to create a splashback

    Kitchen with slate tile splashback behind hob

    Image credit: Oliver Gordon

    Mimic the exposed-brick look with a tiled slate wall. With its naturally smooth texture and varying shades, from pale grey to dark purple and rich rust, slate is a beautiful choice for walls and splashbacks. Leave your slate tiles ungrouted for added character.

    17. Fake it with marble effect tiles

    Marble tiled wall in front of sage green cabinetry

    Image credit: Mandarin Stone

    Marble is an intricately beautifully stone, but it can also be very costly, especially if you have a large area that needs tiling. Why not fake the look with a  porcelain tile that looks almost identical to real marble? There are many good-quality marble effect tiles on the market, at a price to suit most budgets.

    18. Choose a modern bistro-style vibe with metro tiles

    White metro tiled kitchen wall with copper pans and white jugs

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore

    If you have a large wall to fill in the kitchen, consider creating an entire feature wall of metro tiles. Brick-shaped or Metro-style tiles with a distinctive bevel are a popular choice and provide a retro twist.

    Choose matt flat or glass brick tiles to create a more contemporary feel. Be sure to choose the right grout. Not only is it practical bonding for durability but it’s key to determine whether your pattern stands out or blends in to the overall scheme. It comes in various colours and compounds so do your research.

    What type of tiles are best for a kitchen?

    Tiles come in all sorts of materials, so it’s all to easy to look for design over what they’re made of. ‘Both ceramic and porcelain tiles offer a wide range of stylish options, so there is bound to be something that meets your needs,’ advises Jayne Adamson, marketing manager at Verona. ‘In terms of the technicalities, ceramic and porcelain are very hardwearing and both options are sound for use on walls. As the kitchen is prone to mess and moisture, it’s best to opt for a tile which is easy to clean.’

    Finish should be kept in mind, too. ‘We recommend glazed tiles for kitchen walls and splashbacks,’ says Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May. ‘As well as being practical, their glossy finish adds a reflective sheen to bring depth and drama to a space.’

    What colour tiles are best for a kitchen?

    While colours should always be down to a combination of personal preference and the lighting and style of your room, there are some colours which naturally work better across kitchen tile ideas than others.

    ‘Neutral tiles continue to be a popular choice for kitchen walls because they’re timeless, classic, and easy to style,’ says Lee from Bert & May. ‘With neutral tiles you can easily to change up the décor in your kitchen as you please without any worry of clashing. Warmer neutral shades, will add the illusion of depth, airiness and light, no matter what size your kitchen is.’

    ‘White and grey tiles continue to be popular as well as patterns,’ adds Jayne from Verona. ‘But there’s been a huge surge in demand for blue and green tiles, particularly small formats. From tropical turquoise to nautical navy, blues are dark and dramatic, while green shades are on the other end of the spectrum, with pale, sage tones being used to breathe new energy into the kitchen and recharge the space.’

    And if you’re not into neutrals? ‘Pastels shades of mint, duck egg blue and dusty pink have been holding strong for a few years now,’ notes Kamila from Tile Giant. ‘These are a great starting point for homeowners who are new to colour, but if you’re bold with your interiors, opt for rich, jewel tones such as emerald and dark blues which reflect natural light. We’re even seeing black tiles become a more popular colour choice within modern kitchens.

    All the latest from Ideal Home