Kitchen tile ideas – to add character and practicality to walls and floors

Tiles are hardwearing, easy to wipe clean and they offer almost endless design possibilities
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  • Looking for kitchen tile ideas and inspiration? Tiles are a key part of kitchen decorating, not only for practical reasons but they’re  also a great way to introduce accent colour and pattern. Whether they’re used on the walls or floor, the right tiles can make a huge difference to your finished scheme. Though, with such a large choice of styles, materials and budgets to choose from, it can be difficult to decide on a design.

    Start by thinking about how your chosen tiles will look with your kitchen unit and worktops, room size and colour choices – consider the overall kitchen idea as whole. Do you want to tile large walls or just a small area? With the right planning you can add the perfect finishing touch, so read on for a little kitchen tile inspiration…

    Kitchen tile ideas

    1. Choose timeless neutral hues for floors

    Neutral kitchen floor tiles

    Image credit: Quorn Stone

    ‘We always advise customers to steer clear of ‘trends’ and go for a classic style in the kitchen area’ explains Isabel Fernandez, director at Quorn Stone. ‘Purchasing a stone or porcelain floor is an investment for the home and one that often takes careful consideration – our advice is to always go neutral in your chosen floor covering for ground floor spaces and instead inject colour through paint colours and accessories. A lick of paint is far easier to change in years to come than a different floor.’

    2. 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 scheme try this simple idea, 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 to form an understated kitchen splashback idea. 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.

    3. Break up block colour with classic white tiles

    Kitchen tile ideas 1

    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.

    4. Add an extra dimension with hexagon tiles

    kitchen tile ideas 2

    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.

    5. Mismatch shapes and patterns

    kitchen tile ideas 4

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    If you decide to tile your floor and 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 in this room it is the floor that makes a statement with a decorative blue pattern. Instead the walls have been tiled in a popular herringbone pattern using plain white tiles.

    6. Create interest around an island unit

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Still

    Be adventurous with a statement floor. These patterned floor tiles have been used to border the island unit in this open-plan kitchen. When it comes to design, the sky’s the limit with tiles, as they can be used to create a variety of patterns and eye-catching details. This patterned tile injects an exotic flavour into a contemporary kitchen by combining pale stone with a Middle Eastern motif.

    7. Coordinate colour on different surfaces

    blue kitchen with patterned tile splashback

    Image credit: Ca’ Pietra, Atlas tiles

    Use patterned tiles in a bold coloured kitchen to add further interest. These decorative starburst design tiles are used as splashback along the sink wall, above the striking cobalt blue kitchen units. The jolly pattern offers a heritage look and feel, while offering a contemporary edge when paired with colourful cabinetry.

    8. 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.

    9. Opt for lookalike tiles

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: Mandarin Stone

    Look to use tiles for practical purposes, but so in a clever fashion. The flooring here may look like wood, but is in fact covered in plank-sized porcelain tiles featuring a faux wood grain design – easy to lay over old floorboards and tiles. Anything but ordinary, these tiles will add a splash of personality and character to any scheme.

    10. Opt for fun pattern on floors

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: Ca’ Pietra

    Encaustic tiles – with their vibrant colours and striking Moorish designs – are enjoying something of a revival. Bold geometric designs and patchwork styles have been used in commercial settings for a number of years but are becoming increasingly popular in the home. In keeping with the trend towards using colour and pattern in interiors, encaustic tiles are an ideal way of adding visual interest and are crafted in a myriad of shades: bold geometric designs in beautiful pastels; eye-catching monochrome motifs and arresting Moroccan shapes in ochre and burnt orange, emerald green and azure blue. Working equally well with contemporary and traditional interiors, encaustic tiles are versatile product.

    11. Introduce character with stone

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: David Cleveland

    If you want enduring beauty and individual character, look no further than stone. Inherently beautiful and with an incredibly long lifespan, stone has been used on floors for centuries. A textured kitchen tile design will add depth and interest. It is a good choice for high-traffic areas and can be used in farmhouse-style or contemporary kitchens. Seal to protect from stains.

    12. Use slate to create a splashback

    Kitchen tile ideas

    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. Read How to tile a splashback – to protect walls and add interest.

    13. Lay down porcelain tiles

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    Love the look of large format tiles? Hardwearing and durable, porcelain tiles are a tried-and-trusted material for kitchen floors. Since porcelain is so strong, tiles can be made thinner, so even huge ones needn’t be heavyweights. Underfloor heating stops the floor from becoming too cold in the winter months.

    14. Fake it with marble effect tiles

    Kitchen tile ideas

    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.

    15. Try a traditional terracotta stone

    Kitchen tile ideas

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    For a mellow, rustic floor appearance, terracotta is best. This look even works well in a contemporary kitchen, as shown above. All kinds of stone, terracotta and slate are porous and will need sealing to prevent stains penetrating. Immediately wipe away acidic spills on unglazed floors to keep the seal intact.

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

    Kitchen tile ideas

    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.

    Want more kitchen ideas and advice? READ: Kitchen flooring – everything you need to know

    We hope these kitchen tile ideas give you inspiration to start you kitchen project.

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