Kitchen floor tile ideas are the fun part of designing your space. Less bogged down by the practicalities that islands and countertops and cabinets require, this is where you can have a little fun. Patterned, plain or somewhere in between, kitchen floor tiles occupy a vast amount of space, so getting them right is key to creating a stylish look.
'I've seen a huge return in bravery when it comes to kitchen floor tile choices,' says Livingetc editor Pip Rich. 'Herringbone patterns in bright colors, wood-effect tiles laid in ways that look like heritage parquetry, and even hits of neon dotted seemingly at random. There is a real flair in kitchen flooring right now.'
Not only is there the colour and pattern to consider in your kitchen flooring ideas, but how you lay them is incredibly important too. As our experts will attest, a carefully thought through configuration will give you the best results, and could even help to enhance the feeling of space within your kitchen as well as zone it from other areas in an open plan room.
Kitchen floor tile ideas
1. PLAN THE LAYING PATTERN
Choosing a floor tile you love is, more often than not, only half of the process. The next step is to work out the laying pattern, and depending on the design of the tile you choose, this can be a whole separate creative endeavor in itself!
If your tile offers a self contained repeat and looks exactly the same whichever way you place it, then you’re good to go. However, if the tiles you’ve selected offer the potential for multiple different looks and patterns, then that’s where the fun begins. ‘I always draw digital mock ups of the rooms I’m designing,’ says Emma Gurner, founder of interior design studio Folds Inside, offering a key piece of advice for any of your kitchen ideas. ‘This means that when it comes to tiles, I can play around with different formations digitally first to decide what works best.’
2. USE STRIPED TILES TO MAXIMISE THE SPACE
Depending on the floor types you choose, you have the potential to alter the feeling or visual experience of a room. For example, light toned flooring can really open up a room, while darker tones can help a large space feel more cosy. Or, opting for larger tiles can also really help to make a room feel bigger. In terms of pattern, stripes are an immensely influential visual cue.
‘Stripes have an optical effect,’ says Damla Turgut, founder of Otto Tiles & Design. ‘They create the illusion of a much larger space, tricking the eye to add length or width, depending on how they are laid within a room.’
There are a number of ways you can introduce stripes in your tiling. ‘We love the different looks that can be achieved just by a tweak of colour, or the thickness of the stripe,’ says Damla. ‘Additionally, another equally visually striking way to create a striped effect is to lay plain tiles in contrasting colours in horizontal or vertical brands.’
3. USE TILES TO ZONE AN OPEN PLAN SPACE
In a room with multiple functions, it can be tricky to decide on the kitchen floor tile ideas that meet all of your requirements. Wooden flooring is often preferred in living rooms for its inherent warmth, whereas tiling is much more practical for a kitchen. So why not combine the two?
‘We are often asked to use a hard-wearing, hardworking surface in the kitchen only, with clients preferring the use of a softer material such as timber in other living areas,’ explains Ben Hawkswell, Senior Designer at Roundhouse. In this project, natural stone grounds the kitchen space, and wooden flooring surrounds it. Not only is this a practical solution, but creates an interesting design feature too.
When combining different types of flooring, Ben offers the following advice. ‘Check the thickness of both types of flooring - you may need to make one thinner, or adjust the sub floor accordingly so they lie level,’ he says. ‘Consider where they will join to, and whether a metal or brass trim may help the transition look smarter.’ If you're using underfloor heating, you will also need to make sure both are compatible with what you're going for.
4. MIX WOOD AND GRANITE TILES
If you think that mixing tiling with your wood flooring ideas will work in your space, but want to add a modern twist, this idea could be for you. Neat straight lines will of course look beautiful in many rooms and properties, but if you’re looking to create a quirky feature, an irregular transition adds a huge amount of visual interest.
Designed by French interior design studio Le Berre Vevaud, this stylish space benefits from the dynamic interplay between the two types of flooring. ‘Where the kitchen and dining space meet, we gradually replaced the beech wood panels in the traditional herringbone parquet flooring with tiles made of black granite that were exactly the same dimensions,’ say co-founders Raphaël Le Berre and Thomas Vevaud. ‘The effect distinguishes the difference between the spaces, while also offering practicality and a sophisticated look.’
5. GIVE TRADITIONAL TILES A TWIST
An enduringly popular choice, flagstone style flooring is one of those kitchen trends that will stand the test of time. ‘Traditional stone flooring not only looks aesthetically beautiful,’ says Louisa Morgan, Creative Director at Mandarin Stone, ‘but it has many other benefits too. Whether you go for natural stone tiles - or as shown here, porcelain tiles that mimic the look - both materials are exceptionally durable and will naturally heat to the ambient temperature of the room’.
Working equally well in both period properties and more modern spaces, there are a few variations and options to consider. ‘Tiles with honed surfaces and straight edges might suit a more contemporary home, whereas the antique style with tumbled edges may be more appropriate in style for an older house,’ says Louisa.
The brilliant thing about flagstone style tiles is the opportunity for continuity in the rest of your home. ‘Spacious flagstones are ideal for carrying through to other areas such as hallways and living areas,’ suggests Louisa. ‘Their natural, earthy tone provides a stylish, yet timeless look.’
6. USE TILES FOR A CHECKERBOARD FLOOR
Another traditional tiling look that’s made a huge comeback in the past couple of years is checkerboard flooring. It’s easy to achieve - simply choose two plain tiles in complementary colours, and lay them alternately - yet the effect is incredibly striking.
For a cohesive look in your kitchen, color match one of the tiles to the color of units, and introduce interest by using a contrasting color across the other tile. As ever, the laying pattern will have a considerable impact on the final look. Positioning the tiles at a 45 degree angle from the wall will create a fun diagonal diamond pattern, while straight columns of tiles will provide a more regimented feel.
7. REFRESH EXISTING TILES WITH CHALK PAINT
If you’re desperate for a new look, but aren’t able to completely replace your tiles right now - how about revamping your existing ones? ‘You can paint your tiles for a fraction of the cost of buying new ones,’ says Color and Paint Expert, Annie Sloan. ‘The only skills you need are patience, imagination and a little forward planning.’
In this project, plain white tiles were given a new lease of life with a graphic stripe design. ‘We used masking tape to map out the design, covering the entire tile apart from a strip which we painted black,’ explains Annie.
As with any DIY project, a plan of attack is key! Annie offers the following advice: ‘Tiled surfaces need to be given plenty of drying time between coats - probably about 48 hours - so it’s best to completely avoid the area during this time if you can,’ she says. ‘If you can’t do the whole floor at once, do half at a time so you still have some access to the room. Lacquer is the final coat, and should be allowed to cure for full durability.’
8: ADD A MONOCHROME PATTERN
Even when it comes to working with rustic kitchen ideas, you can still take a modern approach to the floor tiles. In this scheme by Jessica Helgerson, the light-filled farmhouse-style space is brought bang up to date with the patterned monochrome tiles.
The key to using such a bold technique is to introduce some regularity. So the pattened tiles creating a pleasing cross-shaped design which is easy on the eye and less jarring in this more traditional space than it otherwise could have been.
9. IMITATE TERRAZZO WITH TILES
When it comes to terrazzo flooring, the costs can escalate pretty quickly. However, terrazzo tiles are more affordable, easier to work with, and come in a variety of different colors.
Here, the slightly pinky tones of the cabinets are matched by creamy blush tones of the floor tiles, meaning that the bold color in the middle - splashed across the island - is anchored either side by softer, more serene shades.
'I'm a big fan of softly dappled floor tiles,' says Livingetc editor Pip Rich. 'They're a great way to introduce the subtle variations of terrazzo without being stuck with the price tag.'
10. USE TILES TO SEPARATE A GALLEY KITCHEN
Thanks to all the latest galley kitchen ideas, you can get a lot more into a corridor-style space if you know how to sort the layout. The trick is to stop them from seeming just like a walkthrough.
Here, the mosaic tiles create a delicate pattern which helps to make the kitchen feel totally separate from the dining area, and keep the galley kitchen contained. They also had a much needed hit of prettiness to this functional space.
WHAT TYPE OF TILES ARE BEST FOR KITCHEN FLOORS?
With so many practical demands on a kitchen space, tiling needs to be both long lasting and easy to maintain. ‘In terms of durability, porcelain or ceramic tiles are the best type of tiles for kitchen floors as they are the most robust surfaces and can be easily cleaned using manual or steam methods,’ says Ben Hawkswell, Senior Designer at Roundhouse.
Encaustic tiles are another option, and a favourite among designers for their rustic feel. ‘They’re handmade with natural pigments,’ says Emma Gurner, Founder of Folds Inside, ‘so they have a matt, tactile and earthy quality that I love.’ However, their beauty involves a little more care, as Emma explains; ‘Encaustic tiles are very durable, however they are porous so need to be properly sealed when being laid, as well as re-sealing over the years.’
WHAT COLOR IS BEST FOR A KITCHEN FLOOR?
As with any interior scheme, the colors you include across each element should be complementary to one another and work in harmony. Depending on the stage you are at in your kitchen renovation, consider the existing materials and shades to work out a palette for tiling.
'Generally speaking, if your kitchen is naturally a little dark and dingy, a light colored tile can work wonders to open the space up and make it feel brighter,' says Livingetc editor Pip Rich. 'If you’re opting for a patterned tile, a pale ground to the design will help the overall effect to feel less busy.'
However, if you’re wanting to make a bold impact, opt for intense deep shades. Not only will these darker hues demand your attention for a show stopping kitchen color scheme, but they’ll also be great for concealing the inevitable stains that are bound to occur in a kitchen!
Interiors stylist and journalist Amy Neason was the Deputy Style and Interiors editor at House Beautiful for years. She is now a freelance props and set stylist, creating work for a range of national publications and brands such as Imogen Heath. She has previously worked at Established & Sons, and her skills include styling still life and interiors shots for editorial features and sourcing unique products to create inspirational imagery.
She is particularly respected for interpreting seasonal trends into feature ideas and style stories.
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