Small kitchen flooring ideas – the best options for tiny spaces

These small kitchen flooring ideas will not only add style, but can make a space feel bigger and brighter

How to make a small kitchen feel bigger
(Image credit: A2 Studio)

No matter their size, small kitchens serve big needs. Because of their limited space, every inch of a small kitchen needs to be functional, easy to work in, and practical. When it comes to small kitchen flooring ideas, these can serve several purposes: they can inject a design element into the space, make the area seem larger than it is (thanks to clever tile layout ideas), and even bring in a myriad of colors and pattern.

From heritage designs to contemporary schemes, there are so many options to choose from. 'Various tile materials like ceramic, glass, or natural stone can zest up small kitchens by bringing in the excellence of patterns and geometry. Illustrious stone tiles with unique veining are another impactful alternative to bring in drama. Choose tiles arraying from pastels to prints, mosaics to lacquered glass, natural stones, and more to visually expand a small kitchen,' says Rajesh Bhandari, Director, A-Class Marble.

So if you have been blessed with a small kitchen and looking for flooring ideas to add style and space, we have you covered...

1. Pick the perfect tile material for a small kitchen

small laundry room ideas multiple styles of storage in white room by Marie Flanigan

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan/Julie Soefer)

When it comes to small kitchen floor tiles, the options seem almost endless. But we'd recommend thinking practically first – you want to pick materials that are anti-skid, durable, strong (as this is a high traffic area) yet inherently stylish. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are great candidates as these are suitable for both indoors and outdoors, which means they're hardy materials. Ceramic tiles in particular are resistant to stains and water. Both these tiles are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. 

The other popular option is a natural stone; be it marble, limestone, travertine, or slate. These tiles need to be sealed to protect them from water and stains, and need to be cleaned with professional cleaning products (keep them far away from acidic cleaners as these tiles are alkaline in nature). 

Wooden tiles have stood the test of time, are highly durable, and give the interior a sense of warmth. You could even choose wood effect tiles if real wood is too expensive. These look like real wood and are available in printed knots and grains. 

Finally, cement tiles are a great addition to modern and industrial kitchens and are available in several designs and colors. However, they are porous, and if not regularly sealed, can have a very short lifespan.

2. Give the space a big personality with patterned tiles

laundry room storage ideas blue cabinets with patterned floor tiles and hanging rail by Marie Flanigan Interiors

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

For a smile-inducing kitchen design, choose patterned tiles that give the space a standout look. The best way to choose a color for your flooring is to pick out a hue that already exists in your kitchen color scheme. That way the space will look coordinated and have a sense of uniformity.

'Geometrical shape tiles, larger or smaller scale, can be used to make unique and fun patterns and emphasize feature areas and paths. Mosaic tiles also look bold & luxurious. Placing them on just on one part of the floor or in the entire kitchen floor will enrich the room and offer an amazing detail,' says interior designer Iman Lalji

Colorful tiles look more pronounced when the kitchen has a large window that allows the sun to peek in. The natural light emphasis on the real tones of the tiles and helps create a warm look. 

In terms of materials, you could choose terracotta, encaustic or ceramic tiles, that look wonderful with patterns and prints. If you love the vintage look, you could even speak to tile companies that are able to give new tiles an aged look, helping create a beautiful vintage look inside your kitchen.

3.Match floor tiles to the cabinetry for a cohesive look

small kitchen flooring ideas

(Image credit: Iman Lalji)

If you want to make the small kitchen look bigger, the lesser visual breaks it has, the better it is. A unified, common color throughout the room can make it seem airy and spacious. 

This narrow galley kitchen makes a real case for going darker with your flooring choices too. We know the rule to lighter colors in smaller spaces, but often dark hues can have the same space expanding effects and blur the edges of the room, making it appear larger. The herringbone layout draws the eye along the room.

4. Zone a tiny kitchen with flooring

How to make a small kitchen look bigger

(Image credit: Neptune)

Be adventurous with your small kitchen flooring and use it to bring character into a small space. Geometric tiles can add a contemporary interest to a space, especially if they're laid out in a creative manner. While wall-to-wall tiles are pretty common, you could choose to create a patchwork effect on the floor, with the printed tiles in the middle and light-toned ones around it.

Another advantage to patterned tiles is that they help delineate a zone, especially useful in open plan homes or studio apartments. The tiles help create a separate section for the kitchen and give it its own personality.

5. Choose grout-less small kitchen flooring

Small kitchen flooring ideas

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

The biggest advantage of a grout-less tile is that it makes cleaning the floor oh-so-easy! These tiles are made of a solid backing, with no grout or sealer used to hold the tile down.  Ideally, marble or natural stone tiles, that are available in large slabs can be converted into grout-less tiles that can be held together with a strong sealant or sometimes even a stainless steel wire mesh that covers the surface of the tile. 

In a small kitchen, these types of tiles make the floor, and the overall room seamless, large, and breezy. Grout-less tiles, due to their unique make and installation are quite durable and long-lasting. 

6. Keep floorboards light and bright

Small kitchen flooring ideas

(Image credit: White Arrow)

A soft, pale wooden floorboard is a fantastic idea for contemporary small kitchen floors. You could choose a white paint or a light wooden finish. The flooring will help anchor the room, make the environment seem calm and collected and take your mind away from the room's small square footage. 

Painting floorboards can actually be a fun DIY exercise if you're up for it. Remember to sand the surface first, using a sandpaper, then wash it to remove all dust. Ask your local retailer for an appropriate primer and paint for the floor. Allow the paint to dry overnight, follow it up with another coat of your chosen paint and watch a brand new kitchen come to life.

7. Create a layered effect with a rug

Vintage style kitchen with colourful rug and pink walls

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English)

Sure, the kitchen can be a  dangerous place for rugs because it is crumbs, grease, and red wine central. Yet it is a space that so graciously opens up to a rug. Let's not deny it; a kitchen rug is a big, brave statement. And by doing so, you're literally telling anyone who visits, that your kitchen is special. 

Rugs are a great way to add color in a neutral-toned kitchen; they also add a little cushioning underfoot in this place which is frequented often. Another plus to laying down a rug is that in a narrow space, a long, vertical rug makes the space seem longer than it is. Of course, you would want to choose fabrics that are easily washable. Bold colored rugs would ensure the stains and marks are not immediately visible.

8. Stage an illusion with large format tiles 

grey kitchen floor tiles

(Image credit: Mandarin Stone)

To give your kitchen a visual boost, upsize the tiles! Big tiles make a room look bigger – it really is that simple. Stone floor tiles are usually available in large sizes. These are easy to install, and in a tiny kitchen, these add a big dollop of design and a space-enhancing illusion. Ideally, if you're choosing big tiles, ensure you choose light-toned ones, as super large and super dark colors will have the opposite effect. They will make the space seem smaller. 

'Stone flooring is a timeless and hard-wearing choice in terms of floor coverings. Natural stone has been used for centuries in a huge array of architectural settings and no other material quite compares to the inherent natural beauty and variation that stone offers. Due to the natural porosity of stone, for today's modern interiors all-natural stone needs sealing thoroughly at the point of installation to prevent staining. Providing this is carrying out, stone floors should last a lifetime,' says Louisa Morgan, Creative Director, Mandarin Stone.

9. Keep it warm with wood 

laminate kitchen floor ideas

(Image credit: Carpetright)

We all love it – wooden flooring is always a stylish choice. These tiles make an interior seem warm, inviting and no matter the size of the space, easily blend into any interior. Chevron patterns are currently a loved style in kitchen flooring, because they make the floor size seem larger with the slanting patterns.

Reclaimed wooden tiles are ideal if you want your home to be more environmentally-friendly. These tiles have an interesting graining and look wonderful and organic. Reclaimed wooden tiles are strong and can last generations.

What flooring is best for small kitchens?

The kitchen is used daily and its flooring takes a beating, unlike any other room. Apart from the foot traffic, the kitchen flooring also witnesses regular staining, moisture, and sometimes even burs (a hot plate or a boiling pt that woefully lands on the floor). This is why, choosing strong, durable, and resistant flooring is of paramount importance. 

Hardwood floors are not only luxurious but are warm, stylish, and water-resistant. These also are available in different looks and offer the kitchen a standalone pizazz. Laminates are great as these are water-resistant, less-expensive than hardwood floors, and replicate the look of any other flooring material. These are also easy to install and have a long design style parade to their credit. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are classic and can last your whole lifetime. These can handle spills, splatters, and messes. And finally, natural stone are beautiful, timeless, and available not just in varied designs and even tile sizes.

Ikea pantry hacks modern Scandi design by KOAK

(Image credit: KOAK Design)

Do larger tiles make a small kitchen look bigger?

Aapartment kitchens are famously small but as they say, small spaces inspire creative ideas. If you too have a tiny space and want to make it look larger or wider, then choosing large-format tiles may be the best bet. Large tiles in oversized patterns can draw the eye vertically or lengthways and make the kitchen look taller or longer kitchen. Stone tiles can help you achieve this; as can large subway tiles. 

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.