While choosing a color, picking out a style, and making decisions on layouts are all key when it comes to kitchen design, it's kitchen flooring ideas that we believe are one of the most important decisions you'll make. Think about it, a kitchen floor is probably the hardest working surface in your home. It sees the most action, the most footfall, the most spills, and splashes, and therefore it needs to be hardworking and be a choice that reflects your lifestyle and how you use the space.
But of course, it needs to look lovely too. As well as being the most used surface in your space, it's also the largest. You are going to notice it and it's going to be such a big feature in your space. But with so many options out there – tiles of all materials, wooden flooring, LVT (don't judge until you've seen the results) stone, we could go on – how do you choose? Well, we've pulled together all our favorite kitchen ideas, weighed up practicality vs. aesthetics, and asked top designers for their advice too so you can make the right decision.
1. Choose checkerboard stone
Checkerboard tiles are back with a 2022 twist. Once reserved for either very traditional, stately spaces, or the floors of American diners, they are now seeping back into contemporary spaces, and yep, they work perfectly. Elegant, chic, and bold without being overly so, this take on the classic style makes for a lovely kitchen flooring idea that can be incorporated into any style of kitchen.
In this white kitchen, designed by reDesign Home (opens in new tab), the statement tiles help give this chic and simple space some depth and a focal point amongst all the white. 'Grounding a space by utilizing tiles can be very powerful, with this kitchen remodel I have followed a traditional European esthetic by combining honed limestone and marble in a timeless pattern.' explains Alessia Zanchi Loffredo, founder of ReDesign Home.
2. Create an industrial vibe with poured concrete
Polished concrete flooring is a huge interior design trend right now, and perfect if you are after a more minimalist, slightly industrial look. Although saying that, this simple, sleek, seamless flooring can work with any style, from Scandi to farmhouse as it really is a blank canvas that you can build from.
And as well as looking gorgeous, it's a super practical choice for kitchen flooring. It's really low maintenance, easy to keep clean, and super durable. It's also non-slip – it may not be all that glamorous to be thinking safety first when choosing your kitchen flooring but it should be a key consideration.
If you are considering underfloor heating in your kitchen, polished concrete works really well as it conducts heat and is simple to install over an in-floor heating system too.
Take home tip: unless you like the stark, uber-minimalist look of a sea of concrete floor, you may want to consider throwing down a kitchen rug or two to soften the super sleek look and add some warmth and texture.
3. Add rustic textures with brick flooring
Traditionally found in farmhouse kitchens, brick flooring brings a lovely rustic feel to any style of kitchen. What we always find gives a kitchen character and interest is texture. But texture isn't easily found in a space that's so practical, it's not like in a living room where you can pile up the throw cushions. But brick flooring can add so much texture and is a practical choice too – timeless, hardwearing, and super-effective with underfloor heating.
Plus there are various different looks you can create depending on the bricks and layout you choose. 'Bricks can be used in so many ways on the kitchen floor; it really depends on the feeling you want to create for that particular space. I have used all sorts of bricklaying techniques, but most recently in my home entryway, I chose a stacked border with a herringbone interior to keep things interesting. I enjoy using classic layouts, but sometimes it just feels right to mix it up and use a quirkier pattern.' explains designer Amber Lewis (opens in new tab).
4. Be on trend with a subtle terrazzo
Terrazzo flooring can come in so many different forms, from bold and colorful to sleek and subtle, but it's always cropping up in interior design trends year after year. The terrazzo du jour is at the more neutral end of the spectrum – more like how it originated in the 16th century using small stone offcuts and in lighter more natural hues like whites, greys, browns, and creams.
See how in this kitchen design by Caitlin Jones Design (opens in new tab), the terrazzo tiles are so subtle, just adding a slight shimmer and texture to the space and really adding to the open and airy feel.
'The density of San Francisco, where this home is located, led to this kitchen being a rather dark space despite the windows. Rather than go with the walnut-colored hardwood floors that fill the rest of the home, we chose a light and bright terrazzo tile. It gives a timeless and cheery effect to the space.' explains Caitlin Jones Ghajar. 'Terrazzo is a fantastic choice for high traffic spaces like kitchens because it's almost impervious to stains and water. To add an extra luxe element, we installed a heat mat that keeps it cozy year-round.'
5. Make the eco-friendly choice of cork flooring
Cork flooring seems to be the flooring at the moment. We are seeing it everywhere and the more we see it in situ the more we are drawn to its natural textures, its warmth, and its unusualness. In this kitchen, it has almost a retro feel and works perfectly with the soft, natural palette going on in here.
And as well as looking great, it's a really practical kitchen flooring idea. Easy to clean, easy to install, easy to maintain. Syilviya Stoyanove, flooring consultant at Bricoflor (opens in new tab) says that 'Flooring trends have been heading towards being eco-friendly and organic and more people are rediscovering the benefits of natural materials, so it's unsurprising cork is having a revival.'
'It's great for sound and heat insulation, reducing energy usage and utility bills, and significantly improving the acoustics of a space. It's also waterproof so can be installed in any room. Depending on the project it should be easy to determine what cork flooring to pick. If moisture is an issue, glue down cork tiles are best. If you seek comfort and quick installation go for floating cork tiles.'
6. Create instant warmth with terracotta
Terracotta tiles are a wonderful kitchen flooring choice if you want to add that instant, rustic farmhouse feel. And there are so many options to choose from when it comes to shape, layout, and finish too, from simple square kitchen floor tiles as can be seen here to hexagonal designs if you want to create more of a feature.
'A hugely versatile color for the kitchen, terracotta combined with complementary shades, such as dusky pink or cerulean blue, creates a tonal look with a backdrop of muted white and cream tones.' explains designer Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab). 'Introduce the shade subtly through tiled flooring or worktops, or create a full monochromatic terracotta look with rich materials, such as marble, terrazzo, and tiles in the same hue.'
'Terracotta is warming and creates a welcoming environment, which is perfect for the kitchen as it’s often the place where you spend the most time with the people you love. Colour is the spirit of a room, its heart, and soul – it defines the space and determines its character.'
One thing we will say is terracotta tiles can be chilly underfoot so do consider installing underfloor heating or at least throwing down a rug.
7. Introduce shape and texture with herringbone flooring
Herringbone flooring is on many people’s wish lists, and for good reason – it’s a classic and sophisticated choice and works with pretty much every interior style. The overall look can be adapted based on the size of the tile/plank you go for – smaller pieces tend to work better in more traditional or rustic kitchens, whereas larger format works better if you are after a more contemporary, fuss-free vibe.
For a durable and more affordable alternative to this wooden flooring, new developments in LVT mean there are now amazingly realistic options that look like the natural material. As well as appearing like solid wooden flooring, LVT brings many benefits – it’s incredibly durable and is usually scratch- and stain-resistant. The cleaning process is reliably easy, too, requiring only a regular sweep and a light mop.
8. Combine practicality and beauty with hardwood flooring
When choosing kitchen flooring, do consider the adjoining rooms too and how it will all work together and affect the flow of your home. If you want to encourage an open plan, seamless feel, consider running the same flooring through the adjoining rooms as was done in this project by designer Meg Cassidy (opens in new tab).
'This project was all about cohesion. Given the Victorian, row style of this home, it was important to breathe light and continuity throughout the space. We, therefore, opted to carry the hardwood flooring from the front of the house to the back where the kitchen was situated.' explains Meg. 'Our goal was to then integrate the white oak plank floors into a beautiful custom pantry cabinet that was juxtaposed in a steel glass framed top to house all of our clients' beautiful ceramics and dishware. The result was a quiet yet sophisticated space that truly encapsulated the clients' desire for something to feel polished yet also casual for everyday living.'
Hardwood flooring is one of the most sought-after flooring types, and will almost 100% add value to your home, however, it can be quite high-maintenance so do bear that in mind. Wood and water don't go well together so you'll have to ensure to be quick with any spills to avoid any water damage.
9. Or go for reclaimed wood for extra charm
Reclaimed wooden floors are also up there with the most popular flooring types right now, as everyone seeks to create homes filled with personality and charm. As Meg Lavalette, founder of Lava Interiors (opens in new tab) explains, 'Wood floors in kitchens are timeless. It’s always ideal to think about a house holistically too, so avoiding a material transition and especially color transition by having wood floors throughout will make for a seamless approach when having consistent wood flooring.'
You can salvage wood flooring from so many unexpected sources – school gyms, old houses, beams, lumber – and it can come in so many designs too, essentially anything you can buy new you can create with reclaimed flooring. It's also a great eco-flooring option as you are saving perfectly lovely wood from landfill.
10. Experiment with LVT kitchen flooring
Right, before you all run away at the mention of vinyl, it's really not what it once was. Banish any image of yellowing flooring curling at the edges and bubbling in the middle vinyl has a glow up and is a great choice for kitchen flooring, especially in the form of LVT (luxury vinyl tiles). There are so many gorgeous options out there that mimic more pricey designs from solid wood to patterned tiles.
'When buying a kitchen floor, it’s important to make an educated and informed decision. There are lots of aspects to consider before making your selection.' explains Sarah Escott, Amtico (opens in new tab) Design Manager.
'The big choice is often between LVT or real wood/stone. There are advantages to both, however LVT boasts a huge number of benefits that simply cannot be replicated with its natural counterparts. One of these is maintenance. The kitchen is one of the most high-traffic areas in the home so picking a floor that requires low maintenance is key. With natural wood or stone, it can be tricky to keep it looking good as it requires regular treatment. LVT simply requires a sweep and occasional mop to keep it looking fresh.'
What is the best flooring for a kitchen?
The best flooring for a kitchen will come down to both your personal style and how do you use your space. Tiles, wood, vinyl all have their advantages to it's about considering how you want your kitchen floor to look and feel, how easy you want it to be to maintain, and how much you want to spend.
'Kitchen floors need to be robust and easy to clean – particularly in today's busy homes, and with more of us having pets – so hardwearing porcelain tiles are an ideal choice.' explains Colin Roby-Welford, Fired Earth's Creative Director. 'From fantastic replica-marbles and replica-woods to colorful geometric designs, porcelain tiles are available in a host of inspiring and low-maintenance options.'
Alongside tiles, wooden kitchen floors are also very popular and the huge benefit is how timeless they look, and are the best option if you are looking to add value to your home. However, they can get pricey and aren't the easiest to maintain as they aren't water-resistant and can easily show scuffs and stains.
What is the easiest kitchen flooring to maintain?
The easiest kitchen flooring to maintain would either be vinyl or ceramic tiles. Both options are usually waterproof, easy to clean, and hardwearing. They won't need any extra maintenance like sealing or oiling and won't easily show wear and tear.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.