14 Ideas for Your Kitchen Wall Tiles
Transform the look of your kitchen with some new tiling
The band of tiling is the most instantly noticeable thing about this kitchen. To ramp up the effect, the homeowners have chosen to coordinate the cabinet knobs, which pick out one of the colours in the patterned splashback.
The tiles also appear elsewhere in the kitchen, repeating the striking motif, as seen in the next photo.
See inside a bathroom with feature patterned tiling
Love marble but can’t stretch to cladding a wall in it? Marble-effect porcelain tiles could be your friend. That’s what’s been used here to give this compact kitchen a really high-end-look finish, for a fraction of the cost of a slab of marble (porcelain is also easier to care for, while many find marble prone to staining).
These tiles are super slimline, at just 4mm, and are a Carrera marble imitation design, carefully arranged to look like a single piece of marble. Click on the photo to see more about this kitchen from the designer.
A repeat design isn’t the only way to introduce pattern via tiles. Here the homeowners have created a stylish splashback using mismatched patterned tiles in the same colourway. You could equally go for multi-coloured tiles in the same patchwork-style formation, but the option shown makes for a more muted version of the idea – and, here, classic blue and white, reminiscent of both Cornishware and Delft tiles, really underline this kitchen’s country style.
No 1: Bevelled
Metro tiles are a design classic, and that’s partly down to their versatility. Here, a glossy, bevelled version of the tile, laid with white grout, adds subtle texture to this all-white, modern kitchen, without being a distracting feature.
Be sure to understand the difference in effect between bevelled and flat metro tiles: a stretch of bevelled tiles will create shadows and reflections. If you have a busy pattern or other textures going on nearby, this might mean the finished look appears cluttered.
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No 2: Flat
Here you can see how the flat version of metro tiles looks. Of course it already appears very different due to the dark grout, which creates its own visual busyness. (Grey grout + flat metro tiles is also a shortcut to utilitarian Victoriana – just think of tiles in traditional public baths, or when used in their most iconic context – cladding the walls of the London Underground, New York Subway and Parisian Metro.)
And, again, in such a clean, uncluttered space this feature really works. But imagine this with white grout; the tiles would almost melt into the wall, giving a really subtle period effect instead.
And remember, there are many ways to lay your metro tiles, whichever surface you opt for, from this classic brick formation to the same, but run vertically, to herringbone, stack bond, double weave and more. Search for some of these terms online and you’ll quickly bring up images of each.
No 3: Colourful
Don’t forget that metro tiles come in all sorts of variations on the original. This up-to-the-ceiling tiling in cobalt blue is certainly impactful, but because blue is a calming colour, this wall doesn’t shout at you. Pairing it with white and greys also keeps things lower-key than if units and walls were in a different strong colour – and the mushroom tint to the cabinetry also warms the blue up a touch.
Note how the white grout ties the tiled wall to the neighbouring white ones. A matching grout would, instead, give a saturated effect and the brick layout would disappear.
No 4: Monochrome
If you’d prefer a cooler, crisper result, however, keep your tiles’ partner colour white.
Grey works well as a neutral here, but whatever colour this splashback was – sunshine yellow, bright red or the blue in the previous kitchen – the white units and ceiling would ensure a minimal look. Perfect if you like your kitchen to feel airy, bright and functional.
Here, marble effect metro-like tiles have been used in brick formation to run the width of this worktop. But check out the area behind the oven: without changing materials or colour, this area has been highlighted simply by laying one section of the tiles in a herringbone formation. Alternatively, you could have tiles in the same formation, but with a subtle colour gradient, or have the same pattern but simply switch the direction – say a horizontal brick formation mixed with a vertical one.
When fitting tiles with unusual shapes – something like these lovely lined hexagons – think about what you’ll do when they stop. If you’re not taking them to the ceiling, as in this example, or perhaps just having a row of two as a low splashback, consider whether you’d prefer a straight or a wiggly edge. A straight edge means you’ll lose a lot of the design interest, especially in a small row of tiles, and it’ll involve a lot of cutting, which will bulk up the cost of tiling as it’s more work. Alternatively, let the shape of the tiles form the top edge, which is what’s happening here. For tiles that end closer to your eyeline, be aware that the edges of the tiles might be a different colour, or rough and porous (with a straight edge, you’d need tile trim or a shelf to tidy the cut ends).
Solve the issue of rough-edged tiles by using a shelf to demarcate the stop point. This washed out blue shade, both in the tiles and in the paint above, really works with the bleached tone of the wood. If you’re using tiles in a pale colourway, consider using dashes of a stronger version of the colour around your kitchen to provide punctuation points and anchor the scheme. Here, a tray in a richer version of the same blue in the tiles does the job. Aim for three disparate objects in this shade and dot them around.
Tour the rest of this house in Galway
Mosaic tiles tend to come on sheets, meaning they are easier to lay than small, individual tiles. This is worth knowing, because if you choose an unusually shaped, non-sheet tile that requires careful arrangement and design, and lots of strategic cutting, or very tiny individual tiles that have to be stuck to the wall individually, you’ll be paying more for labour (or sweating over it for longer if you’re DIY-ing).
Even with mosaic tiles on a sheet, you’ll need to use more grout; this may not up your cost dramatically, but consider the visual effect, especially if you favour a dark grout. This will be a very strong look and, for smaller tiles, it will often look less cluttered and bitty if you opt for a matching grout. That said, pale grey, like the one used here and in the next space, is quite subtle and will show far less grime than white.
If you want to use small tiles and they’re not on a sheet, as described in the previous caption, keeping the surface area you aim to cover reasonably small will help ensure the tiling work stays manageable.
Who says splashbacks need to form linear shapes? Well, most people… but that’s perhaps because they’ve never considered an alternative such as this one. Here, two clusters of hexagonal tiles are arranged in what gives the impression of being a freeform design; the effect, especially in this sandy colour, is pleasingly organic and honeycomb-like. It works especially well in contrast to the clean monochrome lines of the kitchen.
If you want to attempt something like this, draw it out carefully in advance. If you already have the tiles, arrange them on a flat surface, to scale, in the design you’d like and photograph or draw it, noting the numbers of tiles used in each row.
As already seen, when using highly patterned tiles it can look good to have them appear in several spaces in your kitchen, for a cohesive but not overwhelming feature.
Here the idea has gone large, and the splashback matches the floor. This tile pattern is, in fact, extremely busy and yet the kitchen remains an airy and calm space because everything around the tiles, colourwise, ties in with them and is deliberately unfussy.
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What kind of tiles do you have in your kitchen? And which is your favourite idea here? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.