15 Kitchen Tile Tips That Will Revive Your Cooking Space

Kitchen tile is the unsung hero of many impressive kitchens. They’re a great way to showcase style and create the sophisticated, inviting look so many homeowners are after. If you want your kitchen to get a little more pizzazz, or you’re looking to sell your home and you want your kitchen to drive more home value – you’re in the right place. 

tile installation process

Kitchen Tile 101 

Whether they appear on your floor, on your walls, or as a backsplash – the tile selection these days is unprecedented. We have access to bolder designs, brighter colors, and more textures than ever before. Kitchens, which are arguably the most ‘functional’ room in your home, now are being decorated and personalized in really creative ways. 

Kitchen tiles are able to help meet almost any design objective. Not enough natural light in your kitchen? Pick bright white tiles and backsplashes to lighten things up. Have a smaller kitchen? Pick a bold or patterned tile to give the illusion of space. Have an overwhelmingly neutral or monochromatic cooking space? Add some flavor with detailed tiles that act as accents to draw the eye. 

Now that you’re sold on kitchen tile as a concept, let’s break it down to the nuts and bolts. 

Kitchen Tiles Cost 

Tiles are one of the most affordable ways to give your kitchen a lift without launching a full-scale renovation. If you’re happy with the footprint and general structure, you just think it doesn’t leave an impression, then tiles are your answer. This cost-effective option can be approached a few different ways: 

  • Tile re-glazing (overall color) 
  • Tile painting (added detail) 
  • Tile replacement 

These are all great options that just depend on your timeline, budget, and objective. Now that we’ve covered some of the logistics when it comes to updating your kitchen tile, let’s talk about the fun ways you can bring energy and style into your kitchen! 

Here are our top 15 tips for installing tile that creates the biggest bang for your buck: 

1. Create the illusion of more space 

Choosing tiles that create a diagonal grid, or laying tiles on a diagonal, is a great space-stretching trick. The optical experience makes you feel like the space is bigger because it is host to so much detail. If you’re already planning a kitchen tile installation and have a smaller kitchen, this is a perfect option that creates more space without changing the footprint. 

Modern kitchen with white subway tile and green grout with wood shelves

2. Go wild with grout 

Grout colors have traditionally been restrained to the neutral pallet. Rarely has a homeowner wanted to feature the grout color over the tile. But it doesn’t have to be either or. You can feature a fun grout color that contrasts your tile backsplash. Dark grouts create patterns out of lighter tiles, or bright colors can bring a retro twist to your cooking space. 

3. Mirror mirror 

Reflective tile can feel fun and whimsical when used correctly. These tiles can range from mirror-like reflectiveness to a cloudy, obscured option that looks more vintage. Although maybe not ideal for cleaning spaghetti sauce off the surface, this look can feel unique and elegant. 

4. Penny for your thoughts 

Penny tile is a retro tile that’s having a moment in modern kitchens. The circular tile (roughly the size of a penny, hence its name) is great for cultivating a sleek, urban look. It’s a great option for a bold color because the grout to tile ratio creates a nice balance. 

For help understanding what tile trend is most popular in your area, chat with a home improvement consultant today! More popular kitchen trends yield more profit when you sell your home, so being aware of your local trends is a great way to increase home value! 

kitchen cabinets painted gray with brass hardware and a marble subway tile background

5. Live luxuriously 

Marble is the measuring stick that all luxury kitchens are measured against. Although traditionally featured as countertops, marble is now making an appearance in backsplashes. For a small space, utilizing an expensive material like marble can be an affordable investment. For larger spaces, consider a tile with a marble-like effect to save cost. 

6. Up the wall 

If you’re in a kitchen with low ceilings or not enough light, it can feel like the walls are closing in. That effect is compounded when you have a tile backsplash on only the bottom half of the kitchen wall. To create a sense of height and space, run the tile all the way up the wall. This way the eye is drawn to the ceiling and there is an increased sense of drama. 

7. Consider painted tiles 

Painting your existing tile can freshen your look at a fraction of the cost. With a little planning and creativity you can create interesting patterns that transform your whole space. Try laying down masking tape to create vertical patterns, or paint within templates for elaborate design.  

8. Complement the wall 

If you are already working with a patterned tile, a great way to pull your kitchen space together is to paint your walls one of the featured colors. This adds a sense of balance and boundary to the space you cook in, maybe marking a separation between where you entertain. 

9. Show your stripes 

Narrow galley kitchens can often feel suffocating or too small. But the right tile choice can create a sense of width and openness without changing anything about your dimensions. Try a horizontally striped tile to stretch the space. 

10. Two-tones are better than one 

A fabulous kitchen trend currently taking the renovation space by storm is the two-tone kitchen. This is traditionally where upper cabinets are painted a different, contrasting color to the lower cabinets and/or island. Simulate the same feel with two-tone tile. Choose a light color for your backsplash and a darker color for your floor tile – or simply re-paint accordingly. 

Instead of taking on these projects on your own, enlist the help of Curbio! The only turnkey solution for all your pre-listing updates. And the best part? You don’t pay a cent until you sell. Find out more and chat with a home improvement consultant today!

modern kitchen with a bright turquoise glazed square subway tile

11. Don’t be such a square 

Square subway tiles are the new subway tiles, said somebody, probably. But the square counterparts to the rectangular superstar are making quite a stir. For warm, neutral pallets or a slightly retro feel, these are a different spin on a beloved classic. 

12. Shine bright 

A heavy glaze on your subway tile creates a nuanced sense of allure. If you’re someone who will never opt for a loud pattern or a bright color, this is a great way to add texture and depth. Although these kitchen tiles cost a bit more than their matte counterparts, they look as expensive as they feel. 

13. Same color, different textures 

Create a sense of drama by painting your wall the same tone as your kitchen tile. Not only does this create a strong cohesion in your space, it introduces a monochromatic look you can play with, like a blank canvas. As far as kitchen tile replacement trends go, this is an underutilized one. So your kitchen is bound to stand out. 

14. Check yourself 

An extremely trendy way to utilize marble in modern kitchens is to floor with checkered marble. This black and white option creates a cozy, almost vintage look – and plays beautifully against wooden cabinets. It’s the kitchen tile that creates immediate elegance.

15. Color me curious 

Terrazo flooring is an excellent option if you want to feature an interesting pattern without committing to a bold color scheme. This floor beautifully expands small square footage and is still unique enough you won’t see it in many other kitchens. 

Interested in a kitchen refresh? You can still upgrade your cooking space without a full renovation. Find out how to maximize your home’s value without maximizing your budget!