Tiling is one of the most interesting elements of a kitchen design. There are so many options for colour, finish, material, size, shape and style that it can be difficult to know where to start. Here's our guide to getting it right.
By Hayley Gilbert
Why Have Wall Tiles?
Whilst they are an essential piece of kitchen kit - used to protect walls from cooking splashes and water damage - wall tiles can also help determine the overall look of the room, whether contemporary or traditional.
What Should I Budget?
You can spend lots of money on tiles, particularly if they have a handmade finish. However, really cheap ones from DIY stores can be very attractive and, chosen carefully, can look expensive when fitted. In other words, decide on what you can afford, then go shopping.
What To Use For A Modern Kitchen?
Ultra contemporary schemes tend to favour bold, colourful tiles or the more industrial feel of a silver or graphite design.
What To Use For Trad Kitchens?
Classically styled kitchens on the other hand have traditionally used a more natural look with organic, earthy tones. As well as considering which sort of colour and pattern to choose, it's also important to think about the materials and finish.
The Pros & Cons Of Tile Types
Hardwearing and water-resistant, it's easy to see why ceramic tiles are the most popular choice for kitchen walls. They are particularly durable as they are made from clay and then fired at extremely high temperatures.
Marsh 13cm x 6.3cm half tile, from £99.95 per sq m or 85p per tile, The Winchester Tile Company.
There is a huge choice of colour and design with specialist finishes to add interest. A country cottage kitchen for instance would work well with a crackle glaze finish in a soft duck egg or clotted cream shade. For modern schemes, choose from a range of contemporary styles including slick black and white prints and textured effects.
A cheaper alternative to natural stone, porcelain is stronger and easier to maintain. Unglazed tiles will need to be sealed before and after grouting however, so it's best to stick with glazed designs for easy maintenance.
A current favourite with architects and designers, glass is a versatile option as it's available in a wide range of colours, textures and sizes. It's most commonly used for rectangular brick tiles or sheets of mosaic for an exotic look.