Crazy About Tile: How to Use Tile in Your Kitchen

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When it comes to designing the perfect home, your secret weapon is an eye for dramatic detail. And if you want to get the best out of your weapon, then you need the proper ammunition. Lucky for you, there's tile. Do-it-yourselfers have been singing the praises of tile for years. Not only is tile an excellent and sophisticated design tool, but if used properly it can be a functional addition to a kitchen, bathroom, or patio.

Types of Tile

Wood: When it comes to affordable flooring, wood tile is king. You can spruce up a weathered down floor for under a hundred bucks with wood tile. Made out of pliable, more reasonably priced materials like bamboo and vinyl. "Wood tile" isn't wood at all; instead, it's material crafted to look like wood. This gives your room the appearance of upscale design with the price tag of a neighborhood craft store. Wood tile can range anywhere from $3 to $15 a square.

Glass: When it comes to elegance and sophistication, nothing does the job quite like glass tile. Most commonly used to design or accent a backsplash, glass tile can be as subtle or as powerful as you want. If you're looking for a beach aesthetic, frosted tile will give the appearance of sea glass. If you want to wow your guests with a modern flair, bold patterns will make your glass tile pop and shine. Depending on the size, style and shape, glass tile can range anywhere from $4 to $20, and can be found at most hardware and restoration stores.

Stone: Kitchen counters just wouldn't be the same without the help of stone tile. Much like glass tile, stone tile can be as versatile as you want it to be. Checker some black-and-white ceramic tile to give your countertop a retro 1950s feel. Lay down solid marble tile across the entire counter to instantly enrich the design aesthetic. Don't forget to casually let your friends know that you "just redid the kitchen". By far the priciest tile on the list, stone tile can ring up anywhere from $8 to $125 per square. When working with heavy-duty expensive stone tile, it might be in your best interest to hire professionals. Not only is it hard to install on your own, but they usually allow you to buy direct from warehouse tile catalogs, drastically chopping the price.

Finding a Surface

There's a reason we use the word "versatile" when we talking about diverse functionality. Tile is one of the most well-versed design tools on the market. It can serve as the foundation for multiple surfaces, and can liven up a dull space with color, style and class.

Backsplash: As home and garden shows increase in popularity, so does the importance of having a fun and unique backsplash. Multiple shapes, colors and styles of both stone and glass tile allow home designers to use their bathroom or kitchen backsplash as a launching point for their own creativity. Stripes, solids, and patterns can be arranged to fit your design criteria, and backsplash tiling can be as painless or as intricate as you'd like it to be. For the kitchen, smaller glass tiles can be a vibrant and fun. They are also easy to maintain with the cleaning products you're already using in your kitchen. For the bathroom, stone tile can provide a much cleaner look, and can be used as liberally as you choose to set the overall tone of design. Stone tends to appear solemn and modern, so be aware of how much you're using it in the amount of space that you have.

Floor: Forget the upkeep of carpet and the worn-out look of old hardwood floors. Tile flooring is a great alternative to natural hardwoods. Forget the arduous installation, heavy-duty appearance and hefty price tag of traditional hardwood flooring. Tile flooring can be as cost-effective as you want it to be. Peel-and-stick wood tiles can cost less than $1 per square, and can look as authentic as the real deal. Stone flooring can give any drab kitchen a sharp, modern vibe, and if done correctly, can completely transform any kitchen or bathroom.

Countertop: Countertop tiling is no longer a thing of the past. Although it can be used to evoke the nostalgia of retro diner appeal, countertop tiles can also be used to turn your average kitchen into a cozy country cottage, or an uptown high-end flat. Tile countertops are also easy to maintain, allowing for quick kitchen cleanup.

The great thing about decorating with tile is that it is both decorative and functional. Not only are there multiple uses, but there are also countless elements of design. You can turn tile into an intricate mosaic, or let it stand on its own in bold patterns. Regardless of what you choose, tile can be the key to personalizing your space.

Last Updated: January 28, 2012
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