There was a time when tiles were pretty much the only option available to homeowners when selecting something to create a kitchen splashback. Then along came such materials as glass and acrylic, and these stole the show for some time. Now, we are once again embracing tiles and welcoming them back into our kitchens, especially on splashbacks. This time though, the variety of materials, colours, size and shape of tiles on the market is so diverse, that choosing the right one to suit your kitchen scheme can be a difficult task. Hopefully, this mini guide will give you the lowdown on splashback tile choices to help steer you in the right direction.
One of the first considerations when choosing your kitchen splashback tiles should be the overall style of your kitchen. For example, decide on a broad theme, such as traditional country or contemporary minimalist. Then use splashback tiles to help tie your kitchen design and colour scheme together.Detailed mosaics make a great feature in a traditional kitchen, while a geometric-shaped, metallic glazed tile can enhance the look of a minimalist or contemporary-style space.Choosing the right splashback
Think about whether you would like to make the splashback a feature, or if you would prefer it to disappear into the background while another element in the kitchen takes centre stage, such as a benchtop.
If the former, choose a colour that contrasts with those in the rest of the kitchen to create an impact. Alternatively, choose one that is similar in tone to the other elements in the space for a more subtle and consistent look that will elevate the main feature.
When you venture out on your tile shopping trip, try to bring some samples of the materials and colours that you have already bought, or will be using, in your kitchen. This will help you choose the right colour and style to suit the space.
Keep in mind that the smaller the tile you choose, the more grout lines there will be. However, more grout lines doesn’t necessarily mean more time spent cleaning the tile grout – sealing it will help to protect it from food stains, so it requires less maintenance.
Choose a tile size to suit the scope of the final splashback. Consider the area you want to cover. If it’s a large area, larger tiles will generally work best as lots of small tiles can make the space look busy.
Large-format 600 millimetre square wall tiles are a fantastic option for quick and easy installation. As a guide, the height from the benchtop to the underside of most overhead kitchen cabinets will be about 600 millimetres. However, this could vary for different reasons.
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Ceramic and porcelain are the most common choices for kitchen splashback tiles. Ceramic tiles are readily available and are cost effective. They are made from a mixture of clays that are baked at high temperatures. The tiles are then glazed to make them hard and resistant to water. The glaze can be gloss or matt finish depending on the look you’d like to achieve.
Porcelain tiles are similar to ceramic tiles, but have been fired at even greater temperatures. This makes them virtually non-porous and so they won’t require an additional glaze to protect them. Porcelain tiles are much tougher than ceramic tiles and will therefore carry a higher price tag.
Glass tiles are available in a huge range of colours and, because of their luminous quality, they are a great way to bounce light around the room. They are naturally non-porous and stain-resistant and are an interesting alternative to conventional glass splashbacks. Look out for mirrored glass tiles for something unique and dramatic.
These brushed stainless steel tiles are an interesting and unexpected alternative to a splashback made from a flat sheet of stainless steel. The shape and finish of the tiles add visual interest without being overpowering. Metal tiles are heat-resistant, durable and easy to maintain.
There are many other materials that kitchen splashback tiles can be manufactured from, including travertine, natural stone, marble and even cement. If you choose a naturally porous material, such as cement or marble, ensure that the tiles are sealed to protect them.
Handmade tiles generally have a more organic, natural and uneven finish, and this immediately creates interest and texture. Each tile will be slightly different to the next. They can be made from many different material types too, so again, make sure they are sealed to ensure they will repel water and food stains.
Heavily patterned tiles, such as these stunning Moroccan ones, are a sure way to create a show-stopping feature in your kitchen. The colours have no doubt been chosen to create a cohesive look by tying the blue cabinet fronts and light-coloured benchtop together.
Ways to wow with patterned tiles
If you prefer the look of a plain-tiled splashback without any pattern or bold colouring, you can still add some interest by playing around with shapes. Choosing a plain-coloured geometric tile is a great way to create a subtle feature.
If you love subway tiles but fancy adding a bit of a twist, lay them in a herringbone pattern. Use a grey or black grout instead of white to further accentuate the shape of the tiles and the pattern.
Marble tiles, subway tiles and round penny tiles are all hugely popular at the moment. Despite the fact that most trends come and go quickly, these three shapes have been around for many years and they are a great choice if you are seeking something that’s both bang on trend and also likely to stand the test of time.
Geometric shapes are also a very popular tile choice at the moment. Keep the colour plain and patterning simple to allow the tile shape to be the main feature of the splashback.
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