Kitchen Floor Tile Ideas

Still looking for the best kitchen floor? Not sure if you want ceramic tile, stone, or maybe even wood floors? Since floors are literally the base for your kitchen decorating theme, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of the different materials you’re considering to see how well they fit your lifestyle.

On this page, you’ll find kitchen floor tile ideas for both ceramic and travertine, plus a lot of things I wish someone had told me. It’s all about helping you avoid costly mistakes. There’s also a ton of great info on wood and laminate kitchen floor coverings, on the next page.

Ceramic Kitchen Floor Tile Ideas

Ceramic tile floor designs are popular for kitchen floors because they’re so durable, and with options like radiant heat becoming more affordable, and so easy to install, you can have the luxury of walking barefoot on warm tiles and heating your house at the same time.

When tiling a kitchen floor, one option is to lay them on the diagonal to visually increase the space.

Floor tile pattern ideas: If your budget permits, add decorative tiles in a square or rectange to give the appearance of a rug on the floor. This idea also looks fantastic with tiles laid on a diagonal inside the “rug”.

Of course you can always add a real rug or gel pad to relieve leg fatigue in front of sinks, or cooktops, but don’t buy the cheap ones they sell you for kitchens. Indoor/outdoor carpets work well for this, but just about any rug can be used as long as you’re willing to clean it periodically.

You may want to steer clear of solid colored kitchen floors and light patterns if you hate to clean, especially if you have a lot of rain, which = mud, plus kids and pets going in and out all the time. There are so many great options for hiding dirt, and some can give the appearance of Travertine, marble, slate, cork, or bamboo, at a fraction of what the real thing costs.

Another one of my favorite kitchen floor tile ideas is to add 1″ to 2″ squares of decorative tiles every so often. This technique requires you to cut off a small section of each of the four adjoining tiles prior to setting.

You can also combine kitchen floor tile ideas, as they did in this example, using the warmth of wood in between cooler feeling tile.

You can also combine vinyl self stick floor tiles with wood. For a European cottage look, use brick floor tile patterns in between long strips of wood laid in a herringbone design.

Lay out your floor tile pattern ideas in advance, making sure it achieves the desired effect, and to see if you have enough tiles, plus extras.

You might want to move a wall some day, replace kitchen cabinets, or change the orientation of an island. Having an extra box or two of tiles gives you the freedom to change the kitchen layout design, without having to replace your entire floor.

The main reason you order extras is for repairing broken tiles. Accidents happen, things get dropped, tiles can break. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing tiles and re-grouting, check out my ceramic tile crack repair tips, which also works for stone and granite too.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Tile Ideas

Do you like French Country or Tuscan kitchen design? Then you may fall in love with a rustic stone floor. Travertine is very popular with those wanting an old world look in their kitchen floor coverings.

One thing to keep in mind when ordering tile floor designs made of natural stone, is that what you see in the store, is not always what you get.
Travertine kitchen floor tiles set on the diagonal

The display tiles can be months old and from an entirely different lot. Each lot of stone is unique, as I found out when shopping for granite kitchen counter tops, and it can vary greatly. That’s why it’s important to ask for a “current” sample of what they have in the warehouse.

For our kitchen remodel we used honed and filled, 18″ x 18″ Travertine tiles, with a 1/16″ grout line and set on the diagonal, in a color called Noce.

Another thing to watch for with special order tile is the quality. Does it match what you saw in the sample? I once had to refuse a special order of Travertine that was so abundant with fillers, it had no resemblance to the display. It was worth $2.00 sq ft, not the $5.50 they were charging me.

You deserve what you paid for, so don’t take any crap!

When special ordering stone floors, take a photo of the product and that way if it comes in lesser quality than expected, at least you’ll have proof of what it was “supposed” to look like.

That said, with natural stone tiles you really need to order a certain percentage of extras. How much extra? That depends on the “grade” you purchased, and pattern, plus how much of a perfectionist you are. Your tile store or installer should be able to help you with those numbers, but a good rule of thumb is 5-15%.

Kitchen Floor Tile Ideas When Hiring Installers

Don’t trust that the folks sent out to install your tile will share your passion for excellence, because many times they’ll just open the boxes, and start laying ~ without looking. There’s nothing more frustrating than having boxes of perfect tiles left over, while the flawed ones end up in the most conspicuous places.

One reason to avoid too much “fill” in travertine tiles, is that it gets really dirty over time and will eventually turn dark, despite your best mopping efforts.

Sanity Tip: with natural stone, I urge you to go through all your boxes and make a “seconds” pile, marking them with a grease pencil. Save those for under cabinets, appliances, and to cut for edges, etc.

Saving money by being your own general contractor only works if you oversee the work. Communicate your expectations upfront so everyone is on the same page.

The travertine tiles above are laid in a “French”, or “Versailles pattern. Notice how uniform the edges are down by where the tile gets set? This allows you to get a smaller grout line than with a tumbled stone.

Tumbled travertine is another style that looks even more rustic. That’s where tiles are literally tumbled with sand to wear down the edges. Because they’re more un-even, they need up to a 1/2″ grout line between tiles. And, any time you exceed 1/8″ grout line you need to use sanded grout (rough). If you’re at 1/8” or less, you can use un-sanded grout (smooth).


Note: Unfilled stone tiles have natural holes and pits, which need to be filled in with grout, otherwise moisture and dirt will collect there.

Polished stones like marble, or “filled and honed” Travertine, can have as small as a 1/16″ grout line if it’s a square cut edge. It takes a skilled installer and a lot more time to do it right, and because the tolerances are so small, they’ll most likely charge more for it. The good news is that this type of floor is super easy to clean with a damp micro fiber pad.
random pattern, gray stone floor, ultra modern kitchen with a center island

It’s rare but sometimes you see limestone, flagstone, or slate kitchen floor coverings that are laid like a patio. There’s a great example of this in the photo above. It’s where they intentionally drop and break a large piece of stone and then place it into the floor in exactly as it broke, creating grout lines of 1/2″ or more. While beautiful, I can guarantee you floors like this are high maintenance, due in part to the huge grout lines, and the uneven edges. If you like this look, you’d better own a good steam cleaner.

Kitchen Floor Coverings and Kids: You can tell them not to run in the house, but will it stop them? FYI: Rough cut edges sticking above the grout line can slice open little feet should they catch it just right.

Kitchen Floor Tile Ideas That Help Avoid Cracks

  • Begin leveling and repairing cracks in concrete floors before you start laying floor tile.
  • If your slab sits directly on the dirt, it’s wise to use a product like RedGuard which keeps moisture from coming through, or the step below which does double duty.
  • Schluter ® Ditra is an excellent product that creates a moisture and vapor barrier, plus protects against shearing which can break tiles and grout.
  • Evenly apply your adhesive or you can end up with pockets where the tiles are unsupported, causing them to break more easily.

I hope you enjoyed my kitchen floor tile ideas. They wouldn’t all fit on this page, so check out ceramic tile crack repair, (which also works on travertine, granite and laminate) or my page on wood and laminate kitchen floor coverings.

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Check out some of our other great topics

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