Ceramic Tile Decorating Ideas for a Kitchen Floor
Kitchen floors can be done in just about any moisture-proof material–vinyl, marble, even sealed wood–but if you’re trying to balance beauty and durability against cost, nothing’s better than ceramic. Ceramic floor tiles are generally cheaper than most other hard-tile materials, easier to install and care for than wood, and infinitely better looking than vinyl. Ceramic also comes in an amazing range of styles and colors, more so than most other flooring, so you can usually make them work with whatever look you’re going for.
The Natural Look
Those sleek, flat, colorful tiles that you think of when you think of ceramic aren’t the only kind. Ceramic comes in all kinds of colors and finishes, including some made to look like unfinished marble, stone and other natural materials. For an old-fashioned or rustic kitchen design, go with earth-tone or gray ceramic with a rough stone finish and an uneven surface and even slightly out-of-square shapes. This has the added benefit of not being too slippery when you walk on it. Ceramic has to be sealed to prevent moisture encroachment.
If you have a polished marble countertop or a granite backsplash, but you can’t afford to do the whole floor in those expensive materials, consider mixing in a few tiles of those types with your ceramic floor. Ceramic comes in so many styles and colors that you can almost always find a style that will go with those materials. Don’t use ceramic that mimics the marble or slate, but rather look for ceramic that provides a basic complementary backdrop, then run a row of marble tiles or a central grouping of slate tiles within the ceramic floor pattern to tie it all together. If you have stainless steel appliances, you can even get a few stainless steel tiles to randomly intersperse with the ceramic.
Most people are surprised to learn that it’s possible to paint your own mural designs onto a ceramic tile floor. It has to be done right, since ceramic is made to resist things like paint sticking to it. Buy plain, unfinished ceramic tiles (this is one of the few times you would do that), install it as usual, but don’t seal the grout. Paint over the whole floor, grout and all, with an oil-based sealer-primer, then paint your masterpiece across the floor in good oil paints. Seal the whole thing with three layers of oil-based, floor-grade polyurethane, sanding lightly between each coat so the next one will adhere. The shapes of the tiles will show underneath the unbroken design of the mural, giving it interesting texture.