Decorative kitchen tiles
Apart from their decorative function, washability and sturdiness are qualities which make kitchen tiles so suited not only to kitchens, but for other useful rooms like larders, utility rooms, mudrooms and laundries. In addition, the coldness of glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles helps keep worktops cool, ideal for bread and pastry making.
Not all kitchen tiles are brightly glazed; there are dozens of different finishes, from smooth, hard engineering tiles and soft, terra-cotta-coloured quarries, through the infinite range of printed and embossed tiles with every imaginable kind of image or texture, to handmade kitchen tiles, salt-glazed or individually painted – something to please every taste.
Antique kitchen tiles from different periods are enthusiastically collected; tiles brought home from foreign countries make a lovely permanent vacation souvenirs, to be fitted into the tiling of a kitchen wall. Mixing texture and pattern, pictorial content and style, can produce exciting results.
Many kitchen-themed designs for tiles are available, with culinary imagery to the fore; they can look very good, given either a restrained approach or else the full, over-the-top treatment. Tiled walls tend to look busy, though the intensity of an all-over scheme, particularly in a small kitchen, often creates a really dynamic effect.
For a truly personal and unique touch, it is easy to decorate kitchen tiles using simple printing techniques like stamping and stenciling; the strength of a hand-printed design makes a striking contribution to a decorative scheme, and it is fun and very satisfying to produce something really appropriate and original.
Plain white glazed tiles are cheap and easily available, and make an excellent background for all colours, but there is no reason why striking decoration should not be successfully applied to any plain coloured tiles, glazed or unglazed. As well as potatoes, familiar from childhood printing, many materials may be used to make stamps: cardboard, polystyrene, linoleum – anything which can be cut into patterns will do. Stamping kitchen tiles gives a pleasantly varied result; colour is painted or rolled onto the stamp which is than pressed firmly onto the tile.
Acrylic or oil-based colours are suitable for stamping, and for stenciling, for which cellulose spray paint for cars also works well. However, for durable results, tile paint, or at least tile primer, works best.