Choosing tiles for your kitchen can feel overwhelming. You want a style that complements your cabinetry but holds up to everyday wear and tear. The amount and size of a stone’s pores, or porosity, determines its strength and stain resistance. For example, a nonporous slate floor is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas like mudrooms or family baths.
As a versatile material, stone can be shaped into an endless array of designs. This can create a striking effect that can wow visitors to your home. You can go for complex patterns like the whorled brick pattern or choose a more decorative layout such as herringbone. Alternatively, you can use different widths of tiles to produce a more subtle result. Some of the most interesting stone tile flooring ideas come from brickwork patterns. These were created to lend structural strength to buildings and work well from a design perspective. One popular brickwork pattern is the soldier course (with stretcher bond). This involves a row of bricks laid standing up with their narrow end facing out – similar to a military formation. It looks great with a herringbone pattern and works well in open-plan living rooms. However, it is best suited to wide floor spaces as it can look busy in small areas.
Natural stone has a wide range of textures, which can add depth to your flooring and make it more interesting to walk across. You can use textured tiles with a smooth, closed surface that won’t show dirt as readily or one with holes filled in for a more rustic feel. A brushed finish is more rugged than honed, giving your floor a rustic, old-fashioned look that fits well with country kitchens. It also hides small scratches and is ideal for areas that may need to be treated with a stain-repelling sealant, such as entryways or laundry rooms. Brushed and tumbled finishes are also great options for achieving the classic and traditional look of slate floors, which work best with warm, neutral color palettes. This type of textured tile is hardwearing, which makes it perfect for busy families and can increase the resale value of your home. However, it requires regular maintenance, including using a dust mop and periodic scrubbing with a soft brush or cloth to remove ground dirt.
Choosing a patterned stone floor can add depth to a room while creating a focal point for your space. The pattern will depend on your design style, but the stone’s color, finish, and shape are also important to consider.
The color of a natural stone floor will change with the light that passes through it, so if you want to keep your feet looking fresh, regular cleaning and resealing are essential. Some natural stones like slate are slippery, so be sure to choose a textured tile or use a non-slip coating on the surface of your floors to reduce the risk of accidents. Slate is a popular choice for flooring because it is durable, slip-resistant and repels water. It is expensive, but it can last a lifetime and looks beautiful underfoot. Other natural stone options for kitchens include travertine and limestone. Travertine has a natural warmth and can come in subdued tones, less likely to be damaged by spills, scuffs or heavy foot traffic. It is easy to maintain and can be cleaned with a mop or vacuum.
The versatility of stone doesn’t stop at the floor; textured walls are also a stylish design option. If you like using stone on your walls, there are many options. You can create textured surfaces by sanding, etching or carving the surface of stone, or using reclaimed stones, brick slips and other materials to clad existing substrates in the home. Stone wall cladding can make a bold statement, and adding textured finishes can complement a rustic or classic style. For example, dark natural slate can be used in a contemporary space to add drama and contrast with the lighter elements. If you go for a textured finish on your wall, ensure it is thoroughly cleaned before any paint so the new paint can adhere properly. This will remove sneaky dust and oils from crevices, ensuring your wall can maintain its appearance for longer.
Herringbone is a classic design element used in various flooring and masonry styles. It was originally used by Roman road builders, who found that it helped to create a stronger interlocking paving system. It can also be incorporated into wall tile and wood paneling. The herringbone pattern uses equal-sized rectangular blocks arranged in a mesmerizing zigzag. Its distinctive look is derived from how the ends of the blocks meet up against each other to create a V shape. The pattern can be manipulated by varying the block edge length ratios, creating a herringbone or chevron aesthetic. Stone floors arranged in a herringbone pattern can add warmth and comfort to any kitchen, particularly if laid on the ground floor of a home, where the flooring will absorb more of the ambient heat. However, herringbone patterns aren’t limited to stone floors and can be incorporated into wood-paneled walls and cabinetry.