Effects of using the same tile for floor and backsplash?

Seattle_ChrisMay 22, 2011

The short version of my question:

My question is this. If I use the same tile on the backsplash as I did on the floor (I have extra), will it make the room seem larger or smaller?

The LONG version:

I have a very small kitchen. It's basically 8'x10' wall to wall. I describe it at length at the end of the post. I apologize in advance for my long winded writing style. :D

Anyway, I've just finished tiling the floor with this tile. http://www.homedepot.com/Beige-Cream/Flooring-Tile-Stone-Tile/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbbcuZ1z11cvnZ1z1191pZ1z0zizbZ1z119ve/R-202520250/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I'm thinking of tiling the backsplash of the north and west walls, as these walls are to be filled side to side with cabinets and cupboards, so it's not much space to tile between the countertops and cupboards. The east wall only has cabinets/cupboards half way across, and the south wall has no cabinets.

The floor tiles are laid on a diagonal btw. I'm undecided on countertop material, and I haven't built the cabinets yet, so no other color choices have been made yet. So any other ideas on making a TINY kitchen seem larger would be greatly appreciated. It's tore down to the frame btw, so I'm redoing lighting, electrical outlets, etc. etc. Also it's a basement kitchen, so their are NO windows, and NO opportunity for any. Also, I can't move any walls, as it's encased in cement on 2 sides, a staircase going upstairs on another, and a fireplace wall on the other.

It's basically 8'(north to south) x10' (west to east). It has a doorway into the hallway on the west wall in the SW corner. It has another doorway into the living room on the south wall in the SE corner. Next to the SE door is a fridge cutout, so the fridge does not occupy the 8x10 square. The cabinets are going to be standard size cabinet/cupboards, all along the North wall, west wall to the doorway, and east wall, as far along the wall as the west walls. Their is basically space for the north wall cabinets with the sink in the middle. The west wall will can only house the freestanding stove alongside the north walls counter, facing east, and the east wall will basically only have the dishwasher, facing west as well as the north walls countertop, with more countertop above the DW of course. Making a very simple U shaped kitchen, with the fridge on the south wall. Making a diamond work area of Sink-North, DW/Prep Space-East, Fridge-South, Stove-West. A single person kitchen for sure.

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Chris, the only thought I have about the floor tile on the backsplash is that you just make sure you cut the tile to a typical backsplash size. You can round the cut edges so they aren't sharp. I think it looks nice when the tile from the floor is used on the backsplash, it is a way to cause a nice flow for your eye.

Just don't use them the original size or it will end up looking like floor tiles on the wall. That is not a good look.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:10AM
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... undecided on countertop material
... no other color choices have been made yet
... ideas on making a TINY kitchen seem larger
... NO windows


I looked at the floor tile. My answer is no.


To make a small kitchen look bigger:
light colors
off-center the cooktop and sink so that you have large expanse of counter on one side.
declutter; no exposed hanging utensils
many light types, many light sources, many LED or tube fluorescent under the wall cabinets lighting the counter and backsplash wall


the marbled pattern on your floor tiles is good for hiding crumbs and a small amount of dirt. This is typical for a floor.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:38AM
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I would say with that particular tile, no, it will not make the kitchen look larger.

I would say a closely linked palette will make the kitchen look larger, and would consider a very small tile like a mosaic or something that appears almost seamless or is seamless like the countertop material itself, or a large sheet of glass or acrylic painted on the back side in an color that works with the scheme.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 10:13AM
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Thanks for the replies all. I must have unchecked rather than checked the option to email with replies as I've been thinking that nobody has replied. :D

So it sounds like the things to do is keep the colors light, keep everything clear, clean, and separated, and use standard or smaller tiles for the backsplash in a color that ties into everything else. And lots of separate unique light sources.

Does anyone have any good image sources for lighting a small kitchen? I'm all looking for inspiration everywhere I can find it. :)

Btw, painted the west wall Behr Swiss Coffee, and I'm either doing the same on the South wall, or going white, as it goes past the stairs, and becomes the hallway. I'm thinking maybe having two different colored walls may keep it feeling like more of an open space, than a small box.

Thanks again everyone,

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:32AM
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screen photos cannot show real life lighting experience well. Do not search the web for examples of good lighting; it's a waste of your time.

One thing to learn is that long thin tube fluorescent bulbs have improved their color rendition astronomically in the last ten years. So, use some of them.

LED's will replace most of the incandescent type bulbs within a few years, so keep an open mind and be ready to switch. Or, install some LED's , or a lot of them.

Xenons are incandescent. All incandescent type bulbs produce heat primarily and light as a secondary output. So, don't let anyone pull the wool over your eyes by claiming xenons are better. (It may be true, that they are better, but it's still a lie.)

Low-voltage (12V or 24V) produce great white color that is stable over time.


I agree with your conclusions as stated, with one modification: no need to go to "standard or smaller tiles" although that may be what the market has to offer. You may find that beautiful flat things in larger sizes are not available. It is hard to make something beautiful and flat in a large size.

Your floor tile is a good tile to walk on. Backsplash material has to show something else to the eye. It could be a continuous sheet of stainless steel. It could be something that has (relatively speaking) some beauty or refinement in its coloration.

A sheet of stainless steel and the glue behind it take less than 1/8th of an inch away from your counter. Thin thin glass tile (nominally 1/8th") and the glue behind it take about 1/4th of an inch away from your counter. Think about that. You have a small kitchen. Ikea has a 1/8th" aluminum panel they sell as a backsplash (about $20 for a two square foot panel), called Fastbo. Buy a couple and you can return them a month later after you have lived with them in simulation mode for a month. Tape the panels to the wall behind the cooktop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fastbo backsplash

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Oooh, I like that Fastbo stuff. I live pretty close to Ikea too. Like maybe a 20 min drive or so. I'm for sure gonna go check it out. Thanks for the tip off. :)

Also, I think I'm gonna go with (making my own) horizontal bamboo cabinets, and stainless appliances as I can afford 'em. I have mostly black ones now. So now I'm just pondering a do-able countertop to go with it all. The forerunner in my minds eye is a light granite tile without the microbevel so I can butt them together. Friend of mine did that and it looks nearly like solid slab.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:42AM
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