Remodeling little spaces demands big ideas! If you’re planning to remodel a small kitchen, you need a clear vision and the confidence to make the most of your space. By redesigning the backsplash, cabinets, and counter area, you can flip the room from cramped to clever — all by knowing these cool design tricks.
The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s a space to gather as a family, but also where we perform the ritual of cooking, meaning it should be welcoming as well as workable. Every kitchen deserves some decorating love! No matter how snug the space, choosing the right tiles can breathe life and creativity into a room. From beautiful backsplashes to vibrant countertops, you can channel all sorts of design inspiration while making a narrow space efficient. Whether you’ve got an L-shaped layout or a tiny kitchenette, a narrow galley kitchen in an apartment or condo, here are some expert tile ideas for a small kitchen!
Contemporary kitchen tile
Trendy and tasteful at the same time, a contemporary design feels like home for the artsy, fashion-minded personality! It’s an opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to your home decor; instead of your typical square tile, you can upgrade your condo kitchen with something more expressive like abstract designs, leaf shapes, or geometric mosaics.
Most people avoid busy patterns when they’re working with a cozy space - lots of small details and lines can easily feel overwhelming if there are too many clustered together. The best way to utilize creative patterns in a small space? Use one motif as a focal point and keep the rest of your surfaces clean and minimal!
This Sand Valley and Thassos backsplash tile is a charming example! Featuring a combination of whites and grays in an elegant leaf pattern, it matches effortlessly with neutral colored cabinets. It also works well to make a small space look bigger because the rhythmic flow of the tiles create the illusion of more visual space.
Ace this design concept by introducing other contemporary elements: a dome-shaped pendant light fixture and a Scandinavian-style wooden table to bring a sense of minimalism that balances out the statement tile backsplash. The neutral tones in the wood and white painted cabinets each echo a color found in the marble of the mosaic tile, creating a cohesive design and a sense of unity.
Minimalist kitchen tile
A minimalist concept is ideal for a cramped kitchen remodel! With a focus on clean lines and subtle textures, it’s all about taking the “less is more” approach with your kitchen tile.
This Mallorca Green tile adds an artisanal home finish, revealing tones of pearl and subtle hints of olive in the glazed ceramic finish. With the look of a handcrafted zellige tile, the backsplash offers a calming feel. At the same time, the classic subway shape is clean and crisp, making this minimalist design a natural choice for a snug kitchen. This vertical stacked layout avoids distracting grout lines.
Pair this tile white or wood cabinets to harmonize the theme - this earthy kitchen uses floating shelves in natural wood to play up the organic elements of the space.
Charming patterns for a vintage-inspired kitchen
Feeling creative? Mixing design themes from the past and present brings a unique touch! For a twist on modern cabinets, a vintage pattern tile for your backsplash will add depth and dimension to a narrow kitchen.
A 1920’s inspired Art Deco theme hits the mark. This interwoven Beige and White Carrara tile features clean geometric lines and fine details to jazz up a plain backsplash. The complexity of the pattern tricks the eye into thinking the wall has more scope! The detailed design is a counterpoint to the minimal cabinets in crisp white, which picks up on the light hues in the marble. Keep in mind, light colors help open up the space!
How about a tile design with even more history? Going back to ancient Morocco, fish scale tile is a staple of beautiful wall designs. Its scalloped shape brings a sense of movement, capturing the flow of waves. For a small kitchen remodel, go for a mini fish scale tile like the Azul Cielo Thassos and Carrara tile to balance out charcoal gray Shaker cabinets and draw the eye to the main cooking area.
Invite fresh farmhouse vibes into your kitchen — but with an industrial flair! The goal is to achieve the trendiness of an urban-contemporary concept, while also evoking the coziness of the country. This is a great option for apartment living when you want to capture a little cottage charm in the big city! Blending rustic and loft styles is easy with a brick-inspired feature wall in a galley kitchen.
This Brooklyn Brick tile is a brilliant choice for an industrial farmhouse kitchen wall. Its fresh fusion of grey and brown tones give you tons of room to coordinate with surrounding elements. Pair with other architectural pieces such as metalwork art and a factory style lamp.
Finish the theme with some touches of greenery to add a natural touch to the neutral home decor! Some mini potted plants will add outdoor ambiance to make your small cooking area look bigger. Placing them on top of cabinets or utilizing hanging pots is a great way to add greenery without taking up valuable counter space.
Add Depth with Glass Tiles -
Hexagon tiles offer a refreshing break from traditional squares! To spice things up even more, this Recycled Glass Hexagon Mosaic tile has a wood look, which plays a cool optical trick.
You get the durability of glass with the natural beauty of wood — clever, right? Not to mention - the upcycled material is a great sustainable building material!
Glass tiles are a smart choice for any kitchen wall! The glistening quality of polished glass bounces light around the room, creating an expanse of iridescence that maximizes the feeling of space.
Here’s another neat trick: To make the most of limited counter space, take advantage of white floating shelves like the ones pictured here. They carry less visual weight than dark cabinets, making the room seem more airy and spacious. You’ll have to keep them clean of clutter to maintain that open and airy feeling, so check out our tips on how to create a functional and minimalist kitchen with just the cooking essentials!
Cozy cottage kitchen charm -
Sometimes it’s best to follow your gut and make a design choice that feels natural and cozy for a small kitchen. That’s why cottage-style kitchen designs are on trend these days! It’s a matter of being creative with a personal touch without following strict decor rules. The Recycled Glass Mixed Leaf tile is a celebration of nature and positive energy that adds a little country charm to vintage-inspired appliances. Pair these organic themes with wood shelves and potted plants for a fresh-air feel. Not only will these natural elements expand the space, it’ll create a warm and welcoming atmosphere!
Classic charm for a minimalist kitchen
The classics never go out of style! Keep the spark alive in your cozy kitchen with a backsplash that evokes both new and old design themes.
The Carrara And Bardiglio Marble Mosaic tile features a classic checkered pattern with a splash of modern playfulness by designing with alternating sticks of grey and cream marble. Perfect for a backsplash wall - the petite scale of these tiles will add more depth to a close cooking area. The color-pairing possibilities are vast, playing well with white, grey, wood or blue toned cabinets!
A tip to increase the charm factor of a narrow kitchen area - install lighting under shelves and cabinets to make the counter space you do have feel more accessible and reduce dark shadows.
Rules for a small kitchen remodel
Now that you’ve got some design inspo, the next step is learning the rules of the trade! In order to make a narrow kitchen look bigger, you should choose tiles with clever attention to color, texture, and size. All these elements can play into the illusion of more space!
Functionality is also key: kitchen tiles must be easy to maintain. By finding the perfect balance between practical and creative building materials, you’ll land on a design concept worth the effort.
We’ve shared some of our favorite unique designs to add personality to limited space from the clean and minimal to the intricately detailed - you can check out more of our favorite tiles for kitchen use to find the perfect design for your project!
Function is just as important as fashion when it comes to building your dream home. That’s why porcelain and ceramic are some of the best materials to use for your kitchen tile backsplash or walls. These materials are durable and non-porous so they stand up well to water and stains - they can be easily wiped clean of splatters when cooking. Unless you’re the neat-freak type who obsessively cleans around the kitchen, it’s best to opt for these low-maintenance materials.
One of the amazing features about ceramic or porcelain tile is that they can resemble a variety of natural textures. Like a chameleon, the texture can mimic a wood grain pattern or even a naturally veiled surface like stone. Neat, right?
Another practical choice for a backsplash design is glass kitchen tile. It's non-porous so it won’t absorb liquids or grow bacteria in the cracks. In terms of aesthetics, its reflective surface sparkles with light to brighten up the kitchen - a tried and true tactic to creating the illusion of more space! Another perk is that the hues in glass are especially saturated so the colors are less likely to fade over time.
For a small kitchen remodel, simpler is better. Mixing and matching different tiles can work wonders in a grander space, but in a small kitchen design, the design concept should be less busy.
If you over-complicate the backsplash tile, it could create a narrowing visual effect that shrinks the size of the room. Yet, if the tiles are too large, you may have the same problem. To make your small kitchen look bigger, you must choose tiles that are sized to scale.
Go for small to medium size tiles. Not only will they appear more visually sound, but it avoids the process of having to cut the tiles down to a required dimension. By limiting the need to cut the tiles, you avoid a complicated install. Ideally, the final result should be chaos-free and neat-looking.
Follow your color ABC’s
Making clever color choices is key for making a small kitchen look bigger. First step is knowing about color theory: how to play with optics.
Let’s start with the rule of darks and lights. Dark colors tend to shrink the space, while light colors have an expanding effect. In fashion, this design rule is precisely why women love the “little black dress” — it slims down their figure! Using this logic, you wouldn’t want to use dark colored tiles in a small kitchen. Light colored tiles like sand, pearl, or white will make the kitchen feel more roomy. Guess this is why white kitchens continue to be one of the most popular interior styles!
The next rule is consistency. Stick to one tile pattern and color, rather than combining different styles over a small area. An accent tile can look dynamic and interesting along a larger wall, but when space is limited, it can appear too busy and cluttered.
The last rule is about coordination: design experts recommend matching the kitchen tile to the cabinets when space is an issue. Making sure they both belong to the same color family can create unity. For example, a white and blue mosaic tile would pair well with a white cabinet, while earth-tone tiles would pair well with neutral paint or wood cabinets. You can choose a coordinating countertop to add dimension to the space and create a sense of separation around waist height - keep lighter colors above and darker colors below to increase the sense of height and the illusion of tall ceilings!
There you have it! Essential rules to remodel a small kitchen space and make it as efficient and stylish as possible! We hope you liked our tips to renovate a cramped cooking area with useful designs and creative additions - let us know what tricks you found the most useful in the comments!