Small Kitchen Design Ideas

The best small kitchen design is one that finds a perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. A tile makeover may be just what you need to breathe new life into an interior space. Hugely practical and immensely versatile, tiles can be used in various ways to make a small kitchen feel bigger, brighter, and well… seriously stylish. 

Neutral Kitchen with Wood Look Marble Arabesque tile backsplash

Our enchanting Wooden Beige Arabesque Tile with Thassos Lines proves that decorating with tile can transform the heart of your home. From sophisticated marble to captivating mosaics, the right color, size, finish, and shape can create a visual effect that catches the eye and opens up a small space. 

A clever selection of wall and floor tiles for a tiny kitchen can be a minefield. But when decorated well using a few simple tricks, tiles can be an impactful addition that infuses charm and character. And for a size-challenged room, they truly force you to get super creative!

Ahead, we've rounded up some of our go-to upgrades with statement-making and easy-to-clean tiles to help you reimagine your compact space without a major remodel—and craft an aesthetic that feels like it's "living large" while catering to all your hosting needs.

  • Exaggerate space with reflective tiles
  • Instead of being a one-size-fits-all addition, reflective tiles come in a plethora of colors, shapes, and sizes. Because of this variety, they are a fantastic pick for not only introducing a practical finish but also a huge amount of personality. Even better, glass or metallic tiles that naturally reflect light and bounce it around the room subtly amplify the perception of space and create a bright, grand feel. 

    Glacier Aura Gray 3X12 Polished Glass Subway Tile Kitchen Backsplash

    A classic and exquisite pick, our Glacier Aura Gray 3x12 Polished Glass Tile is the perfect reflective surface finish that’s sure to accentuate the overall feel and look of a design. 

    A bright white, cream, warm beige, or soft pastel backsplash tile is a great choice as lighter hues lend a clean yet receding effect that prevents the kitchen from feeling cramped and dark. Pair with light-toned cabinets to create a cohesive look without obstructive edges or boundaries.

    If your taste leans toward a dark-colored mosaic tile, see if you can find one that fits the look that you’re going for but also possesses a reflective quality. Any material that makes the most of a room’s natural lighting will visually expand the tiniest of rooms and add depth all at once. And the best-kept secret… the slippery nature of glass tiles is easy to wipe clean making them an ideal option for a hardworking kitchen!

    Built-in At Home Bar with blue glass hexagon backsplash tile

  • Line tiles up to emphasize the vertical
  • Let's face it, the days of installing tile backsplashes to cover the area between the countertop and the cabinets above are far gone. With the trend for open shelves making waves in interiors, it only makes perfect sense to install a backsplash that extends to the ceiling to complement the fuss-free modern design aesthetic

    Vertical Subway Tile Layout with Zellige Blue Reef

    Laying tiles vertically draws the eye up and, in turn, gives an illusion of height… Our La Riviera Blue Reef Ceramic Subway Tile can have a massive visual impact on small spaces with low ceilings. Keep the rest of the room slightly subdued to draw attention to the vertical dimension. 

     Aside from creating a striking focal point, taking the backsplash to the ceiling is an effective way to visually expand a tiny space and unite all aspects of the space. If you have a compact room with a relatively low ceiling, laying long format wall tiles vertically gives the impression of added height and invites the eye to roam beyond eye level—thus lifting the lid off a boxy confined kitchen. 

    Paired with open shelves, this trick is a game changer! Besides the typical subway tile, unique layouts such as an elongated picket-shaped tile lend a stylish and elegant touch that’s poised to stand the test of time.

  • Stack tile horizontally for a wider feel
  • Calacatta Gold Marble Subway Tile Kitchen Backsplash with hanging Woven Pendant Lights

    Here, the Calacatta Gold Polished Marble Subway Tile does a brilliant job of directing the eye horizontally, creating a wider and open feel. Sticking to a palette of neutrals contributes to the airy, bright, and sophisticated design finish. 

    On the other hand, if you have the luxury of a high ceiling but limited floor area, giving the eye a horizontal path to follow creates a sense of a wider, more open space (width and depth). What's more, horizontal straight stacked tiles—reasonably sized instead of larger format—offer a renewed focus on simplicity and a more contemporary finish. 

  • Get creative with tile open shelving 
  • It goes without saying that creative storage solutions are needed for limited spaces. When working with a small-sized kitchen, open shelving is a storage option design pros love. Of course, it occupies far less space than bulky cabinets and infuses an otherwise utilitarian space with personality and an ultimate airy feel. 

    Arched Coffee Nook with Textured Carrara Honeycomb Hexagon Marble Mosaic Tile Backsplash and Floating Wood Shelves

    Textured Carrara Honeycomb Hexagon Marble Mosaic Tile provides an understated backdrop for these wooden open shelves. The overall design and color palette delivers an airy yet stylish finish. 

     In most instances, open shelves made from stained or reclaimed wood are known as the darlings of kitchen design. While wood certainly has its place, splurging on custom-made tile shelving makes a swoon-worthy statement even in the smallest of spaces. 

    Porcelain tile offers incredible durability and stain resistance—a protective measure to safeguard both the shelves and wall surface. A few floating tile shelves that blend in with the color of the walls deliver a distinctly clean-cut look while keeping neatly curated essentials in reach. Similarly, dark-colored tile shelving against neutral backsplash and light-toned cabinets gives the room a pop.  

  • Distract with a captivating accent wall 
  • Don’t let size stop you from making a big décor statement. Available in porcelain, ceramic, glass, and more, tile can shake up the monotony of your space instantly and create a much more daring and intriguing design moment. Create an attention-grabbing accent wall to bring a fresh twist that punches up the visual interest in a tiny space. 

    White and blue kitchen with a black and copper French range and Blue Leaf Recycled Glass Mosaic Tile backsplash

    Looking to add a vibrant punch? A striking feature wall should be just as unique as your home aesthetic!  Our Blue Leaf Recycled Glass mosaic will do just the trick.

     A feature wall allows you to play with various tile textures, patterns, and arrangements, resulting in a kitchen space with depth and a lively rhythm. Keeping the rest of the room’s design elements and floor fairly subtle showcases accent tile the most and draws attention away from the room’s size.

  • Embrace the uniformity of a monochromatic scheme 
  • A combination of contrasting colors, dissimilar patterns, and massive furnishings create visual barriers that interrupt the eye, making confined spaces appear smaller. So, when decorating a kitchen too petite for your tastes, sticking to a tone-on-tone color scheme can push back the walls and amplify the sense of openness. 

    Gray and white kitchen with a wall of Silver Diamond Glass Mosaic Tile

    Even in a restrained color scheme, the Silver Diamond Glass Mosaic Tile manages to punctuate through with its striking diamond pattern and a gorgeous matte finish. 

    Encompassing many shades and tones of a single hue, a small kitchen design with wall and floor tiles, countertops, cabinetry, and all other fittings close in color value delivers the greatest sense of expansiveness. Staying within three variations of single base color and making use of different textures and patterns prevents the overall design scheme from coming across as flat and heavy-handed. 

    For instance, to work tile into a monochromatic color scheme, we recommend opting for a backsplash in a textural finish that differs from your floor tile for a beguiling effect that’s anything but flat. Pair with cabinetry in natural wood texture and shiny metallic fittings for visual weight and extra dimension. 

    White and wood kitchen with Roman Flower Bardiglio & Carrara Marble Mosaic Tile backsplash under the range hood

    While white, beige, cream, and gray may seem like the go-to choices to transform a space with ethereal serenity, they aren’t the only base color options to maximize the look and feel of a compact space. Varying shades and tones of pink, blue, yellow, purple, or green add heaps of personality and inviting ambiance. Case in point: an all-yellow monochromatic bliss, from punchy butterscotch to gentle Crayola lemon, results in an undeniably stylish design that feels fresh, open, and bright.

    And if the kitchen has plenty of natural light, a dramatically dark monochromatic scheme throughout won’t make the walls feel enclosed. Adding an accent, say a light fixture or barstools, in a contrasting color is a fantastic way to inject a spritely, characterful attitude without disrupting the monochromatic effect. 

  • Create a seamless look from walls to floors
  • Design experts are well aware that the amount of floor space you have and what the eye perceives aren't always the same thing. Trick the eye with boundaries of perception by zeroing in on one type of tile on the walls, floors, and other surfaces deserving of a stylish finish to allow the eye to travel fluidly around the room. 

    Organic modern kitchen style with gray and white marble lantern tile on the backsplash and island

    We love how this Carrara Chic with Thassos Dots Marble Mosaic Tile injects a sense of dynamism and movement.  The captivating soft teardrop pattern and delicate dots are sure to create a lasting impression. 

    This eliminates dividing lines and instead creates a sense of roominess and uninterrupted flow, thereby making your space feel unified and bigger than it actually is. If you’re sticking with the same tile on walls, floors, and maybe the sides of your kitchen island, you have to nail it exactly so as not to spoil the visual harmony of the room. 

    When the right tile is applied to both floors and walls, it can create a truly premium look. Choosing a busy or overbearing tile or color scheme can shrink your space even more than before while also upsetting any aesthetic intention you had going into this project; but when everything goes well with matching tiles for floor-to wall application--you got yourself an elegant home.

  • Get graphic with space-enhancing patterned floor tile
  • Choosing the right floor tile adds up to a big difference in small room design. Patterned tiles certainly pack a punch and are a fantastic way to add character and pizzazz to the room. When it comes to highlighting geometrics, think outside of the box with shapely tile styles that wonderfully lengthen and widen the room so it feels more spacious. 

    Black and White Basket Weave Kitchen Floor

    This bold black and white geometric floor tile punctuates this small space with a touch of vibrancy and playfulness. 

    If you would rather stick to a simple geometric shape but in varying colors, high-contrast monochromatic black and white hexagon tiles in a fairly large size set the stage for a modern dose of drama. If, like us, you're team “richer, more distinctive charm,” then we're all in favor of letting white and deep black marble with elegant veining be the spice of life! If black feels heavy-handed, we recommend substituting it for a darker gray to make the contrast with white a little more considered and subtle. 

    If you do choose an overly striking patterned floor tile, minimal grout joints combined with simple white wall tiles and a plain ceiling provide a clean, sleek look that doesn’t overwhelm the space. Porcelain tile is a serious MVP for modernity, durability, and strength. For this reason, the beauty of choosing patterned porcelain floor tile means that not only will you win aesthetically, but you’ve also made a practical decision for a spot that gets a lot of play.

  • Shake up a tight space with diagonal tiling
  • Mallorca Black Zellige Ceramic Subway Tile in a Herringbone Layout for  Modern Kitchen Backsplash

    Changing perspective with a diagonal tile layout is a great way to open up a kitchen space that feels tight and enclosed.

    Ultra-modern small kitchen designs run the risk of appearing overly clinical with their sharp angles and clean lines. To inject a pleasant visual surprise into the room, consider ditching the straight grid pattern when laying your kitchen floor tiles by going diagonal. This rotary arrangement of tiles, sometimes called bias layout, deploys exactly 45 degrees angle to the walls. The good news is that diagonal layout in large format tiles emphasizes the individuality of the room’s design, creates an opening effect that visually expands the area of ​​the space, and subtly loosens any rigidity. 

     Harness the power of showstopping mosaic tiles 

    It may be true that the many grout lines of small mosaic tiles create excessive fragmentation. This is one of the reasons designers and homeowners alike tend to lean toward larger format tiles for a clean, seamless look that visually enhances the spaciousness of the room. Of course, multiple grout lines look a little busy as a result of visually breaking the space into tiny pieces. Nevertheless, you can minimize the effect with a clever trick that impacts the perceived size of your space

    Neutral Beige and White Basket Weave Patterned Kitchen Floor Tiles

    The combination of Crystal Sand and Thassos White polished marble creates a room that’s visually appealing as it is elegant without detracting from the room’s other design elements. 

    If you fancy tiny mosaic floor tiles but don’t want your space to feel cramped, a grout color that matches your mosaic tile color creates a minimalist look with the grout lines fading into the background—resulting in a floor finish that’s quite refined. No matter how alluring and trendy the thought of using contrast grout may be, give preference to classic combinations of the same tile and grout shade to expand the feel and look of the room.

    Having a small space doesn’t mean your kitchen should lack in style and functionality. The right finishes can add extra oomph and create an illusion of a much bigger room. Tile Club offers a range of floor and wall tiles perfect for stretching your small kitchen design to reach its maximum style perk.

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