A tiled kitchen island is the perfect way to upgrade your kitchen in both style and functionality. Read our guide to learn why ceramic tile is an ideal material for kitchen island surfaces and how to choose the perfect island tile for your kitchen.
Benefits of a Kitchen Island
As you are considering adding a kitchen island to your kitchen, these numerous benefits are worth noting:
- Additional counter space: Kitchen islands provide much-needed counter space for you to prepare and cook meals.
- Additional storage: Choose a kitchen island with built-in shelves or cabinets to add to your kitchen’s storage space.
- Varied seating options: Bar seating at kitchen islands gives you a less formal seating option in your kitchen.
- Defined space in open-concept layouts: If you have an open-concept kitchen and dining or living space, kitchen islands are the perfect way to define the kitchen area.
- Entertaining focal point: The kitchen island is the perfect place to gather around when you’re entertaining. Everyone will have easy access to food and beverages set out on your kitchen island.
- Design potential: As the focal point of your kitchen, the kitchen island is the perfect place to make a design impact. It also provides you with the opportunity to use multiple counter or cabinet looks in your kitchen.
Additionally, minor kitchen remodels provide a greater ROI than midrange and upscale kitchen remodels (recouping 81.1% of your investment compared to 59% and 53.5%). So, a simple addition or upgrade of your kitchen island may be more valuable in the long run than a complete kitchen overhaul.
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Ceramic Tile for Kitchen Islands
Low-maintenance care and versatile design options are priorities when it comes to choosing a material for your kitchen island. Ceramic tile excels in both.
For example, ceramic tile is scratch-, stain-, and flame-resistant. These are all incredibly important features on a surface where you’ll chop veggies, prepare food, and set hot pots and pans. And as an added benefit, ceramic tile countertops don’t require the regular sealing that can be required with granite and other porous surfaces.
In a time when hygiene is front of mind, it’s also important to note that ceramic tile is incredibly easy to clean. Wiping with water alone is enough to tackle most messes. What’s more, tile does not contain or harbor allergens commonly found in indoor air and is resistant to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth.
Style options abound with ceramic tile.
While you can choose tiles in any size for your kitchen island, large-format gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs provide a seamless surface perfect for countertops. Get the look of marble, granite, wood, and more with the added bonus of ceramic tile’s ability to create a one-of-a-kind kitchen island with tiles in unique colors, shapes, patterns, and even textures.
[Related: Low-Maintenance Benefits of Ceramic and Porcelain Tile]
Kitchen Island Tile Ideas
Here are some of our ideas for creating a stunning island with ceramic tile.
Tile Top Kitchen Island
A beautiful place to use tile on your kitchen island is for the countertop.
Ceramic tile’s durability, easy cleaning, and low-maintenance care make it a perfect countertop material. What’s more, large-format gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs enable you to use a single tile for your entire counter. That means that you can easily create the look of any material, including gorgeous white marble.
[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Counter Culture]
Kitchen Island with Tile Front
The front or back panels of kitchen islands are prime real estate to create a stylish tile design, and—durability bonus—it protects the surfaces from kicking feet! After you see how attractive tile under kitchen islands can be, it will seem like a missed opportunity not to use tile there.
Mosaic Kitchen Island Designs
Mosaic tile is a creative choice for kitchen island tile backsplashes (just as it is with above-the-counter backsplashes), as well as for tiled kitchen island countertops, especially when using the kitchen island as a design feature.
[Related: Bathroom and Kitchen Backsplash Tile: Your Comprehensive Guide]
Kitchen Islands With Integrated Appliances
While some homeowners choose to leave their kitchen islands unobstructed for additional counter space, ceramic tile’s versatility makes it possible to integrate appliances directly into your tile island.
This is a great option if your kitchen island happens to be the most convenient location for a sink or cooktop, or if you want to add a secondary appliance to your kitchen. For example, some homeowners opt for a smaller, secondary sink (sometimes called a prep sink) in addition to their main sink for additional functionality.
What’s more, integrating appliances directly into your island tile creates a sleek and modern look.
Coordinating Your Kitchen Island Tile
However you decide to incorporate tile into your kitchen island, consider coordinating (or contrasting) it with the rest of your kitchen tile.
For example, you could:
- Use the same tile style throughout your entire kitchen, including your kitchen island.
- Match your kitchen island tile with another tile application in your kitchen (see the photo above).
- Use a unique style for your island tile that makes it the kitchen’s main attraction.
[Related: Post-Pandemic Dream Kitchen Guide]
Tiled Kitchen Island Designs
You now have an idea of where to use tile on your kitchen island, but what style should you choose? Here are some of our favorite tiled kitchen island designs.
Granite-Look Tile Kitchen Island
Granite is a common look for kitchen countertops and islands. Large-format gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs are available in all kinds of granite looks, ranging from monochromatic to highly decorative.
Marble-Look Tile Kitchen Island
Marble-look tile is a trending choice for tiled kitchen islands, and white marble-look tile is the most popular of the marble looks. However, dark marble looks are also ideal to create a moody, dramatic, or more intimate vibe in your kitchen.
[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Modernized Marble]
Stone Tile Kitchen Island
For styles that range from rustic to contemporary, ceramic stone-look islands bring a warmth to your kitchen, indoors or out. Coordinate your kitchen island with stone-look ceramic flooring, such as the photo above, and you can transition the same look to your indoor living areas.
Coordinated Kitchen Island
Because of the wide variety of tile looks available, your tiled kitchen island can pull all the elements of your kitchen together—without compromising on style. Plus, you don’t need to worry about water damage, stains, or scratches with ceramic tile islands.
[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Refined Natural Wood Looks]
Terrazzo-Look Kitchen Island
Terrazzo-look ceramic tile incorporates flecks of differing sizes, shapes, and colors. Choose these specks to coordinate with other colors in your project, to add pops of contrasting color, or to add visual texture to your surfaces.
[Related: Tile Trend Ideas: Assorted Aggregates]
Tiled Island Shapes
Ceramic tile is available in a seemingly endless variety of colors and styles, as well as many different shapes. Choose ceramic tiles in subway, triangle, hexagon, round, fan shapes, and more!
Subway Tile Kitchen Island
Subway tile is an ever-popular tile choice so it’s no surprise we also see subway tile kitchen islands. Subway tile offers a variety of installation patterns as well: stacked, offset, and herringbone, to name just a few.
[Related: Everything You Need to Know About Subway Tile]
Tiled Kitchen Island FAQs
Can you tile a kitchen island?
Yes! You can tile the countertop as well as the sides of your kitchen island. Tiling your kitchen island is a great way to protect its surfaces from damage as well as upgrade the design.
How do you tile a kitchen island?
You may be able to tile your kitchen island yourself depending on the size of your tiles, your installation expertise, and your access to the proper tools. For example, tiling the front of your kitchen island using small tiles or mosaic tiles would be similar to tiling a backsplash. However, when tiling a kitchen island countertop with large-format gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs, it is necessary to call in professional tile installers. This is because of the size of the tile, which requires experience to handle and special tools to cut and install properly.
Whether you decide to tile your kitchen island yourself or to hire a professional, know that tile installations require qualified labor appropriate for your particular project in order for the installation to look and function as expected. This is especially important for areas exposed to wet conditions. Read more about the importance of qualified labor before moving forward with your installation.
Can a kitchen island go on top of tile?
Yes, you can put a kitchen island directly on top of your floor tile. Consult a professional who can determine if you may need to attach wooden strips (cleats) to the tiles to keep the island from moving.
How do you tile around a kitchen island?
You can tile flooring around a kitchen island the same way you would tile around walls and other obstacles. It’s recommended to dry-lay the tile around your island first. This involves cutting all the tiles (if necessary), laying them out, and accounting for the proper grout lines to make sure everything fits before installing.
Embrace (Kitchen) Island Life
Now you know why kitchen islands can be an advantage to your kitchen’s functionality and why ceramic tile is a versatile and stylish choice for kitchen islands. All that’s left is to choose the perfect ceramic tile for your island and kitchen!
Thankfully, we have even more kitchen island tile ideas for you to explore on Pinterest. And, for help choosing tile for the rest of your kitchen, explore the resources below:
- Bathroom and Kitchen Backsplash Tile: Your Comprehensive Guide
- The Complete Guide to Kitchen Floor Tile
- Post-Pandemic Dream Kitchen Guide
- Guide to Creating a Transitional Kitchen
- Using Porcelain and Ceramic Tile in Outdoor Kitchens
Where to Buy Kitchen Island Tile
Use the search tool at the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) to find a ceramic tile showroom in your area for a more individual, one-on-one shopping, design and education experience, or visit a home improvement or flooring retailer.