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Tile by Style: A Taste of Traditional in the Kitchen

By Pearl

Tile by Style: A Taste of Traditional in the Kitchen

Tile shown: 2 x 4 in Mica; Image: Malcolm Fearon Photography

What is Traditional Style?

Whether you're just designing for your kitchen tile backsplash or taking on a full on renovation, If you find yourself wanting to recreate the home that you grew up in, chances are your tastes lean on traditional kitchen design. Although traditional kitchens cover a wide spectrum of eras and styles, there are key characteristics that work together to create an inviting atmosphere that’s timelessly familiar (while accommodating modern amenities). 

Tile shown: 2 x 6 in Foggy Morning

Design Details.

When it comes to traditional design, it really comes down to the details. Cabinetry is adorned with molding and raised panels, while islands can come carved with pilasters and fluted detailing. You’ll also see hutches with glass door paneling that might showcase heirloom china. Adorned with a hood, the stovetop can act as a centerpiece that gives your space old school appeal.


Cabinets will generally be made of wood. For those who can’t resist antique stores and flea markets, warm and slightly weathered finishes can add a patina that lends an heirloom feel.

Countertops tend to be topped with granite that compliments the surrounding cabinetry. Sometimes you’ll find them made of finished wood. Both these materials lend a quality and richness that can’t be found with more modern elements like steel or glass.

Color Palette

Traditional kitchen designs are dominated by neutral palettes. Wood finishes in rich mahogany and warm chestnut are a favorite, keeping the space feeling distinctive and sophisticated. Lighter creams and ivories feel more light and airy while still feeling cozy and comfortable. In today’s kitchens finished in pure white or dark black, giving the classic design a modern upgrade.

Tile for the Traditional Kitchen
Today’s versatility in traditional style invites a wider variety of design possibilities. Despite these key characteristics of traditional design, today's kitchen tile trends give you an opportunity to give your kitchen your own unique point of view. Not only is it a lasting design solution—tile offers an easy-to-clean backdrop for your kitchen while tying the space together. No matter your kitchen design idea, there's a tile that will complement your taste.

Color shown: 6 x 6 in Blue Spruce; Image: Scott Davis Photography

Tile Color

One of the most impactful tile features will be the color you choose. Backsplash tile is one way to lend a unique element to your kitchen decor while still maintaining its classic roots. Most traditional kitchen backsplashes will feature a neutral palette to complement warmly finished cabinetry. Crackle-glazed tile can also create an aged patina that achieves an antiqued look and feel.

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Kelp; Image: Open Homes Photography

Accent colors can add a refreshing contrast to traditional kitchens. A blue backsplash can be a cool complement to fresh white cabinetry. 

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Caribbean; Image: Open Homes Photography

In the end, you can’t go wrong with neutrals. They resemble classic materials like wood and granite while adapting to changing tastes. Here are 5 tried-and-true hues for your traditional kitchen.

Tile colors shown: Ultra Cream, Foggy Morning, Mushroom, Oak, and London Fog

Tile Pattern

For a look that’s more recessive, subway or offset tile patterns are the most popular backsplash solution. A classic arrangement that complements almost any look, they lend traditional style’s architectural character while seamlessly blending into your existing decor.

Brick shown: Cotton and Snow; Image: Malcolm Fearon Photography

Herringbone is also a classic tile pattern that can add depth and sophistication. Install it behind your range for a unique focal point to break up the uniformity of a subway arrangement. It’s also a popular flooring alternative that adds a hint of pattern without overpowering the space. Herringbone in subdued neutral hue will also keep it in the background.

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Cerulean

Architectural Moldings

Tile molding incorporates an additional architectural element that seamlessly blends in with surrounding tile. Use it to demarcate your kitchen’s borders or to frame a unique pattern or design. Try to find one that closely matches the molding on your cabinets for a design that looks cohesive and blends in with the rest of your decor.

Love the look of a traditional kitchen?  Order free Tile samples now.  Need some help?  Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.