Tile by Style: The Rustic Kitchen’s Revival | Fireclay Tile
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Tile by Style: The Rustic Kitchen’s Revival

By Pearl

Your wardrobe is a forest of flannel and you have a worn copy of Self-Reliance on your nightstand. Weathered wood and whitewashed walls leave you weak in the knees. You would choose hiking over beach bumming any day. If any of these apply to you or even pique your interest, you’ve probably got an eye for Rustic style.

Rugged, improvisational, and inspired by nature, Rustic style takes influences from the Craftsman movement without the concern with artistic intent. Its origins won’t exactly be found in textbooks, but it makes it no less impactful as a design style. From the suburbs to the big city, Rustic style has emerged over recent years as a look that echoes authenticity and truth and can be incorporated in even the most modern of homes.

Architectural Elements

Much like Craftsman style. Rustic architecture is all about truth to materials and being one with nature. Simple and straightforward, it prizes function over form and asks for little ornamentation. Exposed wood beams and rafters frame open and airy layouts, lending the space a cozy yet expansive atmosphere. Stone is found from the foundation to floor to countertops. Fireplaces add an element of nostalgia, harkening back to a time that predated electricity and modern amenities.


Resourcefulness is key for anyone roughing it in the woods. Although you probably won’t find yourself in the same situation, your home can certainly look the part. Reclaimed woods bring a worn and weathered character to Rustic interiors and can be found as rafters, flooring, and in furniture. Stone and granite are lasting and natural materials that can elevate your space’s style. Sturdy and practical textiles like burlap and linen can also be found throughout in the form of window treatments, upholstery, and pillows, reaffirming Rustic design’s utilitarian and unfussy character (although nowadays you’ll often find them adorned with playful patterns and dressmaker details to add a cozy, personal touch).

Color Palette

Rustic style’s truth to materials is also revealed in its color palette, allowing the natural finish of wood and stone to shine through. Dominated by warm browns, slate grays, and mossy greens, it becomes a reflection of the outdoor environment. However, it’s easy to lighten the look with whitewashed finishes and lighter neutrals to create an airier, cottage-inspired atmosphere. Patina will also be found (natural or man-made) on wood and metal to achieve the vintage-style look that give Rustic design its well-travelled charm.

Rustic Kitchen

Your kitchen doesn’t have to strictly abide by Rustic ideals to give it the handsome, rough-hewn feel. New appliances can still feel right at home among weathered cabinetry, stone-topped islands, and vintage decor. Tile is the perfect way to bridge the gap between past and present. Prized for its durability and versatility, tile can lend your kitchen a Rustic look while adding brightness in contrast to darker wood and stone finishes.

Color Palette

When it comes to a Rustic kitchen, there’s likely going to be a lot of dark browns, grays, and weathering involved. If you love the rustic look but still want to keep it airy and light, a wall of tile in bright white could be just the thing to expand your space and bring all the elements together.

Exposed brick can also look right at home in Rustic design. You can emulate the look without having to move into an urban loft or brownstone If you want to maintain a weathered look or perhaps incorporate it into your design, our thin Brick tile can bring that to your space.

Brick colors shown: Glacier, Creme Brulee, and Rust

The rustic look can also get to be a bit overbearing if it’s overdone. To lighten the mood, try a cool accent wall like this blue-gray tile backsplash. Open shelving helps to keep the space feel open and casual.

Brick color shown: Willow

Looking to add a little bit of drama? A small black tile backsplash can be all you need to bring depth and dimension to your space.

Image: House Beautiful

Tile shown: 4 x 4 in Black Gloss

If you’re in dire need of color, a cool green hue like Spruce Gloss can add a breath of fresh air to a kitchen dominated by browns.

Tile color shown: Spruce Gloss

We love this subtle mosaic of light greens and browns behind this grand kitchen’s hooded range. You can get a similar look with a weathered blue and green blend of our glazed thin Brick tile.

Image and Design: Nicole Hollis

Brick colors shown: Willow, Parakeet, and Moss

Of course, your tile installation should be all about expressing your personal style. Love pattern? Our Classic Cuerda Seca Handpainted Tile can add fun and exotic flavor to rustic architecture.

Handpainted pattern shown: Lugo in the Cool Motif

Or, you can go with a neutral palette to make a more subtle statement (but no less eye-catching).

Handpainted pattern shown: Seville in the Neutral Motif


Tile can also be a sturdy, lasting, and more affordable alternative to stone flooring. Our EDGE Series tile features modular sizes that fit together seamlessly. You can also choose among an array of matte neutral glazes to find the perfect match for your kitchen’s color palette.

EDGE color shown: Magnetite

Classic layouts like Parquet or Herringbone can also lend a vintage-inspired look to your rustic kitchen design. It also looks great as a backsplash or accent wall.

Tile pattern shown: Parquet

Love this look? Order free 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.