Expensive or budget
Genuine handmade cement tiles are expensive because of the process of molding and pressing different colored cement. But you can find good quality look-alike budget alternatives. You don’t need frost-resistant encaustic tiles except for outdoors.
Floor or splashback
Kitchen interior design has only one rule for cement tiles; use them for floor or splashback panel, but never for both! They make such an impact that the focus must stay on one or the other to avoid visual overload.
Create a collage
The swirls and curves of decorative tiles can make a wonderful random collage; some come in assorted boxes so you’re not tied to a pre-formed pattern. But avoid mixing curved and straight geometrical shapes; choose one or the other.
A unique pattern
Use an assortment of tiles in your kitchen designs to create your unique pattern. Before starting, create a model. Photograph a collection of different tiles, then photocopy as many as you need to experiment with paper tiles before you start.
It’s perfectly possible, using straight-line two-tone cement tiles, to create a pattern with a 3D appearance. This effect can be interesting on a splashback, especially if it is part of a black and white kitchen, but do avoid it for floors.
Careful with color
Cement tiles are not just for monotone kitchens; in fact, in a small space, they could be overpowering. A touch of color, perhaps eggshell blue or pale terracotta, to offset the background gray of the tiles can soften otherwise stark kitchen color schemes.
Keep in scale
Don’t let enthusiasm run away with you. Particularly in a small kitchen, a splashback panel in cement tiles looks wonderful, but a whole wall could be overpowering. Think of your tiles as a focal point, not an overall background.
Keep it simple
For the rest of your kitchen decoration, simple is the watchword. By all means, mix and match your favorite colors for walls and fittings, but don’t let them compete with your cement tiles. There can be only one focal point!
Cement tile highlights
If you’re not quite ready for a full-on cement tile theme, consider using just a handful as spot highlights in an otherwise uniform tile color. The kitchen tile texture should match the unglazed cement tiles for a coherent overall effect.
Use modeling, both with paper and 3D home design software, to test and visualize ideas before committing to your scheme.
For a small kitchen, choose floor or wall cement tiles: never both. And beware of wavy-feeling patterns for floors.
These tiles have impact! Keep the rest of your kitchen decoration simple.