Put Ceramic Tile in the Kitchen?

When you look at it more closely, you’ll see that tile does have its place in the kitchen–but not necessarily everywhere.  Let’s take a look at where tile works best in the kitchen; where it doesn’t; and where you could kinda go either way.

Best:  Tile Backsplash

Tile Backsplash in Kitchen

Ceramic tile probably works best in the kitchen for backsplashes.

The backsplash is the border of whatever-material-you-choose that acts as a horizontal border above the countertops.  Backsplash materials can range from pressed tin to ceramic tile to granite to absolutely nothing (you really don’t need a backsplash).

As the name implies, it’s supposed to catch splashes.  But it also goes behind the stove, and does a bang-up job of preventing grease from runing your walls.

Not only is ceramic tile beautiful as a backsplash, but glazed tile is 100% wipe-able (but remember that the grout lines are not).

So-So:  Tile Floor

We suggest using special gel mats or just throw rugs to alleviate the discomfort from standing on ceramic tile for long periods.

Perfect for kitchen?  Seems like it.  After all, ceramic tile is water-proof and hygenic.

But many cooks don’t like ceramic tile for kitchens for these reasons:

  • Everything breakable will absolutely break when dropped on ceramic tile.  Other materials (wood, vinyl) will have some “give.”
  • Ceramic tile is hard to stand on for long periods.

Worst:  Tile Counters

Again, looks beautiful and is mostly waterproof.  So, why are many cooks averse to using ceramic tile as kitchen countertops?

  • Grout lines hard to clean.
  • Not a smooth, flat surface for preparing food (due to those grout lines).

If you really, really want tile counters in your kitchen, you can mitigate those bad things by making sure your grout lines are properly sealed; using bigger tiles to minimize grout lines; installing granite tiles that don’t need grout.

Kitchen Countertop Height

Yes.  But these measurements are not subject to any kind of legally-binding building code.  Residential countertop height is just considered a good building practice, not a rule of law you need to follow.

The height of kitchen countertops is actually controlled by the height of the base cabinets, which is 34 1/2″.

This is not the total height, because you need to add on the countertop thickness.  Figure that the countertop thickness will be around 1 1/2″ and this would bring everything up to around 36″ for most countertops.

Remember, that not all kitchen countertops are the same.  You’ve also got breakfast bars, which, as shown here, would be around 42″ high.

Summary

  • Kitchen Countertop Height:  36″ total.
  • Breakfast Bar Height:  42″ total.

Kitchen Countertop Height

7 Steps to a European Kitchen

Remember when the word “European” stood for everything swank, sophisticated, and simply cooler than “American”?

Well, those were the days when TWA and PanAm were still flying, Julia Child was a major force in the culinary world, and Francois Truffaut was an important cinematic figure (Who?  Well, that’s the point).  In other words, those days of European ascendancy are long gone.

But a European kitchen still has its strong points, and the European kitchen style is still highly desired by homeowners on both sides of the Atlantic.  While not necessarily warm and fuzzy, kitchen design in the European style is highly practical and durable.

Let’s look at some basic hallmarks of European kitchen design.

1.  Stainless Steel Sink

Stainless Steel Sink

The stainless steel sink is one of your cheaper components of the European kitchen.  Available at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, stainless steel sinks with drain trays and marine edges (lips to keep water in) shout European pragmatism.

2.  Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

When searching for kitchen cabinets, you can get either framed or unframed (frameless) kitchen cabinets.  Apparently, framed kitchen cabinets are for “crude Americans,” because nothing says European kitchen like a huge set of flat, stark frameless cabinets.

3.  Bold Colors

Bold Red Color Kitchen

Why be boring?  Vibrant colors like reds, oranges, and even purples are often used in European kitchen designs.  And don’t forget that checkerboard floor, either!

4.  White Kitchen

White Kitchen Design

Can’t stand the thought of a kitchen that looks like exploded lipstick?  Well then, you’re in luck, because the white kitchen can just as easily pass for a European kitchen–albeit a bargain version of it.  El cheapo white melamine cabinets with some Euro-design hardware can instantly transform the look of your ordinary American-style kitchen.

5.  Frosted Glass Cabinet Doors

Frosted Glass Cabinet Doors

After some of the more expensive, cabinetry suggestions above, it’s time again for something cheap.  Frosted glass (or even pebbled glass) cabinet door inserts can replace your current clear glass.  Or, purchase new cabinet doors that can accommodate glass, and then buy frosted glass and have your local frame shop cut to size.  Easier and cheaper than it looks.

6.  Crazy, Creative Storage

Kitchen Storage

Remember how the country of Europe is supposed to be all tiny and cramped and all?  Well, it’s kinda true, and it’s getting smaller all the time.  That’s why those nutty Europeans have had crazy, creative, and often outlandish storage.  Or instead, is it simply smarter storage than in the good ol’ USA?  Take your pick.

7.  Design with Horizontals

European Kitchen Cabinets

Space issues or not, one of the strongest features of European kitchen design is the bold use of horizontals.