Do you love the look of a wood floor but have some places in your home where wood just wouldn’t work? Fortunately, savvy manufacturers have answered this age-old dilemma with a new-age product: wood-look porcelain tiles. Although they’ve been on the scene for a few years, recent refinements in colors, improvements in textures, and the increasing number of manufacturers entering the market have raised quality while driving down prices enough to bring these products into the mainstream. But what can you do with wood-look tiles? Here are a few of our favorite – and sometimes unexpected – uses.
Kitchen floors. Traditionally, wood and water don’t mix. Since the areas around kitchen sinks and prep faucets are magnets for water while spills around cooktops, refrigerators, and even coffeepots are common, tile provides the look of wood without the cleanup issues. New gray tones complement the style of some of today’s most popular kitchen design trends.
- Unique backsplashes. While walls don’t normally take as much water abuse as floors, one area where they do is backsplashes – particularly around sinks and cooktops. Use wood tiles on these vertical surfaces on their own or combine with other types of tiles for a refined look.
- Bathroom floors. Since bathrooms see even more water usage than kitchens, it’s nice to have an attractive option that can take everything from damp towels to wet feet without worries.
- Powder room and bathroom walls. The look of wood palette walls has become increasingly popular as a way to add an aged character and texture to these statement-making spaces. Unfortunately, just as with floors, wood and humidity don’t mix. Wood tiles allow you to get the look without the worry. You can play with colors and textures to add a more rustic feel or an upscale look to this treatment.
- Entryways. There’s a welcoming and homey appeal to a wood foyer, but these spaces do take the brunt of the elements. Eliminate the worries while preserving the aesthetic.
- Mud room floors. These casual spaces are ideally suited to wood floors – think of a Nantucket cottage complete with coat hooks, a painted bench and wicker storage baskets and odds are you are already imagining a weathered wood floor. But muddy boots, wet gloves and dripping umbrellas are just begging for the easy clean up of tile.
Laundry rooms and pet centers.Inject some personality into what can be a boring space with tiles that can handle an overflowing utility sink or the occasional washer repair. Since these rooms often double as pet centers, tile is a practical option.
- Children’s rooms or guest rooms.These spaces are ideally suited for playful designs. Create an indoor campground by tiling the walls, a beachfront escape with a weathered, textured floor, or an urban retreat with a sleek and monotone wood tile.
- Fireplace surrounds. Wood and fire are another combination that doesn’t mix. That’s why these tiles can safely add interest and texture to your fireplace’s exterior. Try pairing them with a rustic mantel or opt for worn metal for an industrial chic spin.
- Tile borders. Intricate tile mosaics in grand entrances or formal hallways are often framed by a wood border. However, the discrepancies in the thickness of the materials as well as the manner in which they are installed have put this project out of reach for many DIYers. Wood tiles make it simple to create a beautiful bordered mosaic on your own and likewise reduce labor costs if you are having a professional install one for you.