something wonderful underfoot: clé tile for the kitchen floor

by clé tile | published: Jul 28, 2022

belgian reproduction star and cross. design: taylor + taylor / photo: reagan taylor photography

we’re all about making magic in the kitchen—and it all starts with the tile. 

when you walk into the standard kitchen, your focus is often drawn to a grand backsplash, marble countertop, or an array of impressive appliances. 

but the kitchen floor is also a great opportunity to bring character and flair to your kitchen and—done right—can even be the showstopping highlight of the room. 

read through to explore the possibilities of each tile, or click on your favorite material below to narrow your choices.

stone
brick
terracotta
cement

cement square in compass. design: house of jade interiors / photo: travis j. richardson
foundry flats standard issue brick in sand cast. design / photo: nicole cohen

tile is an elegant marriage of form and function, design and architecture. by using tile on your floor, you can truly make the most of all that tile has to offer: limitless possibilities for design and the promise of a durable and hard-working surface that can withstand years of foot traffic, as well as the occasional mess.

read on for clé’s favorite kitchen floor tiles, and some tips and tricks for choosing the perfect tile for your kitchen floor. 

why choosing the right floor tile can make or break your kitchen

belgian reproduction circle + losange. design: becki owens / photo: rebekah westover

according to a british study, the average person walks 61 miles around their kitchen every year. this was pre-pandemic, before many of us transitioned to work-from-home lifestyles which meant we were spending much more time, for better or for worse, in our kitchens. 

this means that your kitchen floor should not only look great after installation, but also after many years (and many miles) of heavy foot traffic. 

at the same time, don’t expect floor tile to look exactly the same after years of use. many tiles recommended for kitchen floors (we’ll go into more detail later) will soften or gain texture and patina over the years, while maintaining their essential character and color.

cement square in cathedral; design: tracy lynn studio / photo: ryan garvin

the beauty of your floor tile should be anything but skin-deep: its strength should come from within. 

that’s why we are recommending kitchen floor tiles made from stone, terracotta, and cement: three materials that present wildly different design opportunities, while all promising the same durability, strength and long-lasting character.   

with that, here are the best kitchen floor tiles from clé.   

classic, durable, and versatile: stone tile for every kitchen floor

slate 4×12 plank; design: heidi lachapelle / photo: erin little
grand place limestone in 18×18 cartwright + marfil

at clé, we venerate all stone. afterall, every piece of stone is the result of many thousands of years of natural forces working together to create something extraordinary. materials just don’t come more natural than this. 

stone is also supremely practical: it doesn’t absorb water, is extremely durable, and requires little maintenance, making it perfect for kitchen floors. 

whether you want your kitchen floor to take center stage, or provide a backdrop for other elements in your kitchen to shine, we know there’s a stone tile out there for every kitchen. 

which will you choose?

pantry pavers: the down-to-earth stone tile 

clé pantry pavers is our newest addition to our stone collection—and while they don’t have to be used in the pantry, they’re perfect for the kitchen (and beyond). 

pantry pavers is a tumbled travertine that offers a traditional timeworn look for a down-to-earth interior, with enough presence to make a quiet statement. available in hexagons, squares, and planks, pantry pavers is our most accessible stone tile yet, and pairs well with almost anything: glazed neutrals, ceramic subway tiles, marble planks, or textured brick.  

find out more about our most recent stone tile drop in our post on pantry pavers: the down-to-earth stone tile for every home.

grand place limestone: your own piece of history

grand place limestone from clé is a refined, elegant, and elevated collection of european heritage stone tile of impeccable quality. 

a versatile tile available in 14 shades and 4 sizes (field tile, planks, and 2 sizes of squares) it’s equally at home in spaces with ultra-modern to ultra-classic vibes and everywhere in between. 

while limestone is known for its hardiness and durability, it is a softer, more porous stone, and sealing is essential to keep it functioning well

slate: our most hardworking and accessible stone tile 

slate modernist mosaic bundle. design: murphy deesign / photo: zeke ruelas

slate is one of our most popular stones—and that’s not a surprise. it’s organic, textural, and gives you the best value in a tile that doesn’t break your bank. but more than that, it’s supremely practical, water-resistant, and easy to clean. choosing slate tile for your kitchen floor is an easy choice: slate tile is surprisingly affordable, and goes with practically anything.

to elevate slate from a relatively unassuming material into a design statement, consider our modernist slate bundle: a collection of differently-sized clé planks and squares, which can be laid out in a variety of patterns or placed totally randomly. 

we love designer dee murphy’s use of our slate bundle in her recently renovated kitchen: get the details in our post on using slate, elevated to create a modernist mosaic on your kitchen floor.

lay the groundwork for your dream kitchen with brick

foundry flats standard issue brick in sand cast. design: ome dezin / photo: virtually here studios

one of the oldest building materials, brick has evolved from a purely functional resource into one of the most desired design elements. 

brick is a warm, hardwearing, and low-maintenance material that gives any space a relaxed and homey vibe, that can still be elegant and sophisticated. like natural stone, brick is a hard and long-lasting surface that is difficult to damage—with a texture similar to terracotta.

brick, however, is more porous than stone, and should be sealed when installed in the kitchen. we highly recommend reading each product’s material guidelines before installation, so you can be as prepared as possible to ensure your kitchen floor lasts a lifetime.

foundry flats standard issue brick: raw and elemental

foundry flats standard issue brick in sand cast. design: ome dezin / photo: virtually here studios

when a project calls for something warm and textural, turn to foundry flats brick.

the collection comes in two surfaces: forge is raw and multi-hued, and standard issue is more uniform. foundry flats brick perfectly balances earthiness and modernity, in shades ranging from sophisticated whites and beiges to rich, deep brick reds and dark cast iron. it’s much more than your basic brick. 

unglazed terracotta tile for the kitchen floor

antique terracotta hex

because kitchens (and hallways) are some of the most traversed areas of the home, it’s ideal to have a floor that can not only withstand high foot traffic, but undergoes changes over time to accommodate it.

terracotta is both utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing. it’s durable—strong enough to be used on european streets for centuries—and also full of warm character and design possibilities. ideal for use on walls, patios, roofs, and of course, kitchen floors. 

but unglazed terracotta offers an additional benefit: it’s surprisingly soft underfoot. the strength of authentic terracotta comes from its resilience and not its hardness, meaning that when used as flooring, you see it soften and change texture, making it more pleasant to walk and stand on. 

antique terracotta: from europe to your kitchen

these tiles are exactly what their name suggests: tiles have been carefully eased from antique european structures. each tile has its own story—and patina. this is tile with character and romance, a classic tile for the times.

belgian reproduction: in praise of imperfection

belgian reproduction 8×8 square. design: studio m. haas / photo: michael clifford photography
belgian reproduction 8×8 square. design: studio m. haas / photo: michael clifford photography

belgian reproduction is a collection of wood-fired, thick-bodied terracotta that emanates a substantial presence. inspired by the grand courtyards of northern europe, it’s perfect for grounding projects with an austerity as striking as an antique belgian surface. 

available in a traditional terracotta red as well as a charcoal-toned flemish black, belgian reproduction is a handcrafted tile with noticeable variations in shape and thickness. this provides a textured, sturdy floor sure to bring a rustic look and feel to any space.

le sol: enter the bohemian sophisticate

le sol terracotta 4×8 rectangle

classic-meets-bohemian, ultra-durable and unexpectedly versatile. that’s le sol—a worthy addition to our collection of handcrafted premium terracotta. 

for a completely laid back terracotta look, le sol fits the bill. le sol terracotta tiles are classified in two groups: grand and petit. le sol grand tiles are larger and include classic shapes such as plank, rectangle, lantern, and scallop. le sol petit tiles are smaller, and include diamonds, hexes, and the star+cross bundle.

our top tip: if you have your eye on a zellige backsplash, le sol is the ideal pairing partner for an authentic, timeless look.

the ultimate terracotta floor

if you’re looking for an elevated, but still-durable look to become the centerpiece of your kitchen design, consider our collection of tile from fornace brioni + clé and fornace brioni + cristina celestino—the noted italian architect and designer. steeped in heritage but utterly modern, this is the ultimate kitchen floor. 

we suggest these 3 from our fornace brioni + cristina celestino collection: tivoli, bibiena and capriccio.

fornace brioni bibiena. design / photo: katarina rulinskaya

searching for the perfect pattern? clé cement has you (and your kitchen floor) covered

cement faceted square. design: studio officina / photo: l.ines photo

if you are looking for something bold and bright, clé cement tiles are just right for you. 

clé offers cement tiles that are silky, deliciously vibrant and variegated, with a matte finish. our cement comes in solids, shapes, and patterns that go from soft and subtle to bold and exuberant—something for every kitchen floor.

see a new side of cement tile with the cinema collection: mythology and pavimenti

with the pavimenti and mythology collections, clé welcomes a new generation of cement tile. 

joining our existing lineup of cement shapes is pavimenti from the cinema collection. pavimenti’s large-format tiles include the classics of the tile world that you don’t usually see in cement. pavimenti is romance made modern, in durable and easy to clean cement: perfect for the kitchen floor. 

while the pavimenti collection is a study of shape, the mythology collection is a celebration of color. 

the mythology collection celebrates the richness and expressiveness of color through seven different color stories. each story is composed of 8×8 square cement tiles, in neutral, shade, and vibrant duos and trios created especially to bring each story and mood to life. read more about the new era of cement tile in clé notes. 

a note on kitchen floor tile installation

solid cement hex in black. design: margaret costello interiors / photo: scarlett k. mcdonald

whether you go with stone, terracotta, or cement tile for your kitchen floor, you give yourself endless options for shape and color—and we know you’ll find something that fits your unique personality and style. 

however, it’s important to remember that your tile is only as good as your tile installer. make sure you are working with a professional tile installer with experience installing your tile of choice. 

in addition, we recommend reading the product specifications and material guidelines for whatever tile you choose—these are located at the bottom of each product’s page on our website. this is where you’ll find information on cleaning and maintenance, and how to best protect your tile floor so it can bring you and your family joy for decades, perhaps even centuries, to come.