From countertops and floors to backsplashes and decorative accents, tile is a versatile surface covering that adapts well to a broad array of kitchen applications. The challenge is to choose a material that suits the functional needs of your hard-working kitchen while imbuing the space with stellar style. Whether it’s classics like ceramic, stone and vinyl or trend-setters like cork, bamboo or glass, a broad selection ensures that you’ll find the perfect kitchen tile for your Long Island kitchen.

1. Choose the Right Material for the Application

Much of the fun of kitchen remodeling lies in coordinating colors, patterns and finishes, but it’s a mistake to select a tile based solely on aesthetics. You need to ensure that the material is a practical choice too. For example, glossy tiles on a wall or backsplash can make your Long Island Kitchen glimmer with light, but their slippery surfaces aren’t the best choice for flooring.

2. Think About Maintenance

Consider maintenance needs when making tile selections. While all tiles require some degree of upkeep, materials like natural stone and cork need to be resealed every few years to keep stains at bay. If you choose ceramic or porcelain tiles for your countertops or flooring, you may wish to avoid tiles marked as “non-vitreous” or “semi-vitreous.” These types of tiles absorb more moisture than vitreous or impervious tiles.

3. Get the Look You Want for Your Flooring

Few materials can beat the natural elegance and supreme durability of stone tile. Whether made from slate, granite or travertine, a well-installed stone floor elevates the style of your Long Island kitchen. There are artful look-alikes available that you might find appealing as well. Ceramic and porcelain tiles that replicate the look of stone are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. You’ll find vinyl tiles that mimic stone too. Vinyl tiles that look like wood parquet are also available, offering you the warmth and style of wood flooring without the expense or maintenance.

4. Check the Ratings on Ceramic and Porcelain Floor Kitchen Tiles

If you opt for ceramic or porcelain tiles for your kitchen floor, pay attention to the material’s Coefficient of Friction (COF) rating, which evaluates the smoothness of the material. COF ratings of 0.6 or higher indicate a non-slip surface. The tile’s Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) can help guide your selection too. Graded on a 1 to 5 scale, the PEI rating measures how well the tile stands up to foot traffic. If your kitchen feels as busy as Grand Central Station, choose Grade 4 or Grade 5 tiles.

5. Consider Ceramic Kitchen Tiles for Countertops

Highly resistant to stains and heat, ceramic is the most popular choice for countertop tiles, with porcelain tiles coming in a close second. Available in every size, color and shape that you can imagine, they’re affordable, functional choices that don’t compromise on style. Keeping the grout clean is the biggest drawback of tiled countertops, but new options for grout materials and colors make stains less noticeable and easier to clean. Choosing larger-size tiles helps keep grout-scrubbing chores to a minimum.

6. Use Backsplash Tiles to Ramp Up Your Kitchen’s Style

Kitchen tiles are engineered to improve the functionality of the utilitarian room, but their decorative appeal makes them great for personalizing the space too. When it comes to Long Island kitchen style, few features garner as much attention as a glass-tile backsplash. The natural luminosity of glass makes kitchens sparkle, and it’s a snap to wipe away splashes and splatters from the material. A recent trend is to extend the backsplash up the wall to the ceiling for a seamless look.

7. Accentuate Your Personal Taste

Using tile as decorative accents is growing in popularity too. Ceramic art tiles are perfect for creating an eye-catching border on a wall. Trim tiles make it easy to design tasteful flooring patterns or add decorative borders on countertops. Whether you want a kitchen that surrounds you with welcoming warmth or one that energizes you with bright pops of color, tile accents offers limitless opportunities to infuse your Long Island kitchen with your own personal style.