Red Oak, Zellige, Peel-and-Stick—10 Kitchen Floor Ideas That Aren’t Traditional Vinyl
Plus a rough guide to how much each one will cost.
Published Apr 27, 2023 1:10 AM
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Tomato sauce splatter. Roast chicken jus. Crushed Cheerios. Our kitchen floors see it all, and, depending on the day, they bear more of our mess than the countertops. Step away from the sharp knife and the hot pan and look down for a moment: Our floors are (usually) the largest surface in our kitchens, making them one of those decisions you want to feel good about the first go-round; it typically costs a little over $12 per square foot to install flooring, according to Home Advisor.
But unlike calculating how much tile you need for your backsplash, there is no wrong or right answer. Want something that’s easy to mop? Laminate might be for you. Concerned about knee pain from standing tasks? Cork and soft woods will offer more relief than limestone.
Ahead, we lay the groundwork for you by sharing 10 options we love, plus what it’ll typically cost you to purchase the material and install it for an average-size, 160-square-foot kitchen.
A Rough Cost Guide
$ = Less than $1,000
$$ = Between $1,000 and $3,500
$$$ = Between $3,500 and $6,000
$$$$ = $6,000-plus
Terrazzo Kitchen Floor
The draw: Having been around since ancient Egypt and made resurgences in the 18th century and the 1970s, the speckled material is timeless and nostalgic all at once. Psst: If you opt for large-format tile (think 24-by-24 inches), it will look like it was poured in place (read: more expensive).
Pairs best with: Flat slab cabinet doors that give off the same retro vibe. Look closely at the different colors present in the flecks of stone that make up the terrazzo and let those hues inspire your paint choices.
As seen in: Oh Joy! founder Joy Cho’s Los Angeles guesthouse.
Painted Kitchen Floor
The draw: You don’t have to hire a professional for this upgrade. With a performance primer (muralist Liz Kamarul likes this one) and a paint color intended for floors (most brands make them), it’s supereasy to DIY.
Pairs best with: Classic Shaker-style cabinets, white-gray marble countertops, and soft linen window treatments. In other words, neutral elements that let your handiwork be the star.
As seen in: Salt Lake City–based content creator Sara Charlesworth’s Utah home.
Penny Tile Kitchen Floor
The draw: Due to the amount of grout lines, durable penny tiles are effective against slipping, making them a great choice for those aging in place.
Pairs best with: Other small-scale textures like reeded glass cabinets and dowel fluting.
As seen in: The Summer House, a boutique vacation rental located on the shores of Southampton, Ontario.
Stone Kitchen Floor
The draw: From a visual standpoint, it achieves an effortless rustic farmhouse look. From a practical one? It’ll help keep your space cool in the hot summer months.
Pairs best with: Unexpected modern touches like steel-framed windows and articulating sconces.
As seen in: An 18th-century home in New York’s Hudson Valley designed by architects Alan Barlis and Jessie Goldvarg of BarlisWedlick.
Zellige Tile Kitchen Floor
The draw: The element of surprise. People will expect to see this surprisingly durable Moroccan tile (a form of terracotta) on your backsplash but not on the ground.
Pairs best with: Bold stone countertops like Calacatta Viola marble, Verde Jaco granite, and red travertine.
As seen in: Becca Loyer’s Moroccan-inspired home in France.
Marble Kitchen Floor
The draw: It exudes old-world charm and comes in a seemingly infinite range of colors and patterns. Plus tile versions can be cut into rectangles and triangles if you want to create a mosaic installation.
Pairs best with: Antique furniture-turned-cabinetry, aged brass plumbing fixtures, and mismatched backsplash tile to bring the palatial stone down to earth.
As seen in: DeVol’s creative director’s pink and green English countryside space.
Peel-and-Stick Kitchen Floor
The draw: This DIY option is renter-friendly but it’s also a great temporary solution for homeowners who are saving up for a big gut reno.
Pairs best with: Other clever kitchen hacks. While you’re at it, swap out the knobs on your cabinets and apply water-resistant contact paper to your counters.
As seen in: Blogger Anna Page’s New York City apartment.
Red Oak Kitchen Floor
The draw: This hardwood variety exudes warmth with its reddish orange undertones. Overall, the softness of wood means less strain on your joints and also less risk of objects immediately breaking if you drop them.
Pairs best with: Moody black or blue cabinet paint and other old-school details like butterfly hinges and door latches.
As seen in: A 1920s Neoclassical row house in Washington, D.C., designed by Nicholas Potts.
White Oak Kitchen Floor
The draw: The lighter-toned wood immediately brightens up a room.
Pairs best with: Soapstone or dark granite counters for a hit of contrast.
As seen in: Designer Danielle Nicholas Bryk’s moody Toronto kitchen.
Concrete Kitchen Floor
The draw: The most durable choice you’ll find out there (hello, it’s used for driveways!), concrete is extremely low-maintenance and inhibits mold, mildew, and odors.
Pairs best with: Ebonized wood cabinets and funky hardware and lighting—these details will prevent your space from skewing too warehouse-y.
As seen in: Designer Sara Simon’s Encinitas, California, beach house.