The traditional place for accent ceramic kitchen tiles is in the vicinity of the stove or the sink. In many colonial era American homes, hand painted ceramic tiles were a key element of design, but these beauties served a function beyond simply pleasing the eyes.
Ceramic kitchen tiles protected the walls of early American settlers from the often damaging moisture present in a sink area, and offered an easily cleaned surface near the stove where food messes and smoke can do lasting harm to a wall. Ceramic tile in todays kitchen still serves these functions, which goes to show that although kitchen design has altered quite a bit over the past few centuries, some things never change.
Ceramic kitchen tiles are a rare marriage of practicality and style. Ceramic kitchen tiles make a lot of sense in terms of usability, but you would never know it from the chic decor accent that well chosen tiles can provide. If you want to add a splash of color or visual interest to your kitchen space, ceramic kitchen tiles can be an inexpensive way to revitalize the look of your cooking area.
If you are looking for tiles that will go well as an accent in a stove area, nearly any ceramic material will do. However, if you are planning to add ceramic kitchen tiles to an area where you anticipate a lot of splashing, such as behind a sink, you will need to take into account the absorption characteristics of different kinds of tile to make sure that your tiles stay as fresh and attractive tomorrow as they are today.
Non-vitreous ceramic tiles are highly absorbent and take on a lot of water, which means that they will show damage after prolonged contact with moisture, so you will want to reserve these tiles for stove areas.
Semi-vitreous tiles are commonly used around sinks, as these low absorption tiles are protected against everything but the most intense water exposure, which makes them a safe bet for most kitchens. Tiles that are equally at home in any level of moisture are called impervious tiles, and these are ideal for the longest lasting wear in a sink area.