From the Floor Up

4 Easy Ways to Marry Modern and Traditional Kitchen Tile Design

Posted by Daltile Team on Mar 7, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Identity in Oxford Brown Gloss 8 x 20 wall tile

It can be difficult to balance two styles into one space successfully. Here are some principles that will help you bring a mixed design together into one unique but cohesive style.

Redefine Balance

Design may be all about creating a balance, but that doesn’t mean you need exactly half of one element and half of the other. In fact, going halvsies on two opposing styles ends up looking disorderly and has a confusing effect.

Designers suggest that you pick a dominant style that anchors the room then use the second style to add hints and accents. Find ways to tie the two elements together with color, texture, or pattern.



A Case Study in Balance

At first glance, this kitchen seems pretty traditional. If you take a closer look, you’ll see the contemporary details that make this space a mix of the old and new like the modern door pulls, unique sink, and iridescent Glass Pebbles backsplash in Wheat Iridescent

 Glass Pebbles in Wheat Iridescent on the backsplash and ONE Quartz Micro Flecks in Cancun Beach on the countertop

The neutral color scheme, especially the One Quartz Micro Flecks countertop in Cancun Beach, brings the differing elements into harmony.



Go for Simplicity

As much as you love to accessorize, you can easily overdo it. Designers use the rule of three: one element from each of your two styles and a third that complements both.

Same goes for tile accents. Use them like you would jewelry. The right piece can really make the room. But too much can make it look gaudy and cluttered.

Update the Classics

You can make an old style fit the contemporary bill by updating it with of-the-moment colors or otherwise edgy design. Take that antique buffet and put a coat of dusty pastel paint on it. Reupholster a classic dining set in a bold pattern.

Tone down your modern pieces by adding a touch of the formal with a vintage stencil or use neutral colors.



A Case Study in Updating Classics

Take a look at this transitional bathroom.

 Carrara White Marble tile in 2 3/4 x 2 1/2 triangle mosaic

This bathroom blends modern elements like the light fixtures, high-contrast color scheme, and floor tile with traditional elements. The classic hardware, stand-alone inspired vanity, and the original door and knob don’t look out of place in the room—the neutral colors and quality materials bring two very different styles together seamlessly.

Photo features Stone Mosaics in Carrara White Triangle Mosaic 2 3/4 x 2 1/2


Consider Materials

The materials used in your kitchen can help you achieve the harmony you’re looking for when you combine two styles. Classic designs made in polycarbonate perfectly combine the vintage and contemporary. Stainless steel can make a space feel more modern, while copper can make it feel more traditional or aged.

You don’t have to splurge on marble kitchen tile to achieve a classic high-end look. There are plenty of tile designs that aim to replicate popular materials like natural stones, cement, or wood without the high-end price. On the other hand, you can get the look of cement in a porcelain tile, which is a more durable material for the kitchen than cement.


Achieve a transitional design with a little creative planning and out-of-the-box thinking. Daltile would love to help you find the perfect fit. Contact a design studio near you today.


Topics: Remodel, Redesign, Kitchen Tile Ideas, Mosaic

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