A friend is re-doing her kitchen and wants to incorporate an interesting splashback to replace the simple square, coloured tiles she has. So I did a bit of hunting around for some off-piste ideas...
Go to press
One unusual idea is using reproduction American pressed-metal ceiling tiles. Great for a utilitarian or pared-down country look, they can be painted and come in different patterns. They are big (61cm square), so not for every space, and small orders such as this may mean a long wait for delivery. andythornton.com
Take the floor
Create interest with floor rather than wall tiles. Try cravendunnill.co.uk's new wood-effect, plank-shaped ceramic tiles, staggered horizontally, for a sleek 1970s look, or conjure up an old-school European apartment block: Fired Earth's geometric Evora are beautiful. (These thicker tiles will need edging.)
Mix it up
Mis-matching tiles give an interesting effect (and cheap, via discount/ends buckets). Create a patchwork using different sizes, types and textures – either in one colour (different shades) or many. Dark grouting will hide splatters; all those layers will be testing enough to clean without adding a light touch here.
Give traditional tongue-and-groove wood panelling a twist by fixing it horizontally. Or use mosaic parquet. Find reclaimed parquet at mckayflooring.co.uk.
On the download
Coloured acrylic or glass is popular in contemporary contexts, and opticolour.co.uk will even digitally print the image of your choice on to it. (Just do not be tempted by their meerkat design.) For a softer, yet still colourful effect, try the laminates at abetlaminati.com or polyrey.com.
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com