Unconventional uses for tiles
Once upon a time (a few years ago), I lived in a house with about five (or so, it varied) other people. The kitchen was... complicated. It was decently-sized, but had little in the way of counter space. Storage was an issue since, while some food was communal, everyone also had their own individual stashes.
The counter space issue was a big one for me. I knew I wasn't going to live in that house for very long (if nothing else, we suspected it might fall down), so I didn't want to invest too much to fix a temporary problem. My solution was to get an inexpensive four foot long wooden workbench. I found one for about $15 at Menard's. It was the sort that folded flat, so it was easy enough to transport. I quickly took some leftover wood from the basement and built a storage shelf for the back of it. That became a spice storage area. The bench fit the space in the kitchen well. It provided a bit more storage on the lower shelf – as well as the shelf I built. The only problem was that the workspace was composed of wooden slats. This wasn't an ideal work surface for cooking, so I picked up three 13” square tiles and set them on the work surface.
You can get tiles like this for about $2-$4, depending upon whether you want ceramic, marble, granite, or whatever. Larger tiles (usually 20”) are also available for about twice the cost. Small tiles are, of course, also available. There are a ton of uses for these:
- Cheese board
- Pizza stones
- Bread board (warm it in the oven)
- Decorative trays or service pieces
- Smaller stone tiles make good coasters.
Imagine serving sushi on a tray of black granite... or serving wine and cheese and coordinating your coasters with the cheese board so that they are made of the same type of marble. You can achieve an extremely sophisticated look for very little money.
If you do use ceramic tiles, be careful to get ones made with a food-safe glaze. Brown and white tiles are usually safe. Crackle patterns usually aren't. Also remember that marble and stone can be rather porous (good for some things, bad for others).