Design, DIY

Inexpensive Farmhouse Hacks – Wood Look Tile Flooring

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Hey friends!
So, I’ve shared many times that when we moved into our current home, we had to do any and all remodeling on a tight budget.  I knew the look I wanted, but….we certainly did NOT have the funds to go all in all the way.  Maybe someday, but not right in this season.  So!  Instead, I researched and carried out quite a few inexpensive farmhouse hacks to create the look that I wanted but on a serious budget.  Some of these are not forever-solutions, but you know what?  I was tired of waiting until I could afford EVERY single EXPENSIVE thing that I’d dreamed up.  I wanted my home to feel a certain way, and, while budgets were a bit tight, I found a way to make it happen!  In this series, I’ll show you some of our tricky little farmhouse hacks to get the look…but on a budget.


Farmhouse hard wood floors vs. wood tile plank floors


CottonStem.com farmhouse dining room table decor wood tile floors

When we moved into this home, I was big pregnant with our third daughter and my husband was fresh out of four years of pharmacy school.  I had stayed home during those years, decorating cakes on the side as a way to help support the family….in other words, we were on a budget, a TIGHT budget, when it came to fixing up the house to suit my style.

One of the first changes we knew we needed to make was the flooring.  It was part Spanish-esque tiles, part yellow hard woods, and a WHOLE lotta old carpet.  My husband has pretty bad allergies, and I knew we needed the carpet to go.  On top of that, one of my favorite design elements is when the flooring in a home, or at least in large connecting and visible rooms, all has continuous flooring.  It makes the space suddenly feel bigger, more free flowing, spacious and not choppy.  And I love hardwood floors, however the budget, the fact that we have so many teeny tiny kids (i.e. scratch and spill monsters), and the fact that I wanted the same flooring in kitchen and bathrooms (…again….spill and splash monster zones…) kind of ruled out hard wood flooring.  After a friend had new floors installed, we realized the answer…

Our inexpensive farmhouse hack?
Wood look tile plank flooring!

Now, listen:
I realize that you can definitely hunt up some super cheap wood floor options AND some super expensive wood tile options, and then you’re all like, “What is she even talking about with this ‘inexpensive’ phooey??”  It all depends on your style.  We were looking for wide, long, medium tone with greyish brown coloring, and most of the hard wood floors we looked in those categories would have cost triple what we paid for these floors.  The prices of the floors in my style preferences were ranging anywhere from $5-9 a square, and that just wasn’t going to be possible with our budget.

Want to know how much we paid for an entire house-full of wide, long, medium tone with greyish brown coloring wood look tiles…?
$1.70 per square.

CottonStem.com farmhouse style fall decor wood look floor tile planks

How, you ask?
Well, here’s where the second layer of this farmhouse hack comes in.  Our tile is called Style Selections Natural Timber Cinnamon in 8x48in planks, and it sells for around $4 a square at Lowe’s.  However, we found the same exact tile on eBay for less than half the price by using the search term “factory seconds tile flooring.”

When Lowe’s needs to replenish tile stock in a few stores, the tile company does a run of tiles and sends them out, but many times they run more tiles in that batch/lot than the stores can actually hold at that time.  The stores try to sell tiles that have come all from the same run/batch/lot to ensure continuity of tile prints and patterns, etc.  So basically, the extras are bought up at a super low price by factory seconds companies and the resold to the public, marked up a bit…but still way cheaper than buying directly from the big box store.  Does that make sense?  The warehouse ran too many tiles, they need to get rid off them so they can keep moving on new runs, thus they sell cheap to factory seconds companies, which then resell to US for a lower price than the originals!

One thing to note: when ordering factory seconds, I’d recommend ordering about 15-20% more tiles than your project calls for to account for broken or misprinted tiles.  Our tiles were shipped via semi-truck, and, once off-loaded into the garage and unpackaged on install day, we realized almost every single tile on the base layer of the pallet was broken.  Not a huge deal, because we’d ordered a bit extra, you see?  We ended up with a few boxes left over to save in case of damage, and there actually weren’t any misprints that we saw!

Another tip when installing wood look tiles: use the thinnest grout line possible in order to emulate the shadow between hard wood floor planks, rather than a thick grout line that will cause your tile floors to read more like, well, tiles.  A friend of mine suggested using a very dark grout as well, to further enhance that shadow effect.  We had our install crew use the very thinnest spacers possible with the darkest grout we could use before going all the way to black, and I love when people are surprised to find out they’ve been walking on tiles rather than hard wood floors!  Be sure to discuss grout composition and installation options with your crew beforehand.


A few aspects of wood look tiles to consider before purchase:

– They are a bit colder and harder than hard wood, but not by much.  We had wood floors in one area prior to tile installation, and honestly, it isn’t that much different.  You’ll only notice a big diff going from carpet to tile.

– Installation could be a little more expensive than solid wood, but, for us, that still equated to thousands less than going with hardwood floors.

– Tiles could possibly crack or chip.  That’s why I suggest ordering extras, and, since we wanted the same flooring throughout the house, including “wet” areas like kitchen and bath, the prospective damage to hardwoods in those areas when compared to a possible tile chip was no contest.

– If you’re going from lots of carpet to lots of tile, just be prepared for things to sound louder at first.  I mean, that’s only natural, since carpet absorbs sound.  Our solution to this and to the cold/hard issue of tiles was to use inexpensive area rugs throughout the home.  This adds coziness, a soft place for kiddos to land, and cuts down on noise and chilly feet…AND we can replace the rugs after stains/spills/damage accumulates over time a whole lot cheaper than if we needed to replace whole rooms full of carpet.

I hope this was helpful to you if you are considering a change in flooring now or possibly in the future!  We shout from the rooftops to anyone who will listen about the benefits of wood tiles if you love the look of wood but have small kiddos or if you want a wood look in “wet rooms,” but are afraid of possible water damage.  And be sure to search around for factory seconds in your area or online…you might find a steal of a deal for your own farmhouse hack!

Leave any further wood tile Q’s in the comments below, and I’ll try to help!  As always, THANK YOU for taking time to make this little blog o’ mine part of your day.  You’ve made it a happy place to be.


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  1. Sierra says:

    Thank you so much for this! I do have one question. How did you figure out how much tile to purchase?

  2. Abby S says:

    Love this post! We hope to remodel our kitchen in the next few years and put in wood tile throughout our entire home at that time. I did an eBay search for “factory seconds” but basically got nothing that seemed like a deal. I am not anywhere near ready to buy, but like to do my research as we hope to pay cash. Is this something I should check for periodically or are their deals like that frequently?

  3. Susan McInnis says:

    I didn’t know you had wood tile! We got wood tile this summer too and no one ever believes it’s tile! We love ours too. So durable with 3 boys and a big dog. I don’t have to worry about them getting scratched either! Thanks for sharing. ❤️

  4. Amy Waldron says:

    Can’t wait for the kitchen one!! I just painted our cabinets but these counter tops are capital A awful and the sink, gag me haha 😆

  5. Alex says:

    I love this post and can’t wait for the rest of your series!!! We have 3 kids and a bigger dog and we love on a very tight budget with me staying home with the kids and all these “hacks” actually give me some hope that we will be able to get our house to be something more our style. Also, the white couch post, life changing for me. I LOVE white couches but never realized you could have them with kids. I look forward to purchasing my white couches in the future, thanks to you 🙂

  6. Jemma says:

    This was great. If you’re trying to decide what back to frature next, I vote for shiplap, bc that’s what I’m going to be working on next!

  7. Jemma says:

    *argh* AUTOCORRECT!!!
    If you are trying to decide which HACK to FEATURE next…

  8. Stephanie says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing 😀. Where did you find inexpensive rugs?

  9. Liz O’Connor says:

    Love! We just bought our first home this year and are definitely on a tight budget. I love your home and can’t wait to hear more!
    -Where are the tile carpet squares from by the way? Love!

  10. Denice says:

    Habitat for Humanity Restore is a FAB place to find these deals as well! We have one about an hour and half north of us (near the carpet mills in Georgia) that carries tons of selections at crazy good prices!

  11. Katelyn Thompson says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to read the one about shiplap!

  12. Beckie Baldwin says:

    Dear Erin, I am a newly retired teacher in Tulsa around the bend, and because of my age I think I may be attracting people who don’t do good work and I just can’t afford to make mistakes in hiring. Can you share with me who you used to install these tiles? This is the answer I’ve been looking for because I can’t afford real wood floors. Thanks so much!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Well Beckie, I’d say the same happened to us with who we chose to install, so I wouldn’t recommend them to ANYONE.

  13. Connie Jones says:

    Your floors look amazing! I really enjoyed this post – I am helping my sister-in-law design her kitchen/living reno and she is using wood style tiles. Thanks for the info and tips! Wish I’d known about the factory seconds before she bought her tile …

  14. Taylor says:

    So excited for the rest of your series! currently doing a remodel (half from the bottom up) on an old (small) historic home /turning farm house 🙂

  15. Patricia calvano says:

    Do you notice if you have lower back pain with the tiled floor in comparison to the wood floors?

  16. Dana says:

    Love your floors!! ❤️❤️❤️ What color of grout did you use exactly? Thanks and have a great day! PS-Enjoy your Instagram stories!

  17. Fabian says:

    Very nice post…and so excited for the rest of your series. I really enjoyed this post.. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Angela says:

    Love this post!! My husband and I are redoing our home on the TIGHTEST budget ever and were blessed to be able to redo our floors with a very similar color to yours in vinyl planking. It’s made the biggest difference in the overall look of our home and I’m so in love with them!!

  19. Melissa says:

    Ha, what timing God has. Just walked in the door from the allergist and she suggested replacing the house full of carpet with hardwood. I CANT AFFORD THAT. Lol. Thank you for posing this option. My Dad told me about it months ago and I was like I don’t want tile through the house but I never would have guessed your flooring was tile.

  20. Kelli says:

    Uuummm in that last pic your rug came in squares?!? Oh, I hope that’s your next budget hack 😀.

  21. Taylor Southard says:

    Hi Erin!
    Might be a real obvious question, but how would you replace one chipped tile?? I’ve got laminate wood planks throughout the entire house but they are not great in the “wet areas.” Trying to sell my husband one the “wood” tiles instead! Thank you!!

  22. Brigette says:

    Hi Erin, love the look and are installing wood look tile as we speak, do you remember what color grout you used? It looks so natural to the product. Thank you!

  23. Laura Mason says:

    I want to do, basically same exact tile as you, I just came home from Lowes and picked exact color as yours only problem is they don’t carry the 48″ anymore only the shorties 🙁 and it looks too much like a tile when it’s not the long plank, which is a bummer, but I wanted to buy them at a discount like you did I tried looking up seconds on eBay and nothing popped up, not even one kind of flooring? Is it something that isn’t always on? I copied and pasted your exact type to be sure I wasn’t messing it up maybe.

  24. Cara says:

    I’m so bummed they discontinued this tile. I love this color and the size!

  25. Thank you. Now it’s possible with ceramic and porcelain wood-look tiles. Blink and you might miss the fact that these are actually tiles because they are designed to look like they have a grain.

  26. Gediminas Stanaitis says:

    Excellent blog. Thanks for sharing it.This is reliable on Tile Flooring.I am sure that it will improve your home design.

  27. john says:

    Thanks for sharing such nice article. It really helps a lot. If you have some time, you can also visit us in Liberty Flooring Center .

  28. Wood look tiles are one of the key trends for indoor and outdoor floor, capturing the beauty of natural timber and combining it with the durability of porcelain tiles.

  29. Chantel says:

    Just wondering how these hold up with hiding dust and marks from walking on them with kids ? When you clean them do they stay clean for a while ?

  30. Janice Reid says:

    Thank you. Wood-look tile is a ceramic or porcelain tile that is designed to have the appearance of real wood. It often comes in planks, like real wood, but is also available in unique shapes more common to tiles.

  31. Diane Grenier says:

    Are these tiles slippery when wet? Thanks

  32. Robyn Cox says:

    We are looking at wood look tile and the installer is worried that pieces are not always flat and our floor isn’t 100% flat meaning the edges of the tiles may be a little uneven. Did you experience this or have you heard of this?

  33. Eve Mitchell says:

    I really liked your tip about using the thinnest grout line you can to help the floors look more realistic. I’m helping my daughter redo her bathroom for her birthday, and she really wants wood floors in it. I don’t think that’s an option, but I think wood-look tiles would look really good.

  34. farmhouse hardwood floors to wood tile plank floors provides valuable insights for those considering flooring options. It succinctly discusses the pros and cons of both choices, aiding readers in making an informed decision for their homes.

  35. Alice Green says:

    This article on “Inexpensive Farmhouse Hacks – Wood Look Tile Flooring” provides practical and budget-friendly solutions for achieving a rustic farmhouse aesthetic. The tips and advice offered are clear, accessible, and utilize readily available materials. The wood-look tile flooring suggestion stands out as a cost-effective way to achieve a charming farmhouse ambiance without breaking the bank. The guidance provided in this article is immensely valuable for anyone seeking affordable ways to transform their space with a timeless and cozy farmhouse feel. Highly recommended!

  36. Liam Jones says:

    The “Inexpensive Farmhouse Hacks – Wood Look Tile Flooring” blog is an invaluable resource for those seeking budget-friendly ways to achieve a rustic farmhouse aesthetic. Packed with practical tips and information, it guides readers on how to transform their spaces with the charm of wood look tile flooring without breaking the bank. A must-visit for anyone aiming to create a stylish and cost-effective farmhouse ambiance.

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