Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tile!! Tile!! Tile!!!

Fabulous tiles!! Anyone have a project that I can use these on? Virginia Tile Showroom.

I always stop by the glass tiles for a look!! Virginia Tile Showroom.

More fabulous glass tiles!! Virginia Tile Showroom.

Accent pieces galore!! Virginia Tile Showroom

Option 1

Option 2

Always look at materials the way you will see them in the space, vertical surfaces up, horizontal down.

Yesterday I went to a Virginia Tile showroom to get some tile samples for clients that are doing a kitchen renovation to choose from. I am completely in my element in a showroom, I get excited about the possibilities when I walk in the door. It always puts a smile on my face and elevates my mood (I am a simple girl!!). But I know these environments can be completely overwhelming for the average home renovator that does not do this for a living. There are thousands of choices and many stores, so unless you are focused and have a plan, you can get lost in a sea of tile!! I am going to share some of my strategies for making it easier to sort through the maze of choice!!
  • It is important to have a plan and a vision!! If you are focused and know what you are looking for it is a lot easier to sort through the many choices. For example: the clients I am working for want a traditional feel to their kitchen. We selected the granites before tile shopping, 1 type for the countertops and 1 type for the new island. It was decided that the countertops backsplash would be a large stone tile, that will go to the underside of the cabinets and will compliment the cabinet color. It was also decided that there would be an accent tile above the range. I know the clients style preference, the cabinet style, the granite choices and I had a plan prior to tile shopping about what type I was selecting: a stone tile that compliments the cabinet color and accent tiles that will add some impact. Coming armed with this plan, I could eliminate a lot of the tile sections at the store and focus on the stone and a traditional accent piece.
  • Hire a designer to help you form a plan before you shop. Even if you don't have the budget to hire a designer for your whole project, most do consultations that are a set price and can help you come up with a plan. I have done many 2-3 hour consultations on bathrooms and kitchens just to come up with a plan for the type of tile and the placement; the client then shopped for the tile themselves, but was able to focus on the plan with little distraction. Budgeting a few hundred dollars for a designer's time at the beginning of a project can save you a lot of grief and legwork in the end.
  • Come armed with "givens" in your project. For example, have the granite and cabinet color chosen before tile shopping. It is also helpful to have decided the "style" of the kitchen, whether modern or traditional etc... This will help you eliminate tile styles at the store. (See, it all goes back to planning!!).
  • Don't have competing patterns!! I see, in a lot of kitchens, a highly colored and veined granite paired with a backsplash with a tile pattern. Most often, unless you are a designer and have refined the art of the subtle pattern mix, this comes off as too busy. This is where a decision needs to be made about what will have the most emphasis. Do you want the granite countertops to have a lot of coloration, if so choose a backsplash that is simple, such as a lightly colored stone. If you want a patterned backsplash, choose a countertop that has less color.
  • Remember too, that you will be living with the countertops and backsplash for a long time. My motto is to keep it simple, classic, neutral and to compliment the style of the cabinets. Trends come and go for a reason, save them for accessories that can be easily changed later. Remember the avocado shades in the 70's or the mauves of the 80's?
  • Always look at the surfaces as they will be placed in the room. For example, lay countertop choices flat and backsplash choices vertically. This allows you to view them reflecting the light as they will in your room. We all know light can change a lot!!

Most of all, have fun!! Walking into a showroom full of possibility is exhilerating!! Walking in with a plan is practical and refreshing!!


  1. great planning steps to follow! i always feel like i'm going in for a root canal when i go to a tile store! dread! maybe next time it won't be so daunting!

  2. Mary, found you from Vicente! Perfect advice and it is like being a kid in a candy store, so a plan is a must!

    Art by Karena