House Planning: How to Choose a Tile for Your Rooms

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Glass, Ceramic, Porcelain…? Three Basic Questions Will Help You Make the Right Pick

Fancy techniques aside, tile simply refers to any kind of durable material that can be laid in rows over a surface. While people have interpreted that to mean everything from solid gold to broken seashells, in kitchens and baths it most commonly refers to stone, ceramic, porcelain, and glass. All of these materials are beautiful, strong, and come in a variety of shapes and colors.

So, how do you decide which material, cut, and size is best for your bathroom or kitchen?

Like most problems in design, this is an issue of functionality and practicality. However, it can be resolved by answering three questions:

1. Where will this tile be placed?
2. What is your budget?
3. How often will this tile be used?

1. Where will this tile be placed?

Deciding exactly where the tile will be placed will help you narrow down size and material. Are you using this tile for a backsplash? A counter? Floor? Walls?

Most commonly, stone, ceramic, and porcelain are used for counters and floors. Glass is mostly used for walls and back-splashes. This shower has a ceramic mosaic floor (which provides a solid grip in an otherwise slippery shower), accented with easy-to-clean rectangular glass tiles.

Glass tiles are a common choice for bathrooms and kitchens today because they’re easily recycled and come in a wide variety of colors and finishes. Mosaic tiles — usually shaped in rectangles, squares, or “pennies” — have become increasingly popular.

These glossy mosaic tiles work well on this bathroom floor because they’re easy to clean and provide traction during your post-shower dry down. Remember that a glossy floor tile isn’t the same as a glossy wall tile — before buying, explain to an in-store expert where your tile will be installed.

Floor tile has to be safe to walk on, so you want to make sure that the texture and strength of the tile is correct.

A no-slip grip and incredible strength make porcelain a common flooring choice. It’s an extremely durable and water-resistant material that can even be used outside.

Browse thousands of porcelain tile options

Ceramic tile is a good fit in bathrooms or other moisture-rich environments. It’s easy to clean and install, it’s waterproof, sturdy, and is a great value for the price.

Designers also like ceramic tile because its surface is ideal for paint or decal ornamentation.

When it comes to durability, natural stone is the crème de la crème.

It has a completely natural beauty, and since no two stones are exactly alike, a natural pattern will emerge on tiled floors or walls. Pay attention to maintenance requirements when choosing stone.

Some stones need to be sealed, otherwise they’ll stay porous and can become stained or even crumble. A smooth stone works well for kitchen clean-ups, but a textured stone floor will help prevent slips on a bathroom floor.

Consider shape and size. This is particularly important if you’re planning to install the tile yourself. 

Larger tiles have a distinctive look and are easier to fit and place than smaller tiles. If you’re using ceramic tile, check that all the edges are straight; this will make grouting much easier.

Also make sure that all of your tiles are the same size — the manufacturing process can result in variations up to 1/4 of an inch.

Square and rectangular tiles are also much easier to place than those with an irregular shape. These porcelain tiles with mirror inlays are absolutely stunning — but if this is a look you’re going for, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.

2. What is your budget? 

There’s a wide range of prices for tile. Some general estimates (not including installation):

Ceramic tile ranges from ₦700 – ₦7000 per square foot.

Natural stone ranges from ₦2,800 – ₦8,000 per square foot.

Glass tile ranges from ₦2,800 – ₦12,000 per square foot.

Porcelain tile ranges from ₦1200 – ₦10,000 per square foot.

This glass tile countertop is beautiful in this bathroom, and makes everyday cleaning easy. If you like this look, consider how much use your surface will get. Glass tile might not handle wear and tear as well as other materials.

Ceramic tile is usually less expensive than glass and when glazed is just as easy to clean.

3. How often will this tile be used? 

While there’s no set industry standard for tile durability, most tile is classified using PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ratings, which are:

1: No foot traffic.
2: Light traffic
3: Moderate to light traffic
4: Moderate to heavy traffic
5: Heavy to extra-heavy traffic

A lot of porcelain tile is classified as a 4 or a 5. This makes it a great choice for a family kitchen.

It’s important to choose a floor tile that can stand up to the daily wear and tear of your household. Scuffs, spilled foods, cleaning supplies, dog scratches, etc. should all be taken into account.

Make sure to choose a tile that is specifically formulated for floor use. This natural stone tile shower is a great example, since it has a high COF (coefficient of friction) to keep it from being too slippery.

You’ll definitely want to do this when choosing a tile for your bathroom floor. Something with a slight raised pattern or texture will increase friction, even when wet.

If doing an entire stone or porcelain floor isn’t quite your style, consider doing what this family did, and create a kitchen “rug” out of tile. This part of the kitchen floor will probably be used the most by the family, and this tough and long-lasting stone won’t suffer the same damage as hardwood in this area would.

If you’re feeling resigned to a practical, durable tile to protect your kitchen from kids and your golden retriever, take heart. The backsplash is one area where you can get really creative.

This is an area that doesn’t take direct traffic, so you can be more free with materials and design ideas.

You still want to make sure that your backsplash can still take a few hits — as it’ll still have to withstand splashes of hot water, oil, grease and cleaning materials. These colorful ceramic tiles are a great fit for a backsplash behind a stove: they can withstand the heat and are easy to wipe off.

Ceramic is also a great choice for an accented bathroom backsplash …

Work with a professional to find your dream backsplash

Spore Design… as is glass for this beautiful mosaic backsplash. This is a great decorative alternative if you’re not quite ready to commit the money or work to tiling your entire bathroom in mosaic tiles, but still want to get the look.

What are your favorite tiling styles?

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Choosing the Right Tile Type and Design That’s Right for Your Room

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Gloss, matte, glazed, metallic, terra cotta and more: Each has its own look and characteristics

There’s a huge array of tile types and finishes available, so it can be hard to choose the right ones. The location where the tile will be used — on walls or floors, in the bathroom, in the kitchen or elsewhere — will affect your choice, as will your budget and personal tastes.

1. Bounce the light with gloss

 Tiles with a highly polished finish, such as these large ones, can add a light and luxurious touch to rooms. Their smooth, reflective surface means they’re also easy to wipe down and keep clean (though watch out for smears and smudges). However, if you’re going to use them on the floor, always check with your tile supplier to find out about their slip resistance and traction.

Porcelain is often a good choice over ceramic, as it tends to be more durable.

2. Go for a cool matte. 

If you’re opting for shaped or patterned tiles, choose a flatter matte finish to prevent them from looking too overwhelming. These herringbone tiles are chic and modern, and the matte finish gives them a cool feel. If you’re going for matte tiles, be aware that they don’t have the same wipe-down properties of gloss tiles, so they might be a bit harder to keep clean.

3. Add shimmer with metallics. 

Gold, silver or coppery tiles can add sparkle, glamour and a touch of luxury to your home. If you don’t want wall-to-wall bling, try using them in a contained area, such as a backsplash. This look works particularly well with mosaic tiles for a jewel-like effect. In this bathroom, the silvery tiles add just the right dose of dazzle and glitter for an uplifting bathing space.

4. Jazz up subway tiles with a colorful glaze

 White subway tiles are the trend that keeps on giving, but a brick tile in a bright color can take the look to another level. These brilliant blue tiles have a shiny glazed finish that bounces light around. The finish is also super practical as it makes it easy to wipe up those tomato sauce splatters and coffee splashes.

5. Add another dimension

There’s a growing trend for 3D wall finishes, which let you add texture and interest to plain color. Lots of 3D designs are quite subtle — these wavy crackle tiles add gentle pattern to the bathroom.

Talk to your retailer about maintenance before you commit, and bear in mind that textured tiles may be trickier to clean and that matte tiles may need to be sealed or have a protective barrier applied to prevent damage.

6. Choose encaustic for character. 

Classic encaustic tiles can add a historical or Moroccan feel to your room, and the patterned designs allow you to keep the rest of the room simple. Here, they work well with the natural woods and soft gray shades in the room.

Genuine encaustic tiles don’t have a pattern printed on top. Instead, the design runs through them, so if you chip the tile, it won’t affect the design. However, they can be porous and prone to damage from acidic substances, so ask your tile manufacturer about the best way to seal them.

7. Hone your stone.

 If you want a smooth finish without the high polish, go for a honed travertine. Smoothing out the surface of this limestone variety allows the natural pattern in the stone to shine through, and it has a subtle sheen without the surface being too slippery. Honed travertine can come in satin or more matte finishes, so choose the one that will work best for you. Here, the honed travertine floor tiles give this kitchen a classic finish.

8. Warm up with terra cotta. 

Terra-cotta tiles have a classic, timeless look, and their warm color instantly makes a space feel cozy. They’re made from clay that’s been fired at high temperatures, and they tend to have a naturally matte finish. To prevent staining, the tiles must be sealed. For a more affordable option, you can also buy terra-cotta-effect ceramic tiles.

9. Go for rustic tumbled limestone.

 To give your room a bright but natural feel, try limestone tiles. Choose a tumbled finish for a look similar to the one here. It will give a distressed, rustic and naturally aged look. (The tiles are “tumbled” with sand and grit to achieve this.)

Limestone is hard-wearing, so it’s a good option for areas that get a lot of foot traffic, such as a kitchen. When you’re choosing tiles with a more natural finish, think about cleaning and whether it will annoy you that there are pits and crevices where dirt can get trapped.

10. Lay down some honed slate.

Slate is a timeless choice in kitchens, though its dark shade means it works best in rooms that have plenty of light. Choose a honed surface that has been polished to a flat, matte finish, as seen here. It will be easier to mop, as honing smooths the material’s natural surface undulations. For a more natural, rugged look, try a riven finish.

As well as being beautiful, slate is tough, durable and should last a lifetime, though it should be sealed to protect it. However, slate can be rather chilly underfoot, so it may not be suitable for a bathroom (though underfloor heating can be a good solution here). It can also be expensive, so look at the many slate-look ceramic tiles around for a more affordable option.

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11 Reasons Why You Might Want to Work With a House Finishing Professional

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When people consider hiring an interior design professional for the first time, they often don’t know what to expect. Television can make it seem as though designers are magicians.

This can create the illusion that designing, purchasing for and executing a vision can happen in a day; that concepts cost next to nothing to achieve; or that these professionals do nothing but shop, cause drama and have the time of their lives spending clients’ money.

That’s good entertainment, but it’s not reality.

In the established design industry, the career is serious business. It takes years to master the art of interior design. It is complex, calculated and practical. 

A design professional is often part creator, part project manager and sometimes even part therapist, helping homeowners to determine their dream design and bring it to life while helping them to breathe through the complexities from start to finish. Design professionals have learned over the years to wear many hats to benefit their clients.

Here are some of the top reasons for entrusting your project, whether it’s big or small, to a professional designer/Design Agency

1. Designers Keep It Real

It’s important to have big design dreams, but it’s also important to have a good idea of your design limitations. Television shows can make it seem as though anything is possible, no matter your space or your budget.

In reality, every project has limitations, whether from the physical structure (like immovable walls and support columns) or other factors.

Design professionals can help you determine which of your goals are realistic for your project and warn you of potential issues before any work or buying begins. This ensures that your plans are achievable within the budget you’ve set.

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2. Designers See Potential

When it comes to your space, design professionals see not only the limits, but also the potential. It’s easy to get used to a furniture plan or functional layout in your space, or to think that there are no other options.

But trained eyes can help you see possibilities you might not have considered. Whether you’re planning a major renovation or just refreshing your style, a design professional can help you get the best from your home

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3. Designers Use a Time-Tested Process

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Knowing your project’s limits and potential is just the beginning of a process that design professionals use to make sure a project stays on track from start to finish.

Each designer may have a unique way of doing things, but ultimately an experienced professional will have a tried-and-true method that will help guide the project and make sure nothing gets missed.

4. Designers Can Save You Money

Yes, bringing in a pro to help manage your project can even save you money. There are financial considerations that you might not see upfront, including the considerable potential cost of mistakes.

That said, while professional design can prevent expensive errors, it is still a luxury. But it’s one that can be considered an investment in the enjoyment of your home.

5. Designers Speak Many Languages

Some design professionals may actually speak many foreign languages, but all speak languages you might not be aware of, such as “contractor,” “architect” and “permit approval officer.” Communication is key in any design project, and mistakes and hiccups usually occur when a seemingly simple conversation or request is misinterpreted by one or both sides.

An experienced professional will know how to properly communicate your design vision to the relevant tradespeople and suppliers, with detailed drawings, documentation and follow-ups to make sure your design dreams don’t get lost in translation.

6. Designers Bring the Best Tools

Design professionals use a range of software programs that produce accurate drawings and 3D visualizations of a space.

Whether you’re moving walls or ordering furniture, you might find it tough to picture in your mind exactly how things will fit and look.

Proper drawings will ensure that the pieces come together the right way, and in good proportions, so you don’t have to return items and start again.

Professionals can also give you access to a wide range of samples and materials that have been preselected from their favorite providers. A trusted designer with knowledge and taste will greatly simplify the process of browsing materials and finishes by showing you the best of the best, rather than an overwhelming array of options.

Designers may look at hundreds of stone samples, fabrics or plumbing fixtures before showing the best three or four choices to their clients.

Most designers have access to exclusive products, paint colors, hardware or other go-tos that they have used before and know work well. These recommendations from an experienced pro are invaluable.

7. Designers Save You Time

Designing, building and furnishing a home is a bit like planning a wedding: You don’t realize the incredible number of decisions that need to be made until the process is already underway and the to-do lists start to pile up.

Designers are also trained to anticipate obstacles, which pop up in virtually every project. A professional with years of practice overseeing complex projects will be able to spot the ways things could go off course and then plan ahead to avoid issues.

Coordinating the ordering and delivery of materials, the different tradespeople and installers, and your personal schedule can be hectic, but it’s important to make sure these moving parts coordinate smoothly, or the project can see serious delays.

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With every project, not everything goes according to plan. Things come up that require quick reactions. Designers are there on hand to make the crucial decisions on the spot so you can focus on life’s more important things.

8. Designers Think Creatively

It’s easy to go into a store, buy a furniture set from a display, have it delivered to your home, set it up and call it a day. But will that set from a showroom floor suit your unique space?

A design professional can think creatively about your goals for your space and come up with solutions and ideas that you would never have thought of.

Clients often tell me, “I never would have pictured that piece or color in my home, but now that I see it, it’s perfect.”

9. Designers Know How to Edit

While it’s important to be able to think of creative features to add to the space, it’s equally important to know what to leave out. An interior design professional can guide you through the intricate process of knowing when to stop adding new elements — and how to get rid of old clutter.

Ultimately, it is good editing that gives a home a collected sensibility while remaining personal, unique and true to the people who live there.

10. Designers Offer a Range of Services

Hiring a designer isn’t just like handing over the keys to your home and letting someone take over.

While some designers specialize in full-service offerings, others will tackle smaller one-off jobs like helping you pick paint colors, find the right furniture, select materials or simply plan a space.

Of course, with different offerings comes different fee structures, which is something you’ll have to discuss with your design professional.

11. Designers Find the Wow Factor

Finally, this brings us to the reason people often begin a design project in the first place: the wow factor.

Clients may find it hard to take risks, and that makes sense. Nobody wants to gamble with hard-earned money and lose. However, it’s important to take at least some design risks to find the dazzling, showstopping moment that makes a project feel as though it was worth undertaking in the first place.

A design professional can help you figure out where to add elements of drama, whether that be in the scale of a light fixture, the mix of different metals, the tone and finish of a beautiful hardwood floor, a darker shade of a wall paint, a generously sized area rug, the right appliances, the perfect pieces of art or another area where it could be too easy to take the safe route.

With all this in mind, results will be more spectacular than you ever could have imagined.

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Kitchen Design Ideas

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Whether it’s a splash of color in the cabinets, a champagne-brass drawer pull or a wall of open shelving, the kitchen ideas homeowners and designers are loving now can elevate everybody’s favorite gathering space to home showpiece status. 

Kitchens remain the most popular room for homeowners to renovate, and it’s no wonder why — thanks to the array of popular and practical countertop, cabinet and lighting styles out there, an updated kitchen can make a house feel fresh again in a way other rooms can’t. Here are the kitchen design ideas that pros, homeowners and Houzz photos say are taking off or still going strong.

What the pros say. “Painted cabinets are having a bit of a moment,” says designer and decorator Nancy Harper of Washington, D.C.-based Studio Miel. Harper and other pros agreed that blues and greens are the go-to non-neutral colors of choice now, but Harper says she could see other bold hues — emeralds, darker shades — also take hold soon.

What popular Houzz photos say. Seven of the 10 most-saved kitchen photos uploaded in the last three months feature cabinets with some color, including four examples of blue cabinets, one example of green and two black. Even if gray and white are still more common in most remodels, many Houzz users are drawn to brighter pops of personality.

Getting the low-key look. Paul McAlary, of Pennsylvania-based kitchen and cabinet design firm Main Line Kitchen Design, says more colorful cabinets, particularly bolder shades like navy blue, can cost more. He doesn’t recommend painting them yourself as it can damage the quality of the cabinets. Instead, he suggests homeowners get their color fix through the easier-to-update walls or backsplash. Still, painting your cabinets yourself is definitely the affordable option if you want to get the look for less.“They’ll never look quite like they actually should, but it’ll be [an updated] color and they’ll be OK for a few years,” McAlary says. 

Getting the full-out look. Incorporate vibrant cabinetry in just the island or base cabinets, or create dimension and visual interest by pairing all-around colorful cabinets with contrasting counter-tops and on-trend brass or gold hardware.