Tile Selection 101

Have you ever walked into a tile store? It can be a staggering experience. Between the various materials, colors, sizes, and styles to choose from, it can leave your head spinning. If you’ve never selected tile before, it’s hard to know how to distinguish tile materials that will work in certain spaces throughout your home and it’s harder still to know how to narrow down your search.


Today, we share a brief lesson in tile selection 101, providing you a few tips for how to make the best selections and offering suggested uses for certain tile materials.

1.Bring paint chips and fabric swatches. Tile comes in a wide array of colors and patterns and it’s important for your tile selections to work with your current paint colors, furnishings, or other design selections. Bring in paint chips and any fabric swatches to help narrow down your options. You also have the option to bring home tile samples to see how the tile would look in your home before making your final selections.


2. Take room measurements ahead of time. Measure the various walls and spaces that require tile and take those measurements with you to the tile shop. Having measurements with you will help you make cost estimates as you shop. To figure out the exact quantity of tile needed for an area, multiply the area’s width and length and then add five percent for waste. Be sure and round up to have extras on hand for any repairs needed down the line.

3. Consider tile application. Certain rooms and certain spaces will require a certain type of tile. Before going to the tile shop, do some research to find out what materials work best for the particular space you are designing. For example, wet areas will need impermeable rather than porous tiles. Glazed and polished tiles are ideal for backsplashes and walls because they are easy to clean but aren’t a great choice for floors because, if wet, they offer very little traction.B21-034. Make sure your tiles were fired together. Tiles that are fired together will have the same appearance. To ensure all your tile in your order will look the same, specify that you would like the tiles to have the same lot number and shade number. This will prevent a slightly off color tile from ruining the overall design.

5. Utilize the expertise of your tile dealer. A professional at the tile shop is a great resource for many of the questions you may have. They will be able to tell you the type of material you should be using in a bathroom as opposed to a backsplash or the type of tile that is best to use for your floor. They’ll also be able to recommend various tile options within your budget and some options that might work for the style and design aesthetic you are trying to achieve.


Have more questions about tile? Ask us in the comments below.


Photos by: Rachael Boling

Top Ten Interior Design Blunders

Through several of our blog posts, we’ve provided tips for how to best design your home. Whether it’s how to choose paint colors, incorporate architectural antiques, or select artwork, there are a lot of factors and elements that can help make your home just the way you want it. But, along with things you can do to help the overall look and feel of a space, there are also things you should avoid when it comes to the interior design of your home.


Here are ten common interior design blunders and a few words of wisdom on how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

  1. Overaccessorizing. Just because it stands still doesn’t mean you have to put something on it. Overcrowding a space with artwork and accessories can make a beautiful design appear to be a storage room. Accessories to a room are like jewelry to an outfit. Less can be more. Keep your accessories well edited and mix different types of materials for a more interesting look. Use books, glass hurricanes, picture frames and objects in groupings on coffee tables, end tables and bookshelves. But, be keenly aware of when you have enough.
  2. Hanging artwork too high. Don’t hang your artwork too high or use pieces that are inappropriately sized for the space. Artwork should be hung at a height where people can view and enjoy it (i.e. eye-level). It should also be selected proportionally for the wall on which it will hang and/or for any furniture piece(s) over which it will hang. Artwork that is too high or too small will look odd and take away from your overall room design.B8-02
  3. Using cheap faux greenery. Don’t use fake-looking faux greenery. Not on top of cabinets, on open shelves, or in any kind of container that attaches to a wall! If you don’t have the time or desire to take care of real plants, then the space is likely better served by some other accessory. If your objective is to bring the outdoors in or to introduce living elements, fake looking plants will not create this environment. If you are dead-set on faux greenery, invest in something nice. There are some natural botanical reproduction options available if you strongly wish to use a “forever plant. Be sure to check out our botanical collection in our online boutique for a variety of options to consider.
  4. Faux finishing. Leave faux finishing to the professionals. Do-it-yourself faux finishes (whether on walls, countertops, floor surfaces, furniture, etc.) often come across looking crafty and dated. A professional has access to different products, tools, and training. Their results will be more subtle and lasting (something you’ll not get tired of). If a faux finisher is not in your budget, a more lasting solution would be to freshen up with a new coat/color of paint and add interest in other ways (e.g. artwork, accessories, window treatments, etc.) as you are able.
  5. Using and incorporating every design idea. Don’t try to use every design idea or component that you love in one space. Though you may like your neighbor’s kitchen design, the cool chandelier you saw in Elle Décor, the great tile at the local tile shop, the bold granite your friend used in her powder room, and the fabric your sister found on sale and stocked for you doesn’t mean that it all needs to go in your kitchen. Trying to use too many bold and active components in one space can be overwhelming – if you want to feature something, then make it the feature and let the other components be a backdrop. This will require being able to rank your “wants” in terms of priority and location and also placing trust in your designer to provide you with the type of environment you are seeking to produce.B8-03
  6. Over using rugs. Unlike what some may think, you don’t need to cover every square inch of your gorgeous hardwood floors with rugs. Use them to define key areas such as seating arrangements, dining tables, bedrooms, etc. You do not need a runner/small area rug on every exposed surface. Let those beautiful hardwoods stand on their own.
  7. Mixing too many patterns. You have to be careful when mixing patterns. Don’t use more than one bold pattern because the patterns will compete for visual attention. Pick one pattern you love and select fabrics and simple designs to pair with it. This will allow your primary pattern to be the center of attention and your remaining decorative elements and fabrics to further complement it instead of compete with it.
  8. Hanging drapery rods and draperies directly above window casings.  Instead of hanging draperies directly above window casings, always hang drapery rods as high above the window casing as possible.  In a room with a flat ceiling, hang draperies directly under the crown moulding.  If you are using store-bought drapes then always buy them longer than you need and have them hemmed for a custom look.  Make sure they touch and break slightly at the floor.  These tricks make your room look more graceful and give the appearance of higher ceilings.B8-04
  9. Painting every room a different color. It’s unnecessary to paint each room in your home a different color.  Keeping the rooms in your house the same color or in the same family of colors helps your house flow visually. Also, don’t neglect the ceilings. An interesting faux finish, wallpaper or paint color can make a room feel extra special. Ceiling treatments can be an effective element in powder rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms.
  10. Skipping the space planning. It is important to measure and get a good understanding of your space in order to purchase furnishings that are the right scale.  Keep a copy of a scaled floor plan with you as you shop for furnishings. Size can be very deceiving when looking at furnishings in large stores. Scale is also very important when it comes to selecting lighting. Understand your limitations such as room dimensions and ceiling heights.

Have you been guilty in the past of one of these blunders?

If you are interested in giving your home a fresh new look, be sure to contact one of our designers to help you avoid some of the most common interior design mistakes and transform your home into something truly spectacular.

Photos by: Rachael Boling

Countertop Materials 101

If you are looking to renovate a kitchen or bath or are building from the ground up, one of the many decisions you have to make is selecting the type of countertop material to use.


All materials have various advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the durability and maintenance required for each material is important before making a decision. Cost will also play a factor, as some are more expensive than others.

Today, we’re sharing lessons in countertop materials 101, breaking down the pros and cons for each along with providing a general price range.



Pros: Granite is very durable.  It has the second highest hardness rating after diamonds. Granite is also very resistant to scratches, staining, water, and heat. It comes in a wide array of colors and patterns due to its natural quality. It is also comparatively low maintenance so it is suitable for all rooms in your home.

Cons: Granite is porous. A sealant will need to be applied about once a year. The sealant will prevent stains and prevent harboring of bacteria in its pores. Some granites are more porous than others so check on the specifics of your final choice. Granite can also be quite pricey so keep that in mind when creating a budget.

Price Range: $60-$200 per foot installed.



Pros: The marble family, which includes limestone and travertine, has a very high quality and is visually impressive. It works well with almost all styles and in most any room except for kitchens and bathrooms. Even in those two rooms, it can work as long as you like materials that age and show wear and “personality.” It is chip and heat resistant and available in a broad range of colors and veining patterns.

Cons: These materials will stain, scratch, and etch if exposed to acidic materials, although it will etch less if honed. It is more porous than granite and requires sealing a few times a  year. Even with that, spills need to be cleaned up quickly! Marble is another material that can also be rather pricey.

Price range: $70-$400 per foot installed.


Engineered Stone

Engineered stone is made of 93% crushed natural quartz and 7% resin and includes Caesarstone, Silestone and Cambria.

Pros: It is non-porous, low maintenance, and looks like natural stone but has less variation. It can be custom colored and can flex so it can be fabricated in larger pieces than natural stone. This results in fewer joints. In terms of sustainability, many engineered stones use recycled content and the material emits few VOCs {volatile organic compounds}. It resists staining more than granite, marble or concrete. Also, being non-porous, it won’t harbor bacteria or viruses and additional sealing isn’t necessary.

Cons: There aren’t many! It isn’t heat resistant as the resin in not heat tolerant. Seams are sometimes noticeable as they are with granite and marble. Price range is similar to granite.

Price range: $70-$200 per foot installed.


Pros: It is non-porous thus antibacterial. It won’t etch from acids. It has a fairly monochromatic color range of various shades of grey or green. There is often some interesting veining caused by quartz in the mineral talc, which is the main component of soapstone.

Cons: Soapstone is softer than other stones so edges may wear over time. This may not be considered a negative by some. Many people find this charming as well as its tendency to darken over time. This stone will scratch and show nicks, but this can be easily sanded out.

Price range: $65-$125 per foot installed.



Pros: Concrete is heat and scratch resistant, smooth, strong, and offes many color and texture options. It can be formed with integral dish drains, sinks, backsplashes and can be formed in unusual shapes.

Cons: The material can crack, but typically not structural cracks, and it is not a common problem. It does not need to be sealed as it is porous. Concrete is not as easily adaptable to all design styles as are more natural materials.

Price range: $60-$150 per foot installed.



Pros: Wood includes butcher block, reclaimed wood and “new wood.” Most agree that wood has an undeniable warmth to it. Wood allows cutting and chopping without dulling knives, and wears with time to a charming patina. It seems at home with most design styles. It can be sustainable if salvaged or re-purposed.

Cons: Wood requires proper sealing. In a kitchen, it needs to be a food-friendly sealer such as mineral oil. The counter may need refinishing at some point, and it may suffer from scratches and dents.

Price range: $32-$250 per foot installed.


Pros: Laminate countertops are low cost, stain resistant, low maintenance and offer many color and pattern options.

Cons: This material can crack and scratch, is not heat resistant, and is difficult to repair. It is not perceived as a “wow” option.

Price range: $50-$60 per foot installed.

Now that you know the differences between the various countertop materials, it’s time to make some decisions! 

Photos by: Rachael Boling