When people walk into the Concept II tile showroom for the first time, they often have the same thought, “How do you pick?!” I know this is true because as a Tile Designer at Concept II, more often than not, I hear it said out loud.
“How do you pick?…” That question is usually accompanied by wide eyes, and a dropped jaw. I have to admit that my first reaction was the same. Even though I’d spent the last few years getting a degree in interior design in addition to working in another tile showroom, the tile selection was like nothing I’d ever seen. I understand how it can be overwhelming.
This is where, as a Tile Designer, I come in. First, I accept this reaction as a compliment (it certainly implies that they like what they see). Next, I assure that there’s a recipe to follow; a tried and true path for making selections with minimal stress.
It’s a simple formula that works for even the most bewildered.
As an example, let’s take on a full kitchen remodel. Once the appliances are selected and floor plan is set, it’s time to look at finishes, including tile selection, also known as the “fun stuff”. But if you’re not sure what direction to go in with tile, here are some steps to get you started.
You want to start with the kitchen design component with the least number of choices, and end with the one with the most choices. Kitchen cabinet color and door style is usually the easiest to narrow down as I find that most people have a picture in their mind of what they want. White-painted is very popular finish for cabinets as well as medium/dark stains like Woodmode’s Dark Lager, which is less red than the stains of the last decade. Whichever your preference, we’ll work with you to help you choose kitchen cabinets that meet your desired look.
With the cabinet selection in hand, your next step will be to select countertops that will coordinate well with the cabinets. In kitchen design, the countertop is a key element and it will drive the future color palette more than any other selection. If you’re struggling to select a counter, we’ll often recommend a visit to a fabricator or a stone yard where giant slabs can be viewed to get a better idea of how it will actually look. There have been many instances in which we’ve had clients uncertain on what counters to choose, decide to do this and wander around Rocky Mountain Granite or other local countertop provider on a Saturday morning, and they found a slab that inspires them. I’ve been known to say “their puppy picked them”, and then all the obstacles and doubts in their countertop selection disappeared.
It’s at this point that we can begin to look at tile for your kitchen design. This could include backsplash tile and/or floor tile. Whether you realized it or not, when you chose the door-style of your kitchen cabinets, it helped in determining the architectural bones of your kitchen. This selection of cabinet style clued us in on your preference in kitchen design, whether contemporary, traditional, cottage, transitional, Craftsman, etc. As designers, we’ll steer you toward the tiles that support the decision you have already made in order to obtain a cohesive style. A mistake that can be made here (and I see it A LOT, even from pro’s) is when you’re only considering the colors of the counter, cabinet, and tile and not the style. Focusing on only the colors can again make tile selection overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the colors are very important, but equally as important is the style. A very contemporary mosaic in a Tuscan kitchen is going to most likely look unpleasant, even if the colors are perfect.
By the time you’ve made all these decisions, you’ve pared your last selections down to very few so it’s typically very easy to choose a floor tile, cabinet hardware and paint color. Each, thoughtful choice made the next choice easier, and the next one easier still.
I can hear you saying to yourself, “but I’ve already picked my backsplash, I love it!”, and it’s true, it can work that way too. To me, that means you’ve already had your “puppy” moment. We love that, and can guide you to make the selections you’ll need to make to give your backsplash the perfect environment.
Written by Deb O’Connor