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Do's and don'ts: the art of tackling your tile project

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:39 am, Fri Aug 1, 2014.

(BPT) - When you add a tile or natural stone surface to the kitchen or bathroom, it transforms each space with a fresh, clean and customized look. Many homeowners often dream about adding a backsplash or replacing a floor, but never complete the project because they can’t decide on the right look, become mentally exhausted by the thought of doing the project or don’t know how to accomplish it themselves.

“There are simple tips designers use to plan the look and feel of a room using tile colors and patterns,” says Kirsty Froelich, design director for The Tile Shop. “Whether you want to do the tiling yourself or plan to hire someone to lay it for you, these hints will help you get the look you want with ease.”

Do: Find inspiration to guide your vision – This is the fun part. Get motivated to do your project by looking for photos that catch your eye in magazines or Decorpad, get inspired with hundreds of inspirational spaces from The Tile Shop on Houzz, Instagram, Pinterest or www.tileshop.com, and start a file of your favorites. Visuals of what can be done or what has already worked for someone else are great reference for your project even if you tailor it to fit your own style. Also, try using graph paper to draw out your own geometric designs.

“I usually sketch a couple of different ways so I can visually see which one I like the best,” Froelich says. “You don’t have to be an artist to do this.”

As you gather visuals, you’ll most likely notice a similar pattern and/or shape of tile or stone materials that you’re drawn to, which can range from ceramic, porcelain and glass to marble or slate. This will help you narrow down a style of tile to use. One material that is very versatile is Travertine from The Tile Shop. It comes in a neutral color palette, perfect for using on the floor, walls, backsplash, around the fireplace or even outdoors in warmer climates. It is available in stores and for purchase online.

Don’t: Go overboard – Too many patterns or colors in one space can overwhelm a room. Instead, keep things clean and simple.

Do: Check your colors - Before purchasing all the materials for your project, bring samples home so you can see the colors in the space.

“Store lights and the lights in your kitchen are very different, and all of the sudden, what you thought was a beige color in the store might look green in your home,” says Froelich.

Also match your tile samples against other colors that will be in the room, from the paint on the walls to the granite countertop to the wooden cupboards and floor. By matching samples, you’ll know the finished project will result in the exact look you want.

Do: Measure twice – This tip applies not only to the planning process, but also to the installation process, especially if you need to cut tile. Once you’ve measured and double-checked your measurements, don’t be afraid to have someone else repeat the process to ensure accuracy.

Don’t: Ignore the details – A tile project will go from nice to stunning if you add simple finishing touches to the project. For example, Froelich recommends mitering corners for a professional look and finishing any raw edges of the space with bullnose, stone profiles or trim pieces.

Do: Use resources – Take your plans, photos, sketches and any color swatches you’ve selected to The Tile Shop so your sales associate can work with you to achieve your vision, and help you find the perfect tile for your project. Additionally, a tile setter can help you avoid common design or layout mistakes. For a final check before cutting and installation, lay out the tiles out in the place and pattern you’ve designed so you can make any last-minute adjustments. If you’re doing the tiling yourself and need a refresher, The Tile Shop offers free DIY classes every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in all stores.

“Once you have your design, your materials and you have tested your pattern, you’re ready to start the project,” Froelich says. “Roll up your sleeves and get started so you can enjoy your updated look for many years to come.”

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