What’s the Best Flooring to Use in a Bathroom?

Bathrooms are one of the most frequently used rooms in a home. And yet they rarely get the kind of foot traffic that a kitchen or a mudroom sees. In addition, bathrooms are often wet and subject to spills from toothpaste, hairspray, soaps, and lotions that can all affect the floor. Combined, all of this means that the flooring choice you make for your bathroom could be more complicated than it appears at first glance.

Durability

When considering what type of flooring to use in your bathroom, consider the durability of it in terms of its use. For example, you probably rarely wear shoes in there, so it’s less important that you use tile that could be scratched, so a choice such as glass tile that could not be used in an entryway can be used in a family bathroom.

On the other hand, you have a lot of water and some acid and alkaline substances in the bathroom. So the tile you use should be impervious to those substances whenever possible. So porcelain, ceramic, and glass tile all tend to hold up fairly well to these products.

Stone tile can be used in the bathroom, but depending on the type you choose you may need to consider a few things such as:

  • Sealing it regularly, particularly in shower areas, tub decks, and kids’ bathrooms
  • Wiping up spills as soon as you notice them to prevent etching and staining
  • Potentially choosing a stone that is less likely to stain or scratch such as granite, slate, or quartzite
  • Selecting a stone that is not slippery when wet to avoid spills

Style

It’s all well and good to consider the function of the tile first, but style definitely has an impact on what you will ultimately use in your bathrooms. Porcelain is probably the most versatile of all the bathroom flooring materials around. It comes in styles that mimic the look of stone, metal, glass, wood, and even fabric so you can match any style. Ceramic tile is often more traditional in appearance, which works well in some older and more formal homes. Glass is the most contemporary, but can also be a fun choice for kids’ bathrooms.

Be sure when you choose your style that you take the material into account first to ensure that it holds up as well as possible over the years.

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The Importance of Cabinet Hardware

Nearly every homeowner overlooks cabinet hardware during their new kitchen or bathroom design. These hinges, knobs, and pulls play a crucial role in your new kitchen, but they frequently get left to the last second for choosing. Don’t make this mistake in your kitchen or bath; the right choice in cabinet hardware can make all the difference in the world.

Why Cabinet Hardware Is so Important

You’d think that your choice of cabinets would actually be the more important decision in the new design, but stop and think for a few minutes. How will you open your new cabinets and drawers if you don’t have knobs and pulls? How will the cabinets swing open if there are no hinges?

Cabinet hardware helps your space function the way that it should. But it goes deeper than that, as well.

For example, someone with arthritis may want to consider using cup pulls or pulls that are large enough to slide their hands through without gripping. Someone living with a spouse who continuously leaves the cabinet doors open will want to look into self-closing hinges that automatically shut the door when you let go.

Also, the style and finish of your knobs and hinges can add a subtle cohesiveness to the entire room. For example, a rustic-style kitchen could make great use of strap hinges in an antique black finish combined with matching wrought iron pulls. These don’t seem like major considerations, but picture the same kitchen with shiny chrome flush mount hinges and contemporary knobs instead; that look would conflict with the overall design.

When to Choose the Hardware

Ideally, the time to choose the hardware is when you choose the rest of the accents in the kitchen. This allows you to match things such as metal finish, detail, or color. For example, if you have pewter tile accents in the backsplash, and a pewter-tone faucet, choosing pewter knobs helps pull everything together.

Regardless of the choices you make, be sure to put equal thought into your cabinet hardware as every other area of the room to create the best design.

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How Can I Give My Outdated Kitchen a Makeover on a Budget?

Kitchen renovations can completely transform a home both functionally and aesthetically. Unfortunately, a complete kitchen renovation is often a major expense and undertaking that can cost many thousands of dollars and several weeks or even months to complete. If you want to spruce up your kitchen without breaking the bank however, there are a few tricks that can help.

Break Out the Paint

While you’ve probably considered painting the walls of your kitchen to help brighten it up, you may not have realized that paint can be used to update nearly every part of an older kitchen.

Start with your cabinets. If they are in good shape, but are 80s-style oak or are old and peeling, remove the doors and spray paint them a more updated color. Combine this with some new cabinet hardware to bring them into the 21st century.

Another area you can paint is your counters. If you have an old countertop, consider investing about $50 in some faux-granite paint. This paint uses granite chips, several colors you sponge on and a protective urethane top coat to produce a rock hard, highly polished counter that resembles real stone.

You can even paint your appliances with special appliance paint, so if you have ugly black or scuffed white appliances give them a quick paint job to update them.

Add a New Backsplash

Backsplashes in most kitchens are only about 30 square feet, so even the most expensive tile out there is probably not going to break your bank. Backsplashes are a fun way of injecting some color, style, and personality into your kitchen. They are also fairly easy to remove, so if you do decide to go in for the big kitchen remodel in a few years you won’t be regretting your decision to put them up.

Invest In One Change

The other way you can update your kitchen is to make a few small changes while at the same time making one big one. Get your cabinets refaced, get new appliances, or replace your countertop or flooring. Having one big purchase and a few minor updates can often be almost as good as renovating the entire space.

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How to Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Small bathrooms can be a homeowner’s biggest design challenge. These baths can feel cramped, often don’t have enough room for all of your stuff, and if you decorate them the wrong way, they can somehow feel even smaller. There are a few tricks that can help you open your small bathroom up, both aesthetically and functionally.

Make Your Floor Seem Bigger

There are several tricks involving just the floor of your bathroom that will make it appear larger. First, opt for a sink or vanity with a pedestal base or hanging from the wall. You can even find toilets designed to hang from the wall. This tactic increases the amount of visible floor space and makes the room seem larger.

Next, select the largest size tile you can comfortably fit in the room and install it on a diagonal. Large tiles have fewer grout lines, so they are less likely to emphasize the size of the floor, while the diagonal layout draws the eye out to the corners of the room, visually widening it.

If you have a shower in the bathroom, lay the same tile on the shower floor as well in a mosaic size, or lay a mosaic everywhere in the bathroom to make the two spaces seem like part of the same floor. Glass shower doors also open up the space more than an opaque option.

Finally, take the wall furthest from the door and run the tile right up it. This creates an optical illusion that makes the room seem much larger than it actually is.

Gain Some Storage

Done right, well-placed storage can help make the room feel larger as well. Start with niches, small cutaways in the wall that will let you place items without actually taking up space in the room.

Next, opt for cabinets on the walls above the toilet and next to the shower to give you the storage you need without eating up precious floor space. Install shelving just below your bathroom mirror, but above the sink to give you an out-of-the-way place to hide toiletries.

Keep It Light and Bright

Finally, keep the palette for the whole room very light and simple, using just one or two cool colors through the whole space. Combine these tricks to make your small bathroom seem larger and appealing.

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Decorating with Chinese and Brazilian Slate Floors

When most people think of slate flooring, they picture the material that typically comes from Vermont. This type of slate is usually honed, gauged, and a uniform gray color that makes it easy to coordinate with other furnishings and décor. Slate flooring that come from other countries such as China and Brazil, however, vary widely in terms of color and texture. This can make some homeowners feel cautious about their use, because while this stone is beautiful and eye catching, the overall look can feel overwhelming when placed in a residential setting.

Looking at the Positives

Thankfully, while these international ungauged slates may be intimidating to plan around,  this is actually far from the case. These beautiful stones actually open up a wide range of decorating possibilities that may not be possible with other flooring types.

Color Palette

With the exception of some types of green-colored slate, most of these international slates have a wide range of colors in each lot of stone. This means that the colors within one floor can vary from deep blue to burgundy, light green to gold, and often a floor may have five or more shades within it. While you may think this will make the floor busy, what it actually does is give you a built in decorating palette; pull every color you intend to use elsewhere in the room from the flooring and it will automatically work as a color scheme and cohesive design choice.

Unique Texture

One of the other decorating positives that come from ungauged slates is their unique texture. Each piece is covered with layers that create little hills and valleys all over the stone. This texture lends itself toward decorating in one of two ways:

  • Used in contemporary settings it adds the one incongruous touch that makes the rest of the furnishings and décor pop
  • Used in Country, rustic, and farmhouse settings, it sets the stage for the use of additional textures and patterns throughout the room

 A Beneficial Choice

In addition to their decorating positives, international slate flooring rarely stains, hides dirt well, and can be maintained with just a little mineral oil. Consider using them in any setting where a lot of character is desired.

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Choosing Wall Colors with White Oak Floors

White oak is one of the more popular hardwood floors on the market today. Unlike red oak, it has a blue/gray cast to its undertones, which makes it a cooler-toned choice than the creamy pink and red of its cousin. It’s a good choice for small rooms, therefore, where the cooler tone helps to open up the room visually. Paired with the right wall colors, it can make a striking addition to many homes.

Complementary Colors

One of the best ways to choose a color that will work with another is to use complementary colors or tones. Complementary colors sit opposite one another on the color wheel, like red and green. Because white oak has a slight blue/gray undertone, a natural wall color choice would be to use a very light, creamy yellow. This provides contrast to the floor, softening it and warming up the room slightly. Accent colors can then be in multiple shades of blue, gray, yellow, tan, and brown as well as white to create a complete palette for the space.

Analogous Colors

Another popular way for choosing colors to pair together is through the use of analogous colors. Analogous colors sit next to one another on the color wheel, and create a more subtle palette that can include many more colors in it. With the blue/gray undertones of white oak, natural color choices would be in the green and purple categories. This can range from deep tones like hunter green and plum to lighter colors like sage and lilac. Because you can keep adding analogous colors, you can keep expanding the palette of the room, moving from sage to gold and lilac to red, creating a plethora of accent colors that blend together into one, cohesive design.

Strengthening the Floor Colors

Depending on the lot of white oak that you get, you may want to find a minor tone within the floor and lift this color for the walls. This can create a very subtle palette that really opens up small rooms. Just choose either complementary or analogous colors for your accents to complete the design.

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What Is The Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?

When it comes to choices in floor tile, you have more today than ever before. And with these choices comes some confusion about what these tiles are, how they are made, and what makes them different from one another. Two of the most confusing are ceramic and porcelain. Both are made of clay, and to be even more confusing, in pottery porcelain is a type of ceramic. There are some pretty big differences between the two as tiles though, which can make one or the other a better choice for your specific application.

What Is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tiles are made out of wet clay that has been extruded or pressed and cut into shape. They may be fired and then glazed and fired again, or they may be glazed and fired just once, also known as a monocutura tile.

Ceramic tiles always have a glaze on them, so if the tile were to chip, you would see the clay body underneath them. This glaze on the tiles is subject to something known as crazing, which means that tiny cracks can develop in it. If an unsealed crazed tile gets wet, the clay body underneath can absorb water and potentially stain.

Ceramic tiles come both for floor and wall use, and floor tiles may be strong enough and durable enough even for commercial use. Never use a wall tile on the floor; their glaze is not designed to be walked on.

What Is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tiles are made out of compressed clay dust that has been fired to extremely high temperatures, rendering the tile dense, non-porous, and extremely durable. The color of a porcelain tile goes right through from top to bottom, so if it were to chip, you would not notice a change in color in the surface.

Porcelain tiles can be glazed, but are often not. The surface of a porcelain tile can be smooth and matte, rough and textured, or polished to a high sheen. They never require sealing, and do not stain, scratch, or require special care, which makes them ideal for any application.

So while both tiles are made of clay, porcelain is much more durable and can be used for more applications than ceramic.  Knowing the type of tile that will fit best with your lifestyle is a key part in decorating your home.  We are happy to help you through the decision!

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What Is The Most Environmentally Friendly Flooring Choice?

Green building is one of the hottest topics in architecture and home remodeling today. With new, recycled products and materials, homeowners have more choices than ever before. With these choices, however, come questions as homeowners begin to educate themselves on the various materials and how using them can have an impact on the environment. Because flooring covers such large sections of the home’s interior, one of the goals of many green-conscious homeowners is to find a sustainable or green flooring product. And while there are many advances in recycled tiles and reclaimed products, one of the most frequently overlooked products that ranks high in both sustainability and low environmental impact in manufacturing is wood flooring.

A Sustainable Choice

There are many natural and recycled products on the market for flooring today. Some, like stone or ceramic, are derived from materials that cannot be recreated or reproduced once gone. Even recycled clay can’t be infinitely sustainable without a lot of other manufacturing concerns and drawbacks. Wood is entirely renewable and a truly sustainable choice. Some companies choose to use fast growing trees and products like bamboo, while others choose to plant additional trees to replace those harvested, ensuring that the product remains sustainable.

Low Impact

Studies carried out by the University of Wisconsin have found that wood floor manufacturing has one of the lowest impacts on the environment of any flooring type. The biggest drawback is the kiln drying of the wood, which is required to create a stable product.

Most of the off-gasses produced during the production of the wood flooring have either a neutral or a negative greenhouse effect, meaning that they either do not contribute to greenhouse gasses, or they help reduce them.

This combined with the fact that while the trees are growing they help to clean the air and reduce CO2 levels makes wood flooring a surprisingly green choice for many homeowners.

Make the Right Decision

When you set out to find an environmentally friendly flooring option for your home, don’t overlook wood floors. While wood may not seem as green a choice as a recycled flooring product, its sustainability and low manufacturing impact make it a far greener choice than any other flooring on the market today.

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Family Fun Activities

Importance of spending quality time with family cannot be denied. As this family time is spent focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the other members of family, so it makes everyone feel special and it strengthens the relationships by strengthening the love bond. If you are looking forward to have some fun with your family but don’t know where to start, make sure to read our post for plenty of ideas.

House Work

If the home has fallen a bit behind in cleaning or maintenance, then housework can be a great family option. These everyday chores can take on a different meaning when the family works together or creates games to enliven the usual work.   Try challenging one another to see who can pick up more toys in one minute or fold laundry neater than the other.  Productive activities don’t have to be boring!

Story Making

Everyone likes to share their story in their own way. Therefore, story-making can be more amusing than story-telling. Select a theme or keywords and start making your own story and ask the person, sitting next to you, to continue where you stop. You will be amazed with the crazy tale you have by the end of the session.

Impersonation and Fun Photography

Make use of funniest things that your family members usually do or the phrase that a friend repeats often, to have fun. You can also use your camera to photograph one another in funny poses or with crazy facial expressions. Fun photography is enjoyable to shoot and hilarious to view afterwards.

Reading Time

You can also arrange a weekly reading session. Sit together and read out loud about a selected theme like mysteries, real-life stories, or adventures.  This gives you an opportunity to expand your knowledge and to share your ideas with your family about the subject.

Movies

Watching an old home movie can be a great family fun activity. Arrange a home theater show to watch the wedding movie, birthday party video of your child, grandparent’s wedding anniversary etc.

The most important thing to remember during family activities is to enjoy your time together.  Anything around you can turn family time into a special memory if make sure everyone is having fun!

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Backsplash Pattern Ideas

Backsplashes add a decorative element to any kitchen design, often completing the look and feel of the kitchen. There are numerous ways you can lay out your backsplash tile to complement the look and style of your kitchen. Depending on the type of design you’re going for; consider trying any one of these backsplash ideas to complete the look.

Contemporary Stacked Pattern

Consider using traditional tiles set in unconventional ways to make a statement in your contemporary kitchen. Choose a rectangular tile, either traditional subway-style 3 x 6, or something different and more modern such as a 2 x 8, and rather than installing them in a running bond or offset pattern, consider stacking them horizontally on top of one another to make rows. This gives a sleek, modern look to any kitchen. Further enhance the look by using glass, honed marble, or stainless steel tiles in place of ceramic.

Traditional Focal Point Pattern

The vast majority of backsplashes are 18-inches in height. This allows you to frame the interior portion of your backsplash with a row of 4-inch tiles at the top and at the bottom. Fill in the center with the same tiles turned on the diagonal for a formal, traditional look that is emphasized by tiles above and below. Continue this pattern behind the cooktop, cutting in decorative tiles on the corners of the field tile to complete the pattern.

Transitional Border Pattern

If your kitchen isn’t contemporary or traditional, but somewhere in the middle between the two, consider using a transitional pattern that uses elements of both. Set a row of tile at the bottom of the backsplash, and run a decorative border of glass mosaic on top. Set the remaining field tile above it to the cabinets. Take the decorative glass mosaic, and use it to fill in the area behind the cooktop, framed with a chair rail tile to give a focal point to the space.

Complete Your Kitchen

Backsplashes help to complete any kitchen design. Consider using one of these three patterns to help you achieve the look you’re after.  Have you ever seen a backsplash pattern that was particularly beautiful or striking?  Feel free to send in a picture if you have!

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