What Tile Should I Pick if I Don’t Know My Cabinets or Counter Yet?

Rockville, MD – December 10, 2015 – Coordinating your tile when you haven’t selected your cabinets and counter yet can be confusing.  Fortunately, it’s much easier than selecting tile that coordinates with existing cabinets and countertops.

On the other hand, you have so many more options, it can be overwhelming. The most important thing is to get focused. There are so many options when it comes to tile, and if you have time, you have the option of selecting anything you want. You can even have a custom mosaic designed and fabricated just for your space.

You’ll need to know the look you are trying to achieve and your budget. You can do this by doing a little bit of research online or by flipping through magazines.  Think about what magazines you’re drawn to, Southern Living or Traditional Home, this will tell you something about your preferred style.  Tile that is in stock tends to be much cheaper compared to a similar look that is a special order as there would be no additional shipping fees. Special order tile has additional shipping fees and they vary based on the weight of your order, where it’s coming from and where it’s going.  

When researching, you will find that you like more than one look, but it’s important to keep in mind the rest of the spaces around the area in question and the plans you have for them. If you are planning on renovating and updating everything, you definitely have more options, but if you are trying to make sure the tile goes with current style of your home, you’ll want to make sure to stay with the same theme.

Personally I love hand-molded, hand painted, terracotta tiles and I have seen so many images where they just look fabulous, but a traditional terracotta tile is not something that would look good in my swanky little contemporary monochromatic cool-colored condo and they are pricey considering the value of my property. I would never get the money back in the sale of my place. I even love the look of a solid piece of red acrylic for a backsplash, but I might want to sell or rent my place out eventually, and bright red is not the safest option if I want to please future renters or buyers.

Hand-painted Terra Cotta
Hand-painted Terra Cotta

So with that being said here are some steps you can take to narrow the options… Of course these are simply guidelines, and in the end it’s up to you!

1) If and when doing your research, save the links that capture the look you are going for and send them to your design consultant before you have your appointment. This will help the design consultant keep you focused and save time.  Pinterest or Houzz are great tools to do this.

2) Determine if the place will be rented or sold in the near future. If so, you will probably want to go with something neutral, simple and safe. You don’t want to make a commitment to bold color or trendy patterns, unless you are sure it will attract and aid the sale/lease.

3) Think about the countertop. Are you going for something with a lot of movement in the surface? If so, you will want the tile to take the back seat, meaning you will want something simple that coordinates but doesn’t compete. Are you going for a countertop that is very monochromatic or plain? If so, a busier tile pattern can be chosen if desired, like an arabesque, herringbone or tiny brick pattern.

4) Do not let a non-existing paint color dictate your tile choice. If you really like a certain paint color – use it to inspire you but select the right shade or tint at the end of the design process. I say this because there infinite amounts of paint colors to choose from and it’s much easier to select it last than first.

5) Go natural with texture. If you really want a natural look, something natural like white marble, or something with texture like ledger stone or a split face stone will convey that feeling.

Swiss Alps White Marble
Swiss Alps White Marble

6) Mosaics as accents. If you want the area to pop and be the focal point like art, you may want to consider a highly decorative or custom mosaic, or a splash of bold color. (Mosaics tend to cost a lot more than basic field tiles, so just keep that in mind.)
7) Traditional always works. For a traditional look a 3×6 subway with a hand-molded appearance works great.

London White Ceramic Brick Tile
London White Ceramic Brick Tile

If you feel like you may need a little more help figuring out your tile, it may be helpful to speak with an interior designer to assist you. You can pay them for all kinds of services but at the minimum for coming out to your property and going shopping with you. In the end, you can wind up saving money simply because they know the trade and values of what you are trying to purchase. They also bring you peace of mind – which is invaluable! Architectural Ceramics offers free design help with purchases through our design sales consultants. Visit any one of our showrooms to start your project today!

by Amber Nelson, Design Sales Consultant, Architectural Ceramics & Christina Ginn, VP Product & Marketing, Architectural Ceramics

10 thoughts on “What Tile Should I Pick if I Don’t Know My Cabinets or Counter Yet?”

    1. i agree, just because its made from a tree doesn’t mean its bad. I think what people are initially reacting against is the fact that it’s just not good and just a plain old waste of time and effort.

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