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The Art of Designing with Stone and Tile

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The Art of Designing with Stone and Tile

by Joe Human

With the vast selections of natural and manmade stone available today, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the choices for DIY'ers and designers alike. 

Since so many tile options exist, the first step I recommend to my clients would be to determine a realistic budget.  Depending upon the scope of the project, you would want to determine the budget as a whole for the entire project and then generally break down each item you would want to have done (tile, millwork, furniture, lighting, etc.).  Tile can come in all price ranges, from around a dollar per square foot to hundreds of dollars per square foot—and even more in some cases.  

When selecting a tile, you will need to take into account where it is going to be placed.  High traffic areas or areas that will get a lot of use and abuse (think mud rooms or entryways in a home) will need a more durable tile that is rated specifically for that type of use.  That is not to say you cannot use a non-high-traffic tile in those spaces; you will just need to make sure they are maintained more often to ensure longevity.

I love using tile in my designs. There are so many options for all design aesthetics.  Tile is no longer just the cold and dated version it was back 20 years ago. It can be warm and modern and placed in a variety of areas of the home including walls, ceilings, floors and backsplashes.  Tile comes in all shapes and sizes for almost every application.  When choosing a tile, consider its size and orientation.  A rectangular shaped tile can look more modern and clean and the same goes with large oversize tiles and stone slabs.  When I design, I try to minimize the joints as much as possible.  However, when you build, there are always constraints, which means there are always going to be joints. Have your installer use the tightest seam possible for the cleanest look.

As a designer, I see firsthand the time it takes in doing something as simple as selecting a new tile for let’s say a backsplash.  It can definitely be worth the investment to hire a designer to assist you with these sorts of projects, whether you are building a new home from scratch or just updating the look of your kitchen backsplash.  A designer will be able to narrow down the vast options available to you, show you pieces within your budget, and many times select something you may not have even thought of for your home.

Joe Human is owner of a boutique design studio called Designs by Human based in NYC.  Joe designs for all types of clientele and has been featured in several online and print publications.