Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen’

Floor Tiles 101

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Not all floor tiles are created equal. Each type has pros and cons that need to be considered when planning a tiling project. Here are seven popular popular varieties, find the right fit for your flooring needs:

Marble Tile


Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile. To ensure that patterns match, the Marble Institute of America recommends having your contractor lay out the tiles over the entire surface before installing so you can approve the result. All your tiles should come from the same original batch. Marble, like most stone tiles, has high maintenance requirements. It must be sealed and cleaned regularly; for cleaning, use only a mild detergent solution or a product specially designed for marble. Never set your drink down on a marble surface (it will leave a ring), and wipe up any spills immediately, as they can stain or etch marble’s porous surface.

Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo is traditionally a flooring material made by exposing marble chips in a bed of concrete and then polishing until smooth. Now, however, you can buy terrazzo in tile form. It’s often used in public buildings because it’s long-lasting and can be refinished repeatedly. Terrazzo is quite slippery and can cause falls, so it may not be a good flooring choice for families with young children or elderly members. Ask your contractor about applying non-slip additives to the surface.

Concrete Tile


Concrete is a tough man-made mix of stone, sand, water and cement. It’s long-lasting, water-shedding, hail-resistant and can be made to mimic the look of other building materials. It can be a good roofing choice for harsh climates. Because it requires specialized tools and knowledge, and because you must ensure that the structure being covered can withstand the weight, concrete tile should be installed by trained professionals only.

Terracotta Tile

Terra Cotta Tile

Terra cotta is one of the oldest tile materials around, dating back before the birth of Christ, when it was sun-dried rather than oven-fired. It’s often used, glazed or unglazed, to create a rustic, weathered look. While high-quality terra cotta will last forever, it’s difficult to assess the quality, even for pros. Buy only from a seller whose reputation you trust, though even then you may encounter problems. For practical uses, it should be sealed, particularly in kitchens.

Porcelain Tile


Actually a subtype of ceramic tile, porcelain bears a perception of high quality, but for residential applications its particular toughness is unnecessary. It’s nonetheless popular in the residential market because the manufacturing process makes for unlimited design potential. The problem is that do-it-yourselfers typically install it with setting material designed for ordinary ceramic tiles, but porcelain’s low porosity means it requires a special compound for setting. Ask the manufacturer—not a salesperson—how to install it.

Ceramic Tile


Ceramic tiles are thin slabs of clay or other inorganic materials, hardened by oven firing and usually coated with some kind of glaze. Ceramic is best known for its durability, with some installations in the ruins of ancient Rome and Egypt still intact. Ceramic tile is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t harbor germs. It’s manufactured in production runs; because of variation among lots, make sure the caliber number (indicating size) and lot number (indicating color) are the same throughout your order. Ceramic tile is rated from zero to 5 based on hardness. Zero through 2 is suitable for wall tile, 3 is good for most residential uses, and 4 and 5 are hard enough for commercial applications.

Slate Tile


Slate tile is a popular roofing material with an air of prestige and a reputation for longevity. Although individual tiles sometimes crack, an entire roof made of slate probably won’t have to be replaced for 50 years or more. Properly installed, slate also makes dependable flooring. Slate is a metamorphic rock with relatively weak bonds between layers, so tile made from it tends to split along those planes. For an installation to resist damage, it must be set on a solid surface with mortar.

Special thanks to our friends at HGTV for this informative article!

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DIY Kitchen Backsplash Install!

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I have been getting a lot of requests for DIY kitchen backsplash guidelines. I found this easy to follow guideline that anyone can use!

Materials and Tools:

laundry detergent
rubber gloves
tape measure
grout floats
putty knife
wide trowel
toothed trowel
wet saw or tile cutter
safety glasses
pre-mixed tile adhesive
caulk and caulking gun
grout sealer


1. Clean the surface thoroughly first to remove all grease and residue. Mix together 1/4-cup laundry powder, 1/2-cup bleach and one gallon of water and scrub the wall with a sponge. Wear rubber gloves when scrubbing.

2. Use a putty knife to scrape off stubborn, built-up grease stains

3. Measure the length of the wall and mark the midpoint.

4. Dry-fit the tiles, starting in the middle to get an idea of how things will fit. If you’re fitting tiles in below a window, bring tiles up to the bottom of the window. Use a level to extend the window line along the wall.

5. Since the row just below the window will be made up of full tiles, measure the remaining space to the counter to determine how wide to cut the tiles.

6. Put on safety glasses and cut smaller tiles using a wet saw.

7. Spread grout along a section of the wall using a wide trowel. Go back over the grout with a toothed trowel to smooth everything out.

8. Start sticking tiles to the wall. Press and twist just a bit to set each tile in the adhesive. Stagger the tiles to make the pattern more interesting.

9. Once the last piece is in place let the adhesive cure overnight. Come back the next day for a grout party.

10. Apply the grout with a rubber grout float. Hold the float at an angle and force grout into the joints.

11. Don’t worry about smearing grout all over the tiles. Come back with a clean grout float and sponge and remove as much as you can.

12. Once all the joints are nice and full of grout, use a damp sponge to remove any remaining grout from the surface of the tiles.

13. Let the grout dry and polish tiles with clean, soft cloth to buff away any remaining haze.

14. Rub a damp sponge along the grout lines for the next few days so the grout cures properly. Also run a bead of caulk along the bottom and top of the tile backsplash.

15. After another week or so, paint the joints with grout sealer.

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Tigerwood Porcelain!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Tigerwood Porcelain is the newest addition to our already distinctive Porcelain Collection. If you have not seen these tiles, be prepared to fall in love! The first thing you need to know about this tile is that it is through-body, making them perfect not only for residential projects but also for commercial projects! The Tigerwood Porcelain comes in a 12″ x 24″ rectangular configuration, with a really cool striped pattern throughout. The best part? Prices start at $8.00 per sq ft delivered! I have attached the 4 colors it is available in and a couple of installation images below!

Birch Tigerwood

Ash Tigerwood

Almond Tigerwood

Black Tigerwood

Birch Tigerwood Installation

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Bond Street Social!

Friday, November 18th, 2011

A couple of months ago I was contacted by a well know restauranteur from Baltimore, MD. He was working on a new restaurant / bar called Bond Street Social and was interested in some of our materials. The overall feeling they wanted to achieve in the space was a warm, contemporary industrial vibe. By combining natural elements such as wood, rich leathers, natural stones, stainless, ceramic and glass mosaics, they achieved a perfect balance of earthy & sleek. Bond Street Social specializes in “high end comfort food” and specialty 80 ounce infusion jars. Served in a glass jar on a wooden stand, the cocktails are a unique blend of infused fruits and liquors. Bond Street Social combines an original, upscale dining experience with a hip, lively social scene. With cozy fireplaces throughout the lounge and such a cool atmosphere, who wouldn’t want to “socialize” here? Thank you Bond Street Social for letting us be part of this cool project! Here are some images of the space:

PS: How cool are the Natural Stone walls with the wire retainers? LOVE!

Bond Street Social

Bond Street Social

Bond Street Social

Bond Street Social

Bond Street Social

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Design Trend: Yellow & Gray

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I am totally inspired by this unique color combination for Spring. The gray is so soothing and modern, the yellow is a pop of color that adds life to any room.The combination is modern, chic and contemporary. If you are looking to jazz up a new area in your house, this is the perfect combination. Here are a few images of this color combo + accessories to get you inspired!

Bedroom Inspiration

Amy Butler Fabric

Large Painting for a Pop of Color

Circular Stainless Steel Tile

Gray & Yellow Kitchen

Kimura Wallpaper From Romo Fabrics

Safari Cypress Glass Tile

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Selecting The Perfect Kitchen Countertop by Ana Morales

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

There appears to be great debate about which type of countertop is right for today’s kitchens. This comes from the fact that the function of the kitchen has definitely changed. Before kitchens used to be solely for preparing the meal, the presentation of the menu was actually made to guests in the dining room. Nowadays, kitchens are designed with the idea that guests will interact with the host as he or she prepares the menu. This is why the open kitchen concept has become so popular. The countertops in the kitchen have gone from bland to beautiful in most homes. There are a few very important factors that should be considered when choosing a countertop for your kitchen. The 3 most important factors to consider are the maintenance, cost and durability of the specific material. It is very important to find a material that compliments your lifestyle, if there are kids involved then definitely don’t choose a light soapstone that requires delicate use and greater care. There are thousands of choices available that will surely be the perfect fit for your kitchen and lifestyle.

Here are a few of my favorite choices:


Granite is the most popular choice in countertops, this material is not only beautiful but it is also timeless. Granite is available in two finishes, polished and honed. The most popular of the two is the polished finish which results in a darker shiny look,  while the honed finish results in a lighter matte look. Granite is available in a large variety of colors such as white, beige, brown, gray, black, green, etc. The choices are infinite, so you are bound to find the perfect granite slab for your project. Costs for this material depend on a couple of factors, including origin of the stone, color and finish. Remember to pick a granite that is relatively easy to get if you are on a budget. Remember to seal granite periodically.

Granite Countertop


Marble is another natural stone that simply looks stunning in a kitchen, it has been a coveted decorating material since the time of the Greek Empire. A warm and soft stone, marble is beautiful and luxurious. Marble is durable and long-lasting, and offers subtle color choices and veining patterns to create unique designs. It is very important to keep in mind that marble requires delicate use and greater care. While marble is strong, it is also sensitive to many substances, including cleaning chemicals, juices that contain citric acid and oils. These substances can erode marble over time or make its appearance cloudy. You’ll need to select a cleaning solution that is made specifically for cleaning marble. Similar to other natural stones, marble can be a more expensive choice.

Marble Countertop


Quartz countertops have quickly become the favorite choice amongst interior designers and homeowners. Not only is this material contemporary and beautiful, it is so easy to maintain and durable. Quartz countertops come in countless colors, everything from a pure white to a lime green or hot pink (so cool!). The finish is polished and the best thing about this material is that it is seamless when it is installed. The best thing about quartz is that it resist stains and any scratches can be buffed out. Cost depends on the thickness and color slab you select, it is very comparable to a nice granite slab in cost.

Quartz Countertop


Concrete countertops have been gaining popularity in the past couple of years. Concrete countertops will give you a very industrial / contemporary look. The best thing about a concrete countertop is that it is so easy to customize to your taste, you can customize the color with pigments and even add metal or glass accents to the surface. Concrete is available in several different finishes: Trowel (smooth), Pressed (marble like veining), and Ground (sand aggregate is exposed). There are a few things to consider in regards to maintenance: Extreme changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp, and if you leave a damp material on the surface it can cause discoloration. It is advisable to seal this countertop four times per year, and wax every three months to keep it looking its best.

Concrete Countertop

-Stainless Steel

The benefit of using stainless steel countertops is that they will last indefinitely and look very sleek. Stainless steel not only offers a unique look and feel with reflective qualities, but it is also nonporous, resistant to water and heat, flexible, doesn’t chip and requires minimal maintenance. Special finishes can also be used to hide fingerprints, scratches and other unpleasant marks. When it comes to cleaning stainless steel, a quick wipe down with warm water and soap should do the trick. However, avoid using abrasive pads because they will scratch the surface. Also, do not use any cleaner that contains chlorine. Stainless steel is competitively priced compared to solid surface materials and is less expensive than marble and granite.

Stainless Countertop

Mix and match
Can’t decide on just one material? Then mix and match surfaces.  A popular choice when mixing and matching is using a different material on the island than for the rest of the countertops to differentiate the space.

Mix: Granite Counter & Marble on Island

The most important factor to remember when selecting the perfect kitchen countertop is to understand what look you want to achieve. The good news is if you have your heart set on a certain look, but the material just doesn’t match with your lifestyle, odds are there’s another material that does. Before making a decision on countertop material, see the surface in person, whether that means visiting a showroom or viewing samples at your home.

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4 Spring Color Schemes For Your Kitchen by Ana Morales

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Spring is the perfect time to give your kitchen a fresh look. From serene classic shades to vivid contemporary hues, I have selected 4 color schemes you’ll want to try this season.

Classic Meets Chic

Black and white will always remain a favorite pairing. They are both sophisticated and dramatic and they compliment any decor.  In this kitchen the black and white  glass mosaic backsplash highlights the dark wood cabinetry with sleek stainless-steel appliances and a crisp white quartz countertop. Giving this kitchen a very classic meets chic look.

Contempo Spa Blend Glass Mosaic Backsplash.

Warm Comfort

In this installation we have chosen a black polished pebble as the backsplash, which brings a natural element into the design. The black pebble backsplash ideally compliments the neutral black / tan granite countertop and the warm wood cabinetry.  The result is a warm and inviting, yet still contemporary space.

Vivid Black Polished Pebble Tile Backsplash.

Bright and Clean

Bright hues are an ideal way to add life to a neutral kitchen. In this installation we have selected a light blue subway tile as the backsplash to contrast the crisp white cabinetry and complement the gray quartz countertop. The result is a very bright and fresh space.

3" x 6" Ocean Grey Subway Glass Tile Backsplash.

Energizing Appeal

Jewel tones, like the ones in this backsplash, really pop when paired with dark cabinetry. By combining dark wood and white cabinetry with a neutral beige quartz contertop, the backsplash colors are further enhanced.  The result is a very fun and contemporary space.

Henna Fusion 12" x 12" Glass Mosaic Backsplash.

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“Restaurant quality kitchen, without breaking the bank!” by Ana Morales

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

If you want a restaurant-quality kitchen without breaking the bank, here are a few designer tips. Professional-grade appliances,  a low-maintenance floor and back splash make creating your dream kitchen a cinch. A big factor in your design are the materials you use, tile is an easy way to make any space unique. I have attached a few images of a color palette that I feel is perfect for achieving this look. The palette is refined, contemporary and clean. This palette is a combination of glass, stainless steel and porcelain.  Combining these different textures will help you create an amazing installation. The crisp white glass in combination with the cool stainless steel and patterned porcelain really help set a hip restaurant vibe in your kitchen. I love the idea of  the subtle checkered pattern on the porcelain for the kitchen floor. The pattern is a great way of combining the different gray and white tones you will be using in the other materials, it adds visual interest without being overwhelming.  The glass & stainless tiles are a perfect choice for your back splash area, get creative with the combination of these materials.  I have attached a few images of a kitchen project that served as the inspiration for this color palette.  I love what was done with the stainless steel tile above the stove area. So go ahead, get creative and give your kitchen new life!

Color Palette: Blanco Glass Subway Tile, Stainless Steel Tile, Contempo Graphite Porcelain.

Amazing back splash achieved by combining Blanco Subway Tile & Stainless Steel Tile.

The large 12" x 24" Porcelain Tiles are a great way of bringing all the colors together and they are low maintenance!

Restaurant quality kitchen in the comfort of your own home!

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Amazing Kitchen Transformation!

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

While browsing on Garden Web’s website I came across a conversation about finding the whitest glass tiles possible.  And it happened that they were talking about The Glass Mosaic Outlet’s Blanco 3×6 Subway tile!  Further down were these amazing pictures of Dwight’s kitchen backsplash installation where the Blanco 3×6 subway tile had been used.

Blanco 3x6 Subway Tile Kitchen Backsplash

All images can be clicked for larger versions.

I was so impressed with the look of the kitchen design that I had to contact Dwight about the photos.  He was just as excited and sent me a bunch of his before and after images.  My favorite part is seeing the before pictures.  Here is what their kitchen design looked like before the transformation.

Blanco 3x6 Subway Tile Kitchen Design - Before

Keeping with the subway tile shape they combined the Blanco 3×6 with the Stainless Steel 1×2 tiles to create the final striking kitchen design.

Blanco 3x6 Subway Tile Kitchen Design Backsplash

Both the Subway tiles and the Stainless Steel tiles have recycled content, in fact the Stainless Steel is 100% recycled tile.  So if you are looking for green materials they are a great choice.

*We actually had a manufacturing mistake with the Stainless Steel 1×2 and ended up with Stainless 1×2 but in a vertical pattern rather than staggered.  We are having a blow out sale on these if you would like to replicate this look at a discounted price.  Just give us a call 1.888.848.4537

Blanco 3x6 Subway Tile Kitchen Design Flooring

I am not sure what they used on the floors for this installation but we have a similar porcelain floor tile that would look just as great.  Ferroker Alumino is a 17×26 porcelain tile that has been used in countless installations both commercial and residential.

Porcelain Tile

While Alumino is the most popular of the colors there are also 3 other colors in the collection which you can see here Porcelain Tiles.

Thank you Dwight for sharing your pictures with us!

This is what Dwight had to say about his Design For Less Experience “…we are very happy with the quality of the tiles, as well as the pricing we received from The Glass Mosaic Outlet.  We have had several guests comment on our backsplash and I have even loaned out a couple of our extra pieces for our friends to look at in their own house.  Too bad you don’t have a referral program; I might be able to quit my day job (JK).”

We are working on a referral program because we know you guys are out there spreading the word about Design For Less and we really appreciate it!  For now just remember that any tile installation pictures we receive from you automatically gets you a 5% discount on your next order.  You can email them here

You can see many more inspirational kitchen designs on our Gallery page.

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