Often the most challenging difficulties with designing are caused from unrealistic expectations. The first rule of thumb when designing any area using natural stone tile is to remember that a tile can be gloriously beautiful, but if it’s not functional then it’s a waste of money.

When designing for a bathroom, for example, you can think about being functional without giving up the design aesthetic. Think through what you do on a daily basis, think of that routine and use that information to come up with solutions that work. Design goes with safety and convenience-they are never exclusive ideas-they are married together.

Aimee Browne, CKD, designer and president of In The Details, Inc. has worked with tile for over a decade. She says ” For the most part, design challenges come in two forms: function and aesthetic. From a functional standpoint, many of the kitchen and bath renovations that I’ve done are an attempt to make the space safer and accessible for the homeowner. In regards to aesthetics, it doesn’t take much for people to want a more beautiful space to live in.” Says Browne. “Specific design challenges that come up repeatedly are things like making a space brighter, replacing fixtures that are simply too small for people today, updating tile and fixtures with more relevant products and being able to accommodate our loves with extra storage”

Epstein uses her own bathroom as an example of adapting the design to accommodate to more storage space. “I am an accumulator of bath products. So in my current master bathroom, I designed deep medicine cabinets with electrical outlets inside. They hold all of my products, hair dyer, curlers, etc, there are recessed cabinets in the toilet niches as well. These are all tiles and they are great storage places all the stuff we get at Costco. This keeps everything off the counters and behind closed doors”

Different jobs require different materials. Juan Carlos says, “You may come into a showroom knowing that you love the look of travertine. But it’s not the best option for a family with two dogs and kids that are potty training-travertine stains. For a family like that, I would recommend a porcelain tile for its longetivity “The main idea is to take a step back and look at your lifestyle, you may walk into a showroom like Surfaces USA and know exactly what you want, but try asking questions first. IT is the salespeople’s job to understand and know tile like the back of their hands. Let them help you and make sure the tile that you want will match your lifestyle needs.

Make sure you realize small things like how your tile will be used. “A glossy tile is not going to show as much wear as a matte tile. Whether tile or stone, in the kitchen you want a little movement in the pattern because a plain tile shows dirt much faster.”

Ultimately, it’s your home and your project and you must live in it. At Surfaces USA, we will give you recommendations but we will also suggest you get a chance to visualize the tile in your kitchen. Buy nine square feet of the pattern and lay it out to see if you like it. If you do, great! You already have nine square feet of it.