How to Choose the Perfect Tile Flooring for Every Space
---Two industry experts take you through the process
TEXT BY MIRANDA SILVA Posted August 5, 2016
When you’re choosing a new floor tile for your kitchen or bath, it pays to do your homework before you hit a showroom. Spend a few weeks figuring out your budget, thinking about the traffic that goes through the room, and, of course, homing in on your taste, says Nancy Epstein, founder and CEO of Artistic Tile. “Shop around Pinterest, magazines, and friends’ homes to decide what colors, textures, and patterns appeal to you. You want to choose tile that will make you feel comfortable and content long-term, not necessarily what seems to be in vogue.” Here, Epstein and DeeDee Gundberg, director of product development for Ann Sacks, share their tips for determining the best floor tile for any room in the house.
Know that not all tiles are created equal
Before you fall in love with a design online, be sure you’re looking at something suited for the floor. “Floor tile has more limitations than wall tile, because it needs to have a flat surface and must be durable enough to withstand foot traffic,” says Epstein. “Therefore, three-dimensional, carved, and some glass tiles are not recommended for floors.”
Plan for busy spaces
In rooms like kitchens, mudrooms, and entryways, you want a tile that can stand up to years of wear and tear. For the ultimate in durability, Epstein and Gundberg say you can’t beat natural stone. “It’s low maintenance, high quality, and will last forever—or as close to forever as anyone needs,” says Epstein. Plus, says Gundberg, it “brings a sense of sophistication and luxury to a space.” The only downside: It costs more than many other options and needs to be sealed when installed.
Fool the eye
If natural stone is beyond your budget, consider porcelain tiles. They’re also tough and absorb very little water, making them a good choice for kitchen and bathroom floors. And porcelain is more versatile than you might think. “Advances in porcelain technology allow for spot-on reproductions of stone, concrete, and wood flooring,” says Gundberg. Some people even use porcelain reminiscent of wood in family rooms, she notes, because they bring warmth to the space while showing less wear than hardwood.
Scale up or down
Once you’ve determined the type of tile that works best for your space, it’s time to figure out the right size. For a powder room, you’ll want a style on the smaller side (say, a stone mosaic), whereas in a more expansive space, you might consider a large-format tile, which will help give the area a clean, modern feel, says Gundberg.
Determine your style comfort zone
Many people opt for a solid color in a kitchen or master bath and experiment with a statement-making patterned tile in smaller spaces, such as a powder room. If you’re torn between keeping it simple or going bold, consider something with texture, Epstein says: “In a neutral space, tile with dimension is a great way to stay interesting yet classic.”