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Floor Tile: When to Avoid a Diagonal Pattern

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Ralph in Arizona, welcome to The Money Pit. What are you working on?

    RALPH: Actually, I’m working on remodeling my kitchen and I could really use some help in trying to figure out exactly what to do as far as tiling.

    LESLIE: OK. Tiling the counter; the backsplash? What are you thinking about?

    RALPH: Actually, tiling the backsplash. We’re going with granite countertops but …


    RALPH: … you know, everyone’s asking – folks are letting me know that tumbled marble or ceramic tile and just not sure exactly what to really use.

    LESLIE: Well, it really depends on what your design style is; you know, what is the décor of your kitchen, what is the color of your granite. There’s a lot of different choices when it comes to tile and, of course, budget ranges as well.

    RALPH: Well it’s, again, granite top. I have a very light-colored floor and it’s a very contemporary kitchen, for the most part.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well there’s actually a lot of interesting choices when it comes to tile as well. You can even find stainless steel tile that are sort of built in the same way that a subway tile is; almost in a mesh backing. There’s a lot of good choices and those would all make a lot of sense for the backsplash. And if you’re looking to save a couple of dollars, you can go with a ceramic tile that might not be as fancy or have a lot of design detail on it but you can choose something and use that as the field and even turn it on the diagonal just to give it a little bit more visual interest or maybe replace every third one with a more fancy tile. This way it sort of works within your budget if you’re trying to maintain a budget.

    RALPH: OK, well that’s actually very informative. Can I ask you one other question?

    LESLIE: Sure.

    RALPH: The floor – for the ceramic tile on the floor there’s options to go into a diagonal pattern, a brick pattern or pretty much a straight pattern.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    RALPH: Just wondering if there is a pattern that is one is better than the other and – you know, to make the kitchen look larger, smaller, whatever.

    TOM: Well, if you use a diagonal pattern it’s going to draw the eye to the floor and in my experience that, unless you have a very large kitchen, can make it look smaller.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: So I think that you want to keep the lines on the floor to be very parallel with the main line of the kitchen cabinets.

    RALPH: Hmm, OK.

    TOM: If you try to break it up with the diagonal – sometimes I go into houses and people want to do everything, you know, with a chevron or a diagonal kind of pattern and it really …

    LESLIE: Oh, it can get so busy.

    TOM: It gets way too busy, yeah. Just keep the floor line subtle and nice and solid as a base to this visual image but don’t make it too crazy with patterns.

    RALPH: Great, thank you so much. Much appreciated.

    TOM: You know a good example of this? Have you ever gone into a casino?

    RALPH: Yes.

    TOM: The casino carpets are absolutely the most distracting, busiest designs you’ve ever seen. You know why? Because they want you to look at the slot machines so they make it hard to look at the floor.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To draw your eye down.

    RALPH: (overlapping voices) OK, so it makes perfect sense.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) So keep it simple. Keep it simple.

    RALPH: (overlapping voices) So keep the pattern simple and it doesn’t bring the eye down to the floor; kind of pushes it out to the cabinetry and the countertop.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Unless you want to put a slot machine in your kitchen. (Leslie chuckles) Then go for it.

    Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 

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