Tile Tales – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Mar 22,13 Karen Zieba
Tile Tales – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Tile countertops all but went out of vogue more than 20 years ago. But for certain period-sensitive design work, tile countertops are the perfect choice.

For a current project, we have designed a 40’s era kitchen inspired by beautiful hand-crafted Malibu tiles. To make our final selections, I took my client to one of my favorite suppliers, Stone & Ceramic Surfaces in Huntington Beach. As usual, the service and design solutions were top-drawer. However, the trip reminded me once again just how difficult tile selection is for many homeowners.

There are just so many choices and options with tile. Do you want ceramic, porcelain, glass or metal? Hand-molded, hand-painted, or precision engineered? What color? What texture? There are liner tiles, field tiles, decorative tiles, wall tiles, floor tiles, accent tiles, period-appropriate tiles, stylized tiles, modern tiles, patterned tiles, textured tiles… Whew! You name it, and a good tile showroom will either have it or get it for you. It’s no wonder clients become overwhelmed.

Here are my suggestions for narrowing the options

Take your top 3 “inspirational” photos with you. Magazine clippings or online images are fine.

Note what you like about a particular tile. Is it the color, the texture, the shape? Are there certain colors you want to avoid?

  • Note what you like about a particular tile. Is it the color, the texture, the shape? Are there certain colors you want to avoid?
  • Do you want your tile to make a statement or serve as a neutral backdrop for other things?
  • Bring a drawing of the space and have an idea what your tile layout is likely to be. On the floor, for example: will your tile be square set or on the diagonal? Your Kitchen & Bath Designer or contractor should be able to help you with this and may be able to provide you with a sketch.
  • Have a tile material budget in mind. Again, you should be able to rely on a good designer or contractor to help you here.
  • Finally, take a sample door from your cabinetry, a paint chip, a sample of your countertop material, a fabric swatch, your favorite plate or any other items you would like to coordinate with you.


The correct tile choice can either provide the perfect finishing touch for your project or throw your overall design completely out of whack. Working with an experienced designer and an established tile supplier will provide you with creative solutions and save you from potentially costly mistakes.


Zieba Builders has the experience, expertise, and passion to make your next home project a success. Ready to get started on your design & build project? Give us a call or email us today!