Tips for Big Projects

Some of you may not know but I still have a day job. I work at Tile and Marble Outlet in Santa Cruz, helping people choose tile for their remodel every single day. So while I’ve never done a remodel myself, I help people start and finish theirs. Today I’m going to share with you the tips I tell customers who are having a hard time getting started or are stuck.

Don’t worry about what is most popular. A great number of people I work with come in asking what is our most popular tile/size/style. And my answer invariably is it doesn’t matter. When you are remodeling YOUR house it only matters what YOU like. I think this question comes from a place of insecurity or uncertainty about what a customer wants. They want to validate what they like with the opinions of others and that’s very understandable, just don’t let it control your design process.

Pinterest and Houzz is great until it isn’t. These sites are fantastic for getting ideas but can also create frustration. You may not be able to find or do exactly what you see on these sites. The best way to use these sites, in my opinion, is as a mood board instead of blue prints. Pick photos of rooms that make you feel the way you want your room to make you feel and then look for common elements. Any store can help you find items to create the same feeling, they can’t always find the exact product you’re looking at in that photo.

With Pinterest on the right and actual tile from the shop on the left you can see how you can create the same feeling without getting the exact same thing.

Pick the big ticket items first. If you don’t know where to start this is the best place in my opinion. The big ticket item, like your counter tops, your couch, etc are usually the most expensive thing you’ll put in the room. So there tends to be fewer choices. Starting with the thing that has the least amount of options helps keep you from designing yourself into a corner. What you’re drawn to for those big pieces helps inform the rest of the room and what kind of style you have. Start with something you love. This is slightly contradictory since I just told you to start with the big ticket item, but starting with something you feel really passionate about can be just as great a spot as with the biggest piece. It will limit some of your decisions but narrowing down your options is really part of what you’re trying to do.

Good old fashioned books and magazines are also great resources for inspiration. They are more likely to site sources for their materials but using the Pinterest rule from above might save you some heartache.

Be careful about whose opinion you solicit. This ties into number one, this is YOUR house. That is not to say you can’t ask the opinion of a trusted and stylish friend, they may have ideas you like but don’t invite the whole neighborhood over to weigh in on your tile selection. Eventually someone is not going to like what you’re choosing. I’ve seen a fair share of customers get talked out of something they really liked by someone who shouldn’t really get a say. Too many opinions can create more confusion. I hope these little things help and remember everyone comes at design from a different angle. There aren’t necessarily wrong answers. Go with your gut and give yourself time. Nobody makes good decisions in a rush and it can exclude special order items from your available options.

I'm really excited for the blog coming up next month! So stay tuned!

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