Unique accent walls and backsplashes are a natural fit for some flooring stores
I wasn’t looking for tile, mosaics or recycled glass when I went to the Buddy’s Flooring America store on Ridge Avenue in Cincinnati. But there was something magnetic about the eye-catching colors and textures on display.
This is a flooring store, I thought, but look at all of the options they offer for backsplashes and walls! And virtually every manufacturer offers something with recycled glass or recycled content , and tile is indoor-air friendly, too.
Okay, walls and floors must complement each other, so it makes sense to sell them together, particularly for bathrooms. But when there are so many cool options, how do you choose?
“That’s one of the reasons we have two interior designers working in our store,” Steve Baker, store manager, says. “They know how to put it all together. And we like to give each customer some type of accent that makes it pop.”
Ceramic and porcelain tile, carried by Flooring America stores nationwide, generally have always had a fairly green record in that they do not emit VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), they are low maintenance and they have a long life cycle. Most manufacturers — Daltile, Crossville and Marazzi are just a few — also offer tiles, mosaics and decorative accents that contain recycled glass and metal.
And to satisfy “green” architects specifying these products for sustainable building projects, many put their products through tests to verify the contents.
The key in using decorative mosaics is to add them in sparingly to your 4-inch or 6-inch square field tile, says Jill Isaacson, a Buddy’s design consultant.
Using decorative accents in odd numbers looks the best,” she says. And 12-inch square mosaic sheets can be cut down to two or three rows to get the perfect lineal accent.
“Backsplashes also are a great way to create a ‘wow’ in the kitchen,” she says. “Glass, metal and other decorative tiles are like adding jewelry to the kitchen. We use beautiful hardware on cabinets…now put it on the wall!”
A horizontal line of mosaics or other accent at eye level, when working with bathroom walls, is a consistent recommendation of Mike Smith, an account manager at ProSource Wholesale Flooring in Cincinnati. To create the most unique looks, selection is key, he says, and his store carries so many products it is not uncommon for customers to spend days or weeks, narrowing in on their selection.
“It is very hot!,” he says. “Glass, stone and metal mosaics are sold a lot for full walls, backsplashes and trim.”
The store’s private label brand is the most cost effective. Moving upward in price, you will also find products from Fanfare, Porcelanosa and Vogue Bay, which also offers a unique glass floor tile, though it is not made of recycled glass because, the company says, recycled glass contains too much color variation to achieve the Vogue Bay look. Instead, the primary ingredient is sand — one of the most abundant materials on Earth.
“You can find the right look for any room,” he says. “Of course, trendier brands like Porcelanosa and Vogue Bay, have even more wow factor.”©
– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com