Picking Tile: Where to Start

How do you go about picking the right tile? Well, you have somehow come across a blog post advising you where to start, so you're certainly doing something right. Choosing tile can be overwhelming: allow us to give you an introduction.

First, you must know: there are endless options, and that's not necessarily supposed to be comforting. The home improvement world has so many players in the game, it's worth it to listen to people who know what they're talking about. Otherwise, you never know if you're getting a quality product. Luckily, there's some valuable online resources created to help you wrap your head around what you want without sacrificing quality.

Sites like Pinterest and Houzz are perfect for style discovery.

They're both certainly full of an overwhelming amount of information, but in our opinion they're quite user friendly. Try searching a specific style like “Mid-century modern”, or simply browse the categories and begin saving some things in a folder or within your account.

Ask yourself some questions.

What do you value in a space? Minimalism? Warm, cozy feel? Do you like having comfortable objects around? Is there a focal point in your space like a stained glass window or funky ceiling shape you want to highlight? All these things will have an impact on your decision. Maybe write a few out then go back through your saved ideas with these in mind.

Our advice is to trust your impressions and opinions, and if you ever second guess ask yourself, "Will I like this in five years"?

Identify specific collections you could see working in your space.

Search for the name and compare prices. Found a photo of tile you love and can't pin down the manufacturer or collection name? Send us the photo and we'll provide the closest choices from our catalog. It can be a complicated process if you're heading into it without experience, because most suppliers in the Pacific NW (and all of the ones featured on our website) don't sell directly to homeowners. They'll only sell you material if you have a trade business license, something many homeowners are confused by when they go to distributor showrooms in south Seattle.

There's already enough confusion in the life of someone attempting a home renovation- utilize our search function and categories to narrow down the options. Don't be surprised if you can't find other online sources for certain collections: we are the sole e-commerce supplier for many products offered in the Seattle area.

Be sure you're searching for the right tile for your application.

For example, most floor tiles (usually porcelain) will also work on walls, but wall tiles (usually ceramic) won't perform well on floors. Natural stone will usually work on both, but you may not want a surface vulnerable to scratches on your floor. Glass is usually only advised for wall applications, but there are exceptions like recycled glass mosaics. Manufacturer websites are linked on all our product pages, and they usually list possible applications. Just shoot us a message if you'd like to double check something will work in your space.

Track down samples.

Once you've found sources for the tiles you like, you'll want to see samples. (We don't yet offer a sample program, though we're working on it. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when this feature is rolled out.)

This can be tricky as not all companies offer free samples, and you might end up paying just to receive a sample that's not what you wanted at all. The best way to go about it is to visit different vendor showrooms- many of the suppliers on our website provide this service. Some don't, however, so shoot us a message and we'll do what we can to track down a physical sample for you.

Bring the samples home with you- you'll want to see it in your home lighting. This can change drastically once a space is complete, but it will at least help you visualize the elements in their future environment and give you time to mull it over.

Time to purchase.

Once you've made your final decisions, head back to those product pages, enter your quantities, then add them to your cart.

Got questions? Trying to track down a specific product? Send us a message or email. We process requests and orders in the order they are received Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Happy tile searching!

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