Choosing the Right Grout Color For Your Tile

After searching through many different tile options and finally narrowing it down to that perfect tile – you think you’re done!  But not so quick – there is another decision that must be made, one that will essentially make or break the final look of your tile – the grout.  The grout color has a great impact on the finished look of your tile installation.  There are many different colors to choose from and it can be tricky in picking the right one.  Here is a guide to help you decide on what will work best for you.

There are generally three things you can have your grout do: blend, accent and contrast with your tile.

Generally people feel safer choosing a grout color that blends in with the tile.  It is impossible to find a grout color to match your tile exactly, due to there being so many different tile styles out there.  Also, many tiles do not come in a solid color and can have certain molding and shading that gives it a multifaceted look.  This makes it even more difficult to match the grout exactly.  The key thing to do in this situation is to select a shade of grout that blends in with the background color of the tile.  This will provide a complete look of the finished space, rather than a focus on each individual tile.

white tile white grout

In other cases, contrasting grout can be the perfect addition to a tile.  It can make an otherwise plain tile come to life. This is done by choosing a grout color that contrasts with the tile, allowing the focus to be centered on each tile.  This is a great option if you are wanting to highlight each tile or are wanting the lines of the grout to complement the overall design.

contrast grout

The next option is choosing a grout color that provides an accent to the tile.  This is a great option if you are wanting to incorporate a color from your overall design scheme that may not be present in your tile.

colored grout





Steps to Designing a Kitchen Island

Over the past 20 years, the kitchen has started to become more than a place to simply prepare meals.  The kitchen today is seen as the heart of the home, the place where the family gathers and bonds.  What’s central to most new kitchens is the kitchen island.  This design element has emerged in great popularity over the years and is the central place where families congregate.    Although there is no set formula on how to design an island, here are a few guidelines to help you plan yours.

1) Understanding your islands main function is key.  Most islands serve two functions, a place to cook and prepare meals and a side that is devoted to eating.  Others also use the island to do their homework, conduct house projects, entertain etc.

2) Your kitchen island may also be a place where you choose to place certain appliances.  If this is the case, you will need to determine what appliance will be housed in the island.  This will effect the overall design of the island in terms of placement.  For instance, if the main sink were placed there, you may want the dishwasher to also be housed in the island, to make loading easier.  If the island is going to serve as the main space where food prepping will take place, you will want to consider having trash and compost close as well.  If your main cook top is to be placed in the island, you will have to rethink lighting and settle on the type of vent you will need.

island with hood

3) The island can be a great place to hold additional storage.  Generally, you can fit (2) 24 inch base cabinets.  You can also get creative with your storage and have spaces and nooks that serve a specific function such as a spice rack for example.  As for sizing of the island, you can go with a width of 2-3 feet.  If you are wanting to accommodate appliances, then I would suggest going with a width of at least 7 ft.

spice rack

4) Your counter height is determined by your seating height.  If you want to place seating at your island you will need to determine at what height you would like the stools – 36 inches (counter height) or 42 inches high (bar height).  If you choose to go with bar height, your island will have two levels to it.  One for entertaining and another level at 36 inches to serve as a work surface.  As for the seating overhang, you can leave a minimum of 12 inches but should opt for an overhang between 15-18 inches for greater comfort.

counter and bar height

5) Placement of your kitchen island within your kitchen requires you to consider all aspects of how it will be used.  Does the island hinder the work triangle of a cook top, sink and refrigerator?  Is there enough space for seating, that allows at least 3 feet between the island and the wall or counter?  Typically, you will want to have 36 inches of open space on the ends of the islands.  The working sides of the island should have a minimum amount of 42 inches of open space.










“Expanding” Your Kitchen

Lets face it, living space in the city can be tricky – it’s just never enough and you are always wanting a bit more of it!  So, what you can do it work with what you have and fully leverage design to your spacing advantage. One of the spaces that gets most compromised is the kitchen.  So here are a few tips on ways to make your kitchen feel bigger.

Painting your walls and cabinets in a lighter color will not only brighten up the space but will also give the illusion of it being more expansive.  It is also important to add depth to the space.  This can be done in a number of ways by simply using paint.  A semi-gloss paint will reflect light and in turn make the space seem even more open. Painting the kitchen ceiling a shade lighter than the color used on the walls will give the appearance of a higher ceiling.
 small kitchen remodel ideas, small design, kitchen
Window treatments can either close off a space or allow the space to feel expansive.  A few good options for window coverings are roman shades in a fabric that can easily be wiped down, vertical blinds in a light color, or light drapery fabric.  You want to avoid fabrics that are bulky and heavy.
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If your kitchen is a closed kitchen but has space for dining furniture,  you want to choose pieces that are right in scale, are light in color and visually do not look bulky. Choosing the right furniture for this space is an exercise in finding a fine balance between form and function.
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Organizing the kitchen and clearing out any clutter is key in opening up the space.  Get rid of anything that is really not used such as appliances, dishes and other items. The idea here is to open up unused space and to remove those items that live on your kitchen counter.  When you leave your counter space open, it automatically creates a feeling of expansiveness. A good alternative to using your counter top as storage is to simply install storage hooks into your wall or ceiling.  You can also add shelving to artfully place your appliances.
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Thinking outside of the box is key to “expanding” your kitchen.  There are many products out there that offer alternative solutions to traditional storage options. Look to retailers like the Container Store that specialize in storage solutions and see how you can incorporate that into your space.
pic 5Magnetic Spice Rack

Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

One of the biggest challenges living in New York City is finding a place with adequate storage – there is just never enough space.  So what are your options? It either rent storage space or get super creative!
One of the first things you can do is invest in smart multi-purpose furniture pieces.  You want to look for pieces that are versatile in their use. A great example would be a sofa that pulls out into a bed and offers storage space – this really does exist – how amazing is that!
Shelving is key to adding storage space.  This is where your level of creativity can really come into play.  There is no limitation on where you can place shelving.  You could frame a doorway with shelving, you could take an entire wall and place shelving throughout.  The key takeaway is to essentially maximize wall space.
Bookcases are also versatile in their use.  You could use a bookcase to hold your sweaters, handbags and other clothing items in place of a traditional dresser.  And whats so great about the open shelving, is that your amazing pieces are on display – as they should be!
Maximize the space under your bed!  Best way to do this is to purchase plastic bins on casters that allow for easy access to your items.  This is also a good place to keep those items that you rarely use.
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You don’t have to sacrifice an open floor plan for storage – you can have it all!  The best way to do this is to use half wall partitions with built in storage.  This creates some division, without fully compromising the open flow of your home.
The best approach in creating storage within your space is to first analyze what you have, prioritize your items and get creative!