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How to Choose the Perfect Backsplash


No matter where you want that extra little something – kitchen, bathroom, or an accent wall elsewhere in your home – backplashes are a great way to add depth, dimension, color, pattern, and texture to the design of a space.  And since I know that, while I find playing with colors and patterns and textures immensely enjoyable, it often feels overwhelming; so, here are the steps I take when helping a client choose a backplash.

Step 1:  What is the Atmosphere?

No matter what room/space you’re considering putting the back-splash in, the atmosphere of that space needs to be considered.  Is it more formal or more casual?  Does the style lend itself more towards contemporary or more traditional?

Neutral colors and natural materials, like stone and metal, lend themselves to both traditional and modern settings as well as a lot of styles, so these are great options to consider especially if you’re worried about trends fading out.  Glass is a wonderful idea to be used as an accent piece or to be mixed in with stones.

Step 2:  Where is it Going?

How will the space nearest the back splash be used?  Will it be near a ‘messy’ area like a sink or stove?  Or will it be in an area that doesn’t see lots of splashes or other oopsies?  Will you be touching it on a regular basis or will it be more like artwork on the wall?

If the back splash is in an area that is a messier than normal area like a shower or near a stove, think of clean-ability as well as camouflage.  For example: if you like the look of glass, but don’t want to see every speck of soap scum, try frosted glass.

Step 3:  Should it Lean More Light, Dark, or Medium?

What is near it that isn’t changing.  Thankfully paint is easy to change out, cabinets aren’t however.  For example, in a kitchen, if you have dark cabinets and go with a mid to light backsplash.  If you have light cabinets go with a mid to dark backsplash.  Contrast is always good as it adds depth and interest, plus you’re going to want your beautiful new backsplash to shine!

However, in the right setting, don’t be afraid to break the ‘rules’ for a stunning effect like shown below.

Step 4:  What Colors Will it Be Working With?

Again, first take into account the pieces that aren’t changing like big pieces of furniture, counter tops, cabinets, fixtures, etc.  Then focus on pieces that you love and would love to decorate a space around.  Is there a hint of green that you’d like to focus on a bit more?

Step 5:  What Pattern?

Thankfully mosaics build that in, though you can choose which direction to run them (maybe run a rectangle on a diagonal vs. straight?)  But if you’re working with larger pieces like 3″x6″ pieces or 6″x6″ pieces you should think about patterns simple and complex.  Which pattern will enable the back-splash to add the dimension it needs to the space?

Step 6:  Any Texture?

Do you like the sleekness of glass or metals?  Or would you rather the rougher texture of stone?  When it comes to texture, don’t forget clean-ability depending on where it is going!  Stacked stone is beautiful but would be a trap for oil behind a stove.

Remember: natural stones should always be sealed (typically prior to installation)!  Due to minimal wear it will take years for a good seal to wear off (a good way of checking is taking droplets of water and seeing if they bead up or soak in.)

Step 7:  Will It Need Accent Pieces?

If you’re going with something that is simpler overall, think about throwing in an accent piece or medallion.  Liners are a nice way to frame a design out or add dimension without going too flashy also.

A good thing to keep in mind when choosing if and where you want accent pieces is your line of sight and neighboring architectural details (like stove hoods).

Step 8:  How Will It End?

Will the backsplash end at an inside corner, allowing the architecture of the home to act as a frame?  Or will it end at the edge of a countertop or at an outside corner?  Does it need a frame to cover any raw edges or will the nature of the product eliminate that need?

Step 9:  How Will It Work Around And With Existing Finishes?

Is there a window to keep in mind?  Built in?  Vanity?  Shower door?  Mirror?  Architectural details?  How will you want the backsplash to work with existing finishes like those?

What a great idea: a shelf behind the stove!

I hope this helps!  Do you have any tips that I missed?  Any questions I can help with?

Have Fun,

Katlin Farrell
Flooring Consultant
Mercer Floor and Home of Ellicott City, Maryland
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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The Top 15 Posts of 2013


I always find it fascinating what you find most informative and helpful at a given time.  Here are the top 15 posts of the 1st half of 2013.  Are these some that you have found helpful?  Or was there another post you found helpful/inspiring/informative?  Would you like me to expand on any particular subjects?

#15: Have You Ever Thought About Cork Floors?

It’s definitely an interesting flooring choice.  You can’t get the look with any other category (though I’m starting to see a few porcelains and vinyls that are meant to look like cork.)  But is it the right flooring option for you?

#14: How to Design an Outdoor Room

Considering the time of year that this series covers, I am not surprised.  In the later winter we were all yearning for the spring and summer months and thinking of how to best take advantage of them.  Plus, there definitely seems to be a trend happening that I am very happy about: people are taking their yards the next step and making them more of an extension of the home.  What have you done or are thinking of doing?

#13: Super Performance Flooring: Titanium Durability and Beauty

Again, does not surprise me.  With the demands we put on our homes (especially the floors in them), there is a great need for a floor that can stand up to what you have to throw at it without the worry.

#12: Did You Know That You Should Never Use a Wet Swiffer or Similar Product?

I am so glad that this one is popular!  I have seen too much of what the residue left by soapy ‘quick fixes’ like the Swiffer can do to a floor!

#11: How to Choose a Living Room Layout

This was a guest post that I am hosting.  Interesting that it has reached the 11th spot.  Would you like to read similar posts?

#10: Why Do Hardwood Grades and Grains Matter?

Ah, a very informative post.  I’m a little surprised that this reaches the 10th spot just because it isn’t something people tend to think about.  But I’m glad that more and more people are as it is a very important part of thinking of a hardwood floor.

#9: Adding Texture: Burlap

Burlap is a fun thing to play with; it seems to be big on the west coast and is slowly gaining ground on the east coast.  Personally I really like it as a neutral way to add texture to a space.  What are your thoughts?

#8: The Truth About “Trackless” Carpet

Let’s keep it simple: there is no such thing!  There are carpets that can show tracks less than others, but that is it.  If you don’t want to see footprints, go with a hard surface floor.

#7: 10 Easy Steps to Renovate Your Home And Increase It’s Value

This was another guest post.  Are you looking to sell your home within the next few years?  Is this something you’d like to learn more about?

#6:  2011-2012 Top Color Palettes

But not the 2013 post?  I wonder why.  What did you like about the 2011/2012 color palette post vs. the 2013 post?

#5: Shower Room Design Ideas

Another guest post!  I’m glad that you are finding these interesting.  So what about this one caught your eye?

#4: Top 8 Tough Floors

Yup, not surprising.  We are a society of active and busy people who what to be able to live in their homes without the worry.

#3: The Truth About Brazilian Cherry

Interesting, I don’t typically find Brazilian Cherry to be that popular of a hardwood choice.  So what about this post caught your eye?

#2: Flooring Myth: People With Allergies Should Avoid Wool

The fact that this is #2 makes me very happy.  I’m glad to be dispelling a very popular myth!

#1: LVT vs. VCT: The Better Choice

That’s funny.  A post that is focused more on commercial floors is the most popular post so far this year.  Just goes to show that LVT (luxury vinyl tile) is growing greatly in the residential flooring sector.  Here is another post on luxury vinyl tile!

There you are!  What questions do you have regarding the home?  Are you working on any projects?

Give me a shout at Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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2013 Top Color Trends and How to Use Them


Pantone’s done it again.  The color trends they’re forecasting for 2013 are stunning!

Quite a few of those look like they’re pretty bright and bold, right?  Here are some ideas on how to combine them and work them into your home for a fresh yet classic look.


The richness of emerald can be a bit much to handle unless you like lots of color.  So try bringing in a few accessories to accent a neutral pallet like in the picture above of a stylish living room.

However, emerald is a naturally occurring color.  So if you are looking for a big change, why not find an accent wall that could use a good douse of brilliant emerald!

Dusk Blue

What a soothing tone.  This can easily be mixed with all sorts of other naturally occurring colors.  Combine it with other soft, gentle colors (sage green for example) for a relaxing bedroom or bathroom.  Or mix it with some bright oranges or yellows for an energetic design for a sunroom or craft room.

Tender Shoots

A very energetic color, tender shoots is an excellent accent color.  Mix it with white for a bright, modern look.  Or mix it with softer tones for a timeless design.

Greyed Jade

Now there is a sophisticated, fresh color.  Pop a nice, bright shade to create a focal point or use a softer tone to create an airy feel.

Lemon Zest

Soften the bright, bold, and cheerful lemon and brighten that forgotten corner or throw in pops of lemon to add a splash of fun to any area.


Now this should be an easy and fun color to bring into the home.  Classic, neutral, fresh, airy, and yet can be grounded depending on what you mix it with.

Monaco Blue

Here’s another classic neutral.  A brighter version of navy, don’t be afraid to use this color anywhere, esp. if you’re mixing it with white!

Poppy Red

If you’re looking to make a bold statement that can outdo all others, any red is a great option and poppy red is a slightly softer and friendlier shade.  Use it as an accent color in any room.


A bright and cherry color, nectarine is great to be used either full scale like in the dining room above.  Mix it with blues and teals as they are complementary colors!  You can also use it in a smaller scale to bring a splash of personality to any space.

What fun ideas do you have to incorporate these colors into your home?  

Best Wishes,
Katlin, Flooring Design Consultant
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Guest Post] 10 Decorating Tips for a Cozy Home


Baby it’s cold outside! With Old Man Winter now in full swing, you’ll want to keep your home feeling warm and inviting all winter. Here are 10 home decorating tips for a comfy cozy home.

In the Living Room

This is the time of year when we are indoors a lot. You spend a lot of time in the living room, so make yours as comfy as possible.

1. Swap out summer patterned and light cotton throws for Sherpa and heavy fleece throws. Keep a variety of stylish throws folded and readily available for TV watching and lounging.

2. Make sure your fireplace is ready to go by having all the fixings available: a short stack of seasoned logs, kindling, safety lighter and iron fireplace accessories. Have a crackling fire ready in just minutes! Safety tip: always remember to keep the flu closed when the fireplace is not in use.

3. Keep a variety of board games like Scrabble and Pictionary as well as art supplies, on hand for snow days. Stow in decorative baskets or storage bins.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen is a place to gather with friends and family. In the winter it’s nice to spend a little time lingering here…

4. Nothing warms the soul better than a nice cup of hot tea or cocoa. Keep a decorative tea kettle on the stove-top so it’s ready to go. Have a box of assorted teas, cocoa, and chai on hand for family and guests that drop in.

5. Decorative wall art adds warmth to bare white walls. You can showcase family photos or even add a great looking wall mural for more color, warmth and style. Create connections and conversation with your wall décor.

In the Bedroom

At the end of a long winter day, you need to have a super inviting bedroom that you love. Make the most of yours with the right touches.

6. A down comforter or duvet adds warmth without feeling uncomfortable. Flannel sheets are a real treat and prevent the shock of getting into an icy bed at night. Dress the bed up pretty with pillows and decorative shams to add to the layered look.

7. Add a luxurious sleigh bed or go for an upholstered headboard to enhance the feeling of coziness. Consider adding a canopy with curtains for a beautiful and elegant retreat.

8. Store sheer panel curtains until the warm weather returns. Use floor length paneled drapes in heavy fabrics to keep the warmth in and drafts out.

In the Bath

Get ready to rise and shine and face even the coldest day.

9. Add a heavy duty shower curtain liner to help keep chilly air out. Tile floors are cold in the winter. Add comfy warm throw rugs to have something nice and plush for stepping out of the shower or bath.

10. Use your thickest and most absorbent towels during the cold winter months. Have an assortment neatly stacked or rolled in a decorative basket right next to the tub or shower. Tip: get a towel warmer for that extra touch of luxury.

Use these home decorating tips to help get all the rooms in your house feeling warm and inviting. Make the most of your beautiful home in the cold winter months.

Written by Lisa Herbik of ArtisticHomeowner.com: photo wall murals for your home and office.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Contest] Pin-2-Win!


Enter our PIN2WIN Contest.

Both Carpet One International and Benjamin Moor have combined forces to offer you a fun, easy contest and some great prizes!  Here’s what you need to do…

1: Create a Board on Pinterest and name it My Simply Irresistible Home.

2: Pin pictures of home design scenes/details that you find simply irresistible. There needs to be a minimum of 5 pictures.  1 of the pictures needs to be from Benjamin Moor’s website.  And 1 picture needs to be from Carpet One’s website.

Simple enough, right?  Also, please share your Simply Irresistible Board in the comments below so we can enjoy and share ideas!  Here is my  Pinterest profile!  

Don’t wait to long as this is a short running contest:

Key Dates

Dates of Entry: Oct. 8 – Nov. 25, 2012
Judging: Nov. 26 – Dec. 3, 2012
Winner Announcement: Dec. 5, 2012

PLUS, if you text CARPET to 44144 to get your free Benjamin Moor color sample!  I’d love to know which of colors you’re looking to try out – please share them in the comment section below!  I personally am a fan of Tranquility.  The picture below doesn’t do it justice.  It’s one of those colors that changes color depending on lighting and what it’s next to.  It can be a soothing green, or a subtle blue, or even that light, airy, taupe-grey color that goes with everything. 

Best of luck with the contest!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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