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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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Blog Spotlight: Kathy’s Remodeling Blog


I recently stumbled upon this gem.  What really caught my eye is Kathy’s seemed frustration (that I share) with the cheep contractors and other ‘so-called professionals’ that we run into on a regular basis.  And she pulled together a helpful ‘quiz’ to help showcase the best choice.

So how do  you decide what to do? Ask yourself a few questions:

1. Is saving money the most important thing in life without exception?

If yes, choose Contractor Cheapo
If no, keep asking questions

2. Is having a high-quality project the most important thing in life without exception?

If yes, choose Contractor Artisan
If no, keep asking questions

3.  Is complaining about the faults of contractors a favorite pastime?

If yes, choose Contractor Cheapo
If no, keep asking questions

4. Is having a warm feeling from having the most considerate, thoughtful contractor important?

If yes, choose Contractor Artisan
If no, keep asking questions

Bottom line…”

This might be funny to watch, but do you want these guys working on your home?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this.  Do you have any stories you can share about your experience with Quality, Artisan work vs. Cost Focused work?

As always, if there is ever anything I can help with, give me a shout!

Warm Wishes,
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] How to Make Your Home More Peaceful and Relaxing


 With life being so fast paced and most of us being so busy much of the time, it can sometimes be difficult to get a breather and recuperate. We rush from one crisis to the next, have countless responsibilities and generally barely get time to think before we have something else to deal with.

This is why it’s so important that we have a quiet and relaxing home that we can go back to, where we’ll be able to recharge our batteries, rest our brain and start to feel human again. If you feel under pressure at home as well as at work and everywhere else, then the relentless stress can end up taking its toll on your body and on your mind.

For many of us though home isn’t somewhere we can go to relax and feel at ease, and actually many of us find that there are even more commitments and jobs waiting at home for us than there are at work or elsewhere. Here then we’ll look at how to make your home more conducive to relaxation and peace of mind.


Making your home more minimalistic in design can make you feel more relaxed in numerous ways. Immediately, when you remove some of the ‘clutter’ from your surroundings you will find that there is less playing on your mind and that you unconsciously relax. You will feel as though you have more space to move around in and this will make a big difference to stress levels. 

At the same time though this will also mean there is less to clean and maintain and less to get lost or broken. Try throwing some things out that you don’t regularly use and you’d be surprised how liberating it can be.


Another way to help yourself relax is to make your surroundings feel more natural. This can work wonders because we have evolved to feel at ease when we are in natural settings with abundant trees and plants because it signals a source of food and water. 

Just hanging up some pictures of waterfalls can help your heart rate to lower, but better yet is to maintain a beautiful garden and have nice patio doors in your conservatory to appreciate it through, or to include potted plants in your home.

Relaxing Rooms

You can also benefit from designating some rooms in your home specifically to relaxation. Most of us will have no such room in our house and even our living rooms tend to be filled with clutter and televisions (which aren’t relaxing). 

Have a conservatory then, or a room at the back of the house, that you leave empty of things like games consoles and televisions, and that you decorate in a way that is designed to be relaxing and ideal for just leaning back and chilling out.


Finally of course you need to ensure that you have somewhere comfortable to sit if you want to feel really relaxed in your home. Look into the most comfortable furniture you can find, whether that means lazy-boy reclining armchairs, or a long corner sofa.

Author Byline :

Jamie Kirk is an upcoming independent interior designer who has made a name for himself in this field by designing many a conservatories and sun rooms for modern homes. He has his own website of conservatory designs which helps interested clients to choose designs according to their preferences.

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] How to Choose the Right Tiles for Your Patio Garden


During the summer months, the garden can be the best place in the whole home. It’s the perfect space for enjoying dinner and drinks with friends, playing a game of your favorite sport, or just relaxing and soaking up the rays.

If you really want to make this area special, it deserves a little TLC from time to time. Tiling is the perfect solution here, but it can also be overwhelming once you discover just how many types of tiles are available.  Let’s take a look at what you should be searching for when it comes to the right tiles for your patio garden.


It goes without saying that outdoor tiles need to be tough. Aside from looking pretty, they have a purpose to serve. Ceramic products can be too susceptible to water damage (esp. with the changes in temperature that Maryland loves to throw at us) and therefore are unsuitable, but stone and porcelain tiles can be just the ticket.

Water absorption

Your tiles will have to withstand the elements, and making a choice with this in mind is essential if you live in area that undergoes dramatic temperature changes through the year. Porcelain has a low water absorption rate, which makes it a good choice. Tiles that absorb too much water could end up cracking once the icy weather comes along.


Wet tiles can become very slippery, and can be a bit of a hazard if you haven’t made a sensible choice. Smaller tiles could be a good option, because there’s more grouting involved and therefore less surface area that could cause slipping. Alternatively, use an abrasive tile. The rougher finish will give more grip underfoot.


Tiled decks can be considerably more expensive than wood decks, so bear this in mind when you’re budgeting. Before rushing into any decisions, ask a few tradesmen to give you a quote. You should ideally have three or more, in order to get a good idea of what’s a reasonable deal. Reputable traders will be happy for you to take this approach, so don’t feel pushed into using the first professional that you speak to.  Be sure to ask them to list out the details so you can compare apples to apples!


Design comes down to personal taste, though it’s an important consideration for your patio. Remember that on-trend designs could look dated quickly, where as more traditional styles are likely to stand the test of time.

 Undergoing any home improvement project can be a challenge, but as long as you know what you should be looking for, you can’t go too far wrong. Try to strike the balance between practicality and style, and you will have a beautiful patio that is functional as well as impressive.

Do you have a tile feature in your garden? Are you pleased with your choice of tile?  We’d love to see pictures!

This article was brought to you by Ruth Hinds on behalf of Tons of Tiles. ToT imports and supplies a wide range of quality ceramic and quartz tiles for bathrooms, kitchens, and any area of your house that you would like to improve. 
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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10 Ways You Can Use Mosaics


We’ve all seen beautiful kitchen backsplashes:

And we’re definitely used to seeing mosaics in bathrooms:

But there are many other places and ways that mosaics – stone, glass, porcelain, metal – can be used!  Here are 10 ideas that you can use as inspiration as you turn your house into a home or take your home’s design to the next level.

1 – Fireplace Surround:

Fireplaces are natural focal points, so why not up factor?  This is especially useful in homes that don’t come with a lot of architectural detail.

2 – Accent Walls:

It’s like using a richly colored paint color on one wall but to the next level.  You can incorporate various textures, colors, and patterns.

3 – Half Walls:

Don’t want a full wall of mosaics?  Try jazzing up half walls.

4 – Wainscoting

Why not use mosaic tile to create architectural details?

5 – Create a Focal Point

Need a wow factor?  Get some colorful glass mosaics and create a ‘tapestry’!

6 – Bring Light to Darker Spaces

Why not add some visual interest to shelving, nooks, and crannies   It’s a great way to add that feel of a customized home.

7 – Floor Medallions

These are perfect for entryways!  Add a touch of personality to what is often a wasted space.

8 – Create a Runner/Rug Look

Like the look of rugs but don’t like them due to cleaning, slipping, or something else?  One, talk to me because I have some tips to help with that.  Two, why not create a look like the one above with mosaics?

9 – Wall Art

And, with a little creativity, it could be hung like a picture also!  Now there is a conversational piece!

10 – Frame It

Have a subdued mirror?  Try adding a custom frame with mosaic tile!

Source: houzz.com via Katlin on Pinterest

What ideas do you have?  (I’d love to see pictures – Facebook, Pinterest, etc!)

Let me know if there are any questions I can help with!

Have Fun!
Katlin Farrell
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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