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The month of bath and vanity flooring: Part 1, choosing tile

Joan Fieldstone

February 2, 2016

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Bathroom RemodelingFlooring

When I bought my house new almost five years ago, I was not given any decorating options, but I didn't care. I got a great price on the house while we were still not out of the Recession. That, however, didn't stop me from wanting to ditch the cheesy vinyl flooring in the bathrooms and kitchen. The staples from the subfloor kept popping up through the thin vinyl.

While refreshing the upstairs hall vanity with paint and a new mirror a couple of months ago, I just happened to mention to BFF I'd been thinking how much nicer those rooms would be with new flooring instead of the carpeting in the vanities and vinyl in the bathroom.

Deciding on the type of flooring

I was still weeks away from deciding anything about the flooring. In fact, I wasn't sure I even wanted tile, but I knew I didn't want the flooring that was there, and was pretty sure neither would a potential buyer. Knowing my propensity toward hemming and hawing about such matters, BFF wasted no time ripping out the carpeting in the hall vanity. With the bare floor staring at me, I was forced to start looking at flooring options immediately.

We considered many types of flooring from bamboo to wood-look porcelain tiles and those stylish 12-by-24-inch "linen" design tiles, but none appealed to me for that space. I even thought I might want more of the vinyl, wood-look tongue-and-groove planks I installed downstairs because they lock together to form watertight flooring and aren't cold like tile. But my gut told me to keep looking for something that was timeless and elegant. After all, it would be installed in the master vanity and visible from the hall in the second vanity. Porcelain tile with the look of stone seemed to be what I was after.

Luckily, there are lots of flooring tile distributors within a mile or two of where I live, so I looked and brought home sample tiles right away. I was searching for something that would go well with the Beach Grass paint color we'd chosen for the adjoining bath and vanities. With white accent paint and bath fixtures -- and with cinnamon-colored cabinets -- I also wanted something in a light color on the floor - not too beige, not too white.

But which tile?

The nice thing about the process of choosing tiles is that I could bring sample tiles home and put them in the vanity area. After a week or more of deliberating, if I didn't like them, I could return them. I went through quite a few samples from the distributors, Home Depot and Floor & Décor. At one point I brought home an elegant 13-by-13 inch tile that I knew was well outside my budget at $5.98 per tile. I eventually returned it but couldn't stop thinking about how much I liked it.

Wanting to err on the side of being frugal, I had nearly resigned myself to settling for some 12-by-12-inch closeout tiles at 58 cents apiece from Home Depot, but when I went back to buy them, I realized they must have been remnants. The colors, intensity, and patterns varied wildly. Back to the drawing board.

At Floor & Décor I eventually found what I wanted, Colossae Ivory -- a 16-by-16-inch porcelain tile that looked perfect in all three areas. The sales associate had encouraged us not to be afraid of a large format tile in that small space because it makes the rooms look larger, and she was right. The best part is that I liked this tile as well as the elegant tile I'd fallen in love with, and this was under $3.00 a tile - considerably less money for a much larger tile.

Here is the actual tile under the incandescent light in my hall vanity.

Ivory porcelain tile

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