I’ve struggled with house-related decisions over the last five years as I’ve worked on various rooms and projects, but I don’t think I’ve struggled with any other decision as much as I have the studio flooring decision. I’ve stood in the flooring aisles of Home Depot and Lowe’s for way longer than I care to admit. I’ve searched online. I’ve spent countless hours looking on Pinterest and Houzz for ideas. And I’ve considered just about every single option there is.
I thought I had decided on VCT (vinyl composition tile, which is really a commercial vinyl tile that’s not really used in residential applications very much), so I decided to throw that idea out to all of you and see what you thought. I just knew that at least a few of you would have experience with that kind of tile and could shed some light on it.
Well, plenty of you had experience with it, and just enough of you had negative experiences with it to change my mind. I don’t think I realized just how porous that type of tile is (it’s made of vinyl, limestone and other filler material), so in order to keep it from looking dirty over time, it really should be sealed with wax. I know a few of you said you didn’t wax yours, and it has been fine. But I’d be using it in a studio where there will be no shortage of paint, art supplies, etc. The last thing I want in there is a porous floor.
So VCT is out, and that brought me back to my other options — wood, real tile, or LVT (luxury vinyl tile). I also briefly considered plywood, but I just have a problem with two different types of wood floors meeting, and I already have real red oak hardwood floors in the breakfast room, and that floor will meet the studio flooring in the doorway between the breakfast room and studio, so I don’t want a different type of wood (or something that looks like wood, like a wood-look porcelain or vinyl tile) going into the studio.
If I’m going to put anything that looks like wood in the studio, it would have to be the same red oak hardwood flooring that’s in the rest of the house. But I just can’t bring myself to cover 500 square feet of studio flooring in real hardwood flooring that costs about $4/square foot (plus all of that time installing it, sanding it, staining it, and sealing it) knowing that it’s going to get ruined and probably have to be refinished every two or three years. And you can only refinished hardwood floors so many times before you’ve sanded away too much and have to replace them.
So for about three days, I was stuck on the idea of tile. Real tile. My objection to tile was that it was going into a large room in a house with a pier and beam foundation that’s constantly moving and shifting ever so slightly with the weather and seasons, and I could just imagine the tile cracking. But I thought that maybe if I use really small tile, I could avoid the risk of cracked tile. And by small, I mean really small. As in tiny hexagon or penny tile, similar to this…
I searched high and low for the perfect hexagon or penny tile at a price that wouldn’t be totally outrageous. I found one penny tile that was actually in stock at Lowe’s, and asked the guy if it could be used on the floor, or if it was just a wall tile. He looked at me as if I had just sprouted a second head out of my neck, and said, “Well, I mean, you could use that on the floor. It’s one of the only tiles on this aisle that’s rated for use on floors. But do you know how uncomfortable that’s going to be to stand on?”
And just like that, he snapped me back to reality. I wasn’t looking for tile for a bathroom. I was looking for tile for a studio — a room where I’d be standing for hours on end while working on various projects. I’m generally a form over function type of person, and I’m not ashamed in the least to admit that, but if ever there was a time when I needed to put function first, this was it. And there I was, seriously considering purchasing a tile that costs $6/square foot to cover 540 square feet of a room where comfort should be one of my main priorities.
I left there feeling so incredibly frustrated. I knew beyond doubt that the only reasonable option for my studio was LVT (luxury vinyl tile), but after looking at both Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as searching online, I just couldn’t find anything that I liked enough to cover 540 square feet of my home with.
So I tried to just put it out of my mind, but of course, that’s easier said that done. I was obsessing over this decision.
Yesterday I took my daily trip to Home Depot, and once again found myself in the flooring aisle. I knew I was wasting my time. I had already looked at everything they had about 30 times, and yet, there I was once again. I made my way over to the LVT selection, and oh my gosh, there it was. Y’all, clouds parted. Angels started singing. I thought I was going to cry right there in the flooring aisle at Home Depot.
So what is this perfect vinyl tile for my studio? It’s the Trafficmaster carrara marble vinyl tile in the 12 x 24 size, and I plan to install it in a herringbone pattern with light gray grout lines.
I’m sure it must have been there this whole time. I’m sure that I’ve looked at it (and passed it over) every single time I’ve looked on that aisle. But until now, I had no vision for it. But this time, as soon as I saw it, I had vision for it.
I love the fact that it’s vinyl and will be soft and comfortable to stand on. I’ve had experience with this brand before, so I feel confident in using it again. I used this brand throughout the condo, and it held up incredibly well to a big dog, two cats, a wheelchair, and me dragging my tools around for five years. But if a tile gets really damaged, it’s also very simple to use a heat gun to lift that one tile out and replace it with a new one. And the best part? Well, that would be the price. It’s $1.19/square foot.
Y’all, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. And I don’t feel like I’m settling, either. I really love it, and I really do have such vision for it.
And this might be surprising, but at this moment, I’m leaning towards black cabinets.
Yep. Black. Or maybe a really dark, almost-black charcoal like this…
And if that’s not shocking enough, I’m also considering white walls. I know. Been there, done that, hated it. But I just think there’s a difference between me trying to live with with white walls in a living room and having white walls in a studio.
But there will be color. Lots of color. And I plan to cover the entire front wall of the studio (the wall with the long built-in work table and two windows) with something really colorful, as well as the entire back entry, all the way up to the ceiling. Yes, there will be color. 🙂
Which brings me to my last idea. A few days ago, I mentioned in the comment section of a post that an artist I follow on Instagram is doing resin tiles for a client to use as a kitchen backsplash. Take a look at these beauties.
View this post on Instagram
Ever since I saw that photo a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s one of those projects that burrows itself into my brain and won’t stop until I try it.
So now, in my quest to resin all of the things, I decided that I must resin some tiles. But for where? The logical place is the half bathroom at the back of the studio. That’s fine, and it would definitely turn that little bathroom into an eye-catching space.
But seeing those tiles has made me wonder something. Why do we limit ourselves to specific “acceptable” uses of tile in our homes? We use it on bathroom walls, kitchen walls, and floors. I mean, there are other small areas that might be tiled, like a fireplace surround and hearth, or the back side of a kitchen island. But I’ve never walked into a house (either in real life or virtually) and seen the walls of the entryway tiled. I’ve never seen an accent wall in a bedroom or living room tiled.
I can understand that very plain tile would be used strictly for utilitarian purposes, but today there are so many tile designs that are like works of art. Why should those be relegated to only specific “acceptable” areas of the home?
So I’ve been contemplating that, and thinking that I’d like to break that mold. I’ve been considering the idea of making my own resined tiles and using them on the walls of the back entry, as well as on the front wall of the studio.
It would be bold, colorful, and different. But it would also be a huge job, so I’m just considering it right now.
Can y’all think of a good reason why gorgeous, work-of-art tiles shouldn’t be used on the walls in entries and studios? It’s different, but different can be good!