Dear Debbie: We have a household full of kids and dogs. For practical purposes, we’d like to put down tile in our living room, but are concerned that it will look cold and uninviting.
Decorative tiles have been around for centuries. In this decade, we have seen a resurgence of tiles chosen for their practical nature but also laid in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
Porcelain tiles are produced with visual textures that mimic the look of stone, fine marble and wood.
The latest look to come on the scene is a fabric effect made on a three-dimensional surface. It looks like carpet, and this is your solution.
An aerial view of this playroom floor shows how clever the visual deception is — this “carpet” is really Tailorart. (Tile from Ceramica Sant’Agostino, ceramicasantagostino.com.)
These porcelain tiles come in four sizes. Large tiles are popular and work well even in small spaces such as bathrooms.
Large tiles mean fewer seams, and tiles are designed to butt against each other, so no need for grout. This produces a clean, contemporary appearance.
Design your own patterns by mixing colours and sizes.
Tailorart’s tiles look like carpet underfoot or fabric on the wall. The Tartan design is fresh and fun, and warms up a room that can look cold. The Tartan design would also cheer up a family room or kitchen.
Tiles do feel cool underfoot, so why not install a heating system under your new floor? This is a luxurious way to lower your heating bills and a good solution for playrooms and bathrooms.
Dear Debbie: I recently moved in with my partner, and have a big dilemma. We both had full kitchens, which are now crowded into one small space.
I am not a neat freak, but our small kitchen is so overcrowded with appliances, crockery and cookbooks and other things. The coffee maker stays, but can we throw out everything else?
Pamela and Peter
Combining two homes is a huge challenge. The decisions about what to keep and what goes where can be overwhelming.
You have the right idea; the only way to bring order to your kitchen is to lighten the load. But you don’t necessarily have to throw everything out.
Empty the cabinets and drawers and line up all your kitchen equipment on the floor in groups: dry goods, dishes, glasses, cookware and utensils, pots, pans and spices. Now edit ruthlessly.
Be fair about items that have sentimental value, but otherwise keep only what you can store.
Do you need two mixers, seven mixing bowls, a dozen mismatched coffee mugs or 30 spice bottles (most past their best-before date)?
Use clever storage solutions such as pullout shelves, Lazy Susans and cutlery holders to make the most of your space. Clear the countertops of all but two or three items, depending on the size, so that you have room to prepare meals.
The cookbook collection can find a new home on a shelf or in a bookcase in the dining room. The coffee maker can stay, and the teapot.
Debbie Travis’s House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s website, debbietravis.com.