Curating Combinations

Tips & Trends

The way that we combine colors, textures, and patterns in our homes can play a major role in the aesthetic of a room, exterior, or outdoor area. Here, we’ve asked the experts to weigh in on how to best utilize different materials, hues, and designs in order to curate spaces that are not only eye-catching, but perfectly tailored to your preferences.

Crystal Hall headshotCrystal Hall, Louisville Tile

After the many challenges of 2020, homeowners’ top desire seems to be to create calm, peaceful spaces in which to live. This can be achieved through the mixture of warm neutrals, colors of nature, organic textures, and natural materials. The use of a flat river rock on a shower floor with handmade subway tile on the shower walls gives the shower a clean aesthetic with a spa-like feel. Large slate hexagons, a linen-look tile, or marble on the floor adds a timeless, organic feel to the room. The juxtaposition of smooth tile in neutrals, deep blues, or the warm green colors of nature, combined with the rough texture of stone and other natural materials, creates a timeless feel of peace and warmth. No matter what your style is, do not be afraid to mix natural and man-made materials to create a personal living space of your own. 

Anna Baker headshotAnna Baker, Stone Source, Inc.

When a customer wants a minimalist look in their stone or tile selection, I tend to think of high-end materials with little to no decoration. A 24-by-24-inch Italian marble or French limestone tile on the shower walls and a 2-inch mosaic of the same material on the floor, with the same material for a slab bench and matching countertop, will do the trick. Sleek, clean lines and no additional patterns can be dull, unless you choose a sophisticated material. For a maxed-out space, I love layers of texture, pattern, and color. You don’t get that all from the tile and stone, though. You have to consider paint color, wall coverings, rugs, and fabrics, then find materials to support all the layers.

Jessica Hurst headshotJessica Hurst, The Tile Store

With tile, I typically recommend staying simple and neutral. You can always use just one tile in a bathroom, for instance, but switch up the sizes and patterns. Tone-on-tone is the easiest way to stay neutral, but by changing up the sizes and layout, you still get some character. You can easily change paint colors or fabrics down the road, whereas tile is much harder to switch. You also cannot beat the look of one-of-a-kind stones – I love a larger 10-inch marble hexagon or a classic basketweave. Or, tiling one wall in a powder room is an easy way to bring in color and texture. It is not much square footage, and a unique mosaic or patterned tile makes a big statement. It all comes down to personal preference. Keeping a neutral look is easy to change up and for resale purposes, but with so many tile options out there, you can make your space unique. Just bring your imagination!  

Kelley Carrin headshotKelley Carrin, Chattanooga Granite & Marble

These days, the clean lines and simple approach to decorating are still in the foreground and sometimes taken more to the extreme than ever before. Gone are the elaborate backsplashes and busy patterned stone, but maybe that’s the point. Uncomplicated quartzite countertops, quartz with gentle veining, and subtle marbles are the attention getters, just for their understated elegance and simplicity. A beautiful exotic quartzite can be the backdrop for an elegant kitchen, showcasing hardware and light fixtures and blending with the overall feel of the room. Continuing the stone from the counter as a full-height backsplash is another way to show uniformity and elegance, letting the subtle veining take your eyes on a relaxing voyage. As trends come and go, working with natural stone, quartz, and tile has never been as exciting, and new ideas are coming at us very fast. Taking your time to get what your client wants is a satisfying feeling and keeps your focus where it should be: beauty, functionality, and sustainability.

Sherrie Ward headshotSherrie Ward, Webco, Inc.

Whites and grays have been a classic and timeless look for many years. Now, we are seeing the blue tones come in, ranging from a soft blue-gray to a deep navy blue, which can provide a beautiful contrast to those more neutral shades. Bringing a splash of color to an island or the lower cabinets is a refreshing and inviting look that adds richness to any room. With this exciting demand, a couple of quartz manufacturers have started incorporating navy tones in many of their new designs. In the past, the leathered, brushed, and antique finishes were reserved for granite. Now, you can find quartz available in matte, suede, and leathered finishes as well, all of which can be a striking feature in a room! Don’t be afraid to mix colors or finishes.