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Three ways to deliver a well-designed look in your home.

It seems people always complicate something when it is unnecessary. I am thinking of ways in which we tend to complicate the design of our homes. With so many paint colors and tile choices available, it is hard to choose just one. It is difficult to choose finishes and keep it simple. Maybe everyone chooses lots of variation in their finishes because they think something repeated throughout the home would be boring. Repetition of materials or color would be anything but boring. In fact, it creates tranquility.

Photo showing a "stripe" of different tile in the shower surround.


I am going to go out on a limb and suggest an approach to design that might alarm most people. Choose ONE shower surround tile, ONE flooring throughout your home, ONE countertop to be repeated and ONE backsplash tile. Crazy right? This is different than what is typically seen in homes today. Hear me out on this for a few minutes.

It is time consuming to choose permanent, hard finishes for your home. It takes a lot of work to match undertones of various tile, countertops and flooring material. It takes time to visit several tile stores and flooring stores to find what you are looking for. Why not find a beautiful, timeless combination and repeat it in your kitchen, baths and laundry room? This way you can buy in quantity, which in some cases might lower the material cost. For example, if you find a beautiful quartz countertop for your kitchen, think about repeating it in your bathrooms. If you have two showers and the surrounds will be tile, think about using the same tile in both areas.

I would also suggest using only one tile for the surround and not adding a “stripe” of a different tile in the shower, as is shown in the photo above. I never understood why this became so popular. For me, doing this kind of “accent” tile makes a shower look smaller than it is. In this photo the penny tile doesn’t relate to the larger format tile in any way. I would have just preferred the penny tile on the shower floor. Or better yet, a small floor tile that relates to the large-format tile on the shower walls.


Choosing paint is also time consuming when you are trying to coordinate undertones with your permanent, hard finishes. Why not, then, use the same trim color throughout your home? This simplifies things for the painter and allows you to touch up various trim when needed without having to remember which white was used.

Most people love to choose different colors for all the rooms of their house. Doing this makes it harder to come up with a trim color that works equally well for all the colors, particularly if the colors are dark in some rooms and light in others.

I suggest using the same color for the walls throughout your home. This will add a sense of tranquility when going from one room to another. It will also allow furnishings to be moved from one room to another without having to worry about coordinating with the wall colors. This may not work in some cases, for example where a room is very dark, and the paint color chosen for the wall is light. Test the color in various rooms. If the room is dark, choose the same wall color in a darker tone. If the room has lots of natural light, use the same color in a lighter tone.

A few words of caution about paint colors. If you choose a dark, saturated color for the walls it will be hard to cover the color when you decide to repaint. I love deep, dark colors in rooms with little natural light, as the color makes the room very intimate. Just be aware of what it will take to cover the paint color when you repaint. I say “when” because every few years many homeowners want a refresh of their space and painting the walls is one of the least expensive options available.

If you are looking for a comprehensive package of hard finish suggestions, shop my various finish schemes for sale. The PDF download is a materials list of coordinated hard finishes and appropriate foundation whites for kitchens or baths. Be sure to get both corresponding rooms if you are planning a complete remodel.





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