Monthly Archives: February 2017

8 Remodeling Ideas that Inspire & Look Great

Looking for inspiration for your next home remodeling project? You’ve come to the right place.  We know how hard it is to decide on the right project that gives you the makeover you’re going for. Here are the ‘after’ photos that inspire you, and the link to experts that can help you make it happen (as well as a gallery of other photos to keep your juices going!).

tile floor in bathroom with white vanity and tile shower

Class up your bathroom with tile.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a bath surround, half bathroom, or large master bath, tile can make a bathroom look stylish and updated.  To make your bathroom look larger, have your tile installed vertically instead of horizontally.  For a polished look to your half bath, use a mosaic tile that adds interest to the room.  For a creative bathroom project, use different tiles to make a statement.  For more ideas (and inspiration!) read through this list of tile trends you’ll love.

living room carpet

Give your room a new paint makeover.

A new paint job is one of the simplest (and most affordable!) ways to give your room a whole new look.  Make a change by painting your trim or walls a color that coordinates your existing décor or make a BIG change by painting your room a color that coordinates with your new floor or tile.

kitchen back splash

Add a backsplash to your kitchen.

A kitchen just doesn’t look finished without a tile backsplash. Add interest to your kitchen with a neutral subway tile or a pop of color (or bling!).  The sky is the limit when it comes to options…to find your style of backsplash, head to your local tile store to choose the right backsplash for your kitchen.

man cave blinds

Add blinds or window treatments to finish a room.

The perfect blinds or window treatments add a finishing touch to any room, as well as function.  Add neutral light-blocking blinds so you can watch TV or a room darkening shade that allows you to get a good night sleep. For a professional look (and to avoid the headaches of measuring and installation), look into custom blinds and curtains perfect for your room.

wood floors in home with grand piano and furniture

Install show-stopping flooring.

Very few home projects can make as dramatic of a change as a new floor.  A new hardwood, laminate, or luxury vinyl (here’s why to consider a new luxury vinyl floor) can change the look of your room (or rooms) and give your home a whole new style.

If you want to install the flooring yourself, visit your local flooring store for laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring that can be installed as a DIY project (here are tips on how to get the project done so you have a great-looking floor).

tile flooring in entryway with front table and lamp

Make your entryway and mudroom as beautiful as it is functional.

We’re stating the obvious: our Midwestern weather is unpredictable. That’s why a beautiful and functional entryway or mudroom is an essential combination in any home.  Add shelves, artwork, a photo arrangement, and a striking flooring product that can handle the water and looks great.

front steps with porcelain tile

Make your outdoor an entertaining conversation starter.

Even if there is snow on the ground, start planning for your summer barbecues and parties now.  Choose a tile that makes your patio unique and stunning, or add the tile to your front step to create the ultimate curb appeal.


Finish your basement.

Add more functional and fun space to your home by finishing your basement.  Use this guide for selecting the best flooring for your space, and choose a décor that makes your basement a beautiful and entertaining room for the winter (and summer!) months.

4 Bathroom Tile Trends You’ll Love

tile floor in bathroom with white vanity and tile showerYour bathroom may not be the most exciting part of your home, but it can be.  New tile trends, new styles are coming out every day that can make your bathroom a statement piece that you can be proud of.  Here are our favorite new bathroom tile ideas and trends that can make your bathroom striking—and make you want to spend time in your updated bath.

Chevron pattern

Subway tiles installed in a chevron pattern are all the rage.  It’s easy to see why: it looks great and is terrifically different and unique.  Add another color tile into the pattern for a bold statement that draws the eye of your guests—and keeps it.

Tile everywhere

If you love the tile you chose for your bathroom, set your sights beyond the floor or around the shower.  Cover your walls with a fun mosaic tile or with a neutral rectangle tile that coordinates with your bathroom décor.  In a larger bathroom, cover the walls around your shower and bath tub.

Vertical tile

If you want to add height to your bathroom, consider having your tile installed vertically instead of horizontally.  A vertical tile can make a small bathroom feel larger, or give a unique look to your shower and tub.  This style can also be used in your kitchen for a distinctive look.

Look of wood

We’d probably see more wood floors and countertops in our bathrooms if it wasn’t for that pesky risk of water damage.  With new tile styles, you can now have the look of wood without fear of a water stain.  Use tile that looks like wood with variegated colors for an accent wall around your shower, or make it look like you were crazy enough to have wood floors installed in your bathroom.  Choose a color that coordinates with the rest of your décor at a local tile store—or ask for more tile options that’ll make your bathroom a showstopper.

Which flooring is right for your home?

picture of kitchen remodelChoosing the right flooring for your home can be overwhelming. There are so many floor options: hardwood, tile, luxury vinyl, carpet…the list can go on and on.  It’s easy to be floored (pun intended) by so many products; it gets even more complicated when you start to add in the other factors that help you decide whether that beautiful floor is a good long-term option.  After all, you don’t want to install a floor that looks great but is susceptible to damage because you didn’t know that about moisture and its effect on your floor.

We’ve put together a full list, and breakdowns of all the important factors, to get you started in your decision.  From here, head into your local flooring store with a few of your favorite flooring options, where they can give you the advice that gets you down to the right product (and look!) perfect for your home.


warm wood floors in home that need deep cleanThe look: Hardwood floors are timeless and classic.  Available in almost every color and plank width, the right wood floor can complement the décor of any room.  For a more contemporary look, choose a wide plank floor with a dark finish (consider a handscraped variety to add texture).  To give your home a traditional, classic look, a lighter finish can make your home feel timeless.

Pros: Can add value to your home, beautiful look, very durable flooring, can be sanded down and refinished many times

Cons: Should not be installed in a basement or over radiant floor heating, can be damaged by water spills, can be damaged by steam cleaning, cost

Best rooms: Living rooms, bedrooms

Note of caution: Hardwoods can be installed in kitchens, mudrooms, and bathrooms, but be careful of water puddles. Do not put down any area rugs for the first six months after installation to avoid any issues with discoloration.


tile floor in bathroom with white vanity and tile showerThe look: Tile floors can make a statement that you can plan your décor around or be a neutral backdrop that offers a lot of décor options.  Choose a tile with variegated colors for a floor that catches everyone’s glance, or a tan or grey tile that looks great.  In addition to tile color, tiles can also be installed with any color grout that coordinates with your décor.

Pros: Can be installed over radiant floor heating, water, odor and mildew resistant

Cons: Can be prone to cracking, items may break when dropped due to hardness

Best rooms: Entryway/foyer, kitchen, bathrooms


installing luxury vinyl plank in a basmentThe look: Laminate floors have come a long way over the years.  With the look of wood and an incredible durability, laminate floors can take all the activity that your family and pets can throw at it.  Laminate floors come in a variety of colors and widths.  For a neutral and modern look, choose a grey laminate with wide boards.  To keep your home looking classic, choose a laminate floor that looks like a 100-year old hardwood, like a laminate that has the look of hand-scraped hardwood flooring.

Pros: Easy-to-clean, very durable, ideal for high foot traffic rooms, can be a do-it-yourself project, affordable

Cons: Can be damaged by water spills, may be scratched

Best rooms: Living areas, bedrooms

Luxury Vinyl

luxury vinyl_showroomThe look: Luxury vinyl floors look like wood but without any of the worries about water.  These floors come in almost any color or plank width, giving you a variety of options to choose from when planning your décor.  Luxury vinyl floors look great and can leave you and your guests in awe of a beautiful floor.

Pros: Easy-to-clean, durable, can handle water better than laminate or hardwood, can be a do-it-yourself project, can be installed over radiant floor heating

Cons: Can be scratched, more expensive than laminate

Best rooms: Entryway/foyer, mudroom, living areas, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, basement


Carpet_installed by ysThe look: Carpet is one of the most common flooring choices because of the variety of styles and colors, and the soft feel under your feet.  This flooring is also affordable and can be a striking part of any home’s decor.  Carpet can come in plush styles that your feet love, or with patterns or textures that enhance the look of any room.

Pros: Easy-to-clean (just a regular vacuuming and annual carpet clean), soft underfoot, affordable

Cons: Cleaning can be more complicated than hard floors

Best rooms: Living rooms, basement, bedrooms, hallways

Carpet tile

The look: Carpet tile comes in squares and is pieced together to make a fantastic pattern in any room.  These tiles are available in different colors and textures.

Pros: Easy-to-clean, can be swapped out with another carpet tile when stained, affordable

Cons: If not installed with pads, may not be as soft underfoot, cleaning can be more complicated than hard floors

Best rooms: Living rooms, bedrooms, basement (play areas!)

10 Tips that Keep Your Vinyl Floors Looking Great

picture of shaw floors luxury vinyl plank floor with cabinet

Courtesy of Shaw Floors

Vinyl floors, especially luxury vinyl floors, are getting more and more popular today.  They’re durable, beautiful, and easy to keep looking great—with a little bit of upkeep and preventative maintenance.

Use mats to your advantage.

Put mats outside and rugs inside to catch all the gravel and debris that can scratch your floors.  Train your pets to stop after they enter so you can clean their paws.

Be careful about rugs.

Before you lay down area rugs or mats, make sure you do your research. Many flooring manufacturers do not recommend using rubber- or latex-based mats because the mats can permanently damage your floors.  Look for the “colorfast” label or talk to experts at your local flooring store. They can recommend area rugs and backings they’ve seen in other homes that kept their luxury vinyl floors looking great.

Sweep regularly.

If you want to keep your luxury vinyl floors in new condition, make a habit of sweeping your luxury vinyl floors.  A routine sweep removes any gravel or stones that are tracked in and can scratch your floors. ALWAYS make sure you sweep before you mop.

Vacuum with care.

Vacuuming your vinyl floors is a good thing, but only if you make sure NOT to use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar.  Beater bars are on the bottom of your vacuum and are usually covered with bristles.  They rotate rapidly and may damage hard floors.

Clean up puddles.

Vinyl floors are one of the most durable floors on the market, but puddles can still damage your luxury vinyl floors.  Whether someone spills a drink or you’re mopping your floors, make sure you dry any excessive moisture and don’t leave it sitting on your floors.

Be careful about cleaners.

Abrasive cleaners can compromise the finish of your floors or damage your floor.  To make sure your warranty stands and your floors stay in like-new condition, be very selective about the cleaner you use when you clean your floor.  Avoid wax-based products that can damage the floor in the long-term.  To find the best cleaner for your floor (and to purchase a manufacturer-approved cleaner that doesn’t void the warranty), visit a local flooring store to get the best floor cleaning product for the job.

Stock up on gentle scrubbing tools.

Just as you shouldn’t use abrasive cleaners, don’t use abrasive scrubbing tools.  A soft mop is usually your best bet for a deep clean.  Don’t worry just because you can’t use an abrasive scrubbing tool, you can still use elbow grease.

Floor stripper may be your grout’s enemy.

If your vinyl floor has grout lines, avoid floor strippers.  Floor stripper can breakdown grout, so don’t hesitate to ask the experts before you roll up your sleeves for a deep clean.

Be generous with felt pads.

Put felt pads on all your furniture: your couches, love seats, recliners, coffee tables, dining tables, chairs—everything.  Felt pads are your first line of defense to keep your luxury vinyl floor from scratches.

Take protective measures when you move heavy objects.

When rearranging anything heavy, such as your appliances or furniture, don’t drag them across your floor.  Instead use smooth pieces of plywood to create a path that you can drag your heavy items across.