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The Hottest Trends in Tile

New designs, styles and technologies are making tile the most versatile and accessible flooring material in homes today. Whether tiling up a wall or carrying tile throughout the home, many builders, designers and homeowners are thinking outside the box when it comes to this trend, says The Tile Shop, purveyor of tile and natural stone at more than 100 retail showrooms across the country.

“Tile has always been durable and easy to maintain,” says Kevin McDaniel of The Tile Shop. “Tile has a long lifespan and classic good looks, making it a favorite flooring of choice wherever homeowners need a floor material that’s both practical and beautiful. Even more design options are available now, making tile a smart floor surface in virtually any room of the home.”

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, try incorporating some of these innovative tile trends in your home.

Rustic, Real Wood


Many of the larger-format, faux wood tiles mimic the look of real hardwood floors. Less expensive and more durable than real wood, these tile floors are practical yet beautiful choices for active households with children and pets. Details evoke the character of real wood, right down to the nails.

“Rustic faux wood is making a huge splash because of its warm, earthy coloring and unusual time-worn finishes such as aged paint, which is difficult to achieve with real wood. I foresee it continuing to be a very popular design trend,” McDaniel says.

Longer Planks


While standard square tile sizes will always have their place in home decor, rectangular tiles – otherwise known as planks – are gaining popularity. New 12-by-24-inch tiles are ideal in bathrooms. In addition, 6-by-36-inch tiles or 8-inch by 8-feet planks (often in wood-grained looks) are a favorite for living areas.

“Using longer planks can help smaller spaces look larger, and create an appealing consistency across multiple rooms,” says McDaniel. “While consumers may be familiar with traditional tile shapes such as square or hexagon, these longer tiles offer exciting new design flexibility.”

Poured Concrete


Concrete is a trendy design material right now, but it’s not practical for every household or application. New tile styles create the look of poured or stained concrete at a fraction of the cost, and they include all the durability, versatility and ease associated with tile. Tile options range from long rectangular 8-by-18-inch or 12-by-24-inch planks to 18-by-18-inch squares. Tiles are rectified (the edge is cut completely straight) and grout joints are very narrow to create the look of seamless concrete.

Heated Floors


While heated floors were once a luxury option for homeowners, they’re becoming increasingly mainstream. Tile lends itself to radiant heat beneath the floor. Some retailers even carry thermostats to control the heated floor.

High-Contrast Grout


Using a high-contrast grout color can make the floor pop, and it’s a tactic that works well with mosaic designs. Choosing the right grout color is just as important as the tile you select. Also popular is the concept of mosaic designs that mimic an area rug within a larger section of tile flooring. It creates the look of custom art within the floor.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

How to Deliver Email Worth Reading

By Courtney Soinski

iStock_000000316772Medium-email copyThink about all the emails that you receive in your inbox each and every day. Now think about all the emails that you send to your prospects and clients. Do your marketing messages have what it takes to be opened and read? How do you get people to pay attention?

To prevent emails from being ignored or filtered into spam folders, learn these headache-saving strategies.

Get right to the point in the subject line

To ensure that your email gets opened and clicked on, grab the reader’s attention with a catchy subject line. Keep it short, descriptive, and give them a reason to explore your message further.

Try to avoid flashy promotional phrases, all capital letters, and exclamation points. Not all punctuation is bad, though. Subject lines framed as questions can often perform well.

Words and phrases to stay away from

To avoid being plopped in the dreaded spam folder or just plain ignored, there are certain words and phrases that you should stay away from at all costs. According to a recent study, a few of these words include: “Free”, “Help”, “Percent Off”, and “Reminder”.

Use a recognizable “From” name

“From” names that are not recognized or seem confusing to readers will be ignored, deleted, or lost in the inbox. Would YOU want to open an email from someone you don’t know?

Here’s something else to keep in mind – sending a welcome email as soon as your client subscribes will get them engaged much earlier in the relationship. After that, they’ll surely be able to recognize you, trust you, and read your emails.

Localization gets results

Providing localization in your email, such as the name of a city, neighborhood, or area-specific event can increase open rates and click-through rates. You’ll be using personalized geographic information to peak their interest while directly targeting clients on a hyper-local level.

Design for optimum compatibility

When you’re creating your email, be sure that it’s designed to display on all types of device platforms. Now more than ever, people everywhere use their cell phones and tablets in addition to a desktop computer to access their email. Don’t let your messages get left behind!

Deliver read-worthy content

You can increase and maintain engagement by delivering content that’s actually wanted. Keep it short, and provide links they can click on to read more or share with a friend via email or social media. Including a video is also a great way to effectively connect with your readers.

There are many benefits of email marketing if used in the right way. After all the hard work you put into your campaigns, the last thing you want is to be ignored or mistaken for spam. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to building relationships through valuable content and effective reader engagement.

Are you ready to deliver email worth reading?


Source: MailChimp; RealtorMag


12 Questions to Ask Before Overhauling Your Bedroom Closets

By Lea Schneider

As a professional organizer, my clients are often frustrated by their closets and overwhelmed by piles of garments. They seek me out for answers to their storage dilemmas, and they are usually surprised when I deliver a list of questions in response.

Those questions, based on years of experience as a professional organizer, are the basis for building terrific storage solutions.

1 Storage Hallway


A great custom closet should be designed and organized to suit the way you live and the way you think. The very reason the generic closet you have now isn’t really working is that it wasn’t designed with you in mind.

Closet designers and contractors are wizards at taking a space and creating storage in many different ways. Because there are so many variations, in order for them to work their magic in a way you will love, you need to be able to convey to them what you want.

Before you inquire about a custom closet project, start by asking yourself these 12 questions. The answers you come up with will help build a closet that truly suits you, and help you explain to experts the kind of storage you need.

Does more than one person share the closet? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to answer these questions separately for each person using the closet. The two sides of a shared closet do not have to be a mirror image of each other. A custom design can and should take in the needs of both people.



Do you love or detest hangers? Some people love to see everything hanging up. Other people are happiest with their clothes folded and stacked, and without smart storage, they end up piling them in chairs and even on the floor.

How tall are you? If anyone using the closet is tall, the bars should be raised so garments have plenty of room without dragging the ground or getting entangled in hangers on the lower bar. Likewise, if you are smaller in stature, you may wish bars to be lower so you can easily use them without a stepstool.

How many garments do you plan to hang in your closet? An accurate count of your hanging garments (plus things you wish were hanging) can best help your designer meet your needs. A foot of hanging bar space may hold about 10 dress shirts or 5-6 suits or dresses.

How many long garments do you have? By long, I mean anything that cannot hang on a double bar without dragging. If you prefer to hang trousers or slacks by the waist with clip-style hangers, you’ll need to count these in your long garments.



Are you ‘hidden storage’ or ‘open storage’ minded? Getting organized means different things to different people. While some would prefer for clothing to be put into drawers or armoires with doors that close, so clothing is hidden from sight, another group could simply not function that way. These folks do best if they can see and find items stacked on open shelving.

What do you have a lot of? You may have a collection because you love it, such as purses, or maybe the weather where you live dictates what you stockpile, like sweaters. Either way, your custom closet needs to be able to house your collection.

How many pairs of shoes need to be accommodated? Since shoes often end up in an unorganized jumble, think about what storage system you would actually use. Are you more likely to hang them on a rack, kick them onto low shelves as you remove them or pick them up and put them on higher shelving?

How many pairs of those shoes are tall? Not all shoes can go on a rack or regular height shelf. Be sure to count your dress boots, winter boots, hiking boots and so on separately, as they will need taller storage.

Would you also enjoy having clothing accessories in the closet? If you’d like to have belts close by the trousers, make a note. Likewise, jewelry, scarves and other accessories can be worked into the design. You can even add baskets or drawers for undergarments and swimwear if you let your closet expert know.



What is frustrating about your current closet? Now that you are armed with a list of all the things you want your new closet to accommodate, it’s a good time to make sure the contractor’s plan is going to eliminate frustrations you currently have.

Is there anything not currently in your closet you wish was there? Frequently, homeowners turn to closets in other rooms or storage tubs for storing off-season or extra garments. Now is the time to make sure those items are included in your dream closet.

A custom closet is something you will enjoy using immediately, and if you want to sell your home later, you can be sure buyers will appreciate a thoughtful, efficient closet as well.

Lea Schneider loves finding order in the midst of chaos. Lea is a nationally recognized organizational expert and journalist who writes on home organization for The Home Depot. Info on Home Depot’s closet and storage installation services can be found on the company’s website.