Home & Garden

Tile selections are plentiful for a fresh look in bathroom

Q. I've been given the go-ahead to redo our master bathroom and bedroom, something we've put off forever. I am looking for some kind of tile design that will be fresh, but not just boring white. Also, I'd like the bath and bedroom to work together.

There is exciting news on the tile scene. The variety in size and color alone will inspire you. But, along with ceramic, you also will find porcelain tiles that look like marble, luminous glass tiles, and even glamorous metals.

When you are starting fresh, it's worth pricing out your options. You might want to go with a plain ceramic for the background, but then punch it up with a shimmery glass-tile border in a jewel tone, or create a silver metallic geometric motif in a focal area such as the backsplash or shower area.

Ceramics have exploded into patterns as well. You can have the practicality of tile along with the decorative panache of a pattern that looks like wallpaper. The back wall of the bath shown here is a real showstopper.

You will be shopping for a new sink, faucet and vanity. A mix of modern and traditional works well. The white vessel sink has a streamlined single-handle faucet in brushed nickel, and the vanity is finished in ebony.

Black and white has never looked so good, and you can continue the theme in your bedroom. Soften the palette with a mix of grays, and why not use a little color as an accent? Pink appears in the bathroom, but if that's too girly, red makes a dramatic complement. Alternately, clear blue or lilac would be more tranquil.

Kitchen cabinets

Q. My white cabinets have a high-gloss oil paint on them. I want to paint over them, using beige, with stain in the corners and trim for an Old World finish. I've seen you do this and would like to know how to proceed.

I suggest you change to the more environmentally friendly water-based paint. To do this, wash the glossy cabinets with a heavy-duty detergent or sand to rough up the surface, and then prime with a good quality, high-adhesion primer.

For the Old World patina, base-coat with off-white latex. Mix a brown glaze – equal parts brown latex paint and water-based glazing liquid – and apply over the base coat. While the glaze is still wet, wipe it back with a clean, soft rag, leaving the colored glaze behind in the corners, indentations and trim.

Test cabinets first

Q. We plan to convert the kitchen cabinets from stain to white, but want to leave the wood grain visible. Can I mix paint and water, and brush over the stain?

If you are sure the stain is water-based, then you can do a whitewash with paint and water, half and half. But if it is an oil-based stain, you will have to prime for proper adherence. If so, use a high-adhesion primer thinned down with water for the wash, and then top-coat with varnish for durability. A coat of solid paint or primer will cover up the grain.