Walls and Floors: Making a Surface Statement

Walls and flooring are the spring rain showers of your home design plan: It’s easy to forget what a powerful punch they can pack. But don’t overlook these background players. The right surface treatments can make the difference between a so-so room and a “so pretty” one.

Most of our Innovation Kitchen features hardwood flooring, but in the pantry we switched to luxury vinyl tile, also known as LVT, by Mannington. This high-style, high-performing material is on the rise (it’s the fastest growing category in the flooring market) and comes in a range of patterns, including stone and wood looks. For the pantry, we chose a tile with a subtle pattern — a striated look that adds visual texture. The 12×12-inch tiles in gray and white are laid in stripes; think of it as an updated version of the classic checkerboard flooring pattern.

On the walls, we went for simple but striking. The backsplash is covered in 3×6 white ceramic subway tiles from Daltile, which you can buy at Home Depot. Two tricks bump up the style factor: The tile covers the wall from the countertop to the ceiling (a technique that’s best for affordable, neutral tile), and it’s finished with gray grout, which gives the expanse just the right amount of definition.

The remaining walls in the kitchen feature an innovative paint by Sherwin-Williams. It’s formulated to help reduce not only common indoor odors (pets, cooking, smoke), but also the smells that can come from new carpet, cabinets, and fabrics. It’s especially good for kitchens, pantries, laundry rooms, and bathrooms because it’s designed to resist mildew and withstand frequent washings.
Who knew hardworking walls and floors could look so good?

The BHG Innovation Kitchen, created for the May 2014 issue, is filled with fresh ideas and cool products. Here, senior editor Kit Selzer highlights a few of our favorites.
See more of the BHG Innovation Kitchen we created in collaboration with designers Jen Ziemer and Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group.