Bathroom Remodel Tips from Industry Experts

bathroom remodel tips

Renovating a bathroom can make an old space feel brand new, but it can feel like a tremendous undertaking too. That’s why we’ve put together expert bathroom remodel tips to help you plan and perfect the ultimate bathroom renovation. Read on to see what the pros have to say.

Tips for Planning a Bathroom Renovation    

From new fixtures and plumbing updates to wallpaper and tiling options, there’s a lot to keep in mind when renovating. Proactive planning can help you save big by avoiding unforeseen costs and unnecessary work. Before you start gutting that outdated privy, keep the following in mind:

  • Consider your lifestyle and daily routine before all else. It’s no use shelling out for a luxury bathtub when you’re more likely to stick to quick morning showers.
  • Establish your budget and stick to it, leaving room for unexpected costs or repairs.
  • Note anything that’s not working in your current setup and see if you can improve in these areas. This includes planning around storage needs and always putting function over style.
  • Factor the number of people who use the bathroom into your plan. A double sink setup can help save time and avoid elbow wars when it’s time to get ready.
  • Plan your bathroom’s new layout upfront and avoid making last minute changes once renovations have started.
  • Avoid unnecessary changes to existing fixtures, as this will likely increase plumbing costs. 
  • Get a trusted plumber and electrician on board for any necessary repiping, rewiring or new lighting installations. 
  • Check your design with any trade professionals who will need to perform work (including a tiler, unless you plan to DIY) to make sure there won’t be any issues. 
  • When replacing bathroom fixtures, be sure to select and purchase those first. This ensures installations or alterations like hot and cold pipes are in the correct positions and that your new fixtures will fit. 
  • Instead of replacing a bathtub outright, consider re-enameling or replacing tub surrounds for a new look at a fraction of the cost.

Choosing New Materials For a Bathroom Renovation

From intricate wallpaper designs and waterproof paint to natural stone, selecting new materials for your bathroom can be a fun and daunting process. It’s important to ensure all materials are appropriate for use in bathroom settings. Let’s break down a few surfacing options to get you started.

Bathroom Remodel: Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are a popular choice for bathroom walls, flooring and shower surrounds. That’s because they are durable, colorfast, highly water-resistant and easy to clean. This budget-friendly, man made option is made from clay and fired at a high temperature. Porcelain tiles are available in a wide range of natural or man made colors and pattern options and can even be made to mimic the look of natural stone or woodgrain. Glazed porcelain tiles are inherently non-porous, which makes them appropriate for use in wet settings. Unglazed porcelain tiles are porous and need to be sealed regularly to protect against stains and moisture damage. To learn more, check out our guide to glazed vs. unglazed tiles

Bathroom Remodel: Natural Stone Tiles 

The look of natural stone might as well be synonymous with luxury. Whether you opt for a natural stone vanity countertop or stone tiling, this gorgeous material will elevate your new bathroom to levels of spa-like bliss. Bold colors and dramatic patterns can help create highly-effective accent areas, while serene hues and intricate veining creates a sense of calm and relaxation. The benefits of using natural stone in bathroom settings include:

  • Durability—stones like granite are highly-durable and make for an excellent long-term investment.
  • Aesthetics—while porcelain tiles can mimic the look of natural stone, nothing beats the real thing. Installing natural stone features can create a unique look and increase your home’s value.
  • Non-Slip Properties—opting for a textured stone can reduce the risk of slipping and falling in wet areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and pool surrounds. 
  • Heat Retention—natural stones like soapstone have the ability to retain and radiate heat, which is a desirable quality in the winter and in bathrooms with heated floors.
  • Water-Resistant When Sealed—most types of natural stone will need to be sealed regularly to protect against moisture damage, but sealed natural stone has the benefit of easy maintenance—just be sure to use appropriate cleaners.

Bathroom Remodel: 3 Pro Design Tips

There are countless design styles that can help create the perfect bathroom sanctuary. These 3 design tips will go a long way towards making your bathroom remodel shine:

  1. Use large mirrors to make a small bathroom feel bigger.
  2. Limit your color palette to three hues and use the 60-30-10 rule—60% of the room should utilize your dominant color, 30% your secondary color and 10% your accent color.
  3. Waterproof vulnerable areas with tile backer boards and proper caulking upon installation and be sure to select waterproof paints and wallpaper that can withstand moist bathroom conditions.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have any questions about selecting surface materials for your bathroom remodel, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry is a deep billiard green with azure undertones. Pair with touches of gold and off-white for a traditional theme in any kind of room.

Like black soapstone, jade soapstone has a deep and dark color, rich in its elegance. Its sleek appearance matches its smoothly honed finish. Jade soapstone’s cool color makes it great for countertops and fireplaces, as well as backsplashes and poolside bars. Jade soapstone matches well with soft grays and wood alike.

Bands of grey and veins of white create a wavy pattern reminiscent of the moon-lit sea. The distinctive layers add depth to the black background that is characteristic of the Agatha granite.

Kitchen Remodel Tips from Industry Experts

kitchen remodel tips

There’s a saying in real estate that one isn’t selling a home, but selling a kitchen. That’s because the kitchen is often the focal point of a living space. It’s one of the first things visitors see when they enter, and it’s frequently one of the most high traffic areas in a house. A kitchen remodel is an investment that adds value to your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces share kitchen remodel tips to help you make that revamp a reality.

Kitchen Remodel: 5 Things to Consider

There’s a lot to think about once you decide to remodel your kitchen, from choosing colors, patterns and materials for new tiles or countertops to deciding whether it’s time to upgrade appliances. A remodel can be a big investment. The last thing any homeowner wants is to realize they missed an important step along the way. Here are 5 things to consider when planning for a kitchen remodel:

  1. New Cabinets Before Countertops   

If you’re in the market for new countertops, but your kitchen remodel includes new cabinets, you’ll want to take care of those first. Measurements for your new counters will likely need to accommodate cabinets. If you’re not sure whether you need new cabinets, check in with your countertop fabricator to see whether existing cabinetry is level and stable enough to support your new countertop materials. It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re keeping your old cabinets, your old countertop might be hiding unsightly areas of those cabinets, like unstained wood that might show when a new countertop is installed (though this can be remedied by installing wood trim).

  1. Doors and Entryways

Before you start shopping for those gorgeous new countertops, be sure to measure all doors, hallways and entry points to your kitchen. If you’re looking to install large countertop slabs or a sizable kitchen island, the height and width of entry points might mean your materials need to be fabricated as multiple slabs, brought into your kitchen and seamed together there. 

  1. Seam Locations

When designing your new kitchen, consider where countertop and kitchen island seams will be located. That way, you can work with your fabricator to ensure you’re getting materials that will accommodate your design. The location of your kitchen sink also factors into this part of the planning process.

  1. Updating Kitchen Appliances 

Just like with new cabinetry, if you plan on updating your appliances, take care of this before moving on to countertops. By taking care of these larger items early on in the process, you’ll ensure that countertop measurements are accurate. Be sure to check that the height of your new or existing stove top will be level with new countertops. A new kitchen sink will also affect countertop measurements. Check in with your natural stone fabricator to see what durable sink options are available.

  1.  Choosing Kitchen Countertop Materials 

There are plenty of wonderful natural stone countertop options out there, from classic granite to gorgeous, high-quality marble. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s well worth taking the time to research which material is best suited to your needs and budget. Man-made options like quartz countertops can help achieve a similar look to natural stone at a more affordable price, while natural stones like granite and quartzite are unrivaled in their durability and natural beauty.

If you’d like to learn more about the qualities and maintenance requirements for various popular kitchen countertop options, check our post on the pros and cons of marble countertops, or this one on quartz vs. granite vs. marble. For more information on general stone countertop maintenance, we covered how to clean natural stone like a pro here.

Always consult with your countertop fabricator to find a material that works for you. Factors like lifestyle, ease of maintenance, budget and the size and weight of countertop materials all factor in when deciding on the best materials for your new kitchen.   

Professional Countertop Suppliers: Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing expert knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to facilitate our customers with countertop installations and home remodels. Contact us today to get started! 

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Striking and gorgeous like the beaches of its namesake, Normandy is an intricately beautiful granite. Dark brown and gold crystalline veins cross a creamy backdrop to create a stunning landscape. The light colors of Normandy will add warmth and light to kitchens and bathrooms alike, and looks especially striking as flooring and countertops.

The granite dubbed Vitrium is both bold and complex. Hailing from Brazil, a creamy background is accentuated by diverse patterns that range from strikes of gold to swirls of black. No two areas of Vitrium are the same; every inch is uniquely diverse, which makes Vitrium a versatile option for any room, inside or out.

Is Marble Good for Bathroom Floors?

is marble good for bathroom floors

Few things are as synonymous with luxury as marble surfaces. From walls and countertops to floors and sculptures, marble has been around for centuries. If you’re wondering, “is marble good for bathroom floors,” you’ve come to the right place! Cosmos Surfaces is a proud supplier of gorgeous, high-quality marble for home and commercial spaces. In this post, our experts discuss whether marble tile is good for flooring and offer cleaning and maintenance tips. 

A Brief Introduction to Marble

Marble has a timeless, classic aesthetic that can elevate any home. A metamorphic rock, marble forms when limestone is subjected to high amounts of heat and pressure. This typically occurs at convergent plate boundaries near the Earth’s crust. 

Marble is largely composed of calcite, but often also contains minerals like micas, quartz and iron oxides. Since marble is a calcareous stone, it is porous and requires regular sealing to protect it from staining and moisture-related damage. 

The Properties of Marble

Marble is softer than granite, which can make it more prone to damage in high traffic areas, but with proper care and maintenance, marble can last for centuries. The stone is highly heat- and crack-resistant, which makes it a great option for the kitchen or as fireplace surrounds. Marble also works as an elegant flooring option.

Is Marble Good for Bathroom Floors? The Pros  

Marble tiles can be used for gorgeous flooring in the home or in commercial spaces. Here’s what you need to know:  

  • Aesthetics—marble floors are unique and beautiful. With its signature veining and wide range of colors and patterns, marble can make any space stand out from the rest.
  • A Polished Look—marble can be polished to a high-gloss, light-reflective finish that gives the illusion of translucency and brings out the beautiful colors in its patterning.
  • Honed Marble—many types of marble can be given a honed finish instead of a polished finish. This option is great for those who do not want a glossy look, but prefer a soft, warm finish instead. Honed tiles have more traction, which provides a non-slip flooring option in high-risk areas like bathrooms and the kitchen. 
  • Marble as a Heat Conductor—marble retains and radiates heat well, which works wonders if you’re looking to install radiant heat systems in your home.
  • Natural Material—marble is a natural stone, typically quarried in mountainous regions. The natural, earth-made source of marble makes it an eco-friendly surfacing option that is completely unique, as no two slabs of marble are exactly alike.

Marble Floors: The Cons

Every surfacing material has its drawbacks, and it’s important to understand them when deciding between types of natural stone. Here are the cons of marble floors:

  • Installation—marble is more difficult to install than its ceramic tile counterparts and will likely require the help of a professional.
  • Cost—marble tiles are more expensive than porcelain tiles, but this comes with the benefit of unique, natural flooring and patterns that never repeat.
  • Repairs—since marble tiles are softer than porcelain (a popular tiling option), they can take on scratches or chips more easily. Luckily, marble can be resurfaced and repolished to look brand new.

Marble Floors: Cleaning and Maintenance

To enjoy and preserve the beauty of marble floors for generations, consider the following cleaning and maintenance tips:

  • Sweep floors daily to avoid scratches from debris like sand or grit.
  • Wipe up spills immediately, especially acidic substances like juice, wine or vinegar.
  • Seal polished floors regularly. For an in-depth look at this process, take a look at our blog post on sealing natural stone.
  • Use mild, non-abrasive cleaners that are appropriate for use on natural stone surfaces like marble floors. Mild dish detergents and microfiber cloths often do the trick, but it’s always wise to check in with a manufacturer and ensure a product is safe to use on your investment.
  • Marble surfaces can be etched by hard water deposits. Be sure to dry floors completely after cleaning to avoid etching or dulling over time.

Need Marble Tile? Work with Cosmos Surfaces

Is marble good for bathroom floors? Definitely! Work with Cosmos Surfaces today to find the best marble flooring for your needs. We offer high-quality marble in a wide range of colors and patterns. Our experts are always happy to answer questions and our active blog has numerous articles to help you decide which type of marble is best suited to your needs and budget—contact us online to get started.

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. 

Slivers of black overlay a creamy white background in this Brazilian granite named Polar Cream. The subtle tones of white and off-white in this granite make it an excellent choice for creating a calming environment. The understated beauty of the Polar Cream granite makes for beautiful countertops, backsplashes, and tub surrounds.

How to Choose Grout Color

how to choose grout color

When we think of tiling as a design element, it’s easy to forget about the grout between those tiles. Grout can play a major role in accentuating or concealing your tile layout, making it a powerful tool in your design arsenal. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss how to choose grout color.

Grout Lines: What to Consider

Whether you want to emphasize grout lines or minimize their appearance, there are several considerations to help you choose the best grout for the job. Let’s dive in:

Tile and Grout Location

Consider the location of your tile layout and how visible grout lines will be. Wall tiles and kitchen backsplash are well within the line of sight, which means designs in these areas will be highly visible. This opens up possibilities to create visual center pieces or pops of color with your tile and grout combinations. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a large surface area, bold color choices can quickly become overwhelming. Decide whether you want a subdued look or an eye-catching accent area, then consider which tile and grout color combinations will help you accomplish your design goals.

The Size of a Tiled Area

The size of the area you plan to tile can help guide your grout color choices. Small spaces can become accent areas where contrasting grout and tile colors will add visual complexity. Conversely, matching tile and grout colors will help create a continuous effect, giving the space a larger appearance. 

Tile Design Layout

As mentioned above, grout color can go a long way toward accentuating or blending in with your tile design layout. Let’s look at a few different ways grout color can influence tile layout design.

  • Matching Grout and Tile Color—this option helps hide grout lines, creating a continuous, serene look. Matching colors work well in minimalist spaces. 
  • Contrasting Grout and Tile Color—use a grout color that contrasts with your tile to add visual complexity and accentuate your tile layout or grid pattern. This option works especially well with simple, geometric patterns, such as using black grout with white tiles in a classic brick layout.
  • Neutral Grout Colors—for a less bold appearance, you can get the best of both worlds by pairing your tile with a neutral grout color, like grey. 

Patterned and Multi-Color Tile 

When your tiles themselves have patterns on them, or if you’re making use of a multi-colored tile layout, bold grout colors can quickly become overwhelming. Here are a few tips for these scenarios:

  • Use thinner grout lines with patterned tiles (as deemed appropriate by the manufacturer). 
  • Use a neutral-colored grout to let the tile pattern take center stage.
  • For multi-colored tiles, try matching the grout to one of the tile colors for a cohesive look. You might want to start with the most neutral color until you find one that works.
  • For tiles with a stone-like appearance, such as veining, you can match grout to either the base tile color, or to the primary veining color. 

Match Grout to the Room

Aside from complementing your tile color, grout can pull tones from nearby design elements or appliances. For instance, grey or white grout can match with stainless steel or white fixtures in the kitchen, while grout with red or brown tones can coordinate with wood, brick or stone elements. The overall effect can help create a cohesive color story.

The Shape of Tiles and Grout

The shape of your tiles and the layout you choose can affect the amount of grout you’ll need to use. Square or rectangular tiles, for example, will likely require less grout than more decorative tile shapes, such as penny round tile. Tiles that require more grout means grout lines will be more noticeable. If you want to keep the focus on the tiles themselves, it’s important to match tile and grout colors as closely as possible. 

Tile and Grout: A Perfect Match

As discussed earlier, a close color match can help create a seamless, continuous effect. This can make a small space appear larger, or it can allow other design elements in the room to take the spotlight. If you still want your individual tiles to stand out, you can always opt for a textured tile while maintaining a monochromatic color scheme.  

Fun with Grout Lines

Neutral tiles can be paired with brightly colored grout for a unique, fun look. This approach works well when the grout color matches with another element, such as a paint color or a distinct color scheme in the room. Unique grout options include translucent grout, which won’t interfere with your tile design, and glitter grout—a playful option that will make your interior sparkle.

Check out our blog for more information on sealing and maintaining grout.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, excellent customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of tile products and we’re always happy to answer questions and provide expert advice. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl is a soothing oyster white with a hint of sea-green undertone. It is perfect for sunny rooms, main walls, and pairing as a trim with any color scheme.

Silver Lightning is a versatile type of granite that looks great among stainless steel and black cabinets. A flashy streak of silver cutting through a mellow gray sky, silver lightning is simultaneously calm and striking. The subtle crystalline texture and honed finish of silver lightning make this a perfect installation for kitchen countertops, floors, and bathroom vanities.

What is the Best Material for a Kitchen Backsplash?

best material for kitchen backsplash

A kitchen backsplash adds texture and color to your home, but it’s a highly functional part of your kitchen too. As the name suggests, a backsplash is there to protect your walls from food spills and splashes, like sauce or oil. With so many backsplash material options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos discuss the best material for kitchen backsplash to help you decide. 

Kitchen Backsplash: Functional Aesthetics

An eye-catching backsplash can set your home apart. A backsplash can be used to create a gorgeous focal point in your kitchen, and the options for tile patterns are nearly endless. A well-chosen backsplash should complement and coordinate with existing permanent features in the home. With careful selection and a little bit of planning, beautiful backsplash tile can tie the room together and add value to your home. 

It’s not all about aesthetics, though. The best material for kitchen backsplash tile depends on your needs, lifestyle and budget. If you love to cook and entertain, you’ll want to select a material that’s easy to clean and maintain. If you rarely cook but want your kitchen to make an impact, you might opt for aesthetics over function. Either way, the options are good and plenty. Let’s take a look:

Ceramic/Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most widely used backsplash material—and for good reason. They’re resilient, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Since ceramic is a manmade material, tiles come in a wide array of sizes and colors, including those not found in nature.

Ceramic tiles make it easy to coordinate various features in your kitchen. As an example, larger tiles with the same color or pattern can be used for kitchen flooring. Ceramic is also incredibly heat- and stain-resistant, which makes it perfect around areas like stovetops. Cleaning glazed ceramic or porcelain backsplash is as simple as wiping off spills and splashes.

Natural Stone Backsplash

Natural stone adds a timeless beauty that can’t be argued with. Installing natural stone features in your home will increase its value and elevate its design. Backsplashes can be matched with natural stone countertops or tiles to create a cohesive look. When it comes to natural stone backsplashes, most stones need to be sealed frequently to avoid absorbing stains. Before you decide on a natural stone kitchen backsplash, it’s important to know their features:

  • Granite—you can’t go wrong with the beauty of granite. With a wide range of colors and patterns available, you’ll have plenty of options to help create your desired look. Granite is one of the most durable stones out there, and its resistance to heat and scratching makes it perfect for a high traffic area like the kitchen. With frequent cleaning, sealing and occasional polishing, granite backsplash can last for a lifetime. 
  • Marble—marble is softer than both ceramic tiles and granite. Since it’s an inherently porous stone, sealing marble frequently is paramount.  If you’re focused on bringing aesthetic beauty into your kitchen and you don’t cook frequently, marble might be right for you. Even though it requires a bit more TLC than some of its natural stone counterparts, marble is an investment that can be well worth the effort. 
  • Quartzite—quartzite (not to be confused with quartz), is one of the hardest, most durable stones on the market. This stone offers a wide range of colors and patterns and will need to be resealed about twice a year in an active kitchen.
  • Soapstone—soapstone is one of the softer types of stone you can use for kitchen backsplash. Available in a range of dark green and grey tones, soapstone tends to darken over time. You can treat the soapstone with mineral oil to darken it yourself and keep it looking fresh. While soapstone does take on scratches, these can be sanded or buffed out. Soapstone is impervious to chemical reactions with acids, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. 

Quartz as Backsplash

Quartz is a man made material composed of quartz pieces and materials like glass or other crushed up industrial materials. These components are held together with plastic binders like resin. Quartz comes in many different colors and patterns, and it never needs to be sealed. It’s important to note that grout in between tiles still requires sealing. 

Quartz is durable and easy to clean but doesn’t hold up to excessive heat or direct sunlight. The resin binding that holds quartz surfaces together can melt or warp when exposed to heat, so your kitchen setup will likely determine whether quartz is a good option for you. Likewise, some cleaners might be safe to use on quartz stone itself but could damage or etch resin binders. 

It’s always wise to research cleaning products and check with manufacturers to ensure a product is safe to use on your surfaces. 

Need the Best Material for Kitchen Backsplash? Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

If you have questions about the best material for kitchen backsplash in your home, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us today with questions, comments and concerns. Cosmos proudly offers a wide selection of products and our blog provides information on materials, maintenance and design tips.

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

This Brazilian quartzite dubbed Calacatta Silk boasts dynamic charcoal veining over its soft gray background. Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or outdoor surfaces, this versatile white quartzite is a perfect choice to add an element of endless elegance to your space. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Designing with Textured Natural Stone

natural stone texture

Breathtaking design engages the senses. Gorgeous color palettes can go a long way, but using textures with intention will turn your space into a sensory experience. In this post, our experts provide tips for incorporating natural stone texture into your interior design. 

How Natural Stone Texture Affects Design

Polished and honed surfaces are popular and often seen in the home. Polished surfaces are sleek and shiny, invoking a sense of high-end luxury. Honed surfaces have less shine, favoring a matte finish that creates a soft, warm glow. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, textured stone finishes are growing in popularity. Textured natural stone offers a great way to make your space unique and inviting. Stone finishes rapidly rising in popularity include: 

  • Leathered finishes—stones with a leathered finish have natural pits and fissures, creating texture and depth. Leathered finishes show less staining, scratches and fingerprints than polished surfaces, but may be harder to clean. Textured stone with a leathered finish works well in areas like bar tops, where it creates a warm, inviting feeling. Textured stones are also less slippery, which makes them an excellent choice in areas like bathrooms or as pool surrounds.
  • Flamed finishes have textured, slightly bumpy surfaces. This finish can lighten the stone, creating a natural, faded appearance perfect for outdoor applications like floors, pavers and outdoor kitchens. 

The Benefits of Textured Stone

Textured finishes can be a wonderful addition to a space. Let’s look at just a few of the benefits of working with a textured natural stone surface:

  • Less prone to showing water spots, smudges and fingerprints.
  • Helps hide scratches, chips and staining. 
  • Non-slip textures are excellent options for bathrooms, pool and jacuzzi surrounds.
  • Textured finishes help bring out the natural colors and patterns in a stone. Sleek, glossy finishes—like polished finishes—can slightly obscure a stone’s true beauty. 

Changing Stone Texture

Stone quarries typically apply an initial texture to stone slabs. You can work with a natural stone fabricator to change the finish on a slab of stone before installation. It’s important to note that not all types of stone can accept all types of finishes. To learn more about different stone finishes and which stones can accept them, take a look at our post on how to choose a textured finish.

Sealing Textured Stone

While some textured stone finishes—like leathered finishes—are more stain-resistant than honed finishes, they still need to be sealed properly. A good sealant protects stone against staining and other types of damage, like moisture damage, mold and bacteria growth. Sealed stone surfaces are also easier to clean and maintain. To learn more about sealing natural stone, check out our blog post all about sealing natural stone

Tips for Designing with Textured Natural Stone

To get the most out of your natural stone texture, consider the following design tips:

  • Pair textured natural stone with sleek, polished surfaces to complement their modern look. Intentional contrasts create visual interest and depth. 
  • Use textured natural stone to complete a rustic, farmhouse-inspired aesthetic. 
  • Incorporate natural elements like plants, wood and water features around textured natural stone for a warm, earthy feel. 

Textured Stone Cleaning Tips

Stone surfaces can often be cleaned with warm water, mild dish soap and non-abrasive cloths or sponges. Textured surfaces can hide dirt and staining better than smooth surfaces can, but dirt and grime can also get stuck in grooves and fissures. Performing regular deep cleanings of textured stone will help prevent permanent staining and discoloration. The following tips can go a long way:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner—vacuum flooring to remove loose dirt. Hand-held vacuum cleaners can be used on countertops to remove loose debris from grooves and fissures.
  • Steam clean flooring—whether you have granite, marble, quartzite, slate or another type of natural stone flooring, a steam mop is typically a safe choice for cleaning, as it is chemical free and won’t damage the stone. Always check with a manufacturer to ensure products are safe to use on the types of natural stone in your home.
  • Use a baking soda paste—add just enough water to baking soda to form a paste. Next, dip a cleaning brush with soft bristles into the mixture and gently scrub any problem areas. Be sure to test this method first on a small, somewhat hidden area to ensure you aren’t damaging the stone. 

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about how you can use natural stone texture in your space, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

The light beige background of the Istanbul granite is interspersed with fields of white and deep golden veins. The shifting patterns and earthy tones of this Brazilian granite give each slab a unique appearance, making it a popular choice in varying applications for projects of all sizes.

Natural Stone in 2021: Color Trends and More

2021 color trends

With many of us spending more time at home than ever before, it’s no surprise homeowners have been focused on turning their living spaces into sanctuaries. Safety, comfort and mental wellness are all driving forces behind 2021 color trends. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss the colors, materials and design principles leading us into the new year.

Nature Keeps us Grounded

A stressful year (to say the least), 2020 saw an uptick in the desire to bring the outdoors inside. Plants, wood and natural stone all contribute to the sense of calm and inner peace that attracts us to nature in the first place. Additionally, the strategic use of color can not only elevate the interior design of a space, it can have a tremendous effect on our moods.

Earth tones and neutral colors reign supreme in 2021 color palettes:

  • Classic white and grey hues help create a clean, simple and peaceful look that offers endless versatility when it comes to pairing with furniture, décor and paint colors.
  • Warm tones like browns, reds and golden hues help create an inviting sense of safety and comfort.
  • Drawn directly from nature, blue and green hues offer peace, serenity and a sense of connection to the natural world.

Marvelous Materials

The pandemic won’t last forever, but it will have a lasting impact on the way we work moving forward. As many companies consider either making a permanent shift to remote work or adopting hybrid models in the future, those commuting to their kitchen counters require both versatility and durability in their surface materials.

Here at Cosmos, we’ve seen an increased focus on the quality of natural stone from buyers, rather than price. The shift makes sense, as more time at home leads to greater wear and tear on high-traffic areas like kitchen counters.

Granite—a natural stone lauded for its durability—has propelled itself into the recent spotlight, competing with bestsellers like quartz. Granite in white and grey hues combines the serenity, versatility and durability so many homeowners are seeking as they navigate the “new normal.” Blue and green granites, such as Azul Bahia and Cosmos Green, have also received a fair share of attention, proving effective in evoking themes of nature and a sense of connection to the Earth.

White quartz, however, remains the undefeated bestseller. Quartz—a man made material which is different from quartzite—is favored for its ability to mimic the look of natural stones like marble, as well as its ease of maintenance. Quartz products like Alaska Bianca, Calacatta Santa and Calacatta Vintage all resemble Calacatta marble in appearance and make for popular choices when it comes to both new constructions and renovations.

Designing with 2021 Color Trends

Trends, by their very nature, are subject to change. It may seem tricky to utilize color trends when it comes to permanent fixtures in the home but fear not! The following design tips can help update your space while keeping things flexible enough to change with the times:

  • Using neutral hues like white and grey (or warmer neutral earth tones like brown) in permanent fixtures like kitchen countertops keeps your color options open with furniture, décor and wall paint colors.
  • Selecting a mostly neutral stone with color accents present in its veining or pattern can help tie a room together. Accent colors can remain subtle, or they can be pulled out by matching surrounding design elements to the colors present in the stone.
  • Ensure stone fixtures blend in well with the overall look and feel of the home first, then find ways to incorporate color trends with surrounding décor.
  • Use colored stone strategically, such as a dramatic accent wall or a focal feature in a room, such as fireplace surrounds.

To recap, the color trends taking the spotlight in 2021 are all about creating a sense of serenity, inner peace and connection to the natural world. We hope you’ve found this article on 2021 color trends helpful as we all strive to turn our living spaces into much-needed sanctuaries in the new year.

Work with Cosmos!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in their surface material needs. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

Oxford Blue - Multi Quartzite 2

Oxford Blue is the Northern Lights come to life, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans personified, a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite. Creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia, Oxford Blue looks great in busy aquatic environments, such as a poolside counter or a waterfall. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

choose a backsplash

By adding visual interest to the walls, a tile backsplash will instantly modernize just about any kitchen. Whether you desire a design that commands attention, or one that blends in with the rest of your kitchen design scheme, there’s a colossal range of tile colors, shapes and styles to choose from! With such a wide selection of beautiful options available, you might have a tough time deciding which will work best in your space. If you’re looking for expert advice, then this article on how to choose a backsplash for your kitchen was made for you! Read on to learn our pro tips for finding the ideal backsplash material, color and layout for your kitchen makeover.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

Here are a few best practices to help you select a kitchen backsplash that complements your overall design, plus fits your budget & lifestyle:

  • Determine your square footage early on – When adding a backsplash on a budget, it’s wise to figure out how much square footage you have to cover prior to shopping for materials. Calculating this number will help you narrow down which tile material options are within your price range, given the scope of your kitchen renovation project.
  • Take tile properties into account – Naturally, you’ll want to research the durability, required maintenance & other qualities of various backsplash tile options. Keep in mind: Ceramic tile is a resilient, cost-effective option, while porcelain is even more hardwearing & moisture resistant, thanks to its higher density. Both are relatively low-maintenance and come in a broad range of gorgeous styles, with ceramic tending to be available in a slightly wider selection of intricate designs. Then, there’s natural stone tile, which offers rustic, organic beauty but typically requires regular sealing in a kitchen environment. For more details on these popular backsplash tile picks, check out our helpful comparisons of ceramic vs. porcelain tile and natural stone vs. ceramic tile!
  • Consider your countertops & other design elements – In terms of how to choose a backsplash color that meshes with your kitchen design, your countertops are a crucial factor. As a general rule of thumb, the bolder your countertops are, the more tame your backsplash should be. Staying within the same color palette can also be an effective strategy to unify your design. If you’d like your backsplash to pop, choosing a brighter contrasting color is a great way to accomplish this. A darker backsplash shade can afford a strikingly sophisticated aesthetic, especially when paired with white cabinetry. Keep in mind – these are merely suggestions. Ultimately, it’s your kitchen, your rules, so don’t be afraid to take a more imaginative approach!
  • Finalize your design goals – Deciding on a tile pattern is another key step in the backsplash designing process. Giving some thought to what you’d like to achieve in your design will help guide you to the right layout. If you’re going for a more traditional look that creates the illusion of a larger space, you might choose a classic brick layout using subway tile. To take center stage with your backsplash, ultra-modern & visually intriguing herringbone is a wonderful choice. Meanwhile, installing stacked stone tile on the walls will enliven your cooking space with rugged yet refined texture. For further inspiration, consult our full list of tile pattern ideas!
  • Embrace focal points – Panels of wall space above the sink, beyond where the cupboards end and behind the range are natural focal points in a kitchen layout. In turn, these are all great places to put an accent border you’d like people to notice. Perhaps you’ll choose a more ornate tile pattern for these areas, while selecting something simpler for the main backsplash.
  • Don’t forget about the grout – Selecting a grout shade offers yet another opportunity to personalize your tile design & complete your desired look! Check out our tips for choosing a complementary tile grout color for your backsplash installation.

Source An Attractive, Durable Backsplash Material from Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you’ve learned some new & useful information in this article detailing how to choose a backsplash. If you’re looking forward to giving your kitchen a facelift with a stunning backsplash, the experts from Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you select & acquire your perfect tile variety! To get started with our friendly, highly trained team, contact us online today.

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Verde Fusion - Green Granite 3

Beautifully complex and richly diverse, Verde Fusion is comprised of greens, blacks, creams, browns, and greys. Hailing from India, Verde Fusion is a bold and impressive choice that complements modern settings. Use Verde Fusion inside as kitchen countertops, flooring, and backsplashes or outside as waterfalls, patio accents, or poolside tiling.

Top Quartz Countertop Trends of 2020

quartz countertop trends

While natural stone remains a widely favored choice for kitchen countertops, many modern-day homeowners are discovering the advantages of man-made stones like quartz. Owing largely to improvements in engineering techniques, quartz can now be crafted to closely imitate the look of natural marble or granite. As this durable, attractive engineered stone has experienced an uptick in popularity, certain quartz varieties & styles have drawn a particularly large amount of attention. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the latest quartz countertop trends that are taking the stone industry by storm in 2020.

Top Quartz Countertop Trends of 2020: Marble Looking Quartz

Marble looking quartz has entered the spotlight in recent years – and it continues to be one of the biggest stone trends of the present era. Prior to advances in engineering, it was difficult to mimic the signature organic veining patterns that are characteristic of real marble in slabs of quartz. But thanks to new, cutting-edge techniques, quartz can now offer an appearance which is virtually indistinguishable from natural stone.

What Are the Advantages of Marble Looking Quartz Countertops?

Before we show you examples of in-demand quartz varieties, we’d first like to explain why one might prefer marble looking quartz for their countertop over the real thing. While each material has its pros and cons, quartz is often a more affordable option, depending on the variety chosen. Additionally, quartz offers the noteworthy benefit of being non-porous, meaning it will not harbor bacteria or absorb moisture. This qualifies quartz as a distinctly low-maintenance, easy-to-clean countertop material.

For those who find the price & properties of quartz to be ideal, but simultaneously love the classic, elegant look of intensely veined marble, these marble looking quartz varieties are likely to appeal:

  • Calacatta Vintage – Calacatta Vintage is a white quartz defined by dramatic & dynamic gray veining. Uncannily reminiscent of rare Italian marble, its personality is both refined and irresistible. Offering supreme durability, this striking white quartz is well suited to kitchen countertops, among many other applications. Even in the most well-loved parts of the home, it will shine on for years to come with minimal maintenance.

Calacatta Vintage - White - Quartz

  • Calacatta Aegean – A luxurious white quartz with hints of brown and gold, Calacatta Aegean brings to mind the marvelous Mediterranean coast. Gray veins meander across its surface, giving this quartz unforgettable character and contrasting with its warm, understated foundation. Dependably durable, Calacatta Aegean is another fantastic choice for countertops.

Calacatta Aegean - White - Quartz

  • Krakel – Looking for something that is a bit more unconventional, but still features marble-like veining? Krakel is a striking black quartz that will swiftly energize any design! Its unexpected pattern is characterized by bright white veins bolting across a stormy gray backdrop. At the intersection of style and function, this quartz is hardwearing enough to withstand daily use as a countertop or kitchen island.

Krakel - Black - Quartz

Minimal, But Still Marvelous: Other Trending Quartz Products

Marble looking quartz is one of the trendiest and best-selling engineered stone styles right now – but it’s far from the only option! If you desire something more neutral and mild-mannered for your kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity, consider these other quartz varieties that are popular in 2020:

  • Astral White – A type of white quartz adorned with flecks of gray, silver and gold, Astral White will infuse your interior with cosmic wonder. While it may be on the more subdued side, its shimmering spots offer visual intrigue and make for an eye-catching countertop.

Astral White - White Quartz 5

  • Moon Rock – 3, 2, 1, liftoff! Moon Rock will fly you to the moon and let you play among the stars. This twinkling white quartz is a stellar choice for kitchen countertops, given that it is highly resistant to scratches and stains. Count on Moon Rock to stand the test of time – in the realms of both beauty and durability.

Moon Rock - White Quartz 3

Collaborate with Cosmos Surfaces to Ensure a Successful Surfacing Project

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our quick overview of this year’s top quartz countertop trends & products! Maybe you are now leaning towards quartz for your project, or perhaps you would like to explore other stones as well. Either way, the qualified surfacing professionals at Cosmos Surfaces are available to help you find the absolute best material for your needs, personality, budget & application.

Browse our online gallery to preview our wide selection of marble, quartz and other surfaces of top-tier quality. Should you have questions, need guidance or desire to see a particular stone in person, feel free to get in touch with us anytime!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold criss-cross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How Can Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood?

natural stone mood

The colors we choose to incorporate into our interior design scheme say a lot about our personality and style. But aside from this, our chosen color palette can also set the mood of a room, and even influence how we feel while spending time there. In fact, it is well documented that certain colors can evoke certain emotions – and this is certainly the case with natural stone colors. In this article, Cosmos Surfaces will offer a few examples of how different hues create different moods.

How Can Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood?

With so many of us working remotely for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a functional yet comfortable home is now more important than ever. Naturally, one’s workspace should be conducive to concentration and productivity, while areas of the home used for relaxation and enjoyment should be designed to promote feelings of calmness, wellbeing or fun.

Much like how natural stone patterns can be strategically selected to help establish one’s desired atmosphere, natural stone colors can function to spark specific moods in a space. Let’s explore how this phenomenon works with various hues commonly found in natural stones like granite, marble and quartzite:

  • Crisp Whites – It’s no secret that white interiors appear clean and put together, albeit simple. This combination sets the stage for a soothing mood. If you desire a bit more invigoration and visual intrigue, we suggest choosing a brighter white stone with some veining, such as Opal White marble.
  • Versatile Grays – Often prominent in slate and marble, gray can foster many different moods, depending on the particular shade. While silvery and white grays liven up a space, mid-range shades are more mellow and muted. Meanwhile, darker shades of gray (verging on black) are decidedly mysterious and thought provoking. Intensely veined, multicolored gray stones such as Grey Imperiale marble strike the perfect balance between serenity and emotion.
  • Mellow Greens – Like certain shades of gray, cool green stone is known to lend a tranquil feeling to a room. Take, for instance, Alexandrita, a pale sea foam green quartzite enhanced by warm ivory and peach hues. Appropriate for countertops and floors – among other applications –  this stone has a calming effect which makes it well suited to living spaces & sanctuaries throughout the home.
  • Striking & Serene Blues – Commonly found in quartzite and granite, blue is a bold color which can animate a space, but also ground it. Strong blues may promote positivity and creative thinking, while softer shades can enhance focus and clear thinking. Featuring a range of stunning blues, Azul Bahia granite is perfect for introducing a breathtaking pop of color into a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Invigorating Golds – Not only is gold natural stone effortlessly luxurious – it’s a near-guaranteed mood booster! Breathe fresh life into a bathroom, kitchen or outdoor living space with Azul Imperiale, an uplifting Brazilian quartzite defined by bolts of gold flashing across a light blue background.

Setting the Right Mood with Natural Stone

As we’ve delved into here, the shades found in natural stone can have a powerful effect on your mood. Whether you aim to stimulate the senses, or to avoid distractions, it’s important to be aware of how the colors in your interior design might help accomplish or interfere with your unique goals.

Beyond color, there are several other important factors to consider when choosing a natural stone surface for any room in your home. From the properties of the chosen stone type, to the patterns and colors present within, to the selected finish – plus influence from the surrounding design elements – many things will combine to shape the aesthetics of your surface & space.

Count On Cosmos Surfaces to Help You Upgrade Your Interior

Drawing on over three decades of industry experience, Cosmos Surfaces is committed to helping homeowners find the ideal surfacing material for their purposes. In our extensive selection of natural stone surfaces, you’ll find options which span the entire color spectrum – including plenty of vibrant picks, plus a multitude of more understated neutral options.

After you’ve taken a look at our natural stone collection, reach out to be connected with one of our stone specialists. We look forward to helping you plan your dream design and providing you with a high-quality stone surface that suits your needs & sets your desired mood!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

A Brazilian granite, Key West Gold is comprised of mellow neutral tones, including khaki, gold, light brown, ivory, black and gray. Thanks to its comforting and consistent speckled pattern, Key West Gold is a wonderful option for countertops, floors, table tops, backsplashes and vanity tops — in both homes and commercial spaces.

Tile Pattern Ideas and Where to Use Them

tile pattern ideas

Gorgeous, functional interior design can elevate any space, but it requires a multi-faceted approach. In this post, we look at popular tile pattern ideas and how they can help you achieve the look you want.

With each element in a room building towards a desired aesthetic, it’s important to consider which materials to use, and how to use them. When it comes to tile backsplash or bathroom and accent walls, the type of tile, its colors and textures and even the grout used can all contribute to bringing a certain look and feel into your home. That said, another crucial step in the decision-making process lies in the tile pattern. That is to say, what kind of layout will help you achieve your design goals and bring out the best qualities in the tile you’ve put thought and care into selecting?

Let’s look at some popular tile patterns and the visual effects they create:

Classic Brick Layout

classic brick

In this pattern, tiles are placed in horizontal rows, and each row is offset by half a tile-width. The resulting long, horizontal lines can have the effect of visually widening a room. This is a timeless layout that never goes out of style and works with any kind of rectangular tile! A brick layout works well in spaces where one simple kind of tile is used, while pairing the tile with a contrasting color grout can help accentuate both the horizontal lines and consistent geometric pattern throughout.

Vertical Brick

This pattern is the same as the classic brick pattern mentioned above, just rotated vertically. With this layout, the vertical lines lead the eye upward, creating a sense of height. A vertical brick pattern adds a contemporary twist to the classic motif and works well in smaller bathrooms, for example, where one might want to visually lift the ceiling height and create a sense of space.



When it comes to interior design, “mosaic” tiles are any small tiles, for example, 1-inch by 1-inch tiles, that repeat in a shape or set of shapes. Countless patterns are available, and mosaic tiles can be used to create complex patterns, or simply add a sense of texture and detail to an area.

The busy nature of mosaic tiles, along with the need to use more grout, makes it a popular choice for accent areas, as opposed to entire walls. The additional grout makes it a less slippery surface when used as a shower floor, while the detail and multi-tonal effects mosaic tiles create also make them a great option to use as backsplash, or to line a niche. Mosaic tiles can be used effectively to balance out larger tiles, creating texture and detail to contrast and compliment simpler, larger tiles.



In a stacked pattern, tiles are aligned in a simple, repeating grid. This layout creates a modern look and feel, and its simplistic nature has a calm, soothing effect. Stacked patterns work well in modern spaces where clean shapes and straight lines reign supreme, while also creating an effective counterpoint to organic forms, such as natural wood. Using bright or contrasting grout can help emphasize the simple, geometric pattern.

Large Brick

Similar to the classic brick pattern, a large brick pattern makes use of oversize tiles. In this case, the pattern helps create a more seamless effect of continuous tiles by minimizing the amount of visible grout lines. Using rich stone tiles and color-matching grout can truly create the appearance of a large, unbroken area of the tile.

Solid Slabs

Rather than using smaller tiles laid out in a pattern, it’s possible to use a single, large slab of material for, as an example, a contemporary kitchen backsplash. Large slabs can even be cut to create matching backsplash and kitchen counters in smaller kitchens. Solid slabs help create an open, spacious look and can be used effectively to create seamless walls.



A herringbone pattern creates a zig-zag formation by laying tiles at right angles to each other. This layout works beautifully on accent walls, bringing a sense of dynamic visual energy into a space. The complexity of the grout lines created by this pattern plays well against simple tiles, such as white tiles. A herringbone pattern can also be integrated into a section of a larger wall or backsplash, creating a focal point within a simpler surrounding brick pattern, for example. It’s important to note this pattern does require the cutting of tiles as it approaches borders, which can create some amount of tile waste.

Accent Borders

A strip of accent tiles along a border or set to interrupt a simple pattern along a certain point of a wall can help create visual interest. Additionally, if you are tiling a full wall or section of a wall, you might find that the tiles don’t perfectly fit the height of the space. Rather than cutting the border row of tiles to fit, the difference can be made up by using smaller tiles as an accent border, or as a stripe that interrupts the pattern, allowing larger tiles to fit perfectly into the space.


We’ve covered some of the most popular tile patterns you can use to great effect, but this is by no means an exhaustive list! If you have questions about tiling or other surface materials, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning and maintenance and design tips!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Exuding strength, mystery, and daring, Titanium is a striking type of granite fit for the bold. Originating in Brazil, and also known as Cosmic Black, the black backdrop with swirls and waves of silver and gold make titanium an alluring and captivating material for any kitchen countertop, fireplace tiling, and bathroom flooring.

How to Choose the Right Natural Stone Patterns for Your Interior Design

choose natural stone

It’s no secret that natural stone surfaces can go a long way toward creating a desired aesthetic in the home. The natural stone patterns within those surfaces can further help refine your design style. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces share tips on how to choose natural stone patterns to help you create the exact look and feel you want in any room.   

Design Goals

When considering various stone patterns and finishes, it’s important to understand what your design goals are. For example, if you are hoping to achieve a minimalist look with just a pop of color or texture, you can use natural stone patterns to achieve these highlights. Or, you can opt for simple stone surfaces and play around with furniture or painted accent walls for your color or texture fix. Let’s take a look at a few design styles and which stone patterns and colors can help you achieve them:

Minimalist Spaces

As mentioned above, colors and patterns can be used effectively in a minimalist setting. A dramatic accent wall, for example, can perfectly balance out the simpler design elements in the space. Stones like Magma Gold and Maori (both granites) and Raphael and Oxford Blue (both quartzites) have striking, complex patterns along with gorgeous colors. Any of these stones would work well in a minimalist setting and can be used to create truly breathtaking accent walls or other features like kitchen islands.

Warm, Inviting Spaces

For homeowners who like to entertain or simply want a warm, inviting feel to their space, stones with classic brown tones and consistent patterns can help create this aesthetic. Stones with blue, copper or golden elements in their patterns are both striking and elegant, while retaining a sense of warmth and comfort. Granite products like Vitrium, Lapidus and Giallo Fiorito are all examples of stones that contain gorgeous warm tones within their patterns.

Small Spaces

Using design elements wisely can help smaller spaces look and feel bigger. As an example, a stone surface with a flowing vein pattern can make a kitchen island appear bigger, as well as the room itself. Using vertical veining patterns on stone walls gives a sense of high ceilings, as the vertical lines direct the eye upward and appear to elongate the space.

Invoking Nature

If you’re looking to replicate the look and feel of wood around areas like the fireplace or an indoor garden, stones like Brown Silk (a granite) and Sequoia Brown (a quartzite) are excellent options, as their patterns and textures mimic those of wood. The colors and patterns in these stones in combination with the texture created by a leathered finish can truly bring a natural aesthetic into the home.

Speaking of natural elements, using a stone like Black Marinace (a granite) in or around a water feature, such as a water fountain, adds an elegant touch without the struggle of having to clean pebbles. The pebbled texture of the stone adds detail and depth and brings along with it the durability and ease of maintenance for which granite is so well-loved.

Stones like Rain Forest Green and Café Forest Brown mimic natural elements like leaves and branches and invoke a sense of calm and tranquility. They are perfect for bathroom vanities, kitchens and living rooms.


One of the most impressive features of natural stone is the immense variety created by the natural processes behind stone formation. Long veining patterns are inherently elegant and soothing, while dramatic swirling patterns invoke a flowing sense of movement and energy. Each unique pattern tells the ancient story of its stone.

When it comes to natural stone and interior design, there are multiple steps you can take to craft your desired aesthetic, from the type of stone you select, to the colors and patterns contained within and, finally, the type of finish applied to the stone surface. The options are just about endless!

For more information on the various aspects of using natural stone in interior design, take a look at our post on how to design your home like a professional. If you’d like to know more about how various stone finishes alter the look and feel of natural stone, our blog post on how to choose the perfect stone finish provides a detailed overview.

Cosmos Can Help!

Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation family-owned business, we are passionate about sourcing high-quality surfaces for your home or business. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today – our team of experts is happy to help you along the journey of designing your dream spaces!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

For those in the market for an exotic, one-of-a-kind granite countertop, Belatrix is a top contender. This natural Brazilian stone features a polished finish and a pattern that is truly extraordinary. Set upon a shining black background are idiosyncratic shapes formed via a melange of rust, burgundy, gray and cream.

Design Your Home Like a Professional

design home

For many homeowners, designing their perfect home is a lifelong dream. Once they move into their first place, whether it’s a college apartment or starter home, they start to think about where to place things for optimal convenience and comfort.  The trick to how to do your own interior design, many interior designers say, is to consider each room as you plan to live in it as early in the process as possible.

“Even small details should be introduced into the home planning in the early stages of programming,” recommends Suzanne Shumaker of Shumaker Design + Build Associates, an architect led design-build firm that she and her husband Garry founded in Evanston, Illinois, 2009.

She asks clients to consider things such as how you would like to enter your home — from the garage/rear of house or the front? And, where do you want all your stuff to land when you enter? Why do the answers matter? They can help direct long-term decisions. For example, clients may want more durable materials like natural stone to be the surface they land on or a place to leave wet shoes before transitioning to wood floors, according to Shumaker.

“Circulation and traffic patterns organized to areas that are out of the kitchen triangle are important,” she adds. “Living rooms and sitting rooms need to fall into more quiet zones. A zone can be defined for reading or small gatherings with a good furniture plan. Laying out furniture early in the design process helps you determine where to add electrical outlets and overhead lighting.”

Whether you’re thinking about a remodel or designing an entire house, we asked three interior designers what you might want to consider as you work on each major room.

Design Your Home Like a Professional


When designing a kitchen, you have to consider function first, according to Annilee B Waterman, RID, an interior designer and owner of AW Design Studio in Dallas, Texas. “A beautiful kitchen is no good if you can’t use it properly,” Waterman says. “Your sink, fridge and range should create a nice work triangle, and make sure you have plenty of landing space on both sides of each.”

One thing clients often overlook are using drawers for their lower cabinets. “Drawers offer great, versatile storage, and help keep your kitchen organized,” she adds. Also, using the countertop natural stone as the backsplash creates a beautiful, clean and classic look that is easy to keep clean (no grout!).

Cris Williams, interior designer with The Life at Home in Houston, Texas, feels the kitchen is the hub of the home and agrees functionality is key.

“Consider the layout. Do you want to be able to interact with friends and family while you cook?” Williams advises. “Opening the kitchen to a living space is a great way to achieve this. Storage is another huge factor of functionality. Take an inventory of what you need in your kitchen and make sure you will have ample storage space to fit those things.”

For those who want to add a little more fun into their space, Williams feels the backsplash is an opportunity to get creative and adventurous. You can use many natural stones on the backsplash that wouldn’t hold up as a counter material. “Also, certain stones that may be a bit pricier as a countertop could be affordable as an accent on the backsplash,” she adds.


When designing a bathroom space, begin by considering what access, if any, you have to natural light. If a window might be located where the shower will be, natural stone window sills and jambs can help protect those windows, according to Shumaker. Also, even if you don’t have children, one tub in the house is a must for resale and young kids, she says.

Williams feels the bathroom should be a functional sanctuary. “We often don’t think of universal design when designing bathrooms unless we are older or impaired,” she says. “We will all, hopefully, grow old one day and having a bathroom that works for us in that stage is important.”

Bathrooms are another room in the home where homeowners can showcase natural stone. “Countertops, shower walls, and flooring are all excellent places to feature stone,” adds Williams.

Living Room

“Modern-day living rooms are usually informal and serve as an everyday gathering space for the family,” says Williams. Again, since storage is important throughout the house, she recommends built-in storage as a great way to keep all the everyday things put away and your space tidy.

Williams suggests that a fireplace is a great place to use natural stone in a living room, and her favorite design element is when it’s used to top a floating cabinet. “This creates a space that is equally functional and luxurious,” she says.

The direction of natural light can’t be dismissed, according to Williams and Shumaker. “The direction of natural light and the placement of televisions seems to be an afterthought in many homes,” Williams notices. While she admits the annoying tv glare seems small in the scheme of designing an entire house, it becomes a bigger deal when it’s happening and you could have designed the space to avoid that glare.

To help manage it, Shumaker recommends motorized window treatments that can adjust to the day’s sunlight as an option.


For many, the bedroom isn’t high on their list to “design,” per se. But it’s a missed opportunity when it’s not considered in the overall scheme of a home’s design and functionality. Be sure not to overlook the bedroom when figuring out how to do your own interior design.

“A bedroom should be a restful sanctuary,” says Williams. “Where you place the bedroom could have a huge effect on that. Do you want direct morning light? Or would you rather have a north/south facing room with indirect light?”

Also, consider what types of features you’d like in or near the bedroom.

“In new homes, I’m either moving the laundry to near the main bedroom, or adding an additional laundry space (one in the mud room/utility, one near the bedrooms, or one inside the master closet),” says Waterman.

Shumaker likes to ask clients if they would like to include a fireplace where you could highlight natural stone. Or if they might have other needs, such as adding a desk or sitting area for reading.

Figuring Out How To Do Your Own Interior Design? Ask a Designer!

“Designing a home is a big project that you want to get right the first time,” admits Williams. Rather than rush through the process, she recommends homeowners take their time, and if they’re unsure about how to design a space, to reach out to an interior designer who can offer advice and suggestions they might not have even considered.

Color of the Month: Classic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-4052, Classic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A boundless blue hue, Classic Blue is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky opening us up to a world of possibilities.”

The resemblance to the Northern Lights is how Aurora gets its name. A type of quartzite, Aurora is majestic and divine. Black, teal, silver, white, and soft pink meld together to create the picture of the night sky come to life by the Aurora Borealis. Aurora makes alluring and captivating countertops and backsplashes. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A Designer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Porcelain Tile Grout Colors

designers guide porcelain

Porcelain tile is a terrific choice for a wide range of projects in the kitchen and bathroom. A low-maintenance surfacing material that ranks high on the style scale, porcelain tile is available in a broad selection of colors and styles. Whether you’d like to add pizzazz to your bathroom floor with hexagonal tile or refresh your kitchen with a subway tile backsplash, you’ll need to choose a color for your tile and the surrounding grout. So, how should you go about narrowing down your options for tile grout colors to land on one that suits your application and room aesthetics? The design experts at Cosmos Surfaces are here to share a few must-know guidelines to help you make a winning choice.

Why Do Tile Grout Colors Matter?

Before we dive into our pro tips for finding your ideal shade among the many available tile grout colors, we’d first like to emphasize why this choice is so important. While it may seem relatively insignificant, the shade you select for your tile grout will actually play a major role in how the finished product turns out. Regardless of application, taking a thoughtful approach to choosing your grout color is key to ensure you are totally satisfied with the look of your completed tile installation.

Selecting a Complementary Grout Color for Your Porcelain Tile Installation

While there are no set-in-stone rules when it comes to picking out tile grout colors, following some general guidelines can help you achieve your desired look – and make a decision you’ll be happy with for years to come. Without further ado, let’s explore some tips and tricks for selecting a grout color that pairs beautifully with your porcelain tile choice:

Think about your desired design effect

To start, decide what you aim to accomplish in your design scheme. Are you looking to make a bold statement, or does a more traditional look appeal to you? If your goal is to highlight the shape of your tile and make your design stand out, choosing a contrasting grout color will best achieve this goal. A lighter grout will make dark tile pop, and vice versa. If you desire a more unified look, opt for a grout color that closely matches the tile. Don’t worry about finding an exact match, though – a shade that’s a bit lighter or darker than your tile will pull everything together nicely.

Be prepared for possible color variation

Keep in mind that grout powders like tiles are made in batches and can vary slightly from batch to batch. The grout color will also change slightly when water or other components are added during installation and when a sealer is applied to the grout post installation. A tile professional can offer advice on what to expect for  normal color variation of your grout during and post installation, given the type of grout. They can also show you grout samples to help you envision how different tile grout colors will look in your design setting. Remember to factor in slight color variations from grout samples to the actual grout as well.

Consider your application

While porcelain tile is known for its outstanding resilience, the grout which outlines the individual tiles can darken over time – especially when used for high-traffic applications such as flooring. With this in mind, it’s wise to choose a darker grout to begin with if installing tile in an area that gets frequent use.

As you compare tile grout colors, keep these expert tips in mind – but remember there’s no right or wrong choice! Ultimately, the best selection for your project will depend on your personal taste and what effect you are hoping to evoke with your tile design.

Look to Cosmos Surfaces for Personalized Assistance

When planning a project that incorporates tile, there is plenty of inspiration to be found online. Browse our porcelain tile archives to see examples of how you might combine tile with various grout colors to enhance your kitchen or bathroom design.

Among the elegant porcelain tile options available from Cosmos Surfaces is Apilar White, a stunning bright white porcelain with vertical gray veining. As you’ll see in our photo gallery, both light and dark grout can complement this versatile tile selection, depending on the surrounding design elements and the desired aesthetic.

With a reputation for providing exceptional customer service and top-quality porcelain products, Cosmos Surfaces is dedicated to helping you make your porcelain tile project a success. Our knowledgeable team members are here to assist you every step of the way, from choosing a compatible tile grout shade to obtaining beautiful, long-lasting porcelain for your project. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to us today!

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

How Home and Office Design Will Change Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

coronavirus pandemic

Welcoming more nature into our spaces, an emphasis on antimicrobial materials and choosing natural stone are among the new interior design trends many experts are noticing as we adjust our homes and office environments due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Office Design Changes To Help Keep Employees Safe

As many employers are considering how to make their office environments safe for their employees, and employees themselves wondering how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe, it’s no surprise that office design is getting an uplift.

What types of changes are employers making to ensure the safety of their employees as well as customers or clients?

“It’s clear the post-virus workplace will be more spacious and likely include more screening systems, but when considering workplace solutions employers should keep in mind the long-term as well as catering to immediate needs,” notes Amanda Jay, who works in workplace strategy at Spacestor, a UK-based company whose mission is to help people by improving their workspace.

“How will our needs change over the next nine months?” Jay asks. “There’s a big environmental question about one-time use screening products, for example. Employers should also be communicating the measures taken to make the workplace safe for re-entry – employee comfort cannot be overlooked.”

Technology is playing a role in new interior design trends. While there has been a lot of emphasis placed on using antimicrobial materials such as copper and other specially-developed materials with similar properties, it’s important for designers to couple this with reducing the risk of infection transfer in the first place. “This can be done by designing in less shared facilities (hot desks/hot lockers) and adding more sanitization stations,” adds Jay.

To be sure, some employees (and their employers) are concerned about returning to a traditional office environment. Among the reasons people will be returning to the office rather than continuing remote work is that it’s hard to replicate the camaraderie and benefits of in-person interactions in industries that thrive on brainstorming and working as part of teams.

“An unwanted side-effect of remote working – and even distanced working back in the workplace – is a lack of human connection,” admits Jay. “Workplace designers should be considering how they can incorporate spaces that encourage colleague interactions; what replaces the ‘water-cooler moments’? Lounge-type spaces can safely encourage the casual encounters needed to spark the next big idea, whilst screening solutions that allow visibility across desks/between areas protect against the loneliness epidemic.”

Home Design In The Time of Coronavirus

For some, the office will look different for the foreseeable future, as their commute will be from the bedroom to a space in their home. As a result, people are looking at how space is used in the home differently since their home needs have changed.

“Natural light is becoming more essential when it comes to wellness in the home,” says Kerrie Kelly, FASID, NKBA, Creative Director and CEO of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab and Chair-elect of ASID. She’s noticing that clients are choosing to add windows, operable skylights and sun tunnels to welcome more natural light indoors as well as boost mood and productivity.

Another way to bring the beauty and wellness benefits of the outdoors inside is through the use of natural stone. “Natural stone is frequently used for exterior spaces, but bringing it indoors is a great option for keeping a healthy home,” Kelly adds. “Unlike many other products, natural stone is free of harmful chemicals and toxins, making it a great choice when it comes to wellness. It is also highly sustainable, durable and even recyclable. Aesthetically, natural stone often adds texture and an organic feel to a space.”

To create cohesion, Kelly recommends carrying the same stone flooring to the inside from the outside: an effective way to create a visual flow when blurring the lines between interior and al fresco areas.

Katherine Kawaguchi, ASID and CAPS, an interior designer based in northern California and owner of Katherine Kawaguchi Design, also is noticing more clients re-consider how they’re using space in their homes.

Where a room might have had a specific purpose in the past, that room might now needs to serve multiple purposes. Working with an interior designer can help clients imagine how to better use their existing space for today and beyond.

Outdoor spaces are becoming more important for homeowners who are finding themselves spending more time at home than at an office or commuting. “Outdoor living is a really big deal, especially for those with multiple families living in one area,” says Kawaguchi. In some cases, there might be as many as three generations using the same spaces, indoors and out, so those spaces need to be flexible and comfortable for people to want to spend time there.

Where they might’ve thought about moving, people are also looking at long-term residency and re-considering their home’s layout and space, according to Kawaguchi. “People are looking at how to create the home where they can stay longer and that helps them to justify the financial investment in it,” she adds.

New Interior Design Trends Will Keep Evolving

As the pandemic continues to unfold, we can expect it to keep having an impact on new interior design trends at home and in the office. Experts are following these trends closely and thinking of ways to help their clients adapt to a changing world.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Fusion Supreme - Multi Quartzite

Fusion Supreme brings to mind the swirling artworks of Van Gogh. The stormy blues, greens, whites, and blacks create a beautiful storm. Great for countertops, waterfalls, and tables, Fusion Supreme is a complex quartzite that will make any space a gorgeous work of art, whether inside or out. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Why Are Porcelains a Trending Choice for Kitchen Countertops?

Taj Mahal - Champaign Porcelain - Kitchen Floor

There are many qualities you’ll want to look for in a kitchen countertop. First and foremost, it’s important for the counter to be resilient so that it will last for years to come. At the same time, you want something that reflects your personal style and complements the rest of your design scheme. In recent years, porcelain has become a popular choice among homeowners seeking exceptional style and function from their kitchen countertops. Cosmos offers premium porcelain slabs for kitchen countertops and more in many different colors and styles, under our brand new Large Format Porcelain Tile Collection – Opulith.

Why Consider Porcelain for Your Kitchen Countertop?

When comparing kitchen countertop materials, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed. To help you decide if porcelain is a good fit for your project, we’re here to break down the benefits this material has to offer:

  • Easy to MaintainUnlike granite and certain other stones, porcelain doesn’t require polishing or sealing. This means less maintenance work, both at the time of installation and later on.
  • Beautiful & VersatileAlso known as large format tiles, porcelain slabs for kitchen countertops are available in a wide range of patterns, colors and textures. Whether you’re going for a simple or bold look, there’s bound to be a porcelain style that catches your eye. They are also a fantastic choice for backsplashes due to their light weight and thickness.
  • Highly Durable – Porcelain is known as a hard-wearing countertop material for good reason. It is harder than granite and very dense. You can count on porcelain to resist stains, scratches, chips, and even UV light, making it a viable choice for both indoor and outdoor kitchen countertops. It is perfect for high traffic and heavy use areas.
  • Cost Achieving the sophisticated and elegant look of a Calacatta or quartzite adorned kitchen without breaking the bank has never been easier. These porcelains are economical to purchase, install and maintain.

As you can see, a porcelain kitchen countertop is a stunning, statement-making choice that offers many practical advantages, while embodying elegance and style.

Shopping for a Kitchen Countertop? Reach Out to Cosmos for Expert Assistance

At Cosmos Surfaces, we draw on years of industry experience to help homeowners find the perfect material and style for their kitchen countertops. If you’d like professional, personalized assistance as you search for your ideal kitchen countertop, get in touch with us today! Whether you’re interested in porcelain, granite or another material, you’ll have access to an extensive selection of high-quality, competitively priced options when you work with Cosmos.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

Our Taj Mahal Porcelain is a champagne colored porcelain with fine, soft lines of almost iridescent gold—worth being called one of the world’s seven wonders. The subtle golden hues of this material pairs well with browns, ivories, greys and other neutrals. Use outdoors on an open patio to see how this gorgeous color dances in the sunlight.

Still not convinced about Porcelain? Check out the real deal with our Taj Mahal Quartzite!


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