How to Choose Mid-Century Tile for an MCM Update

12 min read Ultimately, any choice you make for your home is the right one. Let’s talk about how to choose Mid-Century Tile for your home up date … with confidence!

Here’s the bottom line, my friend: No one else can tell you what’s right for your home. It’s yours and it’s your families. So what I really want you to know here is that you can make right choices yourself. You can choose mid-century tile that’s perfect for YOU! Good so far?

Alright, let’s talk about how to make that happen.

Choose Mid-Century Tile for your Home update

First you want to find all the resources you can so you can make an informed choice! Here: I’ve helped you out. Check out this Instagram Guide listing my top suppliers to choose mid-century tile from.

Choose Mid-Century Tile for your Home Update: An Instagram "guide" to MCM Tile Suppliers

Then, focus your style choices. Trying to choose mid-century tile YOU LOVE out of everything that’s available on the internet is … too much! Simplify that selection process by narrowing down where you fall on the style spectrum.

Once you know your MCM style – on the spectrum from vintage to modern – you’ll be able to focus your choices and make everything easier.

There’s one more aspect to that thing I said at the top: that no one can tell you what’s right for your home. Once you’ve made your decisions – once you choose your mid-century tile – you need the conviction to stick to them.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of the choices you love. The best way I know to be able to confidently make design choices, clearly explain them to your remodeling team, and then make them happen … is a master plan.

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • Why the choices you make confidently will always be right for your home so you should choose mid-century tile YOU love.
  • How to simplify the process of making finish choices by narrowing the list of possibilities
  • Choose Mid-Century tile from some of my favorite tile sources
  • All about my easy three minute Mid-Century Style quiz

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Resources to help you Choose Mid-Century Tile for your home

Read the Full Episode Transcript

No one else can tell you what’s right for your home. It’s yours and it’s your families. So what I really want you to know here is that you can make right choices yourself. Good so far? Alright, let’s talk about how to make that happen. Hey, there, welcome back to Mid Mod Remodel. This is the show about updating MCM homes, helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast. You’re listening to season eight, episode one.

I hope you’ve been having a good start to 2022. It’s been a minute since we did that rapid fire, 25 days of design in December. I’ve put that to time to such fun use by pulling together the mid-century kitchen clinic, a live kitchen planning update workshop. .

For everyone who was there, thank you so much for making it so much fun.

If you missed it, well we missed you too.

I certainly wanna do this again. Everyone got a lot out of going through the design exercises and the kitchen date examples together in real time. I’m not sure when that’s gonna happen, but here’s some good news. The workshop was recorded and will become a bonus module of the Ready to Remodel program. You can watch it on demand and go through the exercises in your own time and then follow up with your kitchen questions during our live office hours, remodel coaching calls, which happen every other Monday when Ready to Remodel is in session.

We’re going to be reopening Ready to Remodel at the end of this month. So if you’re interested in getting access to the kitchen workshop, the step by step action guide to planning your remodel with a master plan from start to finish live biweekly remodel advice, and being a part of the active community of enthusiastic mid-century remodelers, I hope we, you inside of ready to remodel this March. Be the first to know when we reopen the program by signing up at midmod-midwest.com/waitlist.

Alright onto today’s topic. The concept of making material choices for your home definitely came up in the kitchen clinic this weekend. And we didn’t have as much time to go through it as I wanted. There’s on only so much you can pack into two hours. So today I’m gonna dive a little deeper. I wanna talk about the process of making good choices for your home. And how you can feel confident about the choices you make for yourself. As always, if you want to follow up on what we’re discussing here, find show notes at midmod-midwest.com/801.

Alright. At the, the end of the day, no one else can tell you what’s right for your home. It’s for you and your family. So I really want you to know that you can make good choices for yourself.

I wanna use the example of how to choose mid-century tile for somewhere in your home remodel. Last week, I saw an Instagram post with some stunning mid-century tile. I’m always on the hunt for great choices, both out of personal interest and to share with my one-to-one design clients. So I reposted it . That initial repost turned into a story of different types of tile and suppliers good for a mid-century home.

When we are looking for mid-century materials for our homes, we often have to look a little bit outside the box of conventional material suppliers. Your average remodel does a lot of things out of a local supply shop, or even a Home Depot or a Lowe’s. We may not find things that are appropriate for a mid-century house; that are going to compliment it; that will make the most of it; that are going to feel that are going to protect us from feeling dated in five or 10 years time if we don’t choose a little bit outside of the box.

So making careful choices about material selection is really important. It’s fun to think about what will work best, not just for your house, but for you as well. So I did a little crowdsourcing. I shared the ones I knew off the top of my head. Then I got some great additions to the tile list sent in by alert followers of @midmodmidwest. I have now pulled all of those tile suppliers together into an Instagram guide. You can get that in the show notes at midmod-midwest.com/801. Or you can just go to my Instagram page and go to the guide section.

Here’s where though, I’ll ask you a little bit about yourself. How do you make choices? It’s helpful to know this about yourself as you go into a remodel process. Now, perhaps the most useful thing for you is to see a long list of possibilities. You can to scroll past them and say, no, no, maybe, yes, no, yes. But for a lot of us a long list of potential ideas can be overwhelming.

I’ve talked a lot before about how it’s helpful to narrow your selected choices down to a few. You can kind of Goldilocks your way into the exact right choice for you, and then feel confident about it. This removes some of the visual clutter from your decision making process. And we are talking about this with tile. This is true for absolutely anything you’re choosing: a faucet, a wood floor material, or a layout for your house.

Now I’m pretty decisive. But I know this comes up constantly for my clients and that’s why step one of making good choices for your home remodel is to get yourself into the right ballpark. And I have a tool for that. Within the term “mid-century” there is so much included. So I encourage you to take this three minute mid-century style quiz to narrow down where you fall in your personal style choices on the spectrum from vintage museum quality. I’m thinking of a specific Instagram account @uniquelyrochelles, which is they live in a mid-century house. The woman who runs it is a professional ballerina, and she loves to dress in mid-century clothes and do her hair and mid-century style. They are living the life, at least on Instagram of a perfect vintage maximalist.

On the other hand, you might actually have a fairly conventional home lifestyle, very modern. Not too different from the contemporary styles that you would see happening in a new build today, but you love a few of the design details of mid-century. And if that’s true, then you’re still within the big tent of mid-century design. But where do you fall on that spectrum?

So there’s an easy way to do this for yourself. There isn’t a right answer or wrong one. Just go to midmod-midwest.com/stylequiz, or there’s a link in the show notes and take the quiz. It only takes three minutes. If you’re not driving right now and you don’t have your hands of dishwater, go do it while you’re listening. You can look at pictures and make choices while you listen to me chat. If not do it a later date. Go to my Instagram and let me know what you got or send an email to me. I would love to know what your answer is to the style quiz question.

By the way, when you complete the quiz, I’ll send you a free guide. It will give you a little bit of a head start with your style, where to go on Pinterest, what to think about in terms of online resources and just how to get yourself started as you plan your mid-century remodel for your own taste. Knowing where you fall in that range can help you navigate the world of mid-century design here on the internet. It can help you easily identify how you fall in comparison to someone else. So we, and you’re following their example, whether that’s someone you meet in person or the owner of your local vintage shop or someone you follow online, you can decide whether you want to basically take every word of their advice exactly, or just have a look at their ideas for good cross pollinization ideas.

So, one thing I want you to make sure you get out of this is that your choices are yours and there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but there is a right answer for you. Once you know, where you fall on that list, we can then focus and narrow down that guide. And in fact, I’ve sorted it from sort of most vintage to most contemporary.

This spectrum will help you choose mid-century tile that’s right for your life.

All of these tiles I think are appropriate in some way for a mid-century update. But if you follow along that spectrum, you’ll sort of see how some of them are truly vintage. This could have been found in the house when it was built. You are recreating something all the way through this isn’t really anything that could have been done in the mid-century era, but it feels adjacent in color, in shape in theme to something that might have been beloved by someone from the mid-century design period. Knowing where you fall on that spectrum is invaluable to A: going into the direction of the internet that will get you what you want and B: feeling confident about what you have chosen as you go forward.

Let’s talk about a few of those specific tile companies that you might wanna check into. For example, if you are looking to recreate something from the mid-century era, then probably your best choice for fully vintage tile is the B&W tile company. They create those perfect four square tiles with the nosing strips and even the little detail elements that you can use to put together a perfect vintage pink bathroom. This is all-in on preservationist or restorationist thinking. There are other choices that sort of lean in with that style. You can actually make up some vintage style mosaics with say Modwalls tile or even by going with a more conventional broad ranging company like Daltile, you can put together a vintage style mosaic.

If you fall more in the middle of the preservationist to contemporary with a taste of mid-century, my own personal style is more of a fusion of those two. And for those you can get the fun sixties, mod shapes and color schemes from a variety of sources. So I would definitely go to say, Sonoma tile makers for some great mid-century shapes. I also really like Clayhaus tile. They do traditional squares, but with interesting textures applied to them that are really fun to look at. There’s also a lot of fun to be had in basically any color with perfect mid-century shapes from mid-century mosaics.

They, and also Heath ceramics specialize in hand glazing the tiles so that each individual tile has a slightly different color tone while all falling with the same family. This isn’t something that was as common during the mid-century era, but it works perfectly with that vibe. And it can create a sort of a modern fusion on that look. For a vintage inspired, but modern take using the shapes and colors of the mid-century era is to go with fire clay tile, and they have hexagons and mysterious trapezoids that you can pull together into amazing color patterns and shapes.

Each of these accounts I’ve mentioned is well worth a follow. You can see the work that designers and homeowners have been doing with these great materials to create both vintage and modern interpretations of what are the possibilities of tile.

But then there’s the other end of the spectrum. The more contemporary modern with a hint of mid-century. And there are a lot of, of possibilities in there too. For example, there are some really fun things happening with cement tile that are referencing the mid-century era. I really love Zia Tile for this.

And also I just came across while we were doing this crowdsourced list, Concrete Collaborative, and they do really stunning color shape and pattern that reference the mid-century era but to my eye, don’t look like something that would’ve happened to then. Instead, they look like something for someone who loves mid-century style.

There’s a few more that I wanted to mention that didn’t make this list yet, but you’ll find them in the Instagram guide, checkout Nemo Tile for some beautiful hand glazing details on simple tile shapes. And amazing color work that you can put together into patterns of your own choosing for your mid-century hearts desire from Pratt and Larson. I would be Remis mentioning, Make it Mid-Century who now make their own tile. And they have both plain and patterns with mid-century flare that can add to your home both in detail or overall. Again, you can get this guide at my Instagram @midmodmidwest, or just go to the show notes link.

Now that we’ve established that your house is for you, your choices are yours. I really want to talk about the flip side, which is that after you’ve made confident choices, I wanna see you be able to stand by them. I just ran across another sad story of a great design process that ended up falling apart in construction of an architect, a friend of a friend, who’d gone through a lovely design process with their clients to create quite a mid-century style update for their mid-century era home. They’d gone through all their design processes and the client really loved their results. And all of the drawings were drawn up permitted and completed in every detail.

Unfortunately, then the client decided that their best choice to build this project was to go with a friend of their father. An older gentlemen with a lot of decisive opinions and no interest whatsoever in mid-century style. He immediately began to change design details, pushing back both verbally with the clients, and then just starting to make autonomous decisions of his own that erased some of the carefully created choices the client and architect had made together. It’s especially frustrating because this is exactly what the traditional architectural model is supposed to prevent. Sometimes it can end up getting sabotaged if there’s a lot of pushback from the contractor and either the architect or the client isn’t able to stand by the choices that were made during the design process.

Don’t despair. I tell you this story, not because this is unavoidable and will to you, but so that you can guard yourself against it because with a little time and energy and a commitment to your own choices, you can confidently make your own design decisions and then work with a contractor or DIY your own projects in a way that matches the final result to your taste and choices.

The best way I know to make that happen is with a master plan approach. You not only think about what layout changes you wanna change and maintenance updates you need to make on the house, but you think about the cohesive style choices you want to make matching each individual choice of tile, faucet door replacement to your overall style guide so that you end up with a house that feels cleanly, coherently designed to you now. And in the future. And in the ideal version, it feels closely enough related to the original era of the house that it never really goes out of style. It always feels like it’s friendly to what the house was meant to be in the first place.

Going through the master plan process takes time, but it leads to such rewarding results because it gives you the confidence about the choices you make. It’s not just a random, I walk into a tile store and liked that tile kind of a choice, which honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. That kind of gut decision can be really powerful. And if you have it, you should trust it. But I think knowing that there was a rationale behind your designs, knowing that you’ve narrowed down your choices, focused, your wants and identified your personal style that works both for your house and for you, leads you to have the confidence you need to stand by your choices as you go through the process of making your remodel a reality.

If you know someone who’s been struggling with making remodeling decisions and you think they could use some help and advice, send them this episode. It can be overwhelming to make each individual material choice in a remodel, but you can streamline the effort by selecting not only for mid-century friendly choices, but by identifying within mid-century what your personal MCM style is.

And you can get started on that process by taking the easy three minute style quiz on my website. Have you taken it yet? I want to know what your style is. Then you can start deciding. I can’t wait to see what great choices you make for your home.

If you need a little more help than a style quiz in getting your mid-century remodel started, there’s two ways I can help. Get great remodel coaching and a step by step process to in your own remodel, within the ready to remodel program, we’re gonna be launching again at the end of the month, or apply to work one on one to plan your remodel with Mid Mod Midwest.

Head over to the show notes, midmod-midwest.com/801 to grab the link of the style quiz and that list of kitchen tile suppliers that I think you will love, and to get an outline of what we’ve covered in this episode. Next week on the Mid Mod Remodel podcast, we’re gonna be talking about easy ways to learn more about mid-century design history, both for practical reasons so you can make great choices for your home and just for fun. I’ll see you then Mid Mod Remodelers.