Glass tiles can add timeless look to kitchens and baths

Q We are doing a quick kitchen makeover and would like your advice about decorating the backsplash area to give the space some character. Are glass tiles going to get dated? We may be transferred in a year or so and are hoping to make a few upgrades that will help us sell.

A: Decorating with tiles is a timeless tradition. All types of tile, from elegant marble or rustic terra cotta to ceramics in transitional patterns, have been used to beautify kitchens and baths, and apart from a few color choices that do become dated, their allure continues to grow.

Glass tiles have reached a new high in popularity. Colored glass is being used in large sheets on countertops as well as the dazzling array of glass tiles available for backsplashes. The sparkling, translucent properties of glass in both clear and colored states make it a designer’s dream.

Colored glass tiles can be a surprising color shot in a kitchen that is monochrome, or comprises stainless steel or wood. Glass mixes well with other tiles, stone and ceramic to offer a variety of design patterns for a backsplash.

Be inspired by the choices available on sites such as Icestix are 1/2-inch-by2-inch or 4-inch glass tiles that sparkle in a mosaic of textures and finishes. They can be run vertically or horizontally to form patterns. Agate glass tiles are made from recycled glass, and their rounded shapes add a jewel-like character to a surface.

Dewdrops are a mix of 1-inch-by-1-inch glossy, iridescent and matte tiles in brilliant hues that are mesh mounted for easy installation. The modern, crisp square shape of Glasshues tiles come in matte or glossy finishes.

As well as on backsplashes, glass tiles can be applied to walls, tabletops and islands as a detail. They can carry a color or theme around a room by matching up with colors or patterns found in other materials. My bet is you’ll hate to leave your kitchen and will transfer this decorating touch to wherever you next land.

Q: I have a large, bright bedroom that I want to paint teal. I love the color, but it is very solid. Can you recommend a paint method that would give me a translucent effect and make the color more airy without losing the vibrancy of teal?

A: This is where glaze becomes your best friend. A glaze is a clear translucent medium that, when mixed with paint, allows some of the undercoat to shine through. It does not dilute the color, but the translucent quality adds depth to your finish. Start with a light-blue base coat. Then mix your favorite teal shade half and half with glazing liquid and roll this over the light basecoat with a sponge roller. Allow to dry and add a second coat of the colored glaze if you prefer a deeper color. It’s best to experiment on a board until you get the vibrancy you are after.

Q: The carpet on the stairs in our 20-year-old, raised ranch home must be replaced, but we do not need to replace the carpet it connects to, which is the living room. When we take up the carpet, how far back do we go when we get to the top? Do we stop at the bottom or top of the riser?

Dear Catherine: The carpet you are replacing on the stairs should stop at the top of the last riser, as it is part of the staircase. It’s best if you choose a shade for the stairs that complements but does not “match” the living-room carpet.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to house2home@