The door opens and in walks Mrs. Customer clutching a tile; the only one she has left from the tile she had installed in her kitchen seven years ago.  She wants to match it exactly and extend the tile into her family room.

The sales rep for the flooring store smiles a knowing smile.  It is going to be nearly impossible to match the customer’s tile.

Over the years, tile styles are dropped by both manufacturers and distributors.  In addition, a tile may be dropped by one manufacturer and picked up by another.  The “new” style might be a different size, i.e., originally a 12” tile, may now be a 16” tile.

Even if the tile is still in production from the same manufacturer, the shading of the original tile next to the “new” tile may look like night and day.

Because ceramic and porcelain tile are natural products, each batch that is manufactured has its own unique dye lot.  Even tile that is ordered several months or days apart can have different dye lots.

For example, a customer may order 60 cartons of a tile that is pulled from a run of 100 cartons.  Another customer orders 38 cartons from another store that purchases from the same tile distributor and these cartons also are pulled from the same batch.  As the first customer gets his job installed, and realizes he needs six more cartons, he will be dismayed to find out only two cartons are available in the same dye lot and any additional tile would have to be pulled from a lot that may be shaded slightly lighter or darker.

So what is the customer to do when faced with the sour news that their tile project is a looming lemon?

Make Lemonade!!

A creative sales rep can show a customer how to turn what appears to be an unfinished tile project nightmare into a custom “designer” masterpiece with the use of a decorative tile insert called a listello.

When the tile you are looking for is no longer available, a listello can be a bridge between two completely different tiles, whether they differ in size, color, texture or all three.  It is common to pick a listello that has aspects of the colors and textures of the two different tiles installed next to each other

Listellos don’t have to be used just to bridge rooms.  With a little creativity and planning, you can create unique spaces by using listellos to border a room along the floor, create a tile “area rug” by creating a rectangle in the foyer or middle of the room and turning the tile inside of the rectangle on a diagonal for a great look.  The tile inside and outside the listellos can be completely different styles, sizes and color.  Wall listellos also add a great punch to shower and bathroom walls as well as backsplashes.

Now there is no need to view the inability to find more of the “same” tile as a problem or Lemon – instead, embrace the opportunity to make a batch of beautiful Lemonade