Learn about the early design process, the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile, and how we perceive color

By Tia Hanson, Small Projects Specialist/Designer

Tia Hanson is a designer and small projects specialist at Ascent Architecture & Interiors and a member of the firm’s Small Business Team, which provides design solutions for small businesses and tenant improvements. She’s also a regular contributor to Ascent’s Instagram account. Follow us on Instagram at @Ascent_Architecture to see the latest architecture and interior design trends, as well as behind-the-scenes photos of Ascent’s projects and team members.


Ascent’s well-laid plans don’t always start with straight lines and 90-degree angles. This sketch is what the beginning of project typically looks like.

We designers and architects love a straight line.

A well-laid floor plan or building elevation captures our attention, admiration, and motivation. But we’re also the first to admit that things don’t start at 90 degrees, and frankly, they might stay at 45 degrees very much on purpose.

Reality is much messier, and the process of creating is much messier—particularly at the beginning. Sketch after sketch we make initial guesses and approximations, and then we pause to reflect with our colleagues to see if we’re on the right track. Only then do clearer lines begin to show themselves. Eventually, in collaboration with many others, we help create an entire building.

Architects and designers are known for their precision and detail-oriented perspective. It helps to know that the process begins in a place of questions and rough sketches like the one here. It appears this is true for most things in life. The unknown isn’t bad; it’s just that it’s the beginning.


Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: What’s the Difference?

Ascent’s designers use a wide variety of tile types, colors, and shapes for commercial and residential projects.

When talking about tile floors or backsplashes, we often use the words “porcelain” and “ceramic” interchangeably. While they can look alike, there are actually some useful differences between the two which can benefit both veteran interior designers and home-renovation DIY’ers.

The first difference that might matter to you is cost. Ceramic tile is going to be your cheaper bet in most instances. And ceramic tile is much easier to cut in the field, cutting down on labor costs.

That said, porcelain’s color goes through and through. That means if a tile cracks or chips, all you’ll see is more of the same color—albeit maybe a little less glossy, depending on your tile’s finish.

Ceramic tiles are typically glazed, so any chip shows right past the glazed layer to a different color beneath.

Porcelain’s edge can also be polished in the field, so if you want a nice clean tile edge without having to use a trim piece of some kind, get yourself some porcelain.

Luckily, both ceramic and porcelain tiles offer an abundance of styles, colors, shapes, and other options. If you’ve spent any time tile shopping, you’ll know what I mean—it’s extremely hard to go wrong with either option.

And don’t get me started on the wonderful plethora of other available tile options! Concrete tile anyone? Well, that’s another article for another day!

Color Perception

Ascent’s interior designers test color in different lights, palettes, and spaces.

Did you know that our perception of a color completely changes depending on the color we see next to it? And, color looks vastly different in north-facing light, versus west-facing light, as it does in natural or florescent lighting. That’s a good reason—as I’m sure you know—to always test color swatches in different areas and under different light!

This photo is an example of comparing a warm palette to a cool palette, using essentially the same hues. Look at each set. See how they feel different? How they each connect to a slightly different vision of a space? Colors matter. So be careful about painting your business the same color you’d paint your bedroom wall—the result might not be what you expect! Instead, it’s important to carefully consider the space itself, the lighting, and the mood and atmosphere you’re trying to create.

And if you find you need some help from professional interior designers, well, you know where to find us!

Learn more about Ascent Architecture & Interiors and see the firm’s portfolio here.

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