Side note: I generally hate most tile. It's too typical, especially what we could afford and with our timeframe. I went to the big box stores and tried to get myself to like something, anything in the porcelain or stone variety. It all said "blah" and "eh" to me. As I walked the aisle, I believe I mumbled these phrases out loud.
We went with Mannington Essentials in three colors; Silver White, Pewter and Night Black. I did a little internet research to define my pattern and was inspired by a basketweave I had found. Once I decided on my pattern, I hit up my digital kitchen floorplan that I had created in InDesign and started laying it out. I wanted to make sure I had the least amount of cutting to do–that the perimeter would be nice and visually even. I think this was a key step in making the process simple. That little printout of my design was critical during layout!
First step was to determine my 45 angle. I used a carpenter's square in the corner, then snapped a chalk line the length of the room. I used that line to roughly lay out the tiles to make sure they matched my computer drawing, which mine did, I couldn't believe it! I then chose a single tile as my starter and with a Sharpie I carefully outlined it. You start laying tile in the middle of the room because if you can help it, you don't want to touch the glue! I stepped on it once and lost a sock.
Wait impatiently for glue to dry from yellow to clear, which indicates it's ready for tile.
Starting with the outlined tile, carefully start placing tiles, butting them TIGHT. I referenced my printout often to make sure I didn't screw up the pattern. If you make a mistake and need to take up a tile, it's really difficult and the tile will break. Growl. This part goes fast and once complete, repeat the process on the other half of the room, then retreat to the couch with a piece of cake. I waited to do the perimeter and any cut tiles the next day, the glue gives you 24 hours to set tile.
Once it's done, stand back and stare at it. Leave the room then comeback, just to make sure it's still there. Go ahead, let your cats crawl on it, they will be mesmerized. All that's left is to wait 24 hours for glue to set, give it a good clean using this, then coat it 3 times with this. Let it dry and you are DONE!