Help needed with picking backsplash

maschka1June 3, 2013

We just got our new granite counter tops installed and although they are beautiful, they are not what I expected and now I am not sure how to handle installing a backsplash. We have a walnut travertine on the floor in the kitchen, and the counters turned out to be more brown tones then I expected (I thought it would have more grey/white). Our budget could not afford new cabinets, so unfortunately we have oak. My concern is that when trying to pick a backsplash, I need something that will be neutral and hopefully not become to dated (we are only going to be in this house for 4-5 years). I originally thought I wanted white subway tiles, but now that I see the counters and cabinets have so many gold/brown tones, I am not sure if stark white is the right choice. My other concern, however, is that both the floor and the counter have a lot of character and pattern to them. If I were to add a 3rd stone type for the backsplash then I am concerned that it will clash and cause the room to be "too busy."

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding how to pick a back splash when I already have 2 different natural stones in the room that dont, exactly match?

Also, we added the peninsula to the kitchen. On the back side are book shelves for my cookbooks. My mother said she feels that the white stands out like a sore thumb. All the trim in the house is white (or will be), so I thought it fit in, OK. I wouldn't mind any impressions on that, as well.

My last Idea would be to paint the cabinets white, as well, and then maybe white subway tiles would work better? But this scares me quite a bit. I would hate to ruin the cabinets that are under our new granite counters...

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!

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I think a subway tile in a light cream/beige would look nice!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I'm sorry to hear that your granite did not turn out as you'd hoped. I would opt for a solid non-stone tile in a cream color that will hopefully pick up on the light cream tones in the floor. (Love the floor tile by the way. Beautiful!) I think stark pure white could be a little too bright, but I think something creamy white would work well. You could certainly do subway, or some other shape or layout. I agree that another stone in the mix would be too much.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Creamy white subways would look beautiful and not shout their presence with the other stones in the room. I love your floors and wanted travertine but DH said no due to the "busy" factor and other finishes in our kitchen. If you will sell soonish five years goes FAST, I'd stay simple and clean with the BS.
I don't think the peninsula looks too white in the picture but I'm not there. I think you should try different subways to see what looks best.
Don't paint your cabinets. If the existing finish is good just keep it in good repair and clean.
The biggest thing I'd change in your kitchen is the lighting.
Don't know what plans you have for that but that's the elephant in the room.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:23PM
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I agree that a subway in a tone that coordinates with your granite would work a lot better than white.

And, I agree with your mom on the starkness of the white peninsula. Is it possible to face it in the same material as your cabinets? Unless you decide to paint the cabinets, which it sounds like you are pretty iffy on. I probably wouldn't do it if they are in good shape and you plan to seel in 4-5 years. I painted my oak cabinets years ago now. It bought me another decade in the kitchen and really lightened the space up. They did begin to wear, though, about year 5.

Your tile floor is really pretty.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:28PM
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Concur with creamy solid tiles. Yeah, the white peninsula is pretty eye-catching. How about painting it the same color as your walls?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Thanks for the replies. in answer to some of your questions. The cabinet condition is pretty mediocre. I have had to repair the bottoms of all the drawers and lowers, because they were pretty damaged. The exterior finish is what you would expect of 20 year old cabinets. They have some wear and are very dry. I was thinking a good coat of wattco with steal wool should help that, though...

So, painting isnt necessarily out of the question, but I am really worried about how they will wear and would hate for them to start looking bad right when we decide to sell.

That said, using something similar to the cabinets to cover the peninsula could be very difficult. Also the other side is book shelves that we used actual bookshelf quality shelving components for, in white, and I am not sure that I can paint it with such a slick surface... I think I may just need to figure a way to tie in the white, better. I could potentially paint the bead board the color of the walls and then leave just the trim and shelving white. I have been considering that, but then wasnt sure.

I realize the lighting is atrocious, but have no idea how to fix it. I was thinking I could paint the trim around it, white, to try and blend it more into the ceiling. We cannot afford to raise the ceiling and put better lighting in. We do plan to install pendants over the peninsula, though. Do you have any suggestions on the lighting?

Thanks everyone for the cream subway tile suggestion. I will see if I can get a sample and bring it home. I was afraid of cream because I always associate it with dated bathrooms (that and I love how crisp and clean white looks). But I could see how it might look nice. Would you go with a similarly colored grout to the tile color?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:06PM
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It may not be too hard to get rid of that dated light box and replace with some recessed light fixtures. Maybe you can pull of the light covers and make some exploratory holes in the sides of the light box to see inside the ceiling. See what obstructions you have to deal with (piping, vent ducts, joists). You can get remodel fixtures where you cut the holes, run the wires and pop them into the ceiling.

I just got done redoing the lighting in our kitchen. While not the easiest task in our remodel, it was well worth the effort.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:02PM
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Beige tiles to pick up the tones in the counter and floor and a paint color to match for the beadboard peninsula so it blends in. For the cabinets I would just clean, touch up stain where needed and polyeurathane or similar product to keep than looking nice until you sell. Recessed lighting if you can swing it.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Holly- Kay

I would do a creamy subway tile and paint the peninsula the same creamy white to pull it together. I also think a stainless bs would look nice.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I agree on the creamy white tiles and keep them warm to play off your countertop. I brought home a zillion different off white tiles. Some just sucked the life out of my kitchen and others were too gold. I finally found one that worked- so don't be afraid to get a variety of samples.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 5:20AM
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