New pics: help me decide border or no border with subway tiles!

Fun2LearnOctober 13, 2012

Thanks to everyone who posted feedback on my earlier post (with photoshopped pictures) "Border or no border with ceramic subway tile backsplash" (here is a link: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg1012484018310.html

I found a new tile that I think will work much better color-wise and did some new photoshops. I would love your feedback! (And I would still love to see any of your photos, too!)

Many of you said on my earlier post that you prefered subway tiles without any border--at least in my busy kitchen, (which is open to both the dining room on one side and the family room on the other) and that reassured me that it might not be too plain without one and that should be a serious consideration. I wish I had an area for a pretty feature behind the range, but that is where we knocked down the wall! I was hoping to see pictures of some of YOUR ceramic subway tile backsplashes with borders, but no one posted any (only with 4 x 4's and stone subway tile with borders)--Should that tell me something?

One reason for a border down low is to be able to carry it around under the snack bar behind the range and avoid having a cut tile there.

The tile I am showing in the photoshops below is by Grazia--their 2.5" x 5" subway in their "landscape" series in the "seashore" color(very soft sandy,golden undertones) It has a satin finish with very subtle variations in shading and a "handmade" look.

I originally thought I wanted a glossy crackle in some sort of off-white, but it seems like you can only find white or bone/bisque, which just don't seem to do anything for my kitchen. (Maybe that is why I wanted some sort of border because the color was so "not special" ?)

Here are the photos: please give me your opinion (we may have to sell soon, too, so I am looking for something with mass appeal, as well as something I love in case we can stay!) I love simple, "casual" traditional styles (not fussy)that are classic and timeless.

My cabinets: 10 years old honey-spice maple

My Counter: 2 year old "harvest cream" granite (lots of cream and pale gold and gray streaks)

My Floor:oak hardwood soon to be refinished in a darker "gunstock"

Here is a recent photo from family room (the seashore tiles are on the counter bythe sliding glass door)The photo is reading darker than it really is for some reason(I tried to fix it, but it made it "grainy")

Here is the view from the dining room toward the family room Sorry the lighting is so bad--it shouldn't be so "yellowy"

1. Here is the photoshop of the "plain" "seashore" subway tile without any border

2.Here is a photoshop with a simple pencil border:

3. Here is just a row of mosaic tile (tile is really clearish with subtle variations of gold/sand colored specs throughout), but I am not sold on this particular mosaic

4. Here is a simple pencil border with a mosaic tile (Remember: Mosaic tile can be changed, just happened to have these)

5..Here is a "dot" liner they make with the mosaic tile

6.. Here is just their dot liner:

7.. Here is their "dot liner" in a slightly darker shade called "desert"

8.. Here is the dot liner and bottom row of tile in the darker shade (I tried to approx. shade of tile--it is much nicer in real life and looks lovely with my cabs)

9. Here is the Horus cristalli "biscuit" subway tile that was my previous first choice, however, this color is a bit truer than my other photoshops from the earlier post. What do you all think? Would you agree that the "seashore" works better with my kitchen, or do you prefer something like this?

thanks for your opinion in advance, and thanks for looking!

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localeater

Noting that colors are not true on the monitor, I like the Seashore much better than the original tile. My favorite layout is with just the dot liner in the same color. I really liked how the design conveyed simplicity, yet it still felt very special.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 6:45PM
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island

Me too exactly! #6

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 6:53PM
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onedogedie

Me three. #6.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Chloe8

Can you explain more about what you're planning behind the range? Do you plan to have just one row of tiles there, with the border on top? Or are you tiling all the way up to the granite counter on the bar divider? I'm trying to visualize what you were saying about not wanting a cut tile along there. I think that having the border so low looks off to me - I think because of the typical design rule to break things up into thirds visually. So I would prefer to see the border up a bit further off the countertop - with two rows of tiles below it - and I would tile the entire wall behind the range. Otherwise I would leave off the border. I prefer the simple pencil border, but the dots are my second choice. Hope it turns out well - I'm sure you'll love whatever you do!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:44PM
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may_flowers

I love the warmer tile and prefer the simple pencil border. Second choice is plain subways, but the border solves the spacing problem for you. I don't care for the dot because it looks like something that would be part of a more ornate architectural style, not your colonial style. Mosaic looks too contemporary.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Angie_DIY

One vote for #2

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:02PM
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breezygirl

I like number 1. It's not plain. If you absolutely must have a border, then number 2.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Fun2Learn

Thanks for the quick feedback you've given me so far!
I'm glad that you all seem to like the seashore tile better, too---I've been looking at this so long that I need some fresh, objective eyes to look at it.

Chloe8 asked for more info about what I was planning behind the range: the wall is about 4 3/4" from the counter to the underside of the snack bar overhang. Since there isn't enough height to have two complete rows of tile, I thought it would be ideal if I had one row of tile and then some sort of border (either a trim piece, mosaics or both)that would fit under there and then continue around the entire room for unity. I agree that it would probably be better proportioned to have a border or trim on top of a taller 3 x 6 subway tile or a 4 x 4, than directly above these smaller 2.5" x 4" tiles. However, I do love the size of these slightly smaller subway tiles in general--they seem to have a more "brick-like" shape, which I like, and it seems to relate to the brick fireplace in the family room nicely,imho.

If I run the 1" dot or pencil liner right above the first row of tile, I would be left with about a 3/4" piece of cut tile directly under the snack bar overhang (which wouldn't show up too much, as it is hard to see under the overhang as much.)They do make some fancy 2" decorative border/liners, but when I photoshopped them in they didn't look right sitting right over a 2.5" tile--it REALLY looked too low then!

Thanks again. I'd love more feedback, and to see photos of your subway backsplashes with or without borders.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:18PM
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lolauren

#1.... because I don't really understand the point of borders. Out of the borders listed, I like #6.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:25PM
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ellendi

I like #2 the simple pencil border. A neighbor has this and I like the look of it:)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:33PM
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sedonamazer

I like # 6

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:30AM
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babushka_cat

no border

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:32AM
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legallin

#2 pencil border

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:42AM
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a2gemini

I like #2 or #3 with your seashore tile. I don't like both together.
I think you have seen ours - we did a border and then some decorative accent pieces above the cooktop.
It is going to look great whatever you do!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:37PM
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island

I'm revising my vote. Looking at the close up of the photoshopped samples I still like # 6, but if I take into consideration your whole kitchen, I prefer no border.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Linelle

No border, at least not as low as you currently have it. It's too low-slung and would be hidden by anything sitting on the counter.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:21PM
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taggie

no border, #1.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 4:01PM
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Fun2Learn

Thanks so much for "voting" and giving me feedback, everyone. I have read over the comments several times. I just spent the afternoon and evening looking at backsplashes on the new finished kitchen blog- and most of those used subway tiles--surprise, surprise. I think that not one had any kind of border or trim. Then I went over to HOUZZ and searched "subway tile back splash" and over 258,000 photos came up! So I can rest assured that they are still popular and a safe bet for resale value in the near future, LOL!

Anyway---I got to page 47 or so on HOUZZ, and out of all those pics, saw only 3 or 4 subway tile backsplashes with any kind of a border or trim, other than a feature behind a range. And I only liked one of those with a border (and that kitchen was very different from mine --it had white cabinets, white tile, modern/retro vibe --so there is no comparision).

And now, after all your feedback and looking at all those "plain", unadorned subway tile backsplashes, I now am strongly leaning toward just subway tiles without any border. I saw so many beautiful kitchens in all styles that looked gorgeous with just a simple unembellished subway tile (of all kinds) backsplash. Some didn't even do a "feature" behind a large range, and it didn't look too plain. Of course, I believe that all the photos on HOUZZ are of kitchens designed by pros. I noticed that many of these beautiful kitchens, even traditional style ones, didn't even embellish the area behind the range, but left the tiles "plain". I guess less can be more! Perhaps the key is in using gogeous tiles in a color and style that truly enhance the rest of the kitchen.

Babushka_cat--I was doing a search on grazia tiles to look for images and came across your gorgeous backsplash photos again. CKGM has the same tile, too, I know. No one carries that particular line of Grazia around here, though, so I haven't seen it in person. It is probably too busy for my granite,(what do you think?) but I LOVE how it looks in your kitchen! You said the name was misleading;just curious---how would you describe the color--is it like a soft caramel or peachy gold? I'm half tempted to buy a sample from the Tile Shop if they'd sell me one and ship it, (I like to leave no stone unturned--drives my hubby crazy.) I like so much of the Grazia tiles I have seen--(I love RIXI, but none of the colors worked for me.) Do yu think it would go with my granite & cabs? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:26PM
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motherof3sons

Just have to say, love the cabinet hardware! I have the same on all my uppers. Top Knobs Tuscany?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:32PM
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Fun2Learn

YIPEE, YIPPEE!!! I've finally decided on my backsplash tile after almost 2 years--I can't believe it!! Thanks so, so much everyone for your time and feedback. I have lived with those Grazia "seashore" tile samples on my counters for over a week now, and I am loving them more and more--they look great in all kinds of light and every part of my kitchen. I think I was "barking up the wrong tree" the last few years looking for either a stone or off-whitish kind of tile--this subtle pale golden tan or whatever you want to call it is what it really needed! Though I was originally envisioning a glossy crackle tile, the satin finish of this seashore" tile has grown on me-- I think it is better suited to our particular space (so close and open to the other rooms) and style (we have some mission style furniture in the family room.

AND I have decided to just go with the plain subway tiles without any border. Now I see the wisdom of it, esp. as my kitchen is open to other rooms on two sides--there really is a lot going on in a small area. And you all helped me to see that it wouldn't look too plain to others if we had to resell. It will also save me money, and probably help the resale value should we need to sell. And, more importantly--I have decided that I like it better plain, too! (I think I had got stuck on the idea of having one because I had seen one on a HGTV makeover that used plain white subways with a border that I liked, but it was a very different kitchen.)

I read somewhere that it is the "decos" that usually make a kitchen backsplash look dated when they go out of style, rather than the field tiles, which, in most kitchens, are usually pretty basic. So I guess it is a win-win idea all around to go "plain".

motherof3sons: Thanks--My hardware was inexpensive Amerock (about $2.00 a piece online!), but it sure does look like the more expensive Top Knobs (though I am sure they are probably a better quality overall.) Do you have trouble with them turning a bit and getting out of line? My do, but I had to use different screws than came with the knobs (not long enough). However, I think I can see why most knobs are round---they never get knocked out of alignment!!!

Now the next question for you all: what color grout should I use? White? Should I go sanded or unsanded? Which type is the easist to keep clean?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:20PM
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ellendi

I would match the tile color. I think white can be used to tie in the cabinets or the counter some how. But, I see nothing in yur kitchen that would relae to the white grout.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:42PM
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function_first

Great choices. I would have voted 1 as well, were there still voting. Glad you chose the stand alone subway -- it'll be beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 6:16PM
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beekeeperswife

Love it. Isn't it a relief to make this decision?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 8:52PM
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rhome410

Congratulations on such a big decision made. I was going to vote for what you chose... But I did like the dots if you had to have a bit more, but wanted to see them higher.

I would not go white with the grout. I'd go the color of the tile or barely darker, so it looks like what you've mocked up. It's great!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 12:01AM
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a2gemini

So excited for you - try to match the grout or slightly darker(barely)- otherwise, you can play chess on the backsplash - I almost made that mistake but glad I matched more closely.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:41PM
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diamondkat123

I just put in the Horus Art Cristalli tile in biscuit and I love it. I am awaiting the grout (which I will do in a matching color). I have honey/toffee maple cabinets in a Shaker style door, Crema Astoria granite (a creamy granite with white, black, and garnet areas, and with some subtle but not overpowering gray/silver movement). Even though I love clean lines, I chose this tile over the Tiffany (which is a straight subway) because it has a handmade appearance (the lines are kind of wavy, which go with the movement in the granite). It also has a little sparkle, which my granite does as well.

I did not do a border or accent in my backsplash; I used only the HA Cristalli subways. I don't have a big kitchen - it's 10x10, only 15" from cabinet to counter. I chose to leave it plain as I want the focus on the granite and not the tile. I am so happy that I did! When I get a chance I will post some pictures.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Fun2Learn

I am the original poster of this old thread.Even though this is an old thread (thanks for still posting!), I would love to see the photos of your backsplash, diamondkat, and to know what color grout you used, as well as the spacing between the tiles.
You see, even though I bought the tiles (Grazia 2.5" x 5" subway tiles, "landscape" series in seashore color) about a year ago, I still haven't installed them yet!! My husband got laid off, and I was hoping that he would get a new job so that I could hire a pro to install them, instead of relying on our DIY skills. Well, he still is unemployed, but I am getting tired of waiting. I hope that subway tiles won't be out of style by the time I get them in! Anyway--I still am uncertain as to grout color and spacing.
By the way, I did bring home a sample of the Horus Art Cristalli in biscuit, but the color just didn't work with my granite.
Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Fun2Learn

I am the original poster of this old thread.Even though this is an old thread (thanks for still posting!), I would love to see the photos of your backsplash, diamondkat, and to know what color grout you used, as well as the spacing between the tiles.
You see, even though I bought the tiles (Grazia 2.5" x 5" subway tiles, "landscape" series in seashore color) about a year ago, I still haven't installed them yet!! My husband got laid off, and I was hoping that he would get a new job so that I could hire a pro to install them, instead of relying on our DIY skills. Well, he still is unemployed, but I am getting tired of waiting. I hope that subway tiles won't be out of style by the time I get them in! Anyway--I still am uncertain as to grout color and spacing.
By the way, I did bring home a sample of the Horus Art Cristalli in biscuit, but the color just didn't work with my granite.
Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Fun2Learn

I am the original poster of this old thread.Even though this is an old thread (thanks for still posting!), I would love to see the photos of your backsplash, diamondkat, and to know what color grout you used, as well as the spacing between the tiles.
You see, even though I bought the tiles (Grazia 2.5" x 5" subway tiles, "landscape" series in seashore color) about a year ago, I still haven't installed them yet!! My husband got laid off, and I was hoping that he would get a new job so that I could hire a pro to install them, instead of relying on our DIY skills. Well, he still is unemployed, but I am getting tired of waiting. I hope that subway tiles won't be out of style by the time I get them in! Anyway--I still am uncertain as to grout color and spacing.
By the way, I did bring home a sample of the Horus Art Cristalli in biscuit, but the color just didn't work with my granite.
Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:39PM
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scootermom

I like #6, but will you be able to see the line of dots down low? My kitchen would have enough stuff out that it would never be visible. YMMV. So I'd say #6 as is, or #6 with dot row up higher, or just plain. Not crazy about the pencil line, myself.

Pretty kitchen!!!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Trebruchet

FunToLearn:

I'll leave the esthetic decisions to others, but please make sure you have a grout-thickness space between the counter top and the bottom row of tile. Fill it with grout-matched silicone.

They move at different rates and grout has no flexibility. You won't get a nice big fat crack that you can push more grout into, you'll get a hairline which will drive you nuts. Always silicone a plane change.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:03AM
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