What backsplash with white cabinets/black counters/gray tile

rellabgib3December 30, 2011

Hi,

I was originally interested in using white subway tile as my backsplash to my kitchen but am having second thoughts.

Currently, as it stands, there are white cabinets, black galaxy counter tops, and dark/med gray tile flooring. I've been told by multiple people that white subway tile is dated, a bit difficult to pull off, and very hard to maintain.

It would be great to receive other suggestions or more info regarding white subway tile to make a more informed decision! I really want a kitchen to shine but at the same time I want it to be relatively maintainable over the long haul.

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live_wire_oak

It's not dated, but it is a lot more traditional look that what your other choices seem to say. And it's a lot more predictable and, well, boring. Do you have pictures of which cabinets, flooring, etc? That would help.

How about something with a bit of pattern? Damask is both traditional and modern at the same time.

Glass tiles are always a modern choice.

Something textured is always a good choice.

With so much neutral happening, a great shot of color would wake things up.

There is a HUGE wide world of tile at your fingertips. Dive in!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 2:44PM
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rellabgib3

I am having trouble finding damask tiles. Are they readily available? They look quite expensive.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 3:34PM
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ellendi

How about marble tiles?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 4:51PM
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willtv

While some say white Subways are dated, many refer to them as classic. Probably because they've been around since the late 1800's.
In any event, here's a shot of our subway tile backsplash.

Like yours, our kitchen has white cabs, a dark granite countertop and medium to dark grey floors. We wanted to jazz things up a bit so we went with black & white subways.
If you want to add some color there are many ways to use subways and still do that.
Here's a shot of Petra66's kitchen. One of my favorites for the sheer simplicity of its design.

If you perform a search of subway tile backsplashes you'll find a few million more ideas.
We've been living with our Subway tile backsplash for over a year and I can tell you it's a breeze to care for.
I'm attaching a link to our completed kitchen so you can see more of the floor and countertops.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen W/Subway Tile Backsplash

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 4:58PM
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marcolo

Love LWO's suggestions. Black galaxy is indeed pretty mod.

You are currently so wide open I'd start with a visit to a tile showroom and see what grabs you.

BTW subways have decidedly not been around "since" the 1800s. They stopped being used in kitchens around the 1920s and were reintroduced into production only around a decade or so ago. Unless you are putting them into a house built before around 1929, they are a trend. Nothing wrong with trends; everything is a trend in some sense. But don't choose them because you think they're going to be in style until the end of time.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 5:22PM
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remodelfla

There is nothing wrong with white subways if that's what you want. BUt, trust me; there is an entire world of tile out there besides white subway tile. Go, set forth... go to a nice tile store and just look. Then go have lunch. If you still want white subways, then so be it. But, please, I implore you; take a look at what's out there. There is huge selection of anything everything; things you don't even know exist. Find what you love and take pics. Show us. We'll help sort through it and even try and find cheaper alternatives.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 5:31PM
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boxerpups

Here are some ideas that might work.
~boxerpups

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 5:36PM
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rellabgib3

I am having trouble finding damask tiles. Are they readily available? They look quite expensive.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 6:20PM
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rellabgib3

Boxerpups your examples look great.

The one with the diamonds and the black dots in the middle look amazing. Do you know what kind of tile or specifically what the name is?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 6:34PM
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rellabgib3

Thanks WillTV! your backsplash looks amazing. I am super impressed with your kitchen! do you have a shot of the flooring/tiles? I am debating between a warmer dark gray or a light white-based gray tile.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 6:35PM
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remodelfla

more info on damask tile then you could ever want

Here is a link that might be useful: damask tile via houzz

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 6:36PM
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rellabgib3

WillTV,

If you don't mind me asking, what is the name of the flooring you are currently using on your kitchen?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 7:03PM
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willtv

The floor tiles are 24x24 Natural Claft Montauk Black slate.
After installation I applied 4 coates of sealer.
They're pretty much bullet proof and super-easy to maintain.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 7:47PM
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willtv

Marcolo, My error. Subway tiles first appeared in New York's subways in 1904.

If anyone's interested, below is a wikipedia link.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Little Subway Tile History

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 8:13PM
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boxerpups

They are from Brittany and Coggs

http://www.brittanyandcoggs.com/

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 9:21PM
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kateskouros

ok boxer. can you PLEASE provide info on #3 and #5?
didn't you know i would ask? xxo

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 11:57PM
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boxerpups

They are both from Trikeenan tile.

http://www.trikeenan.com/

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Madeline616

My colors are similar to yours, except my countertops will be white marble. I also looked for an alternative to white subway.

A few ideas for you below. (I've narrowed it down to the WZ in white or the Ann Sacks for my own kitchen):

Walker Zanger Ashbury, an arabesque pattern. Shown here with dark grout, white grout would be a cleaner/more cohesive look:

Same WZ but in blue:

Ann Sacks Glace in Ice, an iridescent glass 1x6" tile, shown here in an inspiration pic from Traditional Home Magazine:

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:45AM
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enduring

I used 2x4" marble to install this herringbone backsplash
in my tiny kitchen that we remodeled this summer. I had
to cut up pre made square foot layouts of a mosaic running
bond to allow me to use individual tiles. I wanted this scale
for my kitchen. The regular subways were too big. And the
marble just had more interest than porcelain in my space.

Here is my backsplash:

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Linelle

Enduring, your backsplash is beautiful! You custom cut all those tiles? Very impressive. How small is your kitchen?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 11:56AM
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dianalo

We are going with gray subways by Daltile if we ever can afford installing them. They were very reasonable and an alternative to white subways. We are putting a feature in the middle of them, so they are serving as background for our bs.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 12:04PM
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daisychain01

The handmade subways come in a variety of gorgeous earthy colours that would warm up your otherwise cool palette. My friend has the same colour scheme as yours and went with a mustard yellow. It looks wonderful together.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 1:40PM
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enduring

Linelle, sorry I confused you about the tile. I did not cut
the tile to size, I cut the 2x4 pieces apart from the
backing that held them in the square foot mosaic.
I didn't want to use the running bond arrangement of
the square foot mosaic so I took a last minute leap of faith
with a pair of scissors. I had fun doing this tile. If you are
handy & patient it can be done by a DIYer, as this was my
first tiling effort. Looking forward to another project!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Linelle

Enduring, well, that makes a lot more sense! I don't know if I've got the chops to DIY my backsplash, but you did awesome for a first effort! Where did you get your tiles? I'm not very adventurous when it comes to statement backsplash, but I love how your herringbone looks, esp. with the variation of color. Really beautiful.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:21PM
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kitchenkrazed09

Hi Boxerpups,

I love all of the options that you posted. Do you have more information about #14 (the one that shows the range hood baffles above)? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:34PM
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enduring

linelle, they are the Landsdale marble line from "The Tile Shop". It is the 2x4 piece in a 12"square running bond mosaic. They have online shopping and stores in a variety of cities. I think it was around 11 or 12 $/sheet.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 1:07PM
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SeanKellogg

Glad I found this thread. I'm having my kitchen redone almost exactly like WillTV's, though I'm eschewing the black subway tile and having all-white. Yes, it's safe, but I live in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC and don't plan on being there more than three more years, so I want to appeal to myself and as many other people as possible. I personally love the clean look.

Thanks, WillTV, for posting pictures -- I'm also going to copy right off of you for your floor!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 11:41AM
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kitchenkrazed09

Hi Boxerpups -

Hate to be a pest, but I wasn't sure if you saw my post. I was hoping you had more information about one of the photos you posted (#14, which shows the range hood baffles above). Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 12:25PM
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willtv

Sean, Thanks.
FYI we used Daltile Rittenhouse Square ceramic subways.
They were inexpensive and allowed for a 1/16" grout line.
As for the floor, you'd be wise to apply a coat of sealer on the tiles before they're installed as it will make the grout haze clean up much easier.
Be sure to post some pictures.
We love that here.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 1:51PM
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