before & after, DIY, kitchen, renovation

Before & After: A New Backsplash to Brighten Up the Kitchen


With all my posts about planning for the bathroom project, you’d think that I would have spent this past weekend working in that room. Well, you’d be wrong. A funny thing happened on the way to the hardware store. When I went to buy the hex tile for the bathroom floor I happened upon the perfect white subway tile for the kitchen backsplash. With our friend’s advice about finishing one room before moving on to the next echoing in my mind, I decided to buy the subway tile and finish the backsplash before doing any work in the bathroom.

When we last saw the kitchen, I had painted the cabinetry and replaced the countertop and sink. The old formica countertop had made a mess of the wall when I pulled it out so I knew that a backsplash was going to be in order. I painted the walls gray to buy us some time until I could get around to installing a backsplash. In other words, I thought it might take me another year or two to circle back and finish off the room. (If history of house projects is any indication, this could very well have been the case.) But thanks to that fortuitous trip to the hardware store, I’m back to finish off the kitchen sooner than later.

As you can see, the white subway tile really brightens up that dark space between the upper cabinets and the countertop. It’s not just the whiteness of tiles, but also the shiny finish. I also think the white subway tile lends a vintage touch to the kitchen. While the kitchen doesn’t look anything like it did when the house was built in 1917, adding the subway tile to what is quickly becoming a farmhouse-style kitchen is in keeping the house’s history. Plus, subway tile never goes out of fashion so this backsplash can hang around for years to come.

This was my first time tiling and, although it’s a lot of work and messy, messy, messy, it’s actually pretty easy. I like working with my hands and after years of handcrafting handbags in my previous career, doing something that involves exact measurements and straight lines feels fairly natural to me.

Before & After: White Subway Tile in a Vintage Style Kitchen

We have only some detail work (replacing old electrical outlets and switches and adding trim to some of the tile borders) to finish off this tile job. Then, we’ll replace the flooring, paint the walls and woodwork and finally have a brand new kitchen!

I’ll follow up with a post about the tiling process, but in the meantime let us all bask in the glory of a kitchen that is nearing completion!

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