I’m going to start adding visual elements to these columns, I’ll put a few links to sites, or some pictures, on my website (Designsewlutions.ca) in the Columns section where the reprints of all of these columns live. I’ll try to have them on the site by the Monday following publication. I know a picture or two can really help us get things in perspective.
Backsplashes. Well, the reason for this column is I was at a clients the other day; they are renovating a bathroom and it was time to pick a paint color and the conversation had to include the backsplash. I think I may have snapped when someone suggested a decorative row of tile above the backsplash and co-ordinating decorative tiles in the tub surround. The master of the house (who is doing the reno himself) was in the process of removing all the 4-inch square tiles from the tub surround. Off white tiles, which isn’t too bad, but every so often there was a gawd-awful printed one. Like a date stamp that said “1978.”
Consider this, in this tiny little room we are often trying to co-ordinate the prints of a floor and counter top. (Unless the surface is a plain color with no pattern on it at all, there is a print, often made up of many colors.) Then we want to add another print in the form of a backsplash. Then we have curtains or blinds, a shower curtain and accessories. It can get really busy in there, very quickly. The current view in decorating is less is more, subtle is better, with an emphasis on choosing quality over quantity. But wait, isn’t this what we know to be the guideline of choosing calming, classic interiors anyway? Hence the popularity of solid-colored tiles in backsplashes.
And, please, please do not put contrasting “interesting” tiles into the mix. They lock you into a color scheme and they are, no matter how forward-thinking you think they are, a date stamp. Use the money you save for a new mirror, or some really snazzy faucets. If you want the backsplash to be the star of the show, then make it special and have the rest of the room be the supporting cast members. If, on the other hand, you want the antique mirror on the wall to be the star, keep the backsplash neutral.
“Your eye goes to the area of greatest contrast first and contrast makes a space seem smaller”. There – one of the most important design principals in one sentence.