Just because something is new and is a trend and you like it doesn’t mean you have to use it in your home. I was helping a gal coordinate a backsplash with counter top and she was having a real problem with mixing patterns. She liked the look of multi-colored glass stacked tiles, all her friends were having them installed; she wanted to spruce up her kitchen but she was not comfortable mixing patterns.
We talked about trends and classics. We talked about contrast and focal points. She was adamant, too, that the backsplash coordinate with the floor, which didn’t have the same undertones as the counter — so that added to the conundrum. With a bit of gentle coaching she came to the realization that she was falling victim to a trend and to the realization she was not a trendy person.
I suggested to her that her natural preference was to classics; she got it and stopped trying to find a pattern mix that she liked. She chose a small subway tile; classic and elegant — just like her.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear two different prints in one outfit — unless it’s gypsy day at the office. When I look around my house, I don’t see a lot of mixture of prints; that’s just my style, I suppose. This gal was dressed in classic clothing; plain colors. And she had few patterns in her home. If you are unsure, the best indicator of your own style is your clothes closet.
Remember wallpaper borders? Everyone did them; they showed up in every room. I mean, how could we say no to sunflowers and roosters? Sometimes there were two on the wall, one up high and one at chair rail height. And a few years later we were all busy taking them down. Remember when brown or taupe was the de rigueur color? And remember when we couldn’t wait to get rid of it?
My point is that there are some things in home decoration that are trendy. In four or five years they will no longer be trendy they will be a date-stamp that yells, “Hey, look at me, remember when I was all the rage?” And if you apply that trendy element permanently, you are stuck with it. If you are OK with that and plan on doing the work to change the backsplash or carpet or faux-brick fireplace in four or five years, go for it. Look at these two kitchens; even though one is colored tile, it is timeless. And one isn’t.
I think the busy stacked glass backsplashes are already on the way out of favor. Go look on Houzz, search ‘kitchen backsplashes’; you will see what I mean — not a stacked glass one in site. If you want a timeless, evergreen kitchen use a plain subway tile for the backsplash or continue the counter surface up the wall. Period. When you are trying to sell your home, or want to change the counter-top, or put in a new floor or cabinets you will be thankful you stuck to the classics.
I write these columns a week before they are published; I wrote this one on June 28. On June 29 I got my issue of Maria Killiam’s newsletter which talks about tiles, in particular architectural versus accent. And she agrees, accent tiles (which is what a contrast backsplash really is) is not good design.