Q: I’m shopping along with my husband for our first house, and we’ve found a lot of cute places that have been recently remodeled. I sure see a lot of white subway tile in kitchens and bathrooms, along with white cabinets and gray paint. Gray, black, and white everywhere. I know white cabinets will always be around, but what about the gray paint? If we were remodeling a kitchen, it seems like we would want something that will look good for a while, but what if we want more color?
A: It’s hard to tell exactly how long a trend will last, but in general, the simpler a look is, the longer it will last. (Take blue jeans, for example.) This airy look you’re seeing in kitchens in particular comes out of the modern farmhouse trend, which is simple and calming with lots and lots of white. And gray. And black. Some trends stick around to become classics, some go really quickly — remember pink? Pink paint, fabrics in tones from hot pink to dusty rose colors, often paired with bright orange or yellows?
Once they are established, classic looks are rarely ever truly “in” and never really “out,” either. Short of declaring this modern farmhouse look a true “classic,” aspects of why it works come from timeless touches that show up repeatedly. Function and livability never goes out of style, and this blending of the industrial trend with a more rustic, vintage feeling that is easy to personalize. The modern farmhouse style definitely has some staying power, in part because of the classic colors. White walls will always look fresh. Black accents are always striking, bold, and dramatic. And gray as a go-to paint color might start to fade eventually, but it’s just paint. Pick a new color anytime you want for an instant update to your otherwise white kitchen!
Subway tiles are a signature feature for this look. And in white, this rectangular tile that’s twice as wide as it is tall is a shape that’s been around for decades if not centuries. These tiles are functional, durable, and work at any budget. Comfortable and timeless as your favorite pair of blue jeans, subway tiles are just as classic. In interiors, other classics include stainless steel, chrome, or brushed nickel (because it looks like stainless), white paint, and medium wood tones.
It’s disheartening to be staring at a trendy backsplash in a dramatic, busy pattern, wishing you chose something simpler. Fortunately, most people will be fine with their plain subway tile backsplashes a lot longer than something with more color or bold patterns. And you really can inexpensively express your own style with trendier colors (even pink if you want!) and accents of your own choosing.