One of my lovely readers emailed this great question about cream subway tile that I thought would be so useful for many of us.
Also, note that her kitchen countertop is pristine and she even left a decorative jar in the photo when she snapped it for me.
If you have an Ask Maria question, please clean up the room, it’ll have a higher chance of appearing on my blog. I am very protective of my readers and I don’t want anyone to criticize any more than necessary!
Okay so here’s the question:
“[I’m] having trouble choosing cream subway tile for my backsplash. Most of them are too dark. I prefer the lightest one, but I’m worried it will look too grey. I had a designer tell me to go with the cream one from Daltile (second in from the right) but I’m still uneasy because she didn’t give me the ‘because.’ The wall colour is Manchester Tan.”
So first, this is exactly the right way to determine whether the backsplash you have chosen is the correct colour.
The tiles are propped up in the EXACT position that they will be when installed with white paper behind them which prevents you from making a decision based on comparing to an old colour. If you laid the tiles down on the countertop, you’re basically blind to seeing the minute differences in undertones.
The reason why you’re having such a hard time choosing is because all of them look like possible contenders for your backsplash (which of course you know).
And I agree that you should go with the lightest one because we want your backsplash to be cream, not beige or yellow.
If your backsplash is too yellow or beige, now you must concern yourself with coordinating the wall colour with it and then you’re kind of stuck with that colour.
The one your designer suggested looks like it could be an option as is the one on the right which appears to be the lightest. It looks grey because you’re currently comparing to the rest.
First, eliminate the three on the left, then go back to the store and get two more of the ones on the right so that you end up with three each.
Then, line them up against the backsplash exactly as you’ve shown here WITHOUT comparing to the others, and your choice will become obvious.
You AND your designer must be able to immediately see that your colour choice is the right one. Without big enough samples, it’s just your best guess. Your best guess could be right, however there is always the small chance that it might not be exactly perfect. There are enough examples of colour choices gone wrong in any magazine or website that you’ll know that what I’m saying is right.
It’s why I don’t go anywhere without taking my large painted colour boards. Once you know the colour palette you are choosing for your house, you can take the boards everywhere with you to choose carpet, tiles, fabrics, without having to schlep samples endlessly back and forth.
Also, if you were matching backsplash tile to your wall colour, you would do it the same way but instead of placing white paper behind your backsplash, you would prop your samples against your large colour board instead. If you had a countertop without any cream, usually you’d have to choose a backsplash tile that would relate to the wall colour (as well as your countertops) if your cabinets were a wood stain like this example we’re talking about.
So much about getting colour right is about HOLDING samples in the right place, where they will be when installed or painted. Tweet That!
Here’s what one of my True Colour Experts™ said about the large colour boards:
“The large [boards] are simply essential to selecting the perfect colour. Because undertones are so important and can appear to change, you cannot know the nuances of colour without seeing it in a larger format. Before using them, I had clients go back and forth trying to find something they liked, or trying to see the undertone I was pointing out. With the large [colour boards] they are able to immediately say ‘yes or no”, thus making my job so much easier and giving my clients exactly what they want! “Jil McDonald, Interior Designer, Jil Sonia Interiors
Have a great week everyone! xo Maria
PS. If you have a question for Ask Maria, clean up your room, take a photo without flash in as much natural daylight as possible and email me here.
FOLLOW UP TO THIS POST IS BELOW:
My reader with the great question about cream subway tile followed my advice and this was her email to me today:
“Thank you Maria! Narrowing down the choices and having 3 sample tiles did the trick. here is a picture if you would like to use it as a follow-up. We are going with the lighter cream tile which is not the tile we currently have ordered (yikes). But would much rather pay a restocking fee than have the wrong tile!