The Joanna Gaines-Approved Backsplash Material That'll Brighten Up Your Kitchen

Joanna Gaines is known for her stylish modern farmhouse aesthetic and her stunning home transformations on HGTV's "Fixer Upper" and the Magnolia network. After nearly two decades making beautiful spaces, Gaines has a number of go-to design solutions and popular elements that appear again and again in the spaces she works on, including bright and open rooms, lots of plants, and vintage-inspired takes with a modern edge. One popular element you will glimpse again and again in her remodels is white subway tile, which is fast becoming one of the most popular tile varieties found in homes today. 

These tiles appear repeatedly in homes for many reasons that extend beyond Gaines' influence in the design world and the desire to decorate homes like hers. This inexpensive, simple, and adaptable tile works in many spaces, including kitchen backsplashes, where they are often seen in combination with other classic elements like white cabinetry, wood or stone counters, and neutrals galore. 

Benefits of subway tile

Subway tile's roots are in its namesake method of transportation. At the turn of the century, it was the choice of urban planners for its durability, price, and ability to keep clean. This also makes it a great choice for kitchens for all the same reasons. Subway tile can be found in the range of only $2-$15 per square foot, making it a cost-friendly alternative to other varieties of porcelain tiles. In the kitchen, like the subway, it's durable and easy to clean with a glossy finish and resists cracking and wearing over time.

It is also one of the most adaptable tiles, at home in many kitchen aesthetics, including everything from Joanna Gaines' beloved modern farmhouse aesthetic to more modern sleek and minimalistic spaces. It also looks amazing in industrial-inspired and cottage-style kitchens. It can be both elevated and formal in a traditional kitchen or casual and laid-back in a coastal or boho design aesthetic. With its bright reflective light surface, it reflects ample light and can be a huge brightening force to a dark kitchen, particularly when combined with white cabinets. 

Mixing it up

Subway tile also has endless variations. Simply changing the color of the grout and the associated contrast can skew the look of the tile, with darker grout lines and white tile looking more industrial and rustic, while white grout can look clean and modern. With a lighter grout, the tile can recede into the backdrop allowing other elements like cabinets and counters to stand out. With dark grout lines, it can add texture and dimension to the backsplash that immediately grabs the eye.

If you love the look of subway tile but would like a variation, many designers suggest using these great tiles in interesting fresh new ways, including variations in orientation. Install them vertically, which will lengthen and heighten a space, or lay them in a stylish herringbone pattern. While white is the most popular shade, tiles also come in an array of other colors, from neutrals to saturated rich blues and greens.