Posted in: Homeowner tips

Subway tile and barn doors: When and where to use HGTV’s hottest trends

subway tiles barn doors
Key takeaways:
  • Subway tile is an inexpensive way to refresh almost any kitchen or bathroom
  • Barn doors can provide an element of privacy to homes with open floor plans
  • When installing subway tile or barn doors, it’s important to match the design to your home’s original aesthetic

Whether you’re addicted to Fixer Upper on HGTV or have a Pinterest board full of remodeling ideas, you’ve likely come across the two biggest trends in home design: Subway tile and barn doors. These elements are popular for a reason – they can instantly transform a space without breaking the bank.

Below, we explore common ways to incorporate subway tile and barn doors into your home and insider insights you can use to get started.

Subway tile

You won’t be surprised to hear that subway tile was first used in the New York City subway system in the early 1900s; the subway designers created simple white three-by-six-inch tiles and staggered them to add visual appeal. The bright white tiles were held in place by light-colored grout, and the minimalist look has been popular in transit, residential and commercial design ever since.

Where to use subway tile

  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Bathroom walls
  • Bathroom shower or tub

Color options

  • Traditional: White tiles with light-colored grout
  • Gritty: White tiles with gray or black grout
  • Modern: Colored tiles with white grout

Design options

  • Staggered
  • Stacked
  • Herringbone
  • Broken up with glass mosaic tiles or matching four-by-four-inch tiles

Quick tip from the pros: If you’re planning to install subway tile yourself, be sure to tackle one small area at a time – by tiling a large area, you may not leave time to wipe off excess grout before it dries. Follow these tips to ensure you get the job done right.

Barn doors

Perhaps the most popular question on remodeling TV shows is, “Is this a load-bearing wall?” The desire for open floor plans has been rising for the last decade but some homeowners are finding that the lack of privacy they create can be a problem.

One common solution is to install a sliding interior door, commonly known as a barn door. In a recent study that analyzed the features that sell homes faster and for the best price, barn doors were the top feature that buyers desired. And unlike traditional swinging doors, barn doors can economize space, making them a perfect addition to smaller homes.

Where to use barn doors

  • Block off TV / entertainment rooms from main living space
  • Entry point to laundry room or mud room
  • Entry point to bedrooms from main living space

Design options

  • Rustic: Finished or unfinished wood; dark hardware
  • Modern: Brightly painted one color; stainless hardware
  • Wild: Mural-style painting; matching hardware

Quick tip from the pros: Be sure to match every element of your barn door – including the sliding hardware – to your home’s overall aesthetic. Here’s a great tutorial on the items needed for a modern barndoor, and some more rustic hardware options.

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