Kitchen Update: Subway Tile Backsplash

Why I chose subway tile kitchen backsplash-Holly on Hummingbird

Subway tile backsplash

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post with you! What started out as a broken dishwasher turned into a new subway tile backsplash–and it turned out better than expected!

We have some major plans for our little kitchen, but will updating it in phases as we can afford it. It’s going to drive me crazy, but I promised to reign it in and be patient. I know that I’ll regret making that promise at some point… I’m more of a rip-the-band-aid-off kind of girl and unfinished projects just eat at me.

A great example of this is when the dishwasher needed to be replaced. Obviously we needed to get a really nice stainless steel Bosch, but that would look ridiculous with the remaining outdated black appliances, right?!  So I suggested that we get a new refrigerator and then found an uh-mazing deal on a range that we just couldn’t pass up. 

But, since the range was a slide-in and we wanted a vent hood instead of a built-in microwave, it left two really ugly untiled spaces in the backsplash. So it was only natural that we tear out the ugly green and brown mosaic tile and replace it with subway tile.

Subway tile backsplash-before and after


Our kitchen isn’t awful–it’s just that whoever picked the finishes had absolutely horrendous taste. So luckily, we can make some cosmetic changes and end up with a pretty nice kitchen.  I picture lots of white with black accents, and a built-in banquette.

why I chose subway tile

Subway Tile

I have a little bit of an obsession with subway tile. I used to think it was boring, but I inherited a lot of it with our house in Denver and I guess it just grew on me. It’s so much more versatile that you’d think, but it’s also classic.

Subway tile will never go out of style–it’s definitely a safe choice in that regard. But you can get super creative with it and take risks with the grout color and tile pattern. I really wanted to go with black grout, but I was afraid it would be too much of a contrast for the kitchen so I went two shades lighter (right in the middle on the grayscale) and I’m so happy I did!

BEfore and after-subway tile backsplash DIY


The white tile immediately opened up the whole room and brought in so much light! It was unexpected to see such a drastic change. And the gray grout provided that bit of contrast and style that I was looking for.

Under 200-Kitchen Backsplash

For a basic mosaic backsplash tile, you’re looking at spending between $5-$10 per square foot on the low, low end. Subway tile, however is only $1.84 psf at Home Depot! We only spent about $100 on tile, so after grout, mortar and a few other supplies, we were able to install a new backsplash for less that $200.  

White Subway tile kitchen backsplash-holly on hummingbird

Why I chose white subway tile for my kitchen backsplash

Phase two will be painting the cabinets and changing out the hardware, so be sure to subscribe over there on the left so that you can follow along! 

Flash Sale Friday!

This week's best flash sales - home decor

Here are this week’s best flash sale deals.  Happy shopping, everyone!

{FLASH SALE} Bar Carts: One King’s Lane

I’ve been on a hunt for a really cool acrylic bar cart to use in my kitchen, and hit the jackpot when I found the Bronson Bar Trolley on OKL this morning.

{Shop the shop}

Best deals on stylish bar carts - Holly on Hummingbird


Flash Sale Friday - Acrylic Bar Cart - Holly on Hummingbird


{FLASH SALE} Opulent Metallic Glassware Under $29: Hautelook


This is such a cool collection! A mix of metallic printed and carnival glass bar sets. There are too many great choices, but I decided to grab this blue and gold ikat set.

{Shop the shop}

Metallic Ikat print glasses on sale - Holly on Hummingbird

Blue and gold ikat metallic bar glasses - holly on hummingbird


{FLASH SALE} It’s Wine Harvest Season: Rue La La

Wine harvest season is certainly something to celebrate! This shop has everything from books and wine accessories to cheese boards and wine club memberships on sale. This Cuisinart wine cellar is only $139!

{Shop the shop}

wine harvest season - shop accessories, wine and more! Holly on hummingbird

8-bottle private wine cellar only $139 - holly on hummingbird

{FLASH SALE} Happy 90th Birthday, Le Creuset: GILT

This sale’s huge! Though they’re missing some colors, many of the flash sale items are marked down by more than $100. This Le Creuset 16QT Stockpot is only $125 and will be perfect for all of my football Sunday soups and stews this fall.

{Shop the shop}

Le Creuset markdowns - on sale - holly on hummingbird

16oz. Le Creuset Stockpot on sale - Holly on Hummingbird

Master Bathroom Makeover DIY

DIY-Bathroom-MakeoverWe’ve now lived in our home for 60 days, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost all of the boxes are unpacked and the rooms are starting to come together… I’ve finally finished the master bathroom makeover, and I’m excited to show y’all how it turned out!

As I mentioned in a previous post, this bathroom is super ugly! The “decorative” tile and textured walls make it nearly impossible to work with, but I think we’ve gotten it to a good place. We intend on doing a full remodel at some point (hopefully soon!) so the goal was to just get it to a level of ugly that I can live with. Cue the bathroom makeover DIY.

Bathroom Makeover-Before

It really is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! After surviving the blue bathroom nightmare, I’m really happy with the gray-but-almost-white color that we ended up with. When Symphony Blue turned out to be anything but symphonic, I reverted to my trusty go-to color palette–gray. I wanted it to look as crisp and clean as possible, and I was worried that a greige or brown-gray wouldn’t be clean enough. I sure as heck wasn’t going to touch the blue-gray tones, so we settled on Olympus White by Sherwin Williams.

Master Bathroom Makeover DIY

I’ve been obsessed with the oh-so popular Greek Blue this summer, and found these fantastic bath rugs and towels at Target. I’ve never decorated with blue before, but I just love the sort of Mediterranean feel of these bright blue and white pieces. Especially with the (super weird) terra-cotta tile floors–it reminds me of Greece. And, for a bathroom that started out in Tijuana, it’s a huge step up for this makeover to land us in Mykonos.

Greek Blue Bathroom Decor-Bathroom Makeover DIY IMG_6050I haven’t finished the vanity yet–I’m still trying to decide what to do. One idea is to paint it navy blue and replace the hardware, but I can’t decide if it’s worth it. Hopefully, we’ll get to do a full remodel next spring, and that seems like a lot of work for a short time period.  I may just replace the hardware and call it a day.  Any opinions?

I love to make my own wall art! It’s so much fun to be able to make something that says exactly what I want it to say–it brings out our personality, and in this case, sets the stage for my shower-time vocals. All I did was throw this together in Photoshop, print it out and slap it in a frame–super easy!

Fresher than you Beyonce wall art-Bathroom Makeover DIY Fresher than you Beyonce wall art

Another easy DIY was this artwork I hung on the back wall. My mom was cleaning something out (her attic or garage or something) and had this big silver frame with the glass broken out of it. I happily took it off her hands last spring with this project in mind. I just bought this fabulous Nate Berkus fabric from Jo-Ann’s and a can of blue spray paint. After my mom sprayed the frame for me during our girls crafting day, I stapled the fabric to the back of the frame while pulling it taunt and attached a picture frame hook to the back of it. Easy peasy.

DIY Wall Art Nate Berkus-Bathroom Makeover DIYDIY Wall Art Nate BerkusI think this bathroom has a ton of potential, and I can’t wait to take out the bathtub and knock some walls down. The dark shower stall is less than ideal too (especially when I’m shaving my legs,) but for about $100 and a day’s worth of work, I think we’ll manage for the time being.

Master Bathroom Makeover Before-After

Favorite Five: Fabulous Light Fixtures For Less


One of the easiest, quickest ways to make a dramatic change in your new home is to install new light fixtures.  You’d seriously be surprised at how immediately the entire feel of the room can change!

Nearly every room in my house has an old, generic ceiling fan… even the kitchen and dining room!  The lights that are not ceiling fans are super old and ugly–including the exterior lights–so all of them will be replaced at some point.

Since we’ll need to buy so many, I’ve been searching high and low for some really good deals.  Light fixtures are one of those things that are higher priced than they probably should be, and I happen to also be drawn to things that are enormously out of my budget! It never fails–I’ll finally find exactly what I have envisioned and it’ll be $2,600 instead of $250.  Grrrr.


(1. Fiess Cadence Polished Nickel Pendant, Eurostyle Lighting. 2. Celestial Galaxy Pendant light, Dot&Bo. 3. Chrome Sputnik replica, Amazon. 4. Sphere Pendent Lamp, Dot&Bo. 5. Dropped Props Hanging Light, Joss and Main. 6. Rio Multi-light Pendant, Lumens.)

So, I’ve already been doing all of this leg work, and it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share my findings!  Here are my Favorite Five places to find fabulous light fixtures at discounted prices:


It might sound like an obvious one, but time after time I’ve had such good luck on Overstock! It’s really hit or miss, but if you’re patient and willing to look through the hundred of items, you’re likely to find your little gem at a ridiculous price.


This is a new one I found! I’ve been on a mission to find some super cool mid-mod fixtures for both the dining and living rooms, and the selection on this site was unbeatable.  Mind you, they do definitely have some pricier items, Buuuut… I kept surfing the site and ended up getting our exterior fixtures at a lower price than  I had been seeing elsewhere.


Have I mentioned yet how much I love Joss & Main? It’s similar to One King’s Lane, but I find the items to be priced better–OKL tends to be a little bit higher end. Plus, I think that the daily shops are a bit more repetitive than on Joss & Main.  When they have their lighting shops, you can find fixtures for half-off!


Okay, so another no-brainer, but if you haven’t checked it out already, do it!  As always, Amazon is so great at doing a lot of the leg work for you, and pulling in great priced items from around the net.  I ended up finding the perfect light here for my living room, at 60% off retail!


I love everything about this website, and the lighting is no exception! They have such cool mid-century-modern pieces, and at reasonable prices.  If you’re looking for a statement piece, this is where to get it.