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Downsizing & Upscaling

How Tin Tile Created Drama in the Kitchen

When homeowner, Theresa LaRue decided it was time to downsize, it was a big adjustment. It’s a dilemma many empty nesters face. With the kids out of the house, it was the right time to move to a smaller place and embrace a new lifestyle.

It’s also an opportunity to consider some upscale perks. The chance to build a dream home complete with custom kitchen was too good to pass up. Theresa turned her attention to creating a custom interior design.

While researching, she happened across American Tin Ceilings and it was love at first sight.

Looking into a galley style kitchen with black distressed tin tile on the backsplash.

Adapting for an Upscale Backsplash

Theresa quickly identified a large tin pattern and trim she wanted to use on the backsplash in the kitchen. The large scale of the pattern (similar to Patterns #5,or #16 in a 12 inch repeating pattern) left some questions open, however. Would the pattern look better and work better if it went all the way up the wall, or just part way up the wall?

Consistent with the trajectory of the project that question too became an idea that would shift as Theresa went along. When she dry fit the tin tiles as planned, she discovered that the large kitchen would look better with a smaller backsplash rather than all the way to the ceiling.

The original plan was to have trim only on the top of the backsplash, but once it started coming together, Theresa determined that the scale looked better with trim (Crown Molding C3) on the top and bottom. It would create the dramatic effect she desired.

Color too evolved as the project went on. Theresa wanted a distressed look that allowed the silver of the tin tile to peek through but couldn’t decide between black or white. Choosing a color palette (black, blonde, white) guided the entire design and solidified the finishes and details.

When the cabinets and countertops went in, she compared her two choices. “When I saw the drama of the black distress, I knew that was the one,” she said.

Theresa decided to paint the tin tiles herself to achieve the exact look she wanted. She used Krylon spray paint (first primer then black) mostly around the edges of the pattern then sanded the high points of the embossed pattern for the distressed look. A follow up with a high gloss varathane sealer completed the process.

Close up of black distressed tin tile.

Tin Room Challenge

The Tin Room Challenge tasks participants with the challenge of transforming a single room with American Tin Ceilings’ standout products.

You can create a tray ceiling in the kitchen or convert a basement into a swanky speakeasy. Maybe a backsplash or a feature wall is more your style. We invite you to get creative with your spaces then show us what you came up with.

Let 28 modern and vintage-inspired patterns inspire your plans. Then choose from any of our standard or hand-finished Artisan colors to add depth to your space. Get 10% off your order using the code tin10room

The contest runs from now through January and offers VISA gift cards for the winner and runner ups.

1st Prize: $500 Visa Gift Card

2nd Prize: $250 Visa Gift Card

Follower Favorite: $100 (chosen by social media followers #tinroomchallenge)

Learn More about the Challenge

Looking out of a galley style kitchen with a tin tile backsplash.

Being Practical

Though Theresa’s downsize meant she had the ability to create a custom, upscale design, there were practical considerations too.

“As a mom and grandma and one who loves to cook, the kitchen had to be a space that was easy to keep clean and maintain. It was going to be a place used daily,” said Theresa. It also had to be ready at a moment’s notice to become an entertaining space with the backsplash as the focal point of the kitchen. It had to be something that could do it all.

Tin tile gave Theresa everything she wanted: an easy-to-care-for material that would always look stunning and yet be able to stand up to everything she dished out.


Close up of tin tile crown molding in distressed black on a backsplash. 

DIY Installation

Not only did Theresa paint and distress the tin tiles herself, she also installed them on the backsplash herself. “A good pair of tin shears, gloves, wall adhesive, and nails (that match your tin tile color) are all that’s needed to put in a backsplash,” she commented.

Staying on top of the remodel or build schedule is helpful too. Because Theresa was actively thinking and working on her project, when she decided on black for the backsplash, she was able to change switch and outlet covers to black without inconveniencing the electrician or getting any extra fees for the change.

Theresa advises dry fitting and cutting tiles before you start gluing and nailing them down. Ordering a few extra panels is important so you have a backup if you mess up. She also mentions that working in one direction ensures the seams are consistent.

Looking down the length of a black, blonde, and white kitchen with tin tile backsplash.

Reimagine with Tin Tile

Ready to start your own room renovation? With a little imagination and some tin tiles, you too can transform your spaces. Share your progress with us using #tinroomchallenge on social media.

Get Inspired

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