Beveled white subway tile and polished nickel cabinet hardware add character and light to our builder grade kitchen, while staying on budget!

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

Hello friends! It’s been a little while; January and February were busy and somewhat challenging months for us, but the weather is warming up and the promise of spring is in the air! Today I’m excited to share a project we completed recently: our builder grade kitchen update!

(Side note: I always love seeing DIY kitchen updates. But the fact of the matter is… we aren’t that handy! Some of you may be able to install tile and hardware on your own, but we decided to hire a friend who has much more experience than us. We are so happy with the result!)

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

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The first order of business for our kitchen update was selecting tile for a backsplash. I always knew I loved the clean and classic look of white subway tile, but our builder didn’t offer many options and it would have been much more expensive. We decided to wait a year after moving in to tackle this project.

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

Of course I spent that year pinning inspirational photos, and deciding exactly what type of tile would be best for our kitchen (research addict over here!). I finally decided I liked the look of beveled subway tile because of the dimension it adds, and the way it reflects light. We ended up using Daltile Finesse Bright White 3 in. x 6 in. Ceramic Beveled Wall Tile , and the coordinating 2 in. x 6 in. Ceramic Bullnose Tile from Home Depot.

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

Many people use gray grout for white subway tile, but I chose white grout for a few reasons: 1. Our kitchen isn’t huge, and white looks brighter. 2. We already have gray walls throughout our home and honestly I’m a bit tired of gray! 3. I felt that gray grout would lean heavily towards the “farmhouse” look in our kitchen, and–don’t be shocked–I’ve been loving a more traditional/transitional style more lately. So we used bright white grout 🙂

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

For a few of the same reasons, I selected polished nickel hardware rather than oil rubbed bronze or black. Basically I wanted our kitchen to feel as bright and shiny as possible 😉 These knobs and handles by Amerock are beautiful adorning our white cabinets, and functional too!

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen
Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

It took our friend about three days to complete this project. He has a background in tile installation and did such a beautiful job! Honestly, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen ever since–it just feels brighter and more inviting 🙂

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen
Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen
Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen
Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

(By the way, I fully admit that our kitchen is not usually this tidy! In fact the space shown above usually hosts piles of mail, assorted fruits and veggies, and basically anything I set down on my way in from the garage. Just giving you a reality check, hehe!)

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen
Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

Now if I could just motivate myself to get baking! 😉

I hope you all enjoyed this glimpse into our builder grade kitchen update. It was the first significant change we made in our new home, and I think it made a big impact on a small budget. Here is the cost breakdown in case you are interested!

Builder Grade Kitchen Update Cost Breakdown

  • Beveled white subway tile* (2 cases): $97.67
  • Bullnose tile: $15.02
  • Grout: $14.84
  • Cabinet Hardware: $93.43
  • Longer screws for electrical outlets: $6
  • Labor & additional installation materials: $400

Total project cost: $626.96

*I originally ordered 4 cases of subway tile. The contents of almost 2 whole cases cracked in shipment! Thankfully we had a lot of extra, and I was able to return 2 cases for a full refund. So, we actually used about 2.5 cases (roughly 28 square feet).

Daydreaming about projects and updates is so exciting now that we have a home! At the same time, recently I have felt convicted to be content right where we are. We have so much to be thankful for today. I love the task of slowly turning our house into a home that reflects our style and passions, and I do not think I would complete it all immediately even if we could afford it. There is joy in the process 🙂

Builder Grade Kitchen Update at LionAndLantern.com | white subway tile, beveled subway tile, transitional kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, traditional kitchen, bright kitchen, white kitchen, DIY kitchen

Thanks so much for stopping by today, friends! Leave me a comment and let me know what projects you have planned or in progress, or what is your kitchen style? I’d love to see your designs too!

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