Jennifer Garner champions this 'dated' kitchen trend, with a modern and sophisticated twist

The actress is proving this trend is here to stay

Jennifer Garner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jennifer Garner quickly became one of the internet's favourite aspiring chefs with her 'Pretend Cooking Show' on Instagram, and a glimpse into the actress' gorgeous kitchen proves that metro tiles aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Whether we like it or not, kitchen trends can often be fleeting, so it pays to be clued up on the ones set to last for a cooking space you'll love for years to come. Although there have been rumblings dubbing metro tiles as a design feature dating your home, interior designer and founder of AMC Design, Ann Marie Cousins assures that metro tiles are a 'style which has segued, fairly effortlessly, into the classic lookbook'.

Nailing the metro tile simply boils down to reimagining them with a modern eye – and Jennifer Garner is leading the pack in the resurgence of this kitchen tile idea.

The iconic metro tile was first used in the New York subway station in 1904, with the London Underground adopting it shortly after. Since then it has found a home in kitchen and metro tile bathroom ideas alike, favoured for its practicality and versatility.

Since then, it's never really been out of style, but rather a trend which Sarah Lloyd, paint and interiors expert at Valspar warns can 'often lack character and feel a bit industrial in your home' if not done correctly.

However, Ann Marie reassures us 'if you're careful and considered in what you combine it with, it will never jar the eye'.

Ann Marie Cousins
Ann Marie Cousins

Ann Marie Cousins is an SBID-accredited interior designer and founder of the award-winning Yorkshire-based interior design studio AMC Design, which aims to bring a home to life by blending function and eye-catching design. They specialise in mixing colour, pattern and texture with effective and efficient use of space to transform houses into homes that truly reflect the people living there.

Detail of white cupboards with wooden top in kitchen, white wall tiles.

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

That being said, Jennifer Garner's kitchen is a perfect example of making subway tiles sing in a cooking space. 'In Jennifer's kitchen, we certainly see elements of farmhouse design with a more modern, sophisticated twist,' begins Anne Haimes, design director and founder of Anne Haimes Interiors.

'The shaker-style cupboards and warm wood flooring all help bring a rustic edge to her home. However, the glossy tiles paired with marble worktops add a welcome touch of luxe.'

Anne Haimes
Anne Haimes

Anne Haimes is a member of the prestigious British Institute of Interior Design, and founder and design director at Anne Haimes Interiors (est. 2001) based in Oxfordshire. Anne specialises in luxury refurbishment and project management, from her beautiful design studio in Henley-on-Thames.

It's this balance and contrast of old and new that gives the classic subway tile a new lease of life in a refreshing way. However, if you're still concerned about them looking dated, there are plenty of ways you can easily modernise the look and reconfigure these tiles in unexpected ways.

Kitchen with dark fitted cupboards, black wall tiles, dark wooden floor and bright blue marbled work top with a small dog sitting beside a glass door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Kate Martin)

How to make metro tiles work in a kitchen

If you're feeling bold, Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at tile manufacturer, Ca' Pietra suggests teaming the tiles with a pop of colour, whether that's through the grout used, or through a curated kitchen colour scheme.

Then, have fun with the layout. 'Herringbone and basketweave formations bring the tile bang up to date,' says Grazzie, giving metro tiles a more modern feel for a contemporary kitchen splashback idea.

Open plan kitchen with pink walls, black Shaker style kitchen units, and rustic vintage furniture

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

For a small kitchen, consider taking your brick layout vertically to elongate the space. 'Instead of placing horizontally and staggered in the traditional brick configuration, try placing them vertically to give the illusion of adding height to your home,' suggests Anne.

Lastly, you could even ditch the smooth and flat finish of a traditional metro tile altogether. 'Think about zellige and concrete tiles which can give a very modern or even more glamorous finish,' says Ann Marie. 'You could choose an uneven design which will give the surface a more faceted finish, providing a little added texture and gleam.'

It's all about the little things you can do to elevate the ordinary metro tile to add that touch of luxe and bring it right back up to date, in Jennifer Garner-approved fashion.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.