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Anyone who has renovated their kitchen knows the drill: You spot a dreamy backsplash idea on Instagram, fall in love with the tile, hunt it down—and discover its light-years outside your budget. Logic will tell you to let it go. Your heart will tell you to splurge. Claire Thomas’s take? Meet in the middle and downsize.

The Sweet Laurel Bakery cofounder’s Big Bear, California, cabin is a lesson in scaling back. “Historically, I’ve always had a version of a white kitchen. But for this home I wanted to do something fun and wild and unexpected,” says Thomas. The wow factor fell in her lap after a serendipitous miscalculation. “I’m terrible at math and overestimated the tile for the fireplace platform in the living room,” she explains. “We had exactly what you see as the backsplash left over.” 

The statement tile in question is a custom colorway of Fireclay’s Harvest style from its Agrarian collection. At $30 per piece, Thomas would have maxed out her budget had she decided to cover all three walls in the stuff. Instead, she relegated the leftover tiles to just the space behind the cooktop and used a simple white subway tile for the rest of the room. The groovy avocado green and sorbet pink half-moons really drove the “1960s ski party” theme she was going for. “I loved the look of the circles because there are so many lines in this room with all the wood. I thought bringing in some curves would help make it less busy for the eye,” she says.

So when you realize you can’t afford to cover your entire kitchen in the backsplash of your choice, don’t desert your plans entirely. A small pop of color is much better than none at all!  We’d happily have a taste of any of the groovy tiles below.

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