The $12 brass strip that will make your kitchen look like a million bucks.

By Zoë Gowen
Southern Living Cheap Kitchen DIY
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Subway tile is every budget kitchen renovator's best friend. At under $2 per square foot, you can't go wrong. There are endless ways to tailor the look of subway tile to fit your aesthetic. Darker grout colors make subway tile look more modern and graphic. Various patterns also achieve different styles: a running bond pattern is traditional; neatly stacked in rows is more modern; herringbone is elegant.

But what about how to complete the look that you've just created? You're generally left with two options, either leave it bare way across the top (which can look unfinished ), or top it with a bullnose tile (which can look a little bulky). Dilemma solved! We just discovered a cheap way to give your subway tile a totally posh and sleek look for $12.

Meet the Schluter Strip

Much like it sounds, a Schluter strip is a very thin, one-inch thick line of metal designed to accent tiles. Quick Google searches show the strip (in the aluminum finish) being used in very commercial settings like restaurant kitchens and public bathrooms. Don't be fooled though – done right, it's snappy enough to give your kitchen some serious style. However, the key to the snazzier look is to choose the brass finish strip.

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It's also super easy to install. Simply set it into the same mortar that you use to set your tile. Make sure you know the depth of your tile to appropriately order the sized Schluter strip. And before you ask, yes, it's totally fine to use the brass finish strip with nickel hardware. Just a little bit of brass helps warm up a kitchen. The Schluter strip is a pretty timely discovery. Our design crystal ball predicts that the next big kitchen trend is moving in the direction of warming up the white kitchens that we have loved for so long. Get ahead of that with the Schluter strip.