The officials announced the proposed changes Thursday, saying the soft lighting and dark colors of the Metro's 86 stations would be supplanted by stainless steel, bright lights and clear glass, The Washington Post reported.
"This embodies all the elements that our customers have been clamoring for," Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said. "We are preserving the great arched spaces that make Metro unique while updating certain elements from the outdated '70s brown look that was common at the time in favor of an updated, 21st-century look."
The Besthesda station will be the first to feature the new look and should be completed by mid-2015, the Post said.
Critics of the proposed changes said transit authorities should focus on the Metro's performance, not its aesthetics. Preservationists and historians said the changes would compromise the stations' distinctive design.
"Every generation has the impulse to make it brighter, but that's like taking a Victorian storefront and slapping aluminum siding on it," said Robert Bruegmann, the author of a book on Metro's principal architect, Harry Weese.