A kitchen can look finished without a backsplash, and sometimes a clean coat of (washable) paint is what best executes a design. But at the same time, there’s also an opportunity to use the space to anchor the overall design of the room.
While countertops, flooring and cabinets are generally places to keep it simple, the backsplash is a good place to inject some personal style, whether that’s with a mosaic feature or a bold color. And since that wall literally connects the countertops with the cabinets it’s also a place to tie everything together.
Do you really need a one? Not really. But you’ll inevitably get that wall dirty while cooking or washing dishes, and an easy-to-clean surface can make messes easier to wipe up, especially if your stove doesn’t have a one built in. And almost any type of material can work–from bamboo to corkboard–as long as it’s properly sealed.
Whether you’re remodeling your entire or kitchen or just looking to refresh the space, we’ve narrowed down a few different takes on the kitchen backsplash.
Given the numerous shapes, sizes and colors available, ceramic tile is probably the most versatile option (it’s also proven to be timeless). There’s plenty of room to play with patterns while still maintaining clean lines: stack tiles in columns, stagger them, or lay them at an angle. Most tile requires minimal maintenance, just be sure to seal the grout so it doesn’t get stained or absorb water.
Most people are after matching stainless steel appliances in their kitchen. Why? Because they look sharp and are central to a modern, updated design. Using stainless steel as the backsplash–either with tiles or a solid sheet–is a continuation of that same feel and creates a sleek, uniform look. The material is easy to wipe clean, doesn’t require grout and will last forever.
MOSAICS AND FOCAL POINTS
The biggest real estate for a focal point is behind the stove. Create focal points by changing up the pattern or color scheme of your materials, whether that’s laying tile at an angle or mixing and matching complimentary colors. And if you’re on a budget, splurge on that stove-top wall and use a less expensive material everywhere else.
Natural stone backsplashes have a distinctly different texture than tiles, and offer a contrast to smooth counters and cabinets. Stone is porous, however, which makes it harder to clean and more prone to chipping. An alternative to using smaller, stacked stones is to continue the same granite or marble used for the countertops all the way up the wall.
Brick one way to warm up a kitchen, whether left as is or painted to match the rest of the design scheme. Like stone, brick can be harder to clean, but can be maintained pretty easily if sealed properly and cleaned on a regular basis.
Glass backsplashes are quickly becoming more popular in kitchen design for a number of reasons: they’re inexpensive, modern, low maintenance and easy to customize. Glass offers a seamless, uninterrupted surface that has the added bonus of reflecting light, which helps to brighten up the room.
From pounded copper to bamboo to chalkboard, there’s really no limit to what materials can be used.
When choosing a backsplash it’s best to think about what you want in the space. Are you a big cook? You’ll want something that doesn’t stain or require hours of scrubbing to clean up. On a budget? Intersperse a pricier tile you like with a cheaper option. After a high resale value? Skip the focal point and stick to something simple with clean lines. Nervous about color? Pick a bold paint color to use on walls instead.