Discover 15 innovative kitchen backsplash ideas that are sure to spruce up your entire kitchen just by changing the backsplash.
If you want to upgrade the look of your kitchen fast, change out your backsplash for a focal point worth hosting a dinner party to brag about. That little sliver of wall between your kitchen counters and upper cabinets can have the biggest impact on your kitchen’s decor style.
We’ve rounded up 15 of the most dramatic kitchen backsplash ideas to spruce up your kitchen. One is sure to fit your home’s current interior design style or possibly inspire an entirely new look.
If your all-white kitchen needs a pop of color, you’ve got a perfect excuse to have fun creating a backsplash of colorful mosaic tiles.
Your backsplash options here are basically unlimited. First, choose a color scheme — this will depend on your home’s design style, countertops, and kitchen cabinet colors. For instance, with mid-century decor and medium brown cabinetry, play up the theme with a simple repeat of three or four 70s-era colors. Think poppy orange, copper, harvest gold, and avocado green.
Look at your kitchen. If you see bright white cabinets, you’re not alone. White cabinetry is the most popular fixture, seen in roughly 45% of homes. Add some zest with tiles in bold colors. Primary colors like red, yellow, and blue will serve you well here. Let the mosaic tiles take center stage by opting for grout in a lighter shade than the tiles.
If your kitchen is a blank slate or features entirely white cabinets, your backsplash can handle the all-over color of bright hand-painted Talavera tiles in a mix of patterns and styles. The bright colors can enhance your vintage Pyrex collection on open shelving or help tie in your primary-colored stoneware.
While these ceramic tiles have a serious impact as a backsplash, carrying them up the wall, around your range hood, then to the ceiling dramatically boosts the visual interest of your kitchen space. Maximizing vertical space isn’t only for small kitchens; grand is in demand.
Where some kitchens seem to beg for colored tile, others seem to be craving geometric patterning to give your eye a direction to follow.
Creating a chevron pattern with your backsplash tiles is a smart way to create interest in a solid-colored backsplash, especially if your tiles are white. The all-white kitchen is serene but, at times, may feel a bit sterile: Adding a touch of patterning with tile can bring it back to life.
If you want a patterned backsplash that elevates your kitchen with a high-end look, consider a herringbone patterned backsplash. Maybe it’s the storied history of the construction style or the classic wool fabric it brings to mind, but few tile patterns look as put-together as herringbone.
By itself, porcelain tile may not seem like an innovative new backsplash idea. However, if those porcelain tiles are matte rather than polished, you’re definitely covering new ground.
Matte porcelain adds an earthy depth to blue-green kitchen tiles. Subtle and lighter colors take on a rich, aged look in porcelain, no matter what size tile you choose to work with. With less reflection on the surface, your eyes can focus on the gentle shifts in color.
If the overall color palette of your kitchen is gentle enough, go for a bolder matte porcelain tile color that absorbs light and draws the eye, and the light wood open shelving really pops.
Subway tile has been a classic since the construction of New York’s subways in the early 1900s, but it is being used in ways its originators never expected. Try some of these variations on a classic style in your kitchen.
You can’t go wrong with the traditional running pattern of subway tiles as your backsplash. If the all-white subway tile backsplash is a bit too ubiquitous for you, choose an unexpected color, like a bright bamboo green or a soothing pale pink.
Beyond considering a color change, arranging your subway tiles differently can make a big difference in your backsplash’s visual impact. Simply stacking your vertical tiles one on top of the other to form a grid looks new again after so many running tile designs.
To stir things up, stack subway tiles atop one another vertically: Strong vertical lines can make the ceiling seem higher. If you offset your tiles to half the width of the tile laid just below it, you have a similar feel to the traditional running tile design while keeping the fresh feeling of a vertical pattern.
If you have a backsplash large enough to showcase a basketweave pattern, arrange subway tiles in pairs of two placed vertically atop two placed horizontally for a modern kitchen take on a classic floor tile look.
Speaking of classic looks, penny tile is a retro floor tile favorite that is an eye-catching and easy choice for your kitchen backsplash.
While your actual tiles are very small, they come on large one-foot square sheets that can be laid atop your wall cement quickly and cut to fit with scissors! The only step left is grouting over the wall. No one would ever guess that your backsplash of hundreds of small tiles was actually one of the easiest kinds to install.
Penny tile brings retro kitchens and bathrooms of the past to mind, so it’s a clear winner if you already have a vintage home decor style in your kitchen and dining room. You can use solid white penny tiles to play it safe and cross interior design eras more easily or use mixed-color tile arrangements for fun pops of retro color.
No one says penny tile has to be classic white. In fact, the multi-faceted reflective surface of your penny tiles is extra dramatic in iridescent ombre glass tiles. They shimmer and change color subtly to give your backsplash a sense of movement and depth.
Get back to your farmhouse roots with a salvaged wood backsplash.
When you want to go all the way with a rustic decor theme or maybe you want to add just a touch of older, natural materials to your space, sourcing real barn wood with a story to tell is an excellent way to bring warmth and a sense of history to your kitchen. You can cut your boards into long “tiles” that can be hung in a running pattern you might use for subway tiles.
If you’re not sure where to find authentic farm salvage wood, you can get the look by repurposing wood leftovers or aging your wood planks with hammers and nails or chain, then staining them in slightly different colors for the look of old weathered farmhouse boards.
Salvaged wood isn’t the only way to give a rustic look to your backsplash. Metal can take your kitchen from a rustic cabin feel all the way to an art deco glam, depending on the metal material you choose.
Corrugated metal can bring an interesting texture to your farmhouse-style kitchen while adding a vertical or horizontal linear element.
Tin ceiling tiles have an antique feel that would complement a modern farmhouse or a traditional home interior design style. Tin tiles can be purchased new, but with some careful shopping, vintage pieces will add a new depth of character to the walls.
Handmade hammered metal tiles add the texture of the stone to the reflective quality of metal to bring added depth and interest to your glam kitchen. You can source these as large, hammered tiles or smaller, faceted ceramic tiles with intricate diamond or shell patterning.
Nothing complements more design styles than the serene look of a beautiful marble slab. The material may be as old as the hills, but the way we use it in today’s kitchen is ever-evolving.
It works in an all-white kitchen, coordinates with farmhouse style, can be effortlessly modern, and lends itself to minimalism with subtle veining. The marble of choice for Michaelangelo, Carrera marble, has a rich history and has been a favorite for centuries, and will endure the test of time.
If you want to maximize the presence of your white marble countertops, carry the same marble tile up your kitchen wall for a cohesive backsplash.
White marble may have been king for the last decade in kitchen design, but brown marble is finding its way back into the limelight lately. If your cabinetry is already reflective of the arts and crafts era and you’d like to explore this love of raw materials further, brown marble is in order.
If you’re on the fence about a darker style, go for a light marble with darker veins of color, like Calacatta with inky black veins, or go even more subtle with golden brown veins.
Like clothing for a formal evening event, black always dresses a space up. Add glamor and drama to your kitchen with a black marble that runs along your backsplash and up a wall.
Minimal and rustic homes charm with the old-world feeling of natural stone in the kitchen. Get that same earthy quality of stone tile underfoot by adding textured stone as a backsplash.
If your kitchen isn’t as much about color but more about the use of natural textures, you’ll appreciate the way stone backsplash can range from very rough-hewn stone slabs to slightly textured rectangular tiles. These tiles can be set in a running pattern, much like exterior stone blocks would be set to enhance your minimal kitchen palette.
If you’re really up for a DIY challenge, try creating your own river rock stone backsplash by placing smooth, thin river rocks into wall cement yourself. Your placement can have color variance, much like the rocks you’d find wading in a river, or you can allow the texture to do all of the talking and keep them a uniform color.
Nothing makes a kitchen feel industrial and modern as fast as including some highly reflective stainless steel in the space.
Stainless steel can come in large sheets that may fit your backsplash space exactly for a smooth, undisturbed finish all the way across the wall. Consider adding other stainless steel elements to your kitchen, like wrapping an island cart in your sheet metal leftovers.
If you have a large area to cover or want a more geometric design for your backsplash, hang vertical strips of stainless steel in one of the subway tile patterns we mentioned above.
While hand-crafted glass tiles are a time-honored staple of kitchen backsplash design, your glass tile backsplash can give your contemporary kitchen an exciting new look.
Glass tiles can come in color-shifting ombre tiles (think of the colors of the ocean shimmering in afternoon light), or it can be one large panel of glass painted on the back to create a sleek, modern backsplash that looks right at home with smooth front cabinetry.
Create a mockup of your kitchen to experiment with a variety of glass backsplash colors in Spoak’s room visualization tool.
Take the reflective surface of your backsplash up a notch with a mirrored backsplash. You will visually double your space and add depth to your food prep area.
Mirrored tiles come in small and intricate designs that lend a glamorous look to your kitchen, or you can add large mirrored panels to your space. Larger panels will make your room feel bigger, so keep the look your space needs in mind when choosing.
Using antique mercury glass mirrors will still make your kitchen appear larger but also add a patina to your backsplash that speaks to a more elegant age. Mirrors with some oxidation are a real interior design coup. If you find multiple mirror tiles, piece them together over your kitchen wall with rosettes to hold them in place, further giving your kitchen an art deco feel.
Nothing portrays the warmth of home and hearth like a brick-walled kitchen. It adds a geometric pattern, a rusty, earthy color, and the feeling of age.
Before you begin sourcing materials for your brick backsplash, make sure you don’t have brick beneath the plaster, paneling, or drywall of your kitchen. If you do, pull off the layers of the decades to reveal the old bones of your home.
If you aren’t blessed with said ol bones, brick over the existing kitchen wall or use brick-like wall panels. These panels are thin and easy to install with minimal effort. They also don’t require a remodel to cover the wall behind appliances.
Beadboard is a classic style of wall covering that gives your kitchen backsplash the same refined, traditional look. You can actually install your own beadboard with strips of wood treated for mildew resistance to better work as a backsplash.
If hanging beadboard sounds arduous, consider cutting a wainscoting panel to size for a custom-looking backsplash that will be right at home in a New England cottage decor.
Many of the above styles come in peel-and-stick variations that are the perfect kitchen makeover fix for little risk. Obviously, this appeals to renters, but even homeowners are indulging in whimsical kitchen tile styles, knowing their removable nature makes dabbling in a new design style safer. Use your peel-and-stick tiles as a trial run in a design style before investing in a full kitchen remodel.
Now that you’ve seen this exhaustive list of exciting directions you can take your backsplash, which idea, or ideas, will you bring to your kitchen design?
Photo Credit: (Left) Fireclay Tile
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