Published on April 17, 2020

On their own, white kitchen cabinets can come off as pretty vanilla. It’s the materials that surround them—the countertop, the floors, and, most important, the backsplash—that ultimately set a bold space apart from a boring one. While there’s nothing wrong with a standard subway tile, there’s a whole world of combinations to choose from. When it comes to finding the perfect match for your neutral cupboards, a healthy dose of inspiration is the best place to start, so we rounded up eight of our favorite backsplash ideas for white cabinets.

The Indoor Jungle

galley kitchen with verdant green tilesPin It
Photography by Kasia Fiszer; Design and Styling by Emilie Fournet Interiors

The glossy emerald tiles in this Emilie Fourne–designed kitchen echo the homeowner’s love of plants. Greenery is displayed at different heights, from hanging planters to potted succulents, lending even more dimension to the jewel-toned backdrop and the beaded door fronts.

The Defined Grid

pink island facing white kitchenPin It
Photography by Johnny Fogg; Styling by Jen Levy

Jen Levy upgraded her NYC rental with a peel-and-stick backsplash, though you’d never be able to tell because the $120 find looks like authentic ceramic. The material arrived in large 12-by-12-inch sheets, which she then applied by starting in one corner and working her way across. The final touch was going over the seams with a black grout pen to add contrast to the monochromatic nook.

The Fluid Geometric

wavy blue tiles extending from backsplash to wallPin It
Photography by Jessica Antola

The Gio Ponti–style tiles in designer Starret Ringbom’s kitchen move throughout the space like one big wave, wrapping around the wall. The crescent shapes help soften the strict edges of the cabinet frames.

The Standout Subway

bright pink subway tilesPin It
Photography by Lauren Kolyn

DIY vlogger Alexandra Gater’s tiny kitchen is another example of how stick-on tiles can alter the appearance of basic doors. The pink sheets she applied to the walls, along with the new brass knobs and copper sink faucet, instantly make the room feel modern. 

The Wood Wonder

light wood backsplash with dark wood countersPin It
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

When Jessica Goehring and Nathan See were designing their dream kitchen, Goehring came up with a fresh take on beadboard in the form of whitewashed oak planks. The wider-than-usual boards add an old-fashioned touch to the crisp cabinets. 

The Statement Neutral

white kitchen with red vintage runnerPin It
Photography by Stacey van Berkel

White kitchens never go out of style, according to designer Kara Cox, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be made to feel brand-new with a different colored island or graphic backsplash that’s an optical illusion. 

The Neon Hit

neon yellow backsplash with white and wood cabinetsPin It
Photography by Yoshihiro Makino

It’s okay to break the rules in a historic home. In Brynn Jones’s mid-century kitchen, ultra-bright chartreuse tiles play surprisingly well with the walnut and cream cabinets and dark wood. 

The Dramatic Marble

black and white marble behind a stovetopPin It
Photography Courtesy of Studio DB

This stone slab’s heavy, dark vein in the middle introduces a much-needed organic touch to the pristine stovetop and sleek brass hardware. Studio DB didn’t have to go to the trouble of putting art in the room—this marble is up to the job. 

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