Published on July 13, 2019

When dreaming up your ideal kitchen, it’s easy to spend all of your time obsessing over big-ticket items. How wide would you like the island to be? Do you prefer open shelving or not? Which color would you paint your cabinets? But one detail that tends to get lost amid these larger pieces is one that often sets the tone for the room: the backsplash.

Backsplashes take up quite a bit of square footage in a kitchen and therefore require a fair amount of attention. No one likes staring at boring white tiles when chopping onions, after all, so it’s worth it to venture into more modern territory with bold graphic designs. Convinced? We found nine kitchen backsplash ideas that can help give your kitchen something fun to stare at. 

If you insist on a white kitchen…

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Photo by Jessica Kettle

Let’s get the most obvious choice out of the way: white kitchens. A timeless white subway tile might be tough to pass over, and if you insist on this classic choice, we’re not going to stop you. Studio McGee offers a twist on the classic porcelain backsplash with slightly offset square tiles. That small switch feels fresh and the dark grout makes it more noticeable. 

If you prefer veins to grout…

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Courtesy of Studio DB

Perhaps you think any grout lines look busy. And if that’s the case, consider how a large marble slab could work as a backsplash, like in this kitchen by Studio DB. The consistent veining of the marble provides a cohesive pattern that’s further harmonized by matching slabs on the island and hood. Makes for a calming effect, doesn’t it?

If you like lots of pattern…

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Courtesy of Saffron and Poe

Now that colorful cabinetry has been fully embraced, you may be tempted to balance that with a timid backsplash. But this example from Saffron and Poe, which is part of an equally beautiful home, can give you the confidence to use just as much personality in your backsplash, too. The intricate pattern makes the entire kitchen feel more lively, which might be the exact mood you need for the heart of the home. 

If you’re feeling dramatic…

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Courtesy of Studio Sven

Black can be a bold choice for any kitchen, but when it’s the primary shade of the room—as it is for this one designed by Lauren Svenstrup of Studio Sven—it can make for a showstopping feature. Svenstrup used a black Venetian plaster to match the dark countertops and cabinets, creating a space that feels delightfully enveloping. The gold and wood accents balance out all the black but still feel just as dramatic. 

If you want something blue…

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Photo by Lindsay Hollinger

Bright tiling is sometimes all you need to offset a kitchen from the rest of a home, as is the case of Lindsay Hollinger’s cooking space in Joshua Tree. She renovated her kitchen to have a blue starburst tile backsplash and kept the rest of the space minimal, making that pattern stand out. 

If you prefer downsizing…

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Photo by Aaron Bengochea

While penny tiles are often found in bathrooms, there’s no reason why they can’t be used for kitchen backsplashes if you want something smaller than a standard square or rectangle. If you’re planning on incorporating open shelving or colorful cabinets into your design, then penny tiles can provide a consistent backdrop. We also like the idea of using a bright penny tile—like pink!—as well. 

If you gravitate toward rustic looks…

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Photo by Aaron Bengochea

While exposed beams and wood floors are the most ubiquitous ways to incorporate rustic touches into a kitchen, it is possible to work this aesthetic into a backsplash, too. This example shows how golden-hued rectangular tiles can mimic the look of wood, creating a comfortable yet rugged finish. 

If you want to make a statement…

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Courtesy of Naked Kitchens

There’s nothing like a metal finish to catch your eye, and that’s especially true if you use it as a striking backsplash. This example from Naked Kitchens uses sheets of brass to make a simple yet effective statement, since the metal contrasts the surrounding shades and effortlessly captures the room’s natural light. Pair this with your morning coffee and you’ll be sure to wake up in a great mood. 

If you want a natural touch…

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Photo by Aaron Bengochea

For those who prefer to embrace the stunning imperfections of exposed brick, consider the look of a whitewashed brick wall. When paired with plants and other natural finishes, this option looks charmingly bohemian.

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Maybe You Should Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Many, Many Different Colors
12 Ways to Rethink Your Kitchen Backsplash