12 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas, From Glossy Tiles to Sleek Marble
Give yourself a good view during meal prep.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:25 AM
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 a bold graphic design. These kitchen backsplash ideas have something for everyone—whether you’re craving a burst of color or a serene white backdrop.
If You Want a Play on Subway Tile
Subway tile is classic for a reason—it’s clean and simple, but it’s admittedly not very adventurous. Here, perfectly aligned gray tiles offer a subtle spin on the typically all-white option while pairing nicely with pale blue cabinet fronts.
If You’re Looking for Something Graphic
A graphic, patterned backsplash may feel like a risk, but it can also be totally versatile. In this Brooklyn kitchen, black, white, and gray tiles look great against an accent color delivered in the form of a red Le Creuset Dutch oven and matching knobs on a Wolf stove.
If You Love a Burst of Neon
Much of Brynn Jones’s Southern California home, designed by Frances Merrill of Reath Design, draws inspiration from the ’70s, but her chartreuse yellow backsplash is perfectly modern. The glossy tiles make a dramatic contrast to the white-and-walnut cabinets and draw attention to Jones’s extensive vintage glass collection.
If You Insist on a White Kitchen
A timeless white subway tile might be tough to pass over, and if you insist on this 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
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, as 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
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
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
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
While penny tiles are often found in bathrooms, there’s no reason why they can’t be used for a kitchen backsplash if you want something smaller than a standard square or rectangle. If you’re planning on incorporating open shelving or colorful cabinets into the 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 a Rustic Look
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
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
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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