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Photography by HGTV

In the world of kitchen backsplashes, simple white subway tile is always a good idea—but that doesn’t make it a fun or creative choice. Think about how the backsplash functions in your space—it may be providing white balance, and many kitchen designs need that pause point. However, if you’re inclined to go bolder, you probably should. Start by selecting a unique tile shape. Try out a cool color. Or opt for an unusual grout tone. Now, you don’t necessarily need to test these three ideas at the same time, but start with one. Baby steps. Here are some ideas to get you out of a white-tile rut.

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Photography by MICHELLE GAGE

Select a playful color and shape.

Let’s analyze why this backsplash got it right. Since it’s my kitchen, I can speak to this first hand. I knew I wanted white cabinets to brighten up the space, but I didn’t want the room to be boring. Instead, I made the backsplash the star of the show. I chose a fun fish scale tile shape and incorporated ocean-inspired colors. This was my way of twisting the navy kitchen trend into something a bit less expected.

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Photography by HOME POLISH

Choose a contrasting grout color.

If you do gravitate towards the clean look of simple white subway tiles, try an unexpected grout color It’s bolder than white on white. This backsplash got it right with gray grout. It frames the white tiles and makes them pop more than they would if surrounded by white grout.

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Photography by MAISON DE PAX

Add visual interest.

This marble backsplash has such bold details. The striking patterns echo the countertops, and that brings the design full circle. It’s matchy but still incredibly interesting.

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Photography by STUDIO125

Go green.

This kitchen ticks multiple trend boxes: It features a great farmhouse sink and brushed brass hardware. But it’s the backsplash that takes things to the next level. The deep green hexagon tiles are a standout, and the bright white grout makes each hexagon tile pop.

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Photography by HGTV

Select a bold pattern.

The backsplash in this kitchen is a total star. Interior designer extraordinaire emily henderson digs the look of this exotic tile because it has an “I’m on vacation vibe.”

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Photography by DECOR PAD

Create ambiance.

Are you looking to create a moody space like this? Here’s the how-to: Start with ever-popular navy cabinets and a slick marble slab countertop. Then, choose the right backsplash. These glossy black tiles do a lot for the feel of the space—just imagine how different the room would seem with white tiles.

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Photography by HOME POLISH

Find a tile that looks like wallpaper.

This backsplash tile is unlike anything we have ever seen. From a distance, it looks more like wallpaper than ceramic tile. The repeating pattern takes this space from simply chic to extraordinary.

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Photography by DESIRE TO INSPIRE

Choose an intricate pattern.

This tight, Art Deco-inspired pattern works perfectly with this flexible faucet. It’s a surprising choice that really catches the eye.

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Photography by HGTV

Use color in unexpected ways.

Normally, you choose a trendy tile color—not a wild shade of grout. But this backsplash is totally twisted. A peachy pink tone surrounds the fun Moroccan shape.

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Photography by THE JUNGALOW

Tile in tandem.

Our eyes immediately go to this glossy green backsplash tile, but the patterned floor tile is equally fabulous. Make sure your tile choices speak to one another—that’s the key to kitchen success!

Read More:

How To Care Fore Every Type of Backsplash

The Cement Tiles We’re Craving Right Now

Metallic Tiles Are Having a Moment

Published April 26, 2017