How to Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen
It happens to even the best cooks: a pot boils over or a blender lid gets loose. Suddenly your newly-painted wall is covered in food stains.
That’s one of the reasons why backsplashes (or splashbacks) are so popular. By installing one, you can protect your wall against stray food and more.
Besides that, kitchen backsplashes are a great way to add a unique design element that adds a splash of color and texture to the room. A well-designed backsplash can bring other design elements together perfectly.
Keep reading to learn more about how to choose a backsplash that is perfect for you and your kitchen.
Considerations for Backsplashes
There are five things that you need to think about when choosing a backsplash for your kitchen.
As you may already know, every person will have different needs and wants so there’s no perfect backsplash that works for every person or even every kitchen.
The first thing you want to do is look at the material options for your backsplash and how they can best work in your kitchen.
There are quite a few to choose from…more than you probably even realized. Let’s break them down.
Harken back to yesteryear using brick in its raw form. Reddish hues, the uneven brick textures and mortar can bring an old-world European look to your kitchen. Or, it can suggest the flavor of an old New York pizza joint. Either way, it’ll make you hungry.
Bounce some soft spotlights off it with wood utensils and small pictures hung about, and you complete a pretty compelling scene to get you in the right cooking mood.
Just be sure to add a coat of matte sealant to keep the brick from staining and make it super easy to keep clean. That said, it will hide the “dirt” well.
Almost a complete design opposite of brick, the smooth sheen of stainless steel can make a modern kitchen feel futuristic.
If this look or a commercial feel is what you’re after, then this is a sleek industrial option.
It’s one of the easiest materials to wipe clean when needed, although it may show splatters or hard water spots more easily.
If you have stainless appliances in your kitchen, this can either compliment those or create an “overkill” effect. Bottom line, use it wisely and it can look pretty sharp.
This is one of the most popular backsplash options. You see it everywhere, in one form or another in every design trend generation.
Tile looks great and timeless whether it’s a pure white ceramic subway type, or an attractive travertine.
Tile can be less expensive than many other types, and is easy enough to cut to size and install by an experienced handyman or weekend warrior.
While many people love the color and design options, and the affordability, the biggest complaint is probably keeping the grout clean.
That said, a little tile backsplash can go a long way to sprucing up a plain kitchen.
While using tile may be the most cost-effective, glass backsplashes are popular because they’re easy-to-clean, heat-resistant, and gorgeous with the right kind of lighting.
As you can see in just one example pictured above, there are creative ways to use glass in your kitchen.
Colors, designs, photography, artwork, and patterns make the options virtually unlimited when you look at glass.
Glass tiles, mixed with other types of materials is becoming more and more popular.
A less common option, but perfectly usable is dawning your kitchen walls with mirrored like surfaces.
Don’t think literal mirrors here as frankly, that’s gone out with the wet bars of the 1970s and 80s.
Like the photo above, a mirrored backsplash can be tinted or smokey-glass style. It’s a modern look that joins simplicity and mystery.
If you want an option that is super easy to install, is cheap, trendy and no-nonsense, then acrylic is something to consider.
These vary in form, coming in large panels you can literally tack up behind a stove or range. Or, you can find textured varieties to add a little flare.
One of the most widely used stone backsplash materials used today is marble.
It’s popularity in recent years may be owed to it matching well with the “50 shades of gray” color schemes you see used a lot in kitchen and bathroom makeovers as well as new homes.
Marble and other stone types can be placed in sheets like a slab or puzzled in as smaller tiles.
A trend used decades ago, it’s not entirely ridiculous to use wall paper in your kitchen today.
You can find water resistant wallpaper that holds up to grease and cleaning agents as well as moisture.
Not only is it cheaper, it’s much easier to install relatively speaking. And along with its easy install, it’s easy to take down and trade out if a new look is desired.
And just like most of the other materials listed here, there are endless options when it comes to designs, colors and even textures. Although, a smooth outer finish is always best to keep things clean.
Sometimes, you just can’t decide what you want your backsplash to made out of. And that’s ok…because there are many types that come with multiple materials.
It’s not uncommon to find glass and stone pieces mixed together in a mosaic form. These styles offer a unique and sometimes electric look to contrast other elements in your kitchen.
One interesting example, such as this one combines real shells and conches, crystal glass, and an artificial resin marble stone. How’s that for a talking piece anytime you have guests visit your kitchen?
The area of your kitchen in which you’re adding a backsplash will definitely help determine what type you need.
For example, the area above the stove will need to be fireproof whereas the space behind the sink should be waterproof above all.
No matter where it is, you’ll want a backsplash that’s washable. It’s inevitable that it’s going to get dirty at some point, so you want to be able to easily wash off whatever gets on it.
Something else to think about is the size of the backsplash and what’s best for your walls and the size of your kitchen, the cabinet height,
We all know the more customary 12″-18″ high runner type that circles around our kitchen. These typical installations, span from the back of our counters either most of the way or meeting at the bottom of our cabinets.
There is also the more bold application, when backsplashes can go up to your ceiling, encasing cutouts like windows or pass shelf opening. You’ll even see these types go to the floor in some cases.
The area of space you’re covering can also help determine the pattern size. Typically, if you’re covering a large area, a larger pattern can do better. A smaller area can have smaller pattern elements.
The layout of your kitchen and its design really dictate which size and area covered is appropriate.
As with anything, you want a nice balance. You don’t want it to look like you got an amazing deal on a bunch of tile and forced yourself to use it all over your kitchen.
The color of your backsplash will most likely be determined by the color scheme you have in the rest of your kitchen.
You can either have it blend well with the rest of the colors or allow it to be an accent.
If most of your kitchen is done with lighter colors, a dark backsplash can be a fun way to draw attention to it.
Alternatively, if using a mostly neutral color scheme, using a brightly-colored backsplash can bring an element of fun to the room.
Of course, you’ll also need to consider your budget when picking out a backsplash.
Keep in mind that this is something that will be in your home for a while so you should spend a little more on it since you’ll enjoy it for a number of years.
Now you know what to think about when it comes to kitchen backsplashes. Once you’ve got yours installed, it’s time to get to work in your kitchen.
If you want more tips and tricks for every part of the kitchen, be sure to check out our blog. There, you can find recipes, design tips, tool guides, and appliance reviews.