Top Backsplash Styles for Kitchen Designs
January 3, 2023
There are many decisions to make when embarking on a kitchen remodel. From your layout to storage, seating, materials, and lighting, a cohesive kitchen design must balance style and functionality. It is an investment that will enhance your home and your lifestyle, creating a multi-functional space where you can cook, dine, entertain, and create memories with family and friends.
With so many choices to make in planning a kitchen remodel, it can seem like a daunting task. Work with an experienced design professional who can guide you through this kitchen design process and ensure you get the best value for your investment. They can help you choose the ideal layout for your space, allowing you to maximize storage, workspace, and room for entertainment. They will also guide you through selecting the perfect products to achieve your chosen design aesthetic and functional needs.
Of the many surfaces you need to cover in a kitchen design, the backsplash may not be the top of your list of priorities. However, the material you choose for this space above your countertop plays a significant role in your kitchen’s style and functionality. There are so many materials, textures, patterns, and colors to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the perfect one to enhance your kitchen design. Get started with our guide to selecting a backsplash for your next kitchen remodel.
What is the backsplash and why is it important?
The kitchen backsplash simply refers to the wall space between your countertops and upper kitchen cabinets. It typically covers about 18 inches above the countertop, but can extend much higher, even up to the ceiling to cover a full wall. It protects your kitchen walls from moisture, grease, and food splatters, and is especially important above the cooking area and sink. A backsplash also makes it much easier to clean and maintain your walls in a busy kitchen.
Since the backsplash sits at eye level, this visible space influences your style with the shape, pattern, color, and texture of your chosen material. It also serves to connect your countertop and cabinetry styles. For example, you could select a backsplash in the same material as your countertop to create a fluid style or go for a contrasting material or color to make the backsplash stand out as a design feature.
What are your requirements?
Before you start picking color schemes and materials, it helps to consider how you use your kitchen design, who will be using it, and what you require from your kitchen layout and materials. Are you a young, busy family that cooks daily, with messy little “helping” hands? Are you “empty nesters” creating your ideal kitchen design for your own use and planning for aging in place? Do you rely on takeout and only cook infrequently? How often do you entertain family and friends? How you use your kitchen will strongly influence the style and materials you choose.
There is no point in re-creating the kitchen design you loved from a website or social media page if it does not fit your lifestyle. With so many materials and styles available, there are always alternative options that allow you to get the look you want but in an easier-to-maintain surface or a more budget-friendly option. Your kitchen design expert can review your requirements and walk you through the options that best fit your needs.
Here are several functional considerations that impact your backsplash choice:
- Kitchen layout: the layout of your kitchen design, your key work zones, and where you position appliances will influence where you need the backsplash the most. Think about where you will be preparing food, cooking, and cleaning up, and make sure you have a durable, easy to clean material protecting your walls in those areas.
- Cabinet style: if your kitchen cabinet plan focuses on closed storage with base and wall cabinets or even a streamlined look with floor-to-ceiling cabinets, then your backsplash requirements will be more limited. If, however, you plan to remove upper cabinets in favor of floating shelves then your backsplash may extend as high as the ceiling.
- Lifestyle: you know how your household operates so you should plan your backsplash to fit your needs. If you cook daily, like to bake with the kids, and don’t have time for a complicated maintenance routine, then go for a simple backsplash style in an easy-to-clean material. You will thank yourself when it comes to clean up time!
What is your style?
The backsplash is one of many elements that influence your kitchen’s style, along with kitchen cabinets, hardware, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and more. Each of these items must work together to create a cohesive style that fits your home’s design vibe.
First, think about your home’s style – is it a cool modern, rustic farmhouse, classic traditional, or edgy industrial aesthetic? If your kitchen is part of an open plan first floor, you may want a color scheme and materials that complement the adjacent dining and entertainment zones. If it is an enclosed kitchen design, then you have more flexibility to go with a different color scheme or a more eclectic style.
Here are a few key elements that affect your backsplash style:
Material: there are a wide range of materials available for a kitchen design backsplash. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are among the most popular, as they are durable and can be wiped clean. Natural stone is a luxurious material that enhances any kitchen’s style, including marble, granite, slate, travertine, and limestone, among others. Nothing beats the natural beauty of stone, with its unique texture and veining, but keep in mind many stone surfaces are porous and therefore prone to staining. Make sure you are happy to commit to carefully cleaning and maintaining this surface (typically through regular resealing). For a beautiful, sleek, and easy to maintain surface, consider a glass sheet or quartz slab backsplash that can be simply wiped clean and requires almost no ongoing maintenance.
Color: Decide what role you want your backsplash to play in your kitchen design color scheme. If you want a truly clean look, then consider a neutral backsplash that blends neatly with your kitchen cabinet finish and countertop. Or choose a slab backsplash in the same material as your countertop. If you want to create some contrast in your color scheme, then set a white or light-colored backsplash against dark cabinetry or next to a dark granite countertop, or choose a dark backsplash set against a white quartz countertop and white cabinets. Another alternative is to inject some color (and personality!) into your design by choosing a bold color for your backsplash or for a tile feature in a section of your backsplash like this beautiful kitchen design.
Size, shape, and pattern: Establish a unique style with your kitchen backsplash by changing up the tile pattern. Subway tiles are always a popular choice, but why not go for something different with a larger tile size or by turning your subway tiles into a herringbone pattern. Or go for one of the many unique tile shapes available today, like flowers, diamonds, and arabesque, among others.
Think about your budget.
There are several factors that impact your kitchen backsplash cost, ranging from the size of your backsplash to the material you choose. Before you get started, examine your total kitchen remodeling budget and how much you can commit to the backsplash. If you plan to extend your backsplash to the ceiling, your costs will be higher, but this will be offset by limiting upper cabinets. If your budget is limited, consider going for a budget-friendly option or stick to a more expensive material in one section as a design feature. If your budget allows for luxury materials, then go for it and get the backsplash you always wanted, paired with top quality cabinetry, flooring, countertop, and accessories.
What Are the Top Backsplash Trends?
When searching for the ideal backsplash, it helps to examine the latest trends. Here are a few of the top trends to inspire your kitchen design plans.
- Subway tile is here to stay. Subway tiles are a classic choice with staying power. They have been used in kitchens and bathrooms for over a century but have really seen a resurgence in the last 20 years with no sign of going away. White subway tiles are still popular, but recent trends change this classic up with varying colors, textures, and configurations.
- Take your backsplash to the ceiling. Today’s sleek kitchen design styles see many homeowners opting to leave one or more walls free of cabinetry. This means the sky (or at least the ceiling) is the limit when it comes to your backsplash style. Transform this blank canvas with color, texture, or patterns to create a stunning focal point in your kitchen. Or give your kitchen remodel a clean, natural look by installing a ceiling height backsplash in a neutral shade, paired with natural wood floating shelves.
- Add a dash of luxury with natural stone. Nothing beats natural materials to create a luxe feel in a kitchen design, from top-quality wood cabinetry to stone countertops and hardwood flooring. Stone tiles and slabs are both popular choices for today’s backsplash styles, for their unparalleled natural beauty. Make sure you are ready to commit to cleaning and resealing them or consider limiting natural stone to one section of your backsplash that is less susceptible to splatters.
- Create a sleek style with a slab. This look has become increasingly popular as it not only looks stunning but is much easier to maintain. By installing one slab you eliminate grout lines, which can be one of the most difficult parts of a backsplash to keep clean. If you go with a highly durable and nonporous surface like quartz, then your backsplash will be a breeze to keep clean. Install a slab in the same material as your countertop to maintain your style’s continuity, or go for a contrasting tone to allow it to stand out
Once you have examined your requirements, look for styles that fit your design aesthetic by browsing online or in person in a full-service kitchen design showroom. Pay attention to how your key elements work together to create a cohesive kitchen design that balances style and functionality. Your kitchen remodeling expert can guide you through the entire design process, including selecting the perfect products. Get inspired in our kitchen design gallery and then visit our Gainesville, FL showroom to see a wide range of backsplash samples and speak to a member of our team.