While the primary purpose of a backsplash is to protect the wall from splashes, grease and other residue from cooking, it is also a fantastic decorative element that ties together the cabinets and the appliances in your kitchen. When you begin making plans to remodel your kitchen, you can choose just the right materials to create a beautiful backsplash to accentuate your design. Discover some of the most popular materials and colors for the kitchen backsplash as well as some key information regarding maintenance, installation and more.
Picking Countertops First
The official verdict is still out on whether to pick the kitchen countertops or backsplash first. While it is up to you to decide which element is most important, countertops are typically a larger and more dominant in the overall design scheme.
For that reason, many interior design and remodeling experts recommend having the colors and materials of your kitchen cabinets and countertops picked out first. Then you can decide on the best backsplash that will bring all the materials together, stand out in a colorful way or become part of an upscale neutral palette.
Consider the Maintenance of Your Backsplash
Due to the location of the backsplash right behind the stove, a lot of grease, spills and food debris can accumulate when you're cooking. For that reason, it is imperative that you consider maintenance before choosing a backsplash material.
The easiest surfaces to keep clean will be ones without lots of seams or grout. If you do have a backsplash with seams or grout, cleaning is still possible, but it will be tougher to maintain and may require more time and effort on a regular basis.
A solid material with minimal seams, on the other hand, can often be wiped clean with a cloth and some cleaning solution in seconds, saving you precious time that could better be spent enjoying your delicious meals.
Some materials, such as natural stone veneers, need to be sealed properly before being used as a backsplash in order to prevent staining from occurring.
Determine Your Personal Decor Style
If your personality were a kitchen, what would it look like? Perhaps you’re traditional and luxurious, boasting wooden cabinets and a beautiful marble countertop.
Or maybe you’re all about bright colors and whimsy, and you love the idea of open shelving displaying your quirky collection of teacups.
Even if you remodel the rest of your kitchen with general appeal or resale value in mind, the backsplash is the one area where you should absolutely embrace your personal style.
To start, the backsplash is a relatively small area, often measuring in around six square feet. Plus, replacing a backsplash is straightforward. Even if future buyers loved the kitchen but not the backsplash, they could replace it for a few hundred dollars and a few hours of labor.
You're likely going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and in front of the stove in particular, so embrace your decorative spirit and choose something that makes you smile.
Picking the Size of Your Backsplash
At the very least, the backsplash should stretch from the countertops above your stove top a few inches. Traditionally, the backsplash extends upward to the cabinets, and it is just wider than the stovetop itself.
However, you shouldn't feel limited to this space. If desired, your backsplash can go all the way across the length of the wall, or it could extend up for several feet. If you choose a particularly attractive backsplash, making it larger will cost more, but it may be worth it to create a stunning focal point for the kitchen.
Installing a Kitchen Backsplash
If you’re interested in tackling part of your kitchen remodel on your own, the backsplash can be a great task to try out. Of course, how easy it will be to install depends on the type of material you use and how large the area is that you want to cover.
If you’re using tiles, however, installation can be relatively simple. Large pieces of natural stone or stainless steel may be significantly harder to put into place because of their size and weight.
Even after you’ve selected a material and a color and you're ready to begin installation on your kitchen's new backsplash, you can still get creative with the layout.
For example, instead of laying rectangular ceramic tiles in a horizontal pattern over and over again, mix it up by creating a herringbone pattern. Or, alternate colors for a unique design that is truly one of a kind.
Popular Materials for Your Backsplash
There is a wide variety of materials that you can choose to create your backsplash. If you want to go the traditional route, ceramic tiles are very affordable, easy to install, durable and come in virtually any color or pattern you can imagine.
If you want an updated look with a ceramic base, you can find tiles coated with copper. This reflective surface looks unusual and beautiful, and it ages over time to create that stunning patina that many homeowners adore.
If you want something a little bolder than ceramic tile, consider mosaic glass tiles. These tiny tiles reflect light beautifully, helping to make the kitchen feel spacious. Plus, these glass tiles are inexpensive, and their brightness works in both a casual kitchen and a more upscale space.
One of the biggest trends in kitchen backsplash materials is chalkboard paint. You can write directly on the surface of the backsplash, letting family know what time dinner will be or what needs to be picked up from the grocery store.
If it gets badly stained, repainting the backsplash area will be a breeze. You can also opt for a solid material of natural stone, a mosaic made from marble or even an industrial, chef-style stainless steel.
Without question, the backsplash is an integral part of your kitchen remodel. After carefully planning out elements such as the cabinets, the countertops and the appliances, you can choose a backsplash that ties it all together but also adds a touch of your personal style to the space.