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4 Tips For How To Choose A Kitchen Backsplash

Now that you’re caught up on the range of kitchen backsplash materials available, it’s time to choose the one that’s right for you. As you’ve probably noticed, not all backsplashes are created equal when it comes to cost, installation, durability and maintenance. So, while you want to choose one that matches your style, you must also consider the practical elements of each option.

“We always tell our clients to think of function first and then mix in the fashion aspect,” says Melanie Carter, vice president of Yeager & Co., a full-service kitchen, bath and flooring remodel company in Tampa, Florida. “A backsplash should be easy to clean and maintain – think spaghetti mishaps. From there, we encourage our customers to pull samples and place them in their current kitchens for a few days to see if it’s right. Color, lighting and overall look can change from a showroom to a personal kitchen.”

Most homeowners will begin to narrow down the options based on cost, but also consider how often you actually cook in your kitchen. If you’re an avid cook, you may want to stick to tile backsplashes, which are highly durable and easy to clean. However, if your preferred method of cooking involves take-out, you may want to choose a wood backsplash for the texture and warmth it adds to the room.

Once you’ve determined your budget and needs, there are some additional considerations that will enable you to make your decision. Here are four tips to help you settle on that perfect backsplash.

Tip 1: Match Complementary Styles

When making your choices, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of kitchen styles because you want the backsplash to integrate with its surroundings. Although we discussed a selection of the most common styles earlier, a more thorough investigation of different kitchen aesthetics will enable you to gain a better sense of your stylistic preferences.

“A good way to choose a kitchen backsplash is to decide what look you are going for,” says Struhs. “What kind of look are you trying to achieve? Do you want a modern, traditional, contemporary, sleek, bright or calm feeling kitchen? Getting examples from magazines or the internet are always great ideas to see what you like and don’t like.”

After you’ve figured out the style you want for your kitchen, you’ll be in a better place to eliminate more of the backsplash possibilities. Each type of kitchen has specific colors, patterns and materials that are associated with it. Therefore, choosing a backsplash that’s aligned with your ideal style of kitchen will strengthen the overall aesthetic of the room.

For example, since modern kitchens tend to center around minimalism and highlight horizontal lines and glossy materials, back-painted glass panels fit perfectly into the décor. These backsplashes will provide a sleek pop of color that will accentuate the kitchen’s clean lines.

Back-painted glass panels would not, however, work in a traditional style kitchen. For traditional kitchens, diagonal marble tile backsplashes would be a better choice. These backsplashes have a more formal, timeless feel that will accentuate the furniture-style, oak cabinets, ornate wood appliques and marble or quartz countertops that are common in traditional kitchens.

Tip 2: Don’t Be Afraid To Mix It Up

While it’s useful to try to match your backsplash with the style of your kitchen, that doesn’t mean that you should refrain from mixing and matching. Sometimes it’s the blending of seemingly divergent styles that allows you to fully express your individuality and create a striking focal point in the room.

So even though farmhouse kitchens tend to pair well with stone backsplashes, you can still choose to use a white subway tile to contrast your wood cabinets, stone floors and butcher block countertops.

When choosing to incorporate a backsplash that is different than your kitchen style, Gray-Plaisted offers a recommendation. “The material should complement the existing counter colors, flooring and cabinetry,” she says. “My rule for making it all work: Have only one material that has ‘movement’ in the kitchen. Too many hard surfaces can work against each other.”

Movement refers to any pattern present in the counter, floor or backsplash of your kitchen. So instead of having many patterned materials in the kitchen, you should ensure that the room focuses on one so that it becomes the center of attention. The same holds true for colors.

“The backsplash is like an accessory. If you have chosen very plain or monochromatic countertops and cabinets, you might opt for a blingy backsplash,” explains Venema. “But like everything in design, not every piece can be the showstopper. So if you’ve chosen a very busy countertop, or if you’ve done a bold colored cabinet, you may consider toning down the backsplash. Everything has to be chosen with balance in mind.”

Tip 3: Feel Free To Ignore Trends

As you research kitchen styles, you may find yourself exploring many of the latest kitchen trends. But, keep in mind that your kitchen design will most likely outlive all of the current fads. It doesn’t matter what this year’s kitchen makeover craze is because next year’s will be different.

Therefore, instead of choosing a trendy backsplash, you should focus on the styles that you enjoy the most. The backsplash you select should have an enduring style, one that will make you happy, not just a year from now but 10 years from now.

To help you choose a backsplash that will stand the test of time, Gray-Plaisted offers this advice: “Work with a reputable decorator and tile shop. Gather images of what you like so they can get a feel for your style.

When picking a backsplash, I suggest choosing the counter, flooring and backsplash at the same time to ensure they will complement one another,” she says. “Also, if in doubt, I suggest considering a more classic look because it will never go out of style.”

Timeless designs will never disappoint, so if there’s any question as to whether you’ll regret choosing that metal panel backsplash down the road, don’t do it. Instead, maybe choose marble slab because those natural materials never go out of style.

Tip 4: Find The Look You Want At The Price You Need

After reviewing the different backsplash options, you may have found that your tastes tend to fall on the pricier end of the spectrum. Even if you’re working with a tight budget, you shouldn’t feel that you have to compromise on your style. Aesthetics and price don’t have to be at odds with each other.

As with any interior design project, there are tricks you can use to make inexpensive materials appear expensive. Thanks to advances in technology, there are many cheaper alternatives that look just like more expensive materials.

If you’re a fan of marble slab backsplashes, you can use ceramic or porcelain tiles that have the same through-body veining as marble. Or if you’re just dying for a metal backsplash, you can choose to forgo the steel or aluminum panels in favor of tin tiles.

While tiles are often the more affordable option, prices can range significantly depending on the material and the intricacy of the pattern. Higher quality materials and elaborate tile designs are always more expensive, but there are ways that you can cut costs while still achieving that showstopping look.

“Many people might opt for a ‘statement’ backsplash behind their cooktop and opt for a less expensive tile for the rest of the area to keep within a budget,” says Gray-Plaisted.

By reserving more costly tiles for the area above the stove, you’ll not only save money but also be able to incorporate more elaborate designs that might look too busy across the entire backsplash.

If you’re looking to cut costs even further, you can choose to do the work yourself. By cutting out the professional and taking on the DIY project, you’ll be able to save about 15%-20% of the cost. And now with peel-and-stick tile options, the job has become that much easier. You can install beautiful tiles without worrying about the grout.

Kitchen backsplashes may preserve your walls and ease your post-meal clean-up, but just because something’s functional doesn’t mean it has to look it. So instead of conforming to a standard style, get creative and find a backsplash that will reflect your personality and spark joy for years to come.

Have you just finished remodeling your kitchen? If you have a stunning backsplash you think others will love, tell us about it in the comments section.

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