Choosing Backsplash Tiles for Your Kitchen or Bathroom

backsplash tiles

“Wow, your kitchen looks INCREDIBLE!”

It would be nice to hear your guests say that to you, wouldn’t it?

Well, you certainly could spend thousands to renovate your entire kitchen. But not everyone has the extra cash or time to make that happen.

Instead, you could completely change up the way your kitchen looks by installing new backsplash tiles!

Backsplash tiles are the latest trend in kitchen remodeling. They are easy to install and have a huge effect on the way your kitchen looks.

Not only that, there are now a huge amount of varieties and styles to choose from. So you can really make the kitchen stand out in by giving it some fun and flair.

Interested in taking your kitchen to the next level? Read on to find out about how to choose the best backsplash for you!

What Is a Backsplash?

A backsplash is an area that extends above a counter, usually in the kitchen or bathroom. Its function is to protect the wall from potential splashes that come from sinks or food preparation below them.  

Water damage from sinks can be bad news for walls, as can damage from grease, juice, and other food items. In fact, since non-water splashes can come from areas beyond the sink, backsplashes often cover kitchen walls adjacent to the sink as well.

So, as you can see backsplashes are crucial in keeping your kitchen clean, and your walls free from damage.

Some people wonder if they can get away with not having a kitchen backsplash. But the reality is that even if there isn’t a lot of water splashing up from the sink, there are always items like pots, pans, knives and more that can bang against the walls as you prepare food.

So in addition to protecting against water and liquid damage, backsplashes also function as a physical barrier to protect your wall from getting banged up.

Backsplash Height

Kitchen backsplashes can go from only a couple inches above the sink to all the way to the ceiling. It all depends on how much splash you are protecting against, or what kind of design statement you are looking to make!

The first thing you’ll need to decide is how much backsplash your kitchen needs. Then you can decide whether you’d like to go higher or wider.

There are no firm rules as to how high you should go. But certainly, if your cabinetry hangs above your sink, you’d be limited by that height. 

If you prefer a more low profile look, you can install wall backsplash that extends only a few inches above the sink.

And if you want to make more of a statement, you can choose to extend the backsplash tile all the way to the ceiling.

You can even extend this idea and spread the backsplash all over the wall, to an area where there aren’t cabinets, like over a stove.

First Decisions To Make

Before you make decisions about the material, color and size of your backsplash tile, you want to take a closer look at your kitchen.

First, take a look at your counter.

A stylish look for a kitchen will include a backsplash and counter that pair well and don’t clash. So if your kitchen already has a busily patterned countertop, you might not want to choose a busy tile.

The two patterns might end up clashing, which then makes the kitchen look less appealing.

But if your counter is fairly plain or monotone, then choosing a tile with flair will potentially look great.

And grabbing a matching color from the countertop for your tile color is a great idea as well. Even if the countertop only has an occasional spot of a specific color, consider using that color as part or all of your tile color.

Next, you’ll want to consider the overall aesthetic of your kitchen. You probably don’t want to match, say, a farmhouse style kitchen with a sleek and modern tile. So getting a good design sense of what’s already there will be a great start.

That includes the rest of the house as well. If your home has a specific design style, you can embrace that style by accentuating if with your choice of kitchen backsplash tiles. Don’t be afraid to let the rest of the home guide your tile style!

Another element to look at is if your kitchen has a theme or a prominent style. Since there are tiles available that have shapes like roosters, flowers, coffee cups and more, you can choose those tiles if your kitchen already fits that theme.

Next, you’ll want to finalize exactly where you want the tiles to go. As we talked about before, you have options on how high you want the tiles to extend upwards. And you can have them behind just the sink, or all over the wall.

And when you take the overall look of the kitchen into account, you’ll be able to better assess how many tiles should go where, and if it should all be the same tile.

For example, if your kitchen design is already fairly busy look, you probably want the same tile up all over. But if the kitchen is simple looking, you could consider having different color tiles in different areas of the backsplash.

Backsplash Tiles

Ok, now that you’ve decided where your backsplash will go, how high it will reach, and how much it will match or accentuate the rest of your kitchen, it’s time to figure out the type of tiles you want!

One early decision to make is about color. You can think of backsplash tile as being in two categories: Color and Neutral.

As we discussed earlier, your color decision might be because of a certain speck of color that you find in your counter or other elements of the kitchen.

But if there aren’t any color clues available, your options are varied! Remember that a dramatic color can really give a kitchen a pop. And since some people find themselves drawn to color, it can make your kitchen a place they’ll gravitate towards.

And at the same time, if your kitchen already has a colorful or busy look, having a bright or powerful color on the wall might be a little too much for the eye. Many people find a neutral look in a backsplash tile to be soothing. 

And remember, a neutral look can be just as powerful as a bright color. it’s all about balance and style. And considering there are a ton of options as far as size, shape, and material, your neutral look might not be that neutral after all!

The next design element you’ll want to consider is the material that makes up the backsplash. In some ways, this is equally important to the color you choose. 

Tile

Generally speaking, tile is still the most popular way to go. It comes in ceramic, porcelain and glass, and is loved for its overall versatility. Tile can be shaped easily and can come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. 

Plus it runs the gamut from basic and cost-effective to elegant and expensive. So you can pick the tile that’s right for your budget.

Perhaps most important is the fact that tile is heat-resistant and moisture-resistant. And their glossy finishes make them really easy to clean.

Glass Panels

Back-painted glass is becoming increasingly popular for kitchen backsplashes these days. The glass gets coated on the side touching the wall, which gives it a smooth and modern look.

This type of wall backsplash is also really easy to clean because there are no grout lines. You can basically wipe along the entire surface without stopping!

It’s also a great way to brighten up your kitchen since the glass will reflect sunlight and artificial light more than porcelain or ceramic tiles would. 

So consider glass panels if you are looking for a backsplash that does double duty!

Natural Stone Slabs

Natural stone is one of the more aesthetically pleasing looks you can find. And if you have stone already in your kitchen, like on your countertops, you can match it with a stone backsplash. 

Stone, like tile, comes in a huge variety of sizes and types. Which means it can also be a great way to meet your modest budget or splurge if you are working with a larger budget. You can get small marble stone tiles, giant pieces of granite, and everything in between.

Like glass panels, natural stone tends to have fewer grout lines. So this means less dirt gets trapped in there, and cleaning the backsplash is easier that tile. 

Exposed Brick

Ever walk into a restaurant with exposed brick and wish you could recreate that ambiance at home? You can!

Exposed brick can work as a kitchen backsplash, especially if your home or apartment is an older construction.  

Exposed brick brings character and texture, which can really give your kitchen backsplash a pop.

Just make sure the brick is carefully sealed and is in good condition. You don’t want a crumbling backsplash!

Wood and Plywood

It might seem like a surprising choice, but wood in a wall backsplash can work too.

Just like with brick, you need to make sure the wood is treated to ensure it won’t allow liquids in.

And, for an extra layer of security, consider using wood in the areas away from the sink, and a different material in the areas above the sink where it’s more likely that water will splash up against the wall. 

Metal Panels and Tiles

Finally, metal is a recent addition to the commonly used backsplash materials. Especially stainless steel.

It will give your kitchen a sleek and modern look. And even remind you of being in a professional kitchen!

Metal works best in the home when paired with something like a countertop of natural stone. 

Tile Design

Once you’ve decided on the color, location, and material, the final step is to pick the design and shape of your kitchen backsplash. Here are some popular options:

Laser cut: This is the upper echelon of designer tile. So if you are working with a hefty budget, you can have tiles cut into pretty much any shape you want with a laser cutter. 

Mirror tile: When you combine a bunch of smaller mirrored tiles together, they give the effect of a giant reflective surface. And give the wall an interesting textured look.

Diagonal tile: This is a cool way to give a touch of design elements without going off too far from standard square tiles. Diagonal tiles are simple square tiles but installed on an angle. You’ll need to order about 10% more tiles for this look.

Large Pattern tile: 2019 is going to be the year of large tile with bold patterns. Some people are choosing to install large patterned tiles all over the backsplash wall, giving it almost a wallpaper look!

Subway tile: This look has been around forever, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Using subway tiles in your kitchen backsplash is both classic and modern.

Herringbone tile: This tile is big on texture! You can choose muted color schemes with herringbone, but it will still look bold because of the pattern and texture.

Specialty shape tile: You don’t have to be a square! Many companies these days are offering alternative shapes, which can be a great way to set your kitchen apart from the others. And many places will even create custom shapes for you if you know what you want!

Make a Splash

We hope this guide gets you excited about choosing backsplash tiles for your kitchen or bathroom. 

Backsplash tiles can be a fun and easy way to spruce up the look of your home, without the extensive costs of a full renovation. 

And since we all spend time in our kitchens and bathrooms, why not make them fun to look at?

Wanna learn more, or chat about what type of tile would work perfectly in your home? Give us a shout, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out!