Do You Need a Backsplash for Bathroom Vanity?

Adding a backsplash to your bathroom vanity can really take your space to the next level. Not only does a backsplash serve a functional purpose, protecting your walls from water damage, but it also adds style, visual interest, and personality. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of adding a backsplash behind your bathroom vanity and tips for selecting the perfect one.

What is a Bathroom Vanity Backsplash?

A bathroom vanity backsplash is a decorative wall covering that is installed behind and around a bathroom vanity. It serves to protect the wall from water splashes and drips from the faucet and sink basin. Backsplashes are typically made from water-resistant materials like ceramic tile, glass tile, natural stone, or metal.

Backsplashes add an extra layer of protection to prevent moisture damage and mold growth on bathroom walls. The area around a bathroom sink sees a lot of water exposure on a regular basis. Splashing water can seep into drywall or paint over time. A backsplash creates a water barrier to prevent this type of damage.

Benefits of Adding a Backsplash

There are several advantages to installing a backsplash behind your bathroom vanity:

Protects Against Water Damage

The number one reason to add a backsplash is to protect your bathroom walls from water damage. Daily splashing from hands, toothbrushing, and more takes a toll over time. A backsplash prevents water seepage into drywall and paint.

Easier to Keep Clean

Backsplashes create a smooth, wipeable surface behind a vanity. This makes it easy to keep the wall area clean and hygienic. It’s much simpler to wipe grime off a glass, ceramic or stone backsplash than paint or drywall.

Adds Visual Interest

Backsplashes provide the perfect opportunity to add style, color, and texture to your bathroom. You can choose eye-catching glass or ceramic tiles, natural stone with beautiful veining, or metallic tiles for a touch of glam.

Ties the Space Together

A backsplash brings cohesiveness to the space, tying your countertop, vanity, and flooring together. Matching the tone and textures of your backsplash with other finishes creates a pulled-together look.

Increases Resale Value

Bathrooms with upgraded finishes like backsplashes tend to have higher resale value. Backsplashes are an expected feature in most contemporary bathroom designs.

Do You Really Need a Backsplash?

While backsplashes are highly recommended for bathrooms, they aren’t an absolute must. Here are a few things to consider when deciding:

  • Moisture exposure: Does your bathroom setup see a high level of water splashing? Frequent use by kids or messy adults raises the moisture risk.
  • Existing wall material: Is your vanity area covered in highly water-resistant materials like natural stone or tile? If so, a backsplash may be unnecessary.
  • Plans to remodel: Will you be remodeling soon? Holding off on a backsplash until the redesign may be an option.
  • Budget: Backsplashes do add cost to a bathroom remodel or redesign. If budget is very tight, you may opt to go without.

For most standard bathroom configurations, a backsplash is a smart investment to protect walls long-term. An on-trend, eye-catching backsplash can also really enhance the style of your space.

How High Should a Bathroom Backsplash Be?

The recommended height for a bathroom backsplash is 4 inches above the vanity countertop or 1 inch above the faucet, whichever is higher. This covers the prime “splash zone” areas above sinks and faucets.

For a coordinated look, you can also continue the backsplash tile up the entire wall behind the vanity. This creates a full backsplash that matches your countertop. Full backsplashes are recommended for tub/shower surrounds.

Tips for Selecting a Bathroom Vanity Backsplash

When choosing a backsplash, keep these tips in mind:

  • Select a durable, water-resistant material like ceramic or glass tile, natural stone, or metal. Avoid paper-faced mosaics.
  • Darker colored materials can disguise soap scum and hard water stains.
  • Glossy, non-porous materials are easiest to keep clean.
  • Consider heat resistance if installing near pendant lighting.
  • Match your countertop color and texture or choose a contrasting tone.
  • Install a waterproof backer board behind tile or stone backsplashes.
  • Grout color impacts the overall look – choose white or grey for a clean appearance.
  • Consider self-spacing mosaic tiles for easy installing and clean grout lines.

Stylish Bathroom Backsplash Ideas

Here are some striking and on-trend backsplash ideas to inspire your bathroom remodel:

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes provide brilliant color and shine. The sleek, wipeable surface resists moisture and stays looking polished. Add drama with bold colors or keep it airy with soft mint, sky blue, or white glass tiles.

Marble or Stone

Marble, travertine, and pebble mosaic backsplashes bring natural beauty to the bathroom. These textures pair perfectly with traditional, rustic, or farmhouse styles. Metallic marble hexagons add a glam touch.

Geometric Patterns

Intricate geometric shapes in glossy ceramic or handmade subway tile create visual impact. Try herringbone, chevron, starburst, or pinwheel designs. Continue the motif up the wall for a head-turning focal point.

Metallic Accents

Metallic backsplashes bring contemporary edge, shine, and luxury feel. Go bold with full sheets of stainless steel, copper, or brass. Or use metallic mosaic tiles, like tinsel-inspired glass or hammered metal.

Wood Look

Wood-look porcelain plank tile backsplashes offer warmth and texture. The porcelain material is water-resistant and durable, while mimicking natural wood grain. Match with rustic, farmhouse, or modern styles.

FAQ About Bathroom Vanity Backsplashes

Should backsplashes be caulked or grouted?

Grout is recommended for the joints between backsplash tiles. Caulk is used where the backsplash meets the countertop or other materials. This allows flexibility to prevent cracking.

What’s the best grout to use?

Epoxy grout is the most water-resistant choice for bathroom backsplash installations. It prevents staining and resists mold. White or light grey grout stays looking clean.

Can you install a backsplash with liquid nails?

Liquid nail adhesive does not provide a strong enough bond for most backsplash materials like tile or stone. Use a mortar or thinset adhesive designed specifically for the backsplash type.

What color backsplash goes with white bathroom?

White bathrooms look crisp and clean with almost any backsplash color. Try a bold secondary color like navy blue, emerald, or mustard yellow. Or choose soft neutrals like pale grays, tans, and light stone colors.

Should the vanity backsplash match the shower tile?

Matching your vanity backsplash with shower surround tile creates a cohesive look. Contrasting tones can also be striking. Just be sure the materials complement each other and tie together.

Can you add a backsplash to an existing vanity?

Yes, it is possible to add a backsplash to an already installed vanity. The key is thoroughly cleaning the wall area and using the appropriate adhesive for the backsplash material. Take care not to damage the existing countertop.


Installing a backsplash behind your bathroom vanity provides both form and function. This important detail protects your walls from water damage while also amping up the style of your space. Carefully select a material that is durable, easy to clean, and brings the aesthetic you love. Coordinate with your vanity, floors, and other finishes to create a pulled-together bathroom design. With the right backsplash choice, your vanity area can become a striking focal point.