Having a backsplash behind your refrigerator can make your kitchen look clean, finished, and put together. But is it totally necessary to have a backsplash behind the fridge? What are the pros and cons of adding a backsplash in this often forgotten area? We’ll explore whether backsplash goes behind a refrigerator, the benefits, drawbacks, and tips for installing it beautifully.
What is a Backsplash?
A backsplash is a cover of water-resistant material installed on the wall behind a countertop, sink, stove, or other kitchen fixture. Backsplashes serve both practical and aesthetic purposes in kitchen design.
On a practical level, a backsplash protects the wall from water, grease splatters, and other cooking messes. Ceramic tile, metal, glass, and other backsplash materials can be easily cleaned off to keep your painted drywall or plaster walls from getting stained and damaged over time.
Aesthetically, backsplashes provide an opportunity to add visual interest, color, and texture to your kitchen décor. Many homeowners opt for backsplash tile with patterned or decorative designs. Glass, metal, and stone backsplash panels can also add beautiful accents to your kitchen.
Backsplashes typically extend 4-6 inches vertically from the countertop up the wall. They run horizontally along the wall behind the sink, stove, and counters.
Should You Add Backsplash Behind the Fridge?
The area behind a refrigerator is often neglected when it comes to backsplash. The fridge masks the wall space, so it’s not a highly visible spot. Plus, it doesn’t get splattered with water and cooking debris. So do you really need to add backsplash there?
Here are some pros and cons to weigh when deciding on backsplash behind a refrigerator:
- Looks more finished and intentional. Leaving the wall behind the fridge bare drywall can look patchy and unfinished. Continuing your backsplash material there makes the whole kitchen look polished.
- Easier to clean. Spills and drips can still happen behind the fridge. Having a water-resistant backsplash surface prevents stains and is easy to wipe down.
- Consistent design. Carrying your backsplash tile or panels throughout the whole kitchen creates visual harmony. It makes the space look cohesive instead of having a random unfinished spot.
- More expensive. Adding the extra backsplash square footage drives up your total tile and labor costs for the project.
- Difficult access. Depending on how your kitchen is configured, it can be a challenge to get to the wall behind the refrigerator to install the backsplash.
- Rarely seen. This portion of backsplash is mainly hidden once the fridge is pushed back into place, so some homeowners don’t think it’s worth the effort and cost.
Tips for Backsplash Behind Refrigerator
If you decide to add backsplash behind your refrigerator, here are some tips for making it look seamless:
- Use trim – Install bullnose tile trim or small metal strips between the side edges of the refrigerator and the adjacent walls. This will provide a finished edge so the backsplash flows smoothly.
- Cut tiles to size – Measure carefully and cut partial tiles to fit in the potentially awkward angled spaces around the fridge. Don’t leave slivers of grout lines.
- Match flooring – Transition the backsplash to hardwood flooring or tile with an end cap trim. This gives your backsplash a polished, built-in look.
- Coordinate with counter – Make sure your backsplash color and materials complement your countertop selection. Tying the two together makes the whole kitchen look cohesive.
- Consider ease of access – Use larger format tile rather than small mosaics, which are trickier to install in a tight space. Save mosaic designs for easier-to-access wall areas.
- Incorporate design motifs – Echo any patterns, materials, or decorative tile designs on the main backsplash. Continuing these details behind the fridge makes it look like part of the overall backsplash design.
- Accent the alcove – If there’s open space on either side of the refrigerator, add glass tile accents, medallions, or other special touches to jazz up the alcove.
How to Install Backsplash Behind Refrigerator
Installing backsplash behind a refrigerator takes careful planning and patience. Here is an overview of the process:
Step 1: Remove Refrigerator
The fridge needs to be disconnected and moved out several feet so you can access the back wall area. Be sure to protect flooring and remove doors as needed.
Step 2: Prep the Wall
Take off existing wallpaper or other coverings, then clean and sand the wall. Fill any holes or cracks with spackle to create a smooth surface for the backsplash.
Step 3: Measure and Cut Tiles
Very carefully measure the space including any outlets or switches. Cut border and filler tiles with a wet saw for an exact fit.
Step 4: Apply Thinset and Tiles
Spread thinset mortar evenly across the wall area and firmly press tiles into place. Check for even coverage and level alignment.
Step 5: Grout the Tiles
Let thinset dry completely, then mix grout and apply over tiles, smoothing and cleaning excess as you go. Remove spacers once grout has set.
Step 6: Seal and Polish
Once grout has fully cured, seal it with grout sealer. Polish the tile if needed to restore any grout haze or dullness.
Step 7: Return Refrigerator
Slide fridge back into position, being careful not to bump or crack tiles. Reinstall doors and plug refrigerator back in.
Design Inspiration for Backsplashes Behind Refrigerators
If you want to add backsplash behind your refrigerator, there are lots of stylish design options to consider:
Matching Field Tile
For a coordinated look, use the same tile on the main backsplash and behind the refrigerator. Subway tile, brick patterns, and stone tiles transition nicely.
Go bold with a contrasting colored tile behind the fridge. Try vibrant glass or ceramic mosaic tiles to make that area pop.
Brushed metal, stainless steel, or copper backsplash tiles give an industrial vibe. Metallic details look modern against matte field tiles.
A marble slab backsplash provides an elegant solid surface behind the refrigerator. Select a polished stone that ties in other kitchen elements.
For contemporary flair, install a mirrored glass sheet backsplash. It instantly brightens the space and makes a statement.
Natural Stone Mosaic
Travertine, pebble, or slate mosaic tiles in earthy hues create a rustic, organic look behind the refrigerator.
With some creativity, you can design a backsplash behind your refrigerator that really complements your kitchen. Consider what will pair well with your cabinets, countertops, and appliances. And don’t be afraid to have some fun with materials and patterns to give this often neglected space its own wow factor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Behind Refrigerators
Many homeowners have additional questions about installing backsplash behind refrigerators. Here are answers to some of the most common inquiries:
Does backsplash have to go all the way to the ceiling?
No, backsplash does not necessarily have to extend all the way to the ceiling. The standard height is 4-6 inches. Behind a refrigerator, you only need to cover the exposed area up to the top of the appliance.
Should backsplash go past the refrigerator on the sides?
It looks best if the backsplash continues past the edge of the refrigerator on the sides and transitions smoothly to the adjacent walls. Use trim pieces to bridge any gaps for a seamless look.
What about the side walls next to the fridge?
The side walls flanking a refrigerator often get neglected too. For a finished look, consider adding matching or coordinating tiles on those side walls. Use an accent pattern or bolder color if you want those areas to stand out.
How do you cut the tiles to fit around the refrigerator?
Use a wet saw to carefully cut border and filler tiles to size around the fridge. Measure the spaces precisely so tiles fit snugly with consistent grout lines. Cut outlet holes with an oscillating tool.
Can I install backsplash myself behind the refrigerator?
With careful planning, precise tile cutting, and some patience, DIY installation behind a fridge is definitely doable. Watch online tutorials to prepare. Have an experienced friend help if tiling the tricky spaces.
Installing a beautiful backsplash behind your refrigerator can take your kitchen design to the next level. With smart planning and execution, you can create a polished, pulled-together look. Use creative colors and designs to turn this often ignored space into a functional and stylish focal point. With the right backsplash, there will be no need to hide that spot behind the fridge!