Glossy or Matte Kitchen Backsplash: Which Finish is Better?

Choosing the right finish for your kitchen backsplash can make all the difference in your space. The debate between glossy and matte backsplash tiles is an ongoing one. Which option is better – glossy or matte? Both finishes have their pros and cons.

Let’s dive into the key differences between glossy and matte kitchen backsplashes to help you determine which is the best fit for your home. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each style will ensure you select the ideal finish for your goals, taste and lifestyle.

What is a Glossy Backsplash?

A glossy backsplash contains a shiny, reflective surface coating. The high-gloss finish refracts light, creating a bright and lustrous appearance. Glossy backsplash tiles have a smooth texture with a polished look.

Glossy kitchen backsplashes provide a sleek, modern aesthetic. They bring drama and visual interest to kitchens with their bold, mirror-like shine. Glossy finishes are especially popular for contemporary, modern and transitional kitchen designs.

The liquid glaze used on glossy backsplash tiles produces an impermeable surface. This makes glossy backsplashes highly stain-resistant and easy to clean. Smudges or splatters can be simply wiped away without leaving a trace.

Glossy tiles showcase vibrant colors beautifully. The sheen enhances the depth and richness of any color palette. Darker hues also appear brighter against the reflective surface.

Overall, glossy backsplashes deliver a dramatic, bold look with their mirror-like shine. They bring a contemporary edge, while also being a practical, easy-maintenance option.

Advantages of a Glossy Backsplash

  • Provides a sleek, modern aesthetic
  • Creates a reflective, lustrous appearance
  • Enhances depth of colors
  • Easy to wipe clean and keep stain-free
  • Durable and long-lasting finish
  • Visually expands smaller kitchen spaces
  • Adds drama, visual interest and brightness

Disadvantages of a Glossy Backsplash

  • Reflects light which some may find glaring
  • Shows smudges, fingerprints and water spots readily
  • Requires frequent cleaning and maintenance
  • Can showcase uneven walls or imperfections
  • Less texture than a matte finish
  • Limiting color selection with high sheen intensity

What is a Matte Backsplash?

A matte backsplash has a non-reflective, flat finish that diffuses light softly. Matte tiles have more texture than a polished glossy surface. Their flatter quality provides a muted, natural stone-like appearance.

Matte backsplash options include concrete, ceramic, porcelain, metal, glass and natural stone. The understated, earthy look serves both rustic and modern aesthetics well. A matte backsplash brings a subtle sophistication that works in any kitchen.

The flatter, textured surface quality of matte backsplashes conceals smudges, fingerprints and water spots better than glossy versions. However, matte finishes require more routine cleaning since dirt and grime can settle into textured crevices.

Matte tiles showcase colors in a more subdued, organic way. The matted finish results in a lighter, airier feel than the bold colors reflected by a glossy backsplash. For a calmer ambiance, a matte backsplash is an excellent choice.

In summary, matte backsplash finishes provide a natural, muted appearance with a lighter feel than glossy counterparts. Their texture minimizes light reflection but requires diligent cleaning to keep surfaces free of built-up gunk and grease.

Advantages of a Matte Backsplash

  • Provides a subtle, organic appearance
  • Minimizes light reflection for a soft ambiance
  • Conceals smudges and fingerprints better
  • Versatile style works with any kitchen aesthetic
  • Muted color interpretation creates a lighter, airier look
  • Often made from natural stone materials
  • Easier on the eyes than a harsh glossy reflection

Disadvantages of a Matte Backsplash

  • Requires frequent, routine cleaning
  • Textured finish collects dirt, dust and grease
  • Colors appear lighter and less saturated
  • Lacks the sleek, modern look of glossy tiles
  • Doesn’t highlight wall defects like glossy can
  • Doesn’t expand visual space like reflective gloss
  • Can show wear over time without a protective glaze
  • More limited options compared to glossy tiles

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Glossy and Matte Backsplash Finishes


How much light reflection are you comfortable with? Glossy backsplashes bounce light like a mirror for a dramatic effect. Matte finishes diffuse and absorb light for a softer, subdued ambiance.


Glossy tiles showcase colors with intensity, while matte absorbs and mutes color hues. If you want rich, saturated color choices, glossy is ideal. For organic muted tones, matte is better.

Cleaning Effort

Glossy resists stains, while texture hides them better on matte. But matte needs more frequent scrubbing to remove grease buildup. Consider your willingness to clean routinely.

Kitchen Style

For modern, bold looks, glossy is striking. For rustic, farmhouse or old world charm, matte has an understated elegance.

Wall Imperfections

Glossy reflects, so imperfections like uneven drywall or a poor paint job will show. Matte is more forgiving of flaws.

Natural Lighting

In low light kitchens, glossy adds light reflection. With ample natural light, matte prevents glare.

Size of Space

Glossy tiles expand and open smaller kitchens with reflective surface illusion. Matte can feel heavier.

Personal Taste

Do you prefer sleek and gleaming or textured and subdued? Your unique personality and style should inform the aesthetic design choices for your home.


Glossy tiles tend to cost a bit more due to the glazing process required. But pricing varies on material type of either finish.

By weighing your options using the factors above, you’ll make the perfect choice between glossy vs matte for your kitchen vision.

Glossy Backsplash Ideas

Here are some glossy kitchen backsplash ideas if you decide this striking, reflective finish is right for your home:

Vibrant Solid-Colored Glossy Subway Tiles

Subway tiles are a versatile classic. Glossy cobalt blue or emerald green subway tiles make a bold color statement. Their sheen enhances the dramatic impact. Lay them in a classic brickwork pattern or vertically stack for visual interest.

Glossy Glass Tiles

From deep jewel tones to airy pastels, the color palette of glossy glass tiles is limitless. Tiny mosaic tiles reflect light beautifully. Consider metallic glass tiles for serious shine. Mix glass varieties in creative shapes for a custom look.

Modern Glossy Marble, Travertine or Onyx

Sleek polished slabs of natural stone like marble, travertine or onyx bring organic texture in a glossy finish. Geometric marble mosaics in glossy white or black make a monochromatic modern statement.

Mirror Tiles

Small mirrored tiles amplify light exponentially for maximum shine. Arrange in mod patterns or a decorative mosaic for artistic flair. Keep the rest of the design simple to let the bold mirror tiles shine.

Glossy Metal or Stainless Steel

Industrial designs feel right at home with the sleek, reflective properties of glossy metal backsplashes. Brushed stainless steel, galvanized tin, nickel or copper tiles offer sheen with slightly less glare than a mirror finish.

Geometric Patterns with Glossy Tiles

Use small glossy tiles like glass, marble or ceramic in graphic arrangements. Herringbone, chevron, tessellated or cascading geometric designs make artistic impact. Choose bolder colors that reflect light beautifully.

With limitless options for colors, materials, sizes and patterns, it’s easy to create a showstopping glossy backsplash design that matches your unique style.

Matte Backsplash Ideas

For a subtler matte finish backsplash, consider these chic and sophisticated ideas:

Natural Stone Matte Subway Tiles

Classic white, beige or grey matte subway tiles made from marble, travertine, limestone or sandstone exude rustic charm. Their flatter finish allows the subtle natural veining and depth of the stone to show through beautifully.

Concrete Effect Porcelain Matte Tiles

Recreate the modern industrial vibe of concrete with matte porcelain options that are more affordable and easier to install. Grey and white concrete-look tiles have an understated urban edge.

Matte Ceramic or Terracotta

Choose muted earthy hues like sand, clay, or terracotta red for a Tuscan warmth. Use varying textures and finishes like a honed or tumbled look for added interest.

Moroccan Fish Scale Matte Tiles

Intricate patterns and shapes like matte Moroccan fish scale tiles in blue and white create texture and movement without glare. Pair with open shelving, arched doorways and ornamental accents.

Matte Glass Tiles

Frosted, opaque and iridescent matte glass tiles provide subtle sheen. Mix green, blue and clear glass for an organic feel. Carroll Dunham Matte glass tiles are a popular distressed option.

Matte Metal Tiles

Perforated, stamped or embossed matte metal tiles such as copper, brass or stainless steel add a touch of industrial edge without harsh glare. Great for a subtle farmhouse accent wall.

Modern Matte Geometric Patterns

Use matte tiles to create geometric designs that stand out quietly. Soft triangles, rhombuses, hexagons or cascading patterns in muted tones catch the eye with subtlety.

With limitless shapes, textures, materials and colors, it’s easy to design a matte backsplash that complements your interior design aesthetic perfectly.

Glossy vs Matte Backsplash: Which Should You Choose?

Now that you understand the key differences between glossy and matte backsplash finishes, how do you decide which option is right for your kitchen?

Here are some quick tips to guide your choice:

  • For contemporary modern designs, glossy backsplashes shine
  • Seeking an organic, earthy aesthetic? Go matte
  • Prefer bold, saturated color? Glossy finishes reflect best
  • Want to highlight natural veining in stone? Matte is ideal
  • If wall imperfections are an issue, matte will conceal flaws
  • In a dark, small kitchen? Glossy tiles expand space with light
  • Hate cleaning? Glossy resists stains but shows them readily
  • Distressed by harsh glare? Matte tiles softly diffuse light
  • Can’t decide? Mix glossy and matte finishes for contrast

At the end of the day, weighing your personal tastes and priorities will determine if glossy or matte is the right backsplash finish for your home.

By understanding the pros and cons of each style, you can thoughtfully evaluate the options against the look you want and your lifestyle needs. With an array of colors, materials, patterns and designs to work with, you can bring your ideal backsplash vision to life in either a glossy or matte finish.

The most important tip is to choose the finish that makes you happy! With the right backsplash tiles, your kitchen will shine with your unique style.

FAQs About Glossy and Matte Backsplashes

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about glossy and matte kitchen backsplash finishes:

What is more popular glossy or matte backsplash?

Currently, glossy and reflective backsplashes are more on-trend, especially in modern kitchen designs. Matte finishes provide a more classic, timeless look.

Do glossy tiles make a room look bigger?

Yes, glossy backsplashes create the illusion of expanded space because the reflective surface bounces light around. The mirror-effect makes kitchens appear larger and brighter.

Are glossy tiles hard to keep clean?

Glossy tiles don’t inherently attract more dirt and grime. Their smooth finish actually makes them easy to wipe down. But they will immediately show any smudges. Frequent quick wipe-downs keep them looking clean.

Should you seal matte subway tile?

It’s not mandatory, but sealing matte subway tiles can help them become more stain resistant. Check with your tile manufacturer on their recommendations for sealing. Make sure to use a sealant designed for the tile material.

Can you use matte and glossy tiles together?

Yes, you can absolutely mix glossy and matte tiles in a kitchen backsplash design. The contrast can create visual interest. One tip is to use glossy for the accent tiles, and matte for the field or base tiles.

Is matte or glossy tile easier to install?

Neither tile finish is inherently easier or harder to install. Glossy tiles may be more rigid and can be cut precisely. But matte finishes like stone often require precise cutting around veins. Overall, tile installation process is about the same.

Are glossy tile grout lines more visible?

On the contrary, matte grout lines will show more against a glossy tile. The sheen and contrast makes grout lines stand out next to a glossy surface. With matte tiles, grout blends in better and is less noticeable.

Do matte tiles show wear and tear more?

Matte finishes can show surface blemishes, scratches and chips more readily than glossy. The coating on glossy tiles helps protect the surface. Matte requires sealing to prevent staining and water damage in porous materials like natural stone.

Is a matte or glossy backsplash better for resale?

Most real estate agents advise choosing a backsplash aesthetic you love rather than trying to guess what buyers may want. Current trends favor glossy and reflective surfaces. But matte has a timeless appeal. Clean, well-maintained backsplashes in any finish boost home value.


The choice between a glossy or matte backsplash boils down to your personal taste and kitchen goals. Glossy finishes make a sleek contemporary statement and showcase colors dramatically. Matte backsplashes deliver a subtle, softened organic look with texture.

Factor in lighting, kitchen size, style, cleaning commitment and overall aesthetic vision. For the best of both worlds, mix glossy and matte tiles in your design! With the right combination chosen thoughtfully, your backsplash will elevate your kitchen in the perfect way.






Leave a Reply