How High Should Backsplash Go in Kitchen


The backsplash is an integral design element in any kitchen. Not only does it serve a functional purpose by protecting the walls from splashes and spills, it provides a major decorative impact as well. When designing your backsplash, one of the most important decisions is determining how high it should extend up the wall. There are several factors to consider when deciding on backsplash height to achieve the right look and function in your kitchen.

Where to End the Backsplash Above Countertops

The standard recommendation is to have the backsplash extend 4-6 inches above the countertop. This protects the wall from most regular cooking splatters while still leaving some wall space visible between the counter and backsplash. Extending to this height creates a clean line that visually separates the counter surface from the wall.

For extra protection, some homeowners opt to have their backsplash run all the way to the underside of the upper cabinets. This fully protects the wall from errant splashes and drips when cooking. However, it does limit the visible wall space in that section of the kitchen. It also requires precision cutting of the backsplash tiles if not ending on the same horizontal line as the cabinets.

Continue Backsplash to Bottom of Cabinets

Homeowners who want to make a bold visual statement may choose to extend their backsplash all the way from countertop to the base of the upper cabinets. Besides full wall protection, this creates a dramatic, expansive look that can serve as a focal point of the kitchen.

Since the eye will be drawn to it, carefully plan out the tile design, color and accessories when utilizing a full height backsplash. Busy patterns can compete with wall cabinets and make the space feel cluttered. Stick to clean lines, simple forms and solid colors for a seamless look.

Backsplash Height with No Upper Cabinets

In open concept kitchens without upper cabinetry, determining the ideal backsplash height is more flexible. It can end a standard 4-6 inches above the counter, or extend all the way to the ceiling.

Ending at a standard height leaves breathing room to display decorative wall art or other focal points. A full height backsplash makes a bolder statement and fully protects and accents the entire wall behind the countertop. In this case, carefully plan out the design to complement the ceiling height and architecture of the space.

Factors to Consider for Backsplash Height

Here are some key factors to help determine the best backsplash height for your unique kitchen:

  • Intended use and cooking habits – Do you regularly cook dishes requiring a lot of frying or sautéing that may cause extra splattering? Go for more coverage.
  • Appliance placement – Having a range or sink directly against the backsplash merits extending it higher above counter.
  • Window and doorway placement – Balance backsplash height with other architectural elements. Don’t have it clash or compete.
  • Cabinetry details – Coordinate backsplash endpoint with any horizontal trim elements or lighting under cabinets.
  • Ceiling height – Use a full height backsplash to accentuate soaring ceilings, but avoid making a low ceiling feel cramped.
  • Overall kitchen size – In a smaller kitchen, minimize upper cabinets and maximize backsplash to open up the room.

Backsplash Height Design Examples

Here are some backsplash height designs to spark ideas for your own kitchen:

Standard Height

This 4 inch tall backsplash above the counter protects from minor splashes while still allowing some bare wall visible before meeting upper cabinets. The simple white color keeps it clean but understated.

Standard 4 inch backsplash protecting wall above counter

Partial Height

For a lighter look, the backsplash only extends partway up the wall. This leaves room to showcase decorative wallpaper or tile. The partial backsplash and open shelves maintain an airy vibe.

Partial height backsplash with decorative wall treatment above

Full Height

For full protection and a major style statement, the backsplash spans from countertop all the way to the underside of the cabinets. Contrasting materials and geometric designs turn this into a focal feature.

Full height graphic tile backsplash

Open Concept

With no upper cabinets, this backsplash runs full floor to ceiling height. The matching cabinetry trim and backsplash tile create a unified and seamless look.

Floor to ceiling backsplash in kitchen with open cabinets

Setting the Tone With Backsplash Height

Deciding how high to extend your backsplash influences both the function and style of your kitchen. Use the guidelines and factors above to help inform your design decisions. Whether you opt for a small splash of tiles or make a bold floor to ceiling statement, let the backsplash enhance your culinary space in both form and function.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Height

How high should backsplash be behind a stove?

It’s recommended that backsplash behind a stove extends at least 18 inches above the cooktop. This protects the wall from grease splatters and steam. Opt for a heat resistant and easy to clean material like metal or stone.

Does backsplash have to go all the way to ceiling?

Backsplash does not have to extend to the ceiling. The standard height is 4-6 inches above the counter. Full ceiling height is an option for a dramatic accent wall impact, but requires careful material selection and design.

Is it ok to have no backsplash in kitchen?

Lacking a backsplash leaves walls unprotected. It also misses an opportunity to add color, texture, and personality to the kitchen. Even a small 4 inch high backsplash guard provides functionality and decor.

What is the most popular backsplash height?

The most popular backsplash height is 4-6 inches above the counter. This leaves some bare wall visible, allows display of decorative accents, and provides essential splatter protection behind appliances and the sink area.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It’s not required, but matching backsplash and countertops can create a streamlined and seamless look. Contrasting materials in same color family also coordinates well. Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix patterns and textures.


Determining how high to extend your backsplash requires balancing functional splatter protection with visual impact in your kitchen’s design. Standard height is 4-6 inches above counter, but customize this based on your cabinets, appliances, style preferences and overall space. Use the guidelines above to create the perfect backsplash for your cooking and decor needs.