How Many Square Feet is a Typical Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash serves both form and function – it protects the walls from splashes and spills while adding style and visual interest to the kitchen. But how much backsplash does your kitchen really need? The size of a typical kitchen backsplash can vary based on the size of the kitchen and design elements. Keep reading to learn more about determining the right backsplash size for your kitchen.

What is a Kitchen Backsplash?

A kitchen backsplash is a surface, usually made of tile, metal, glass, or other materials, that is installed on the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink. It serves to protect the walls from water, grease, food stains, and splashes. Backsplashes also allow for easy cleaning, as they can be wiped down quickly.

In addition to function, backsplashes provide an opportunity to add style, color, texture, and patterns to the kitchen. Backsplashes are available in a wide array of materials, sizes, shapes, and colors, allowing you to customize the look. They can coordinate with your cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and overall kitchen decor.

Average Size of a Backsplash

The average size of a kitchen backsplash can range depending on the size and layout of the kitchen. Here are some general backsplash size guidelines:

  • Behind the sink: The backsplash should extend 18-24 inches on either side of the faucet. This protects the surrounding walls from water.
  • Behind the stove: The backsplash should extend a minimum of 4-6 inches on either side of the stove. A range of 24-36 inches is common.
  • Along the countertops: For a full backsplash, extend from the counter to the underside of the upper cabinets. This can be 4 feet or more in height.
  • Partial backsplash: Approximately 4-6 inches in height along the countertops.
  • Full backsplash: Extends from countertops to bottom of wall cabinets.
  • Accent sections: Use backsplash tile as an accent behind appliances, behind the range, or behind the sink.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Size

Several factors come into play when determining the appropriate backsplash size:

Kitchen Size and Layout

  • Smaller kitchens often use a full backsplash to maximize the impression of space.
  • Larger kitchens may opt for partial backsplashes with accent areas.
  • Galley kitchens benefit from full backsplashes due to close proximity to appliances.
  • Kitchen islands can utilize backsplashes on seating areas to protect from spills.

Appliance Coverage

  • Ensure adequate coverage behind and surrounding all appliances, including:
  • Stovetops
  • Sinks
  • Ranges
  • Microwaves
  • Ovens and refrigerators do not need coverage.

Upper Cabinets

  • Backsplashes should extend from countertops to bottom of upper wall cabinets.
  • If no upper cabinets, backsplash can extend to ceiling.

Countertop Materials

  • Protect seams between different countertop materials with adequate backsplash coverage.
  • Match grout lines for a seamless transition.

Kitchen Activities

  • Avid home cooks may want a full backsplash for greater coverage.
  • Minimalists can opt for a partial backsplash with accent areas.
  • Messy cooks need ample backsplash around appliances prone to spills.

Calculating Necessary Square Footage

To determine approximate backsplash square footage:

  • Measure length of all walls needing backsplash coverage.
  • Measure height of the backsplash area.
  • Multiply length x height for each wall section needing coverage.
  • Add together totals for each wall section.


Wall 1:

  • Length: 9 feet
  • Height: 4 feet
  • 9 x 4 = 36 square feet

Wall 2:

  • Length: 6 feet
  • Height: 4 feet
  • 6 x 4 = 24 square feet

Total = 36 + 24 = 60 square feet

This estimate doesn’t account for deductions from outlets, windows, etc. that affect the total. Always add an extra 10% to your estimate.

Typical Backsplash Sizes by Kitchen Type

Here are some typical backsplash sizes for common kitchen layouts:

Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen with countertops on both sides may need approximately 50-75 square feet of backsplash coverage.

L-Shaped Kitchen

An L-shaped kitchen with countertops on two adjoining walls needs approximately 60-100 square feet.

U-Shaped Kitchen

A U-shaped kitchen with countertops on three walls requires approximately 70-120 square feet of backsplash.

Island Kitchen

For a kitchen with a central island and counters on 1-2 walls, 30-60 square feet is common.

Backsplash Patterns and Layouts

Creative backsplash patterns and layouts can add visual interest while also meeting your functional needs.

Full Backsplash

A full backsplash provides maximum protection by covering the entire wall surface from countertops to cabinets. This traditional look offers a clean, seamless appearance.

Partial Backsplash

Partial backsplashes cover a portion of the wall, usually 4-6 inches above countertops. Accent tiles can be added behind appliances.

Mosaic Backsplash

Small mosaic tiles in a mesh sheet create a grid-like pattern. Mosaics work well as an accent or full backsplash.

Subway Tile

Subway tiles are rectangular with a bricklaid pattern. Their simple style offers versatility for both contemporary and vintage kitchens.


The herringbone pattern has a V-shape design that brings visual interest. It works with rectangular tile or wood planks.

Geometric Patterns

Use geometric shapes like hexagons, diamonds, or triangles to create modern, eye-catching designs.

Popular Backsplash Materials

Backsplashes come in an endless array of materials, colors, textures, and patterns.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

A classic option, ceramic and porcelain tiles stand up to heat and stains. Subway, mosaic, and decorative tiles offer style options.

Natural Stone

Granite, marble, and other natural stones provide a timeless, elegant look. Requires sealing to prevent stains.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel backsplashes have a modern, industrial vibe. They are easy to clean and durable.

Glass Tile

Glass tiles come in varied colors, shapes, and finishes like glossy, frosted, or textured. Adds a reflective, shiny look.

Metal Tile

Metal backsplashes offer shine and come in colors like copper, tin, brass, and nickel. Better for low-heat areas.

Cost of Backsplashes

The cost of a backsplash is determined by the material, complexity of the design, and the installer.

  • Tile backsplashes average $10-$40 per square foot installed.
  • Stainless steel averages $40-$100 per square foot installed.
  • Glass tile starts around $15 per square foot and can go up significantly based on intricate designs.
  • Professional installation costs $5-$10 per square foot.

Key Takeaways

  • Typical backsplash height is 4-6 inches for a partial backsplash, extending from countertops to bottom of cabinets for a full backsplash.
  • Make sure to adequately cover appliances like sinks, stoves, and ranges with 18-36 inches of backsplash.
  • Backsplash size depends on kitchen size, layout, appliances, activities, and personal style.
  • When calculating square footage, measure wall sections needing backsplash and multiply length x height.
  • Creative patterns like subway tile, mosaics, and stone add style while serving an important functional purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a kitchen backsplash cost?

On average, a kitchen backsplash costs $30-50 per square foot installed. The total cost depends on the size of the backsplash, materials used, and complexity of the design and installation.

What is the standard height for a kitchen backsplash?

The standard height is 4-6 inches from the counter for a partial backsplash. Full backsplashes extend from the countertops to right below the upper cabinets, usually 1-2 feet or more.

How far should a backsplash extend from the stove?

For adequate protection, the backsplash should extend 24-36 inches from the edges of the stovetop or range.

What’s the difference between a partial and full backsplash?

A partial backsplash covers a portion of the wall, usually 4-6 inches above countertops. A full backsplash goes from counters to upper cabinets, offering more protection.

How do you calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the length and height of each wall section needing backsplash coverage. Then multiply length x height to determine the square footage for that section. Add together totals for all sections.

Can you use a mosaic tile for a backsplash?

Yes, mosaic tiles make an excellent backsplash choice. The small scale tiles can be used to create eye-catching grid patterns or designs behind stoves, sinks, or along the counters.

Is subway tile still in style for backsplashes?

Subway tile remains a popular backsplash trend, adding a classic yet versatile look. The rectangular tiles have a timeless appeal. Their bricklaid pattern works in both modern and vintage kitchens.

Should I get a granite, quartz, or marble backsplash?

Granite and quartz offer durability and an elegant look. Marble provides a luxurious feel but requires more sealing. The choice depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and how much maintenance you want to do.


Determining the right kitchen backsplash size involves assessing your kitchen layout, appliances, activities, and design style. While backsplashes serve an important functional purpose, they also provide an opportunity to add visual flair. A proper backsplash enhances any kitchen’s decor and protects the walls for years to come. Carefully considering size and materials results in a stylish, tailored backsplash design.