How Much Backsplash Do I Need?

What is a Backsplash?

A backsplash is a decorative and protective surface that is installed on the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink. Typically made of tile, metal, glass, or stone, a backsplash serves several purposes:

  • Protects the walls from water damage, spills, and splashes.
  • Makes clean-up easier by providing a smooth, wipeable surface.
  • Adds visual interest and personality to the kitchen.
  • Increases the value and appeal of the home.

Factors to Consider

When deciding how much backsplash to install, there are several factors to take into account:


The standard height for a backsplash is 4-6 inches. This protects the wall from everyday spills and splashes. If you do a lot of cooking or have deep sinks, you may want to consider going taller, up to 18-24 inches. This will provide more protection.


Certain backsplash materials suit extended heights better. Subway tile, glass tile, and stainless steel can extend from counter to ceiling seamlessly. Materials like natural stone don’t always look as pleasing when installed at extreme heights.

Focal Points

Consider highlighting particular areas with a full wall of backsplash. Behind ranges or cooktops are common focal points. This draws the eye to the cooking area and provides ample splatter protection. Full backsplashes behind sinks are also popular.


Larger backsplashes require more tile and labor, inevitably increasing costs. Prioritize areas that need it most based on use. Full walls in secondary areas can also be avoided to cut expenses if needed.


Visually inspect the space. Look for ways the backsplash can complement your cabinets and countertops. Use natural stopping points in the kitchen layout to end the backsplash intentionally. The overall design impact matters.

Cleaning Needs

Full backsplashes require more regular cleaning. Kitchens prone to heavy grease or identifiable mess patterns may want to limit the backsplash area accordingly. However, don’t skimp in primary cooking zones.

Recommended Amounts by Area

Here are some general recommendations on how much backsplash to install in different areas:

Behind Stove/Cooktop

Option 1: A full wall of backsplash, from countertop to ceiling.

Option 2: 4”-6” minimum around the range hood area and additional coverage depending on height of hood and ceiling.

Behind Sink

Option 1: A full wall of backsplash, from counter to ceiling.

Option 2: Standard 4”-6” height around the faucet and hand wiping areas. Extend to approx. 12”-16” on thefar edges.

Secondary Areas

Standard height of 4”-6”. Use selectively in zones prone to spills like next to the dishwasher, refrigerator, or prep areas. Avoid full wall installations.

Perimeter Counters

Optional 4”-6” backsplash with focus near seating areas. Also selectively behind outlets, hardware, and vulnerable seams. Perimeter areas tend to get less exposure.


Typically don’t need a backsplash since they don’t adjoin walls. Installing a decorative focal backsplash is optional.

The Bottom Line

Determining how much backsplash to install requires careful consideration of use, exposure, aesthetic, cost, and other factors unique to your kitchen. Focus on protecting high splash zones adequately while creatively utilizing materials and selective installations to control expenses and enhance visual appeal. With smart planning, you can craft the perfect backsplash design unique to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Installation

How high should I make my backsplash?

The standard backsplash height is 4-6 inches. Full height backsplashes extending from countertop to ceiling are also popular options, especially behind stoves, cooktops, and sinks. The height you choose depends on your budget, style preferences, and how much protection you need.

What areas should get a backsplash in my kitchen?

At minimum, install backsplashes behind sinks, stoves/ranges, and anywhere else prone to heavy splashing like next to dishwashers. Full backsplash walls work well behind sinks and stoves. Use selectively in lower impact areas.

How do I design a backsplash creatively on a budget?

Use standard heights in secondary areas. Focus splurges on prime focal areas like behind the stove. Utilize less expensive materials on perimeter walls, then tie it together with an accent tile. Mixing materials can add visual interest without breaking the bank.

Should I install a backsplash behind my kitchen island?

Since islands don’t adjoin walls, a backsplash isn’t essential. However, a decorative tile focal point can help an island feel like an intentional design choice. An accent strip of tile along the eating edge works nicely.

What backsplash materials are best for my kitchen?

Tile, metal, glass, and stone are popular options. Tile is very versatile and cost-effective. Stainless steel offers a sleek, modern look. Glass tile provides brilliant shine. Natural stone exudes elegance. Consider your style, needs, and budget when selecting materials.


Determining how much backsplash is optimal for your kitchen requires balancing functional splatter protection with visual appeal and budget. Focus backsplashes near cooking equipment, sinks, and high-activity areas first. Then utilize standard heights and selective installations creatively in lower impact zones. With smart planning and design, you can craft a backsplash that perfectly suits the unique style and needs of your kitchen.