How Much To Put Backsplash In Kitchen

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can transform the look and feel of the space, while also protecting your walls from splashes and spills. But how much backsplash should you install? Here is a detailed guide on determining the right amount of backsplash for your kitchen.


A kitchen backsplash is a practical and decorative covering applied to the wall behind countertops, sinks, ranges, and other kitchen fixtures. Typically made of tile, metal, glass, or stone, a backsplash serves both form and function. It protects the walls from moisture, grease, food splatter, and other messes while also providing an opportunity to add visual interest and personality.

When renovating or building a new kitchen, one of the key considerations is determining how much backsplash to install. The amount needed depends on the size and layout of the space, your style preferences, and budget. This article will guide you through the factors to weigh when deciding how expansive you want your backsplash to be.

Full Height Backsplashes

Installing backsplash tile from counter to ceiling is a dramatic look that can instantly upgrade your kitchen’s appearance. Full height backsplash tile unifies the whole wall behind sinks, stoves, and other areas prone to splashing.


  • Creates a bold, contemporary statement
  • Maximizes splash protection on the wall
  • Visually expands smaller kitchens
  • No need to match countertop heights


  • More expensive due to larger tile area
  • Can close off smaller kitchens
  • Requires precise cutting around windows, outlets, etc.
  • Top may get grimy from lack of protection

Generally, full height backsplashes work best in modern, industrial, or transitional style kitchens with high ceilings. They make small spaces appear larger but can overwhelm truly tiny kitchens. Expect to pay 15% to 30% more for a full height backsplash installation.

Standard Backsplashes

The most common backsplash height is 4 inches installed above the countertop along the rear wall. This traditional option offers full splash protection behind appliances and sinks. The standard backsplash allows you to customize material and accentuates the countertop.


  • Classic, understated style for any kitchen
  • Protects walls from normal cooking splatter
  • Less tile required than full height = cost savings
  • Easy to adjust height for countertop material


  • Provides less protection overall
  • Can look more choppy with open shelving
  • Requires matching countertop height

For traditional home styles like farmhouse and craftsman, the standard 4 inch backsplash is often the ideal choice. It’s both practical and visually appealing. Costs are 25% to 50% less than full height installations.

Mini Backsplashes

A mini backsplash typically covers a 2 inch area directly behind the countertop. Used selectively behind the stove or sink, it adds a hint of tile design without major commitment. Creative floating shelving can supplement protection.


  • Lets countertops and wall color take center stage
  • Inexpensive way to test a tile design
  • Easy DIY installation project
  • Allows flexibility in materials used


  • Provides minimal splash protection
  • Can look disjointed mixed with full backsplash
  • Limited impact on overall kitchen style

Mini backsplashes work best in kitchens with light cooking demands. They offer a touch of tile charm while keeping the budget down. Mini backsplash installations cost 10% to 15% of a standard size.

Backsplashes with Shelving

Open shelving provides handy storage space while eliminating upper cabinets. Many designs integrate shelving into the backsplash area. The shelving may be topped with stone, wood, or other materials.


  • Adds visual interest and texture
  • Creates display space for decorative items
  • Makes kitchen feel more open and spacious


  • Provides less splash protection
  • Items on shelves can get grimy from cooking
  • Floating shelves may not match other materials

Combined shelving and backsplash designs are great for casual, eclectic, or rustic kitchen styles. Unique floating shelves can display cookbooks, plants, or dishware. Just be prepared to clean the shelves regularly!

Factors to Consider

Now that you know the most common backsplash dimensions, there are several other factors to consider in determining the right amount for your kitchen:

  • Budget – Full height backsplashes cost more in materials and labor. Prioritize key high splash areas if needed.
  • Kitchen size – Avoid overpowering a small room with too much tile. Large kitchens can handle more extensive backsplashes.
  • Countertop material – Match the height to complement your countertop selection if needed.
  • Appliance placement – Backsplashes should at minimum protect areas around stoves, sinks, and refrigerators.
  • Personal style – Contemporary designs favor full height tile. Traditional looks opt for standard 4 inch height.
  • Ease of maintenance – The more grout lines, the more cleaning required. Full height has highest maintenance.

Measure carefully and evaluate the pros and cons for your particular kitchen. This will lead you to the ideal backsplash size.

Full Backsplash Installation Cost

Installing a backsplash from counter to ceiling is the most expensive option, but also makes the biggest impact. Here are general estimates on what a full height backsplash installation costs:

  • Ceramic tile: $7-$15 per square foot, including materials and labor. Simple ceramic tile is the most budget-friendly choice.
  • Stone tile: $15-$50 per square foot. Natural stone types like marble, travertine, and granite cost more.
  • Glass tile: $15-$30 per square foot. Prices run higher for custom or intricate glass mosaic patterns.
  • Metal tile: $15-$50 per square foot. Material thickness determines costs of tin, stainless steel or copper tile.
  • Professional installation: $5-$10 per square foot, in addition to material expenses. Many opt to DIY, but pros ensure proper installation.

On average, you can expect to spend $500 to $2000 for a professionally installed full height backsplash, depending on the size of your kitchen and materials selected. Get multiple estimates and look at product samples to find the right balance of cost vs. design.

Standard Backsplash Installation Cost

The popular 4 inch standard backsplash is the most budget friendly option for adding a splash of style behind kitchen counters. Here is an overview of standard size backsplash installation costs:

  • Ceramic tile: $3-$7 per square foot for materials plus $3-$5 for labor.
  • Glass mosaic tile: $10-$20 per square foot including professional installation.
  • Stainless steel: $20-$40 per square foot installed, depending on gauge of metal.
  • Peel-and-stick backsplash: $1-$3 per square foot for DIY-friendly vinyl or plastic sheets.

For a 10 foot stretch of standard backsplash in an average kitchen, you can expect to pay around $250 – $500 depending on materials and installation method. Limiting the backsplash area to high splash zones around appliances can reduce costs even further.

How Much Tile is Needed?

To estimate how much tile you need for the backsplash, first measure the length and height of each wall section getting covered. For standard backsplashes, measure just the area above the counter. Multiply the length and height together to get the square footage.

Here’s an example for a typical 10 x 10 foot kitchen with an 8 foot long backsplash area:

  • Backsplash length: 8 feet
  • Backsplash height: 4 inches = 0.33 feet
  • Square footage: 8 X 0.33 = 2.64 square feet

Add up the measurements for all backsplash sections. Most tiles come in square foot sheets. Round up to the next full box for convenience. It’s smart to add 10% extra as backup. Don’t forget grout and any decorative trim pieces too.

Measuring precisely and ordering a little extra allows you to complete the install without running out of materials.

Backsplash Design Ideas

The size of your backsplash sets the overall scale, but the tiles and patterns you choose bring it to life. Here are some inspiring backsplash design ideas:

Mix Tile Shapes and Sizes

Blending different sized rectangular, square, or hexagonal tiles adds visual variety. Continue the medley up to the ceiling for a patchwork style full backsplash.

Choose Deatiled Tiles

Intricate tiles with Moroccan, Spanish, or Mexican design motifs are an eye-catching choice. Pair with simple countertops to avoid overwhelming the space.

Display Vintage Finds

Incorporate plates, spoons, or bottle caps collected over the years. Adhere found objects on one section or scatter through the entire backsplash.

Frame With Decorative Borders

Use trim pieces like polished stone, metal strips, or molded shapes to outline backsplash sections. Contrast with plainer field tiles.

Emphasize Focal Points

Highlight cooking zones or sinks with an expansive stone statement backsplash. Balance with simple tile elsewhere.

Mix Finishes and Textures

Combine glossy and matte tiles or sleek metal sheets with rougher stone tiles. The blend of light reflection adds depth.

Backsplash Design Tips

Keep these backsplash design principles in mind as you plan:

Choose washable surfaces – Prioritize tile, metal, glass, and other water-resistant materials, especially near cooking areas.

Establish proper clearance – Leave 4 inches between backsplash and lower cabinets or countertops for easiest cleaning.

Include an accent strip – Transition from backsplash to wall with a bold liner strip for polished definition.

Carry tile up outlets – Covering outlets with a matching tile piece gives a sharp, seamless appearance.

Use caulk generously – Caulk all joints with walls, countertops, and around fixtures for water and debris barrier.

Consider open shelves – Floating wood or metal shelves increase functionality and match the backsplash style.

Illuminate properly – Use LED tape lights and fixtures to cast appealing glow on backsplashes.

With the right amount of planning and creativity, it’s easy to design a kitchen backsplash that protects, impresses, and stays within your budget limits. Calculate the size appropriately for your space, then have fun exploring the limitless possibilities!

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Installation

How high should a backsplash be?

The most common backsplash height is 4 inches, installed above the countertops along the wall. Full height backsplashes from counter to ceiling are also popular. Mini 2 inch backsplashes offer minimal coverage but maximize visibility of wall color.

How much does it cost to install a kitchen backsplash?

Prices range from $3 – $50 per square foot depending on the materials used. Simple ceramic tile is the most affordable. Natural stone, metal, and glass tile cost more. Professional installation adds $5-$10 per square foot.

What is the most popular backsplash?

White subway tile is the quintessential and most popular kitchen backsplash choice. It’s classic, clean, and matches any style. But mosaic, marble, and handmade tile are all common backsplash options.

How do I choose a backsplash color?

Consider colors used on cabinets, countertops, appliances, and floors. Contrasting or coordinating with the tones already established in the kitchen. Bold backsplash colors make a statement, while neutral shades blend in.

What tile is best for kitchen backsplash?

Ceramic, porcelain, or glass tile are most common. Choose a durable, water-resistant material. Mosaic tile provides pattern and visual texture. Stone adds elegance but requires more sealing.

Can you put backsplash tile over existing backsplash?

Yes, tile can be installed over existing backsplashes, but the original surface must be smooth. Remove any damaged or protruding grout first so the new tile lies flat. Use caution with electrical outlets.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It’s common to match backsplash and countertop materials like coordinating granite slab. But many designs intentionally contrast the two using tile and solid surface materials. Complementary colors and textures still create flow.


Determining the right amount of backsplash for your kitchen remodel takes careful consideration of style, function, and budget. Take measurements of all back wall sections requiring splash protection. Then decide whether you want to install a full height, standard, or mini backsplash based on the benefits and costs outlined. Calculate the square footage to order sufficient tile and accessories for the project. Lastly, explore creative backsplash designs that make your kitchen uniquely you. With the guidelines provided, you can install a backsplash that flawlessly finishes your kitchen.