A backsplash serves both functional and aesthetic purposes in a home. It protects the walls from water damage, grease stains, and splashes while cooking. It also adds visual interest and appeal to the kitchen. The value a backsplash adds to a home depends on several factors:
The material for the backsplash impacts cost and value. More expensive materials like natural stone, metal, glass, and high-end ceramic or porcelain tile add more monetary value than basic ceramic tile or plastic panels.
Natural stone like marble, granite, slate, and travertine has intricate natural patterns and textures. It’s very durable and can last many years. Natural stone backsplashes range from $40-$100 per square foot installed. The high-end materials add resale value and luxury appeal.
Metal backsplashes made of stainless steel, copper, brass, or tin have an industrial, modern look. Prices range from $50-$100 per square foot installed. The sophisticated, eye-catching look increases home value.
Glass tile is available in endless colors, shapes, and styles, like subway, mosaic, or penny. It’s easy to clean and maintain. It costs $20-$50 per square foot installed and gives a sleek, contemporary vibe.
High-end ceramic or porcelain in larger format tiles or mosaics with decorative patterns or finishes cost $10-$50 per square foot. The tile quality and design provide visual impact.
Basic ceramic tiles or vinyl stick-on panels cost $5-$15 per square foot. Low-cost simple backsplash materials add minimal monetary value.
Design and Colors
The design and color scheme of the backsplash influence the aesthetic value and appeal. Backsplashes can utilize various tiles, patterns, accents, and colors to make a design statement.
Eye-catching designs like mosaic, subway tile patterns, combinations of colors, shapes and materials, and decorative accents customize the look and increase appeal and value.
On-trend colors that complement cabinetry and furnishings fit the current style. Neutral colors like white, gray, and beige are popular choices that don’t go out of style quickly.
Coordinated colors that match or accent the cabinets, countertops, appliances, and overall kitchen decor show a put-together, purposeful look. Mismatched colors can decrease appeal.
Proper installation is key to functionality and visual appeal. Clean precise joints, grout lines, and sealants maintain longevity and add to the backsplash’s quality. DIY installations often have imperfections and decrease value.
Size of the Backsplash
Typically, backsplashes cover the wall area between the countertops and kitchen cabinets. Installing a backsplash on multiple walls or extending it to the ceiling increases the material cost. A full wall of expensive tile or natural stone boosts the value significantly.
Kitchen Size and Scope
The size and scope of the kitchen remodel impact the return on investment from a backsplash. In a larger or luxury kitchen renovation, a high-end backsplash ties in with pricier cabinets, appliances and surfaces. It has a greater payoff versus a basic backsplash in a small kitchen update.
Home Value and Location
In higher-end homes or more affluent areas, buyers expect high-quality finishes like a backsplash. The backsplash directly contributes to the overall home value. In a modest home or average location, the backsplash adds less monetary worth. Its more about personal taste preferences.
Return on Investment
According to the 2021 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of REALTORS, the average return on investment for a midrange minor kitchen remodel is about 64%. For an upscale major kitchen remodel, the ROI is about 68%.
While a backsplash alone does not generate a significant ROI, it’s an integral part of an overall kitchen remodel and boosts the appeal and value as part of the complete package. The higher the quality of materials and workmanship, the higher the payoff.
A properly installed quality backsplash improves functionality in several ways:
- Protects walls from water damage and stains
- Creates a sanitary, easy-to-clean surface
- Durability to withstand heat, scratches, and impacts
- Moisture resistance especially around sinks
- Sound dampening by using materials like cork
- Reflects light off glossy surfaces like glass or ceramic tile
- Covers up imperfections or flaws in drywall
- Allows creativity and self-expression through colors, textures, and designs
- Completes the overall finished kitchen look
So in considering “how much value does a backsplash add to your home,” the monetary ROI comes from enhancing the entire kitchen remodel rather than just installing a backsplash alone. The backsplash works together with the countertops, cabinetry, appliances and other finishes to boost functionality and aesthetics.
Factors That Increase Backsplash Value
Several factors influence the value gained from installing a backsplash:
Use Quality Materials
Higher-end materials like natural stone, metal, glass tile, and decorative ceramic or porcelain tile add more resale value than basic white ceramic subway tile or plastic stick-on panels.
Consider Long-Term Design Trends
Choose versatile, classic colors like white, gray, black and neutral hues that appeal to a wide range of buyers rather than trendy patterns that can date quickly.
Factor in Labor Costs
Professional installation provides quality assurance versus DIY projects with imperfections. Factor about $200-400 for installation labor costs.
Complement Other Finishes
Coordinate backsplash colors and designs with cabinets, countertops, flooring, paint colors and furnishings for a cohesive look.
Larger backsplashes or full wall installations provide more dramatic visual appeal versus a narrow strip over the stove.
Home Value Context
The overall home value and kitchen remodel scope determine value added. A high-end backsplash boosts value more in luxury homes versus starter homes.
Meticulous attention to proper installation – precise cuts, minimal grout lines, caulked edges – enhances quality and appeal.
While premium materials add value, very expensive designer tiles may exceed the budget scale for the home’s value. Seek the optimal balance of material cost versus value added.
If the goal is personal enjoyment versus resale value, choose whatever backsplash design and look makes you happy.
Ideas for Adding Value Through Backsplashes
Here are some backsplash design ideas that enhance functionality, visual appeal and potentially home value:
Combine glass and ceramic tile or natural stone and metal to create interest. Accent with decorative mosaic tiles.
Extend to Ceiling
For drama, continue backsplash tile to ceiling. Works well on tall accent walls in large kitchens.
Replace old 1970s-1980s ceramic tile with large-format polished porcelain or durable quartzite.
Freshen up with contemporary penny tile, geometric shapes or bold colors like navy blue, emerald green and plum.
Warm up Cool Tones
Warm up stark white cabinets and counters with beige, tan, or brown natural stone backsplashes.
Pick a backsplash containing accent colors in the cabinet stain or paint scheme to tie together.
Rough brown, gray or multicolored slate or travertine adds organic texture.
Use separate tile designs to delineate kitchen zones like bar, stove, prep areas.
White on White
All-white kitchens remain classic and elegant. Vary white tile sizes, patterns and finishes.
Dark charcoal or black backsplashes with white cabinets and quartz counters look bold and modern.
Glass, polished stone, metallic glazes and mosaics reflect light and add shine.
Soft beiges, creams, gray stone and wood-look porcelain tile create soothing ambiance.
Use reclaimed barn wood planks or a mix of salvaged corrugated metal and reclaimed wood.
Combine modern and rustic like white subway tile, reclaimed wood shelves and black accents.
Costs of Backsplashes
Backsplash costs range widely based on the materials, tile sizes, patterns, complexity and labor.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: $5-$50 per sq. ft.
- Low-cost options like white subway tile start around $5 per sq. ft.
- Hand-painted Spanish porcelain, large format tiles or mosaics cost $20-$50 per sq. ft.
Natural Stone: $40-$100 per sq. ft.
- Materials like travertine, marble, slate or limestone range from $40-$70 per sq. ft.
- Higher-end granite and quartzite cost $70-$100 per sq. ft.
Glass Tile: $20-$50 per sq. ft.
- Smaller mosaic tiles start around $20 per sq. ft.
- Larger glass subway tiles cost $30-$50 per sq. ft.
Metal Tile: $50-100 per sq. ft.
Professional Installation: $200-$400
- Contractor fees average $50 per hour.
- Tiling a standard 8×5 foot kitchen backsplash takes 8-10 hours.
For example, a 60 sq. ft. backsplash using $10 per sq. ft. ceramic subway tiles and $300 pro install would total around $1,200.
Using higher-end materials like a marble mosaic at $75 per sq. ft. plus install would total $5,100 for the same 60 sq. ft. backsplash.
Backsplash Installation Tips
Proper installation ensures your backsplash looks beautiful and lasts. Key tips include:
- Thoroughly clean and dry the wall before applying tile mortar. Remove existing wallpaper or paneling.
- Use plastic spacers between tiles for consistent grout line widths. Allow 1/16”-1/8” joints.
- Use sanded caulk between the countertop and backsplash for better adhesion and neater edges.
- For heavy stone tiles, use specialized mortar and modified thinset that sticks firmly.
- Allow tile mortar to cure fully (12-24 hours) before applying grout.
- Gently clean excess grout off tile surface to avoid grout haze and drying on tile faces.
- Use caulk instead of grout at inside corners, edges, and changes in plane for more flexibility.
- Seal natural stone tiles and grout lines with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining.
- Cut glass tiles with a wet glass cutter, not dry cutting. Finish edges with sandpaper or tile nippers.
- Drill pilot holes if securing backsplash tiles to drywall to prevent cracking tile edges.
Simple maintenance keeps your backsplash looking like new:
- Use cleaners made specifically for natural stone, ceramic tile, or glass. Avoid abrasive scouring powders.
- Re-apply sealer annually on grout and natural stone to prevent staining and increase water resistance.
- Repair any cracked, chipped, or loose tiles immediately to prevent damage spread.
- Re-caulk countertop edges if gaps appear to prevent moisture damage.
- Rinse backsplash after cooking to prevent grease buildup. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
- Check for loose or hollow-sounding tiles and re-adhere them promptly to avoid cracks and injuries.
Backsplash Design Ideas
Here are some backsplash design considerations and examples to inspire your remodel:
- Ceramic, porcelain or glass tile
- Stone like marble, travertine or slate
- Metal like stainless steel, tin or copper
- Salvaged materials like wood boards, bricks, or flea market finds
Patterns and Textures
- Subway tile
- Hexagon shaped tile
- Mini brick shape
- Penny tile
- Moroccan fish scale
- Scalloped, wavy, fan or leaf-shaped tile
- 3D dimensional tile
- Geometric designs
- Carrara marble with veining
- Pebble stone slate
- Distressed wood planks
- Hammered metal
- All white
- Black and white
- Soft earth tones like beige, tan, gray
- Bold colors like navy blue, emerald green, burnt orange
- Mix colors in mosaic patterns
- Full wall behind stove
- Between countertops and cabinets
- Bar or island
- Recessed shelving nooks
- Inside glass-front cabinets
- Polished, reflective tiles
- Matte, soft finish tiles
- Metallic glaze accents
- Iridescent glass tiles
- Contrasting grout colors like black with white tile
- Modern – bold colors, sleek glass, metal
- Rustic – reclaimed wood, uneven stone
- Farmhouse – white subway tile, unfinished wood shelves
- Transitional – marble tile, metal accents, clean lines
- Contemporary – mosaic tiles, creative patterns and colors
- Traditional – beige and tan tones, softer neutrals
Enhancing Value Through Backsplash Lighting
Proper lighting enhances the beauty of the backsplash while providing task lighting for food prep. Lighting design ideas include:
Use puck lights, strip lighting or mini-pendants to accent the backsplash. Graze lighting placed at the top edge of the backsplash wall casts light across the surface to highlight the tile, textures, and colors.
Continuous LED strip lighting or individual low-voltage fixtures underneath wall cabinets create even illumination on the backsplash work area without shadows.
If possible, incorporate windows or skylights above the sink or backsplash area. Natural light shows off the tilework best.
Install dimmer switches to control light intensity from bright task lighting to soft ambiance.
Warm Color Temperatures
Choose lighting like halogen or LED with a warm 2700K-3000K color temperature to prevent a “cold” look on the tilework.
Coordinate Light Fixtures
Select finish colors on light fixtures like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze or white enamel that coordinate with cabinet hardware and plumbing fixtures.
Ambient Fill Light
In addition to task lighting on the backsplash itself, make sure general overhead lighting fills the entire kitchen evenly. Combining ambient, task and accent lighting creates the optimal kitchen lighting.
Backsplash Design Trends
Backsplash design trends change over time, but some classic, timeless styles remain popular.
The iconic rectangular white ceramic tile arranged in a stacked pattern provides clean lines. Options like larger tiles, thinner grout lines and combining sizes create more modern variations.
Blue and Green Tones
Deep ocean blues and rich greens like emerald or sage pair well with warm wood cabinetry and brass accents, adding color without overwhelming.
Soft beiges, warm grays, almond and tan in stone, ceramic or porcelain have broader appeal than bold colors. Subtle organic textures add interest.
Combining stone, ceramic, metal and glass tile inlay creates depth and contrast. Accent with small handmade tile or colorful mosaic.
Tiles in geometric shapes like hexagons and triangles or display patterns like herringbone provide movement and interest.
The mini brick-sized rectangular tile laid in offset rows simulates classic brickwork. Natural thin grout lines create authenticity.
Moroccan and Spanish Influences
Intricate tiles with Moorish shapes, carved patterns, terra cotta colors and accents like handpainted tiles reference Moroccan, Spanish and Tuscan design.
Minimalist Scandi Style
Simple white tiles in matte finish and minimal grout lines keep the look light and unfussy. Pale woods and black accents play well off white tiles.
Backsplash Ideas Photo Gallery
Below are some backsplash design ideas to inspire your kitchen remodel:
Subway tile backsplash in glossy white with thin grey grout lines keep this kitchen looking clean and timeless. Open shelves and brass accents add warmth.
Credit: Christina Wocintechchat
Vibrant Moroccan-inspired blue and white tiles laid in an interlocking pattern create drama behind this range.
Credit: Element5 Digital
![Patterned Cement Tile Backsplash](https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1513694273220-700e77fc6c52?ixlib=rb-4.0.3&ixid=