How Tall is Kitchen Backsplash? The Complete Guide

Kitchen backsplashes play an important functional and decorative role in any kitchen. But how tall should your backsplash be? What factors should you consider when deciding on the height? This complete guide will walk you through everything you need to know about determining the ideal height for your kitchen backsplash.

What is a Kitchen Backsplash?

A kitchen backsplash is a vertical surface area located on the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink. Backsplashes are typically made of tile, metal, glass, or other water-resistant materials.

The main purposes of a backsplash are to protect the walls from water damage, grease, food splashes, and stains. Backsplashes also serve an aesthetic function, allowing you to add visual interest, color, and patterns to your kitchen design.

Determining the appropriate height is key for a backsplash to properly serve its functional and decorative purposes.

Standard Kitchen Backsplash Heights

While the height can vary based on your needs and preferences, there are some standard backsplash height recommendations:

Countertop to Bottom of Wall Cabinets

The most common backsplash height is to run the backsplash from the countertop to the bottom of the wall cabinets. This allows complete wall protection behind the counters and range.

For standard height cabinetry, this backsplash height is commonly 18-24 inches.

This full wall coverage is the most functional option for protecting the walls and adding a decorative focal point.

4-6 Inches Above Countertop

Some homeowners opt for a shorter backsplash height of just 4-6 inches above the countertop.

This can give just enough protection from minor splashes and spills, while allowing more of the wall paint or wallpaper to show.

This works well if you want to use the backsplash as more of an accent rather than a full wall treatment. Keep in mind it provides less splash protection.

Countertop Height

Another option is to run the backsplash from the countertop to right at the countertop level.

For standard height countertops, this backsplash height would be 36 inches above the floor.

This can work well to bridge the gap between a countertop and a floating shelf. Or it can give just enough coverage behind a sink or stove without going all the way up.

Partial Height

Some designs incorporate a partial height backsplash, ranging anywhere from 10-14 inches above the countertop.

This can be a good compromise between full wall coverage and a short backsplash. It provides ample splatter protection while still allowing some wall exposure.

Factors to Consider for Backsplash Height

Several factors come into play when determining the best backsplash height for your kitchen:


Think about how you use your kitchen. Do you do a lot of cooking and need maximum protection from oils and sauces? Or is your cooking style pretty tidy?

If you need serious safeguarding from splashes and spills, opt for a full backsplash from counter to cabinets. For lighter cooking, you may be fine with just a 4-6 inch backsplash.

Assess which areas of the kitchen really need protection. Maybe just do a small backsplash area behind the stove and opt for less coverage elsewhere.

Wall Space and Cabinets

Look at how much usable wall space you have above the countertops and below the cabinets to work with.

If you have high ceilings, you may have several feet of wall space to decorate. This allows room for creativity with backsplash heights and designs.

Conversely, if you have limited wall space, you’ll need to be more selective about how high you take the backsplash.

Make sure to account for the height of wall-mounted lighting fixtures and decorative items when planning backsplash height.

Countertop Height

Standard countertop height is 36 inches. But variations like bar height (42 inches) or wheelchair accessible height (32 inches) will impact your backsplash measurements.

Measure from the top of your actual countertop to determine the ideal height based on the standard recommendations.

Tile Dimensions

If using a tile backsplash, you’ll need to map out your tile layout to see how the patterns and grout lines align.

Select your backsplash height based on what works with the tile sizes you’ve chosen. Avoid awkward cuts that disrupt the design.

Existing Backsplash

For kitchen remodels, check if you’ll be working around an existing backsplash. It likely makes sense to match the new backsplash height to maintain visual continuity.

This may dictate your backsplash design options, especially if matching existing tile patterns and colors.

Multi-Height Design

Don’t be afraid to get creative and vary the backsplash height in different areas!

You can do a full height backsplash behind the stove for maximum protection, while doing a shorter accent height elsewhere.

Or alternate between high and low backsplash sections to create interest and define workstations in an open concept kitchen.

Backsplash Installation Tips

Once you’ve determined the optimal backsplash height, here are some tips to ensure proper installation:

  • Measure from multiple points along the countertop since it may not be perfectly level. Mark lines to clearly indicate the height.
  • For tile, map out your tile layout on the wall, accounting for grout lines and positioning of pattern.
  • Make sure the wall surface is smooth and primed so the backsplash adheres properly.
  • Use a level during installation to keep the backsplash even.
  • For tile, use plastic tile spacers to leave even grout lines and gaps for cut edges.
  • Carefully cut any partial tiles and pieces needed to fit the top and bottom edges.
  • Take time to neatly grout the backsplash. Remove excess grout so it’s smooth and even with the tile.
  • Caulk along the counter-backsplash seam and perimeter edges for a finished look.
  • Clean the surface when installation is complete and seal grout if needed.


How tall is a standard kitchen backsplash?

The most common height is 18-24 inches from the countertop to the underside of the wall cabinets. This provides full splash protection behind counters and appliances.

What if I have extra wall space above the cabinets?

Take advantage of the extra space! You can do a full floor-to-ceiling backsplash or decorate the upper wall area. Just be sure the lower backsplash extends up to standard height behind the counters.

Do I have to go all the way to the ceiling?

No, the backsplash just needs to adequately protect the wall behind where you cook and clean. Full ceiling height is optional for decorative purposes.

What if I have limited wall space?

Prioritize function over design. Make sure to go at least 4-6 inches above the counters, and higher behind the range, sink, and work areas. You can minimize upper backsplash height where protection matters less.

Should I match existing backsplash height in a remodel?

It’s generally best to match old and new backsplash installation heights when possible. This provides a streamlined look. But you can certainly alter the height if needed to work with your new backsplash design.

Can I vary the backsplash height in different areas?

Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with varying backsplash heights where it suits your functional needs and aesthetic vision. You don’t have to commit to just one height everywhere.

How is backsplash height affected by countertop height?

Always measure up from the top of your actual counters. Standard 36 inch high counters will have different backsplash measurements than bar or wheelchair height variations.

Should I account for potential future countertop replacement?

It’s smart to consider possible future countertop changes when planning backsplash height. Leave a little extra room for countertop adjustments if possible.

Key Takeaways:

  • Common backsplash height is 18-24 inches from counter to cabinet bottom. Full height provides maximum protection.
  • Partial height of 4-6 inches can work well as an accent but provides less coverage.
  • Consider how you use your kitchen, wall space, countertop height, and tile dimensions when planning.
  • Creative designs can incorporate varied backsplash heights in different areas.
  • Proper installation is key. Measure precisely, use spacers for tile, and neatly grout.

Determining the ideal backsplash height requires balancing functional needs, available space, and aesthetic vision. While standard dimensions serve as helpful guidelines, don’t be afraid to customize heights to match your kitchen design and style. A well-executed backsplash height pulls the whole space together beautifully.