How Tall Should a Backsplash Be?


The standard backsplash height is 4 inches, from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets. This is a good minimum height for protection. However, for style and impact, you may want to consider extending your backsplash to the bottom of the upper cabinets. This creates a full backsplash that becomes part of the overall kitchen design.

When determining backsplash height, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Functionality – Does it adequately protect the walls from splashes?
  • Aesthetics – Does it complement your design and layout?
  • Workflow – Does it fit with how you use the kitchen?

By weighing these factors, you can decide on the ideal backsplash height for your unique space.

Full Backsplash (to Bottom of Cabinets)

Going full height with your backsplash – from countertop to ceiling or bottom of upper cabinets – is a popular choice today. The full backsplash creates a polished, upscale look. It incorporates the backsplash as an integral part of the overall kitchen design instead of just an accent.

Benefits of a Full Backsplash:

  • Provides maximum splash protection on the walls
  • Visually expands smaller kitchens by making the space appear larger
  • Creates a custom, built-in look rather than just an add-on
  • Allows you to use decorative tiles or designs on the entire wall
  • Gives the opportunity to make a bold design statement

For a contemporary, seamless aesthetic, a full backsplash is the way to go. Glass, stone, or tile can be used to create a sleek, modern style. Stainless steel is another option for an industrial look.

Partial Backsplash

If you’d like your backsplash to be a more subtle accent, go for a standard 4-6 inch height. This prevents backsplash tiles or materials from competing with upper cabinets. It also lets you highlight a specific section of the kitchen, such as behind the stove or sink.

Benefits of a Partial Backsplash:

  • Allows cabinets and counters to remain the focus
  • Less expensive and labor-intensive to install
  • Gives flexibility to customize small sections as needed
  • Easier to update down the road compared to a full backsplash

One option is to do a full backsplash solely behind the cooktop area. This contains mess where you need it most while opening up the rest of the wall. An eclectic, mix-and-match look can also be created with different materials on each section.

Factors that Determine Height

When deciding how tall to make your backsplash, here are a few things to keep in mind:


The main purpose of a backsplash is to protect the walls behind a kitchen work zone. Look at your cooking area and consider your height, any splashing that occurs from your sink or appliances, and how you do prep work. The bottom of the upper cabinets is a typical height to contain any splatters.

Existing Backsplash

If updating your kitchen, the existing backsplash area may dictate what you can do. For example, if the current backsplash is only 4 inches tall, going to the ceiling may be unrealistic without full remodeling. Try working with the framework you have.


Look at your current cabinetry placement and style to ensure the backsplash complements rather than competes. For rustic or traditional cabinets, a full backsplash may interrupt the aesthetic. But for contemporary cabinets, a floor-to-ceiling stone or tile backsplash can elevate the look seamlessly.

Countertop Material

Lighter countertops like white marble benefit from a full backsplash that anchors the space. Darker countertops stand out more, so a shorter backsplash prevents overwhelming the eye. Make sure your backsplash color or material works with the counters.


Unfortunately, budget is often a deciding factor. Larger and more elaborate backsplash materials cost more in both materials and labor. Get creative – you can still do a statement backsplash on a budget with clever color schemes or eclectic patterns.

Standard Backsplash Heights

Here are some standard backsplash installation heights to consider:

  • 4 inches: The minimum splash protection, best for accenting a section
  • 6 inches: Slightly better protection and coverage
  • 8-10 inches: Good compromise between partial and full backsplash
  • 18-24 inches: Partial backsplash covering sink and stove areas
  • Countertop to ceiling: Full backsplash as an integral kitchen element

Look at the existing dimensions in your kitchen and where you need the most coverage. Use standard heights as a guideline for what will work best.

Factors that Determine How Tall a Backsplash Should Be

When determining the ideal backsplash height, consider the following:

Available Space

Measure from your countertop to either the ceiling or cabinets to see what you’re working with. This will determine if a full backsplash is possible. Also look at any focal points, like a window, that you may want to work around.

Splash Zone

Identify your main “splash zones” – areas most prone to spills and splatters. This is typically behind the stove and sink. Make sure you have adequate coverage in these spots.

Personal Preferences

Do you prefer a subtle accent or bold statement? Take your own tastes into account. You’ll be looking at your backsplash every day.

Current Design

The existing style of your kitchen should inform your backsplash height. For contemporary spaces, a full backsplash integrates seamlessly. For traditional kitchens, less may be more.


Unfortunately, cost is a key factor. Bigger and bolder backsplashes require more tile and labor. Have a budget in mind before setting height expectations.

By weighing all these factors, you can zero in on the ideal backsplash height to suit both your kitchen’s functionality and your design vision.

FAQs About Backsplash Height

How high should a backsplash be behind a stove?

Behind the stove, plan for a minimum of 18 inches to adequately protect the wall from grease splatters and steam. Splashes from stirring and flipping can reach high so more coverage is better.

What is the standard height for a kitchen backsplash?

The commonly recommended standard backsplash height is 4-6 inches. Many designs today, however, incorporate full backsplashes from countertop to ceiling for maximum impact.

Is a 6 inch backsplash too short?

For most kitchens, 6 inches is likely adequate. It provides basic wall protection. Only if you do a lot of exuberant cooking that sends food flying upward would you potentially need more coverage.

Should you put a backsplash behind a fridge?

It’s not common, but you can install a backsplash behind the fridge if it fits with your overall design. Easy access to electrical outlets is something to consider if putting tile in this spot.

Can a backsplash be too tall?

Unless you have very unusual ceiling heights, it’s hard for a kitchen backsplash to be too tall. Even a full backsplash from countertop to ceiling provides an appealing custom look in most kitchens today.


Determining how tall your backsplash should be is an important kitchen design decision. While the standard height is 4-6 inches, many contemporary kitchens feature a full backsplash installment for maximum visual appeal.

Assess your space, splatter coverage needs, style preferences, and budget to decide on the ideal backsplash height for your kitchen. With strategic planning, it can become a focal point that both protects your walls and makes a stylish statement.

Use the guidelines provided to determine the perfect backsplash height that checks both the functional and aesthetic boxes. Then stand back and enjoy a kitchen backsplash that meets all your needs and design desires!