How to Choose Backsplash Color

Choosing the right backsplash color for your kitchen or bathroom can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But with so many color options to pick from, it can be overwhelming to decide which hue is best for your style and needs. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn insider tips for selecting a stunning backsplash color that you’ll love.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash Color

Several key factors go into choosing the perfect backsplash color for your space. Keep these elements in mind as you evaluate colors:

Complement Existing Elements

The backsplash color you choose should complement your existing decor. Look at colors, materials, and finishes already in the kitchen or bathroom. For example, pick a backsplash hue that matches or balances out countertops, cabinets, flooring and paint colors. A coordinating backsplash brings the whole room together.

Purpose and Functionality

Consider the purpose and functionality of the backsplash. In the kitchen, the backsplash gets splattered from cooking. So durable, wipeable materials in stain-resistant hues are best. In bathrooms, humidity resistance is key. Make sure your backsplash color choice fits the space.

Natural vs. Artificial Lighting

The backsplash reads differently in natural vs. artificial light. View color samples in both types of light before deciding. Cool northern light washes colors out, while warm southern light intensifies them. Brighter backsplash colors suit darker spaces.

Personal Taste and Style

Choose a backsplash color that fits your personal taste and decorating style. Make sure it’s a hue you enjoy looking at and that enhances how you want the room to feel. Whether you lean traditional, contemporary, minimalist or eclectic, select a shade you’ll love.

Dark vs. Light Colors

Darker backsplash colors make small spaces feel more intimate, while lighter hues open them up. Dark backsplashes also hide cooking mess better. Lighter colors reflect more light and feel airier. Balance dark surfaces with light ones to avoid a cave-like effect.

Splash of Color vs. Neutral Backdrop

Vibrant backsplash colors create drama and interest. But limiting bold hues to the backsplash prevents overwhelming. For a more versatile neutral backdrop, stick to muted natural or grey tones. Use accessories like dish towels for pops of color.

Popular Backsplash Color Trends

Here are some of today’s most popular backsplash color trends to inspire you:


A white backsplash offers a clean, classic look that fits both traditional and modern designs. White reflects light well, opening up small kitchens. It keeps things light and airy. Wipeable glossy subway tiles in white are an economical and practical option. Avoid flats paints, which stain easily.


From warm greiges to cool graphites, grey backsplashes look stunning and sophisticated. Pair grey with white for a minimalist vibe, or mix greys for added depth. Matte finishes hide kitchen mess better. Grey also balances wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.


For dramatic impact, go for a deep charcoal or black backsplash. Use a mix of finishes like glossy and matte. Echo black with dark cabinetry and hardware for a cohesive luxe look. Contrast black with lighter countertops and paint colors so the room doesn’t feel too dark.


Wood-look backsplashes infuse warmth and texture. Faux boards or 3D tiles mimic rustic planks. Wood-patterned ceramic or porcelain tiles offer the look without maintenance. Mix wood backsplash tiles with stone, brick, or metallic ones for interest. Wood backsplashes pair well with natural stone countertops.

Earth Tones

Warm terra cotta, brown, beige, tan and sand backsplash tiles give a cozy rustic or Tuscan feel. Handmade subway tiles, mosaics, or Moroccan patterns in earthy hues work beautifully. Match brown backsplashes with cream cabinets and granite counters for an organic look.


From navy to sky blue, bold cobalt to weathered indigo, blue backsplashes lend personality. Match different blue tile hues and textures for multidimensional color. Add white for contrast. Blue and green glass tiles together evoke a lovely watery effect.


Verdant green backsplashes breathe life into a mundane room. Pair green with white for a clean, vibrant look. Use pale sage green in a Victorian kitchen, or go for dramatic emerald green glass tiles for tropical flair. Green backsplashes complement granite counters nicely.


Mirror-finish metal, copper, brass, nickel and stainless steel backsplashes infuse glamour. Metallic mosaics catch and reflect light beautifully. Subway tiles with an iridescent sheen or mini-brick patterns work too. Just take care not to overdo the bling. Too much metallic can feel sterile.


Backsplashes that mimic stacked stone, travertine, marble, slate or granite add natural texture. Stone-look porcelain tiles offer an affordable low-maintenance option. Combine different sizes and shapes for interest. Pair stone backsplashes with wood cabinets for an organic feel.

Choosing Backsplash Color for Popular Kitchen Styles

Match backsplash color to common kitchen decorating styles for a cohesive look:

Traditional Kitchens

  • Whites, creams, beiges and light neutrals suit traditional kitchens.
  • Add some color with sunny yellow, cobalt blue or emerald green glass subway tiles.
  • Tuscan-inspired terra cotta and travertine tiles work well too.
  • For old world charm, opt for backsplashes mimicking antique brass, copper or nickel.

Contemporary Kitchens

  • Clean whites, grays and blacks lend modern appeal.
  • Glass or stone tile mosaics in deep jewel tones like ruby red and sapphire blue are striking.
  • Metallic gold, silver and copper backsplashes add polish.
  • Concrete-look tiles complement the sleek contemporary aesthetic.

Rustic Kitchens

  • Faux wood planks or painted ceramic tiles in natural wood tones like oak suit rustic spaces.
  • Distressed tiles and reclaimed barn board backsplashes also enhance rustic charm.
  • Warm terracotta and brick patterns fit nicely too.
  • For an earthy accent wall, mimic stacked stone backsplashes.

Farmhouse Kitchens

  • Whites, creams and soft pastels like sky blue and buttercream suit the farmhouse look.
  • Vintage-inspired floral patterns, checks or plaids in muted hues work as well.
  • Mix different sizes of white subway tiles with gray grout for added contrast and visual interest.
  • Wood-look backsplash tiles complement farmhouse style beautifully.

Cottage Kitchens

  • Painted or glazed ceramic tiles in light aqua, buttery yellow or coral pink lend cottage character.
  • Floral motif tiles, ceramic fish scale patterns, and mosaic designs offer vintage charm.
  • Distressed wood-look planks make cozy backsplashes.
  • Washed natural wood and sea glass tiles boost the beachy cottage vibe.

Victorian Kitchens

  • Classic white, black, and cream subway tiles suit Victorian elegance.
  • Penny rounds in glossy black, creamy white, or bold jewel tones add timeless appeal.
  • Intricate mosaic designs and vibrant colored glass tiles enhance old world grandeur.
  • Marble, travertine and granite-look tiles lend an ornate feel.

Choosing Backsplash Color for Popular Bathroom Styles

Coordinate your bathroom backsplash color to your decor style:

Modern Bathrooms

  • Clean whites, grays and blacks exude modern flair.
  • Bold pops of color via glass mosaics energize a contemporary space.
  • Metallic finishes like brushed bronze and chrome add sleek sophistication.
  • Concrete-look tiles complement the streamlined aesthetic.

Traditional Bathrooms

  • Classic white subway tiles make a timeless backsplash choice.
  • Creams, light grays, and beiges keep things understated yet elegant.
  • Pale blues and sage greens lend subtle color in traditional baths.
  • Carrara marble-look tiles boost the refined look.

Spa Bathrooms

  • Sea glass tiles, ocean-hued stone mosaic designs, and sandy travertine backsplashes evoke tranquility.
  • Natural wood-look planks infuse organic warmth.
  • Whites, beiges and pale aqua colors enhance the relaxing vibe.
  • Avoid bold, energizing hues that disrupt the calm spa feel.

Rustic Bathrooms

  • Wood-look ceramic planks in natural oak or driftwood tones suit the rustic aesthetic.
  • Reclaimed barn board panels offer character.
  • Stacked stone and travertine tiles provide earthy texture.
  • Terracotta colors like deep orange and red add flair.

Cottage Bathrooms

  • Painted or distressed wood backsplash tiles boost cottage charm.
  • Pastel glass tile mosaics in shades like robin’s egg blue and buttercream are quintessential.
  • Fish scale and floral motif tiles lend vintage personality.
  • Washed natural wood planks tie in a beachy coastal vibe.

Using Color to Make a Small Space Feel Bigger

Strategic use of backsplash color can visually expand a small bathroom or kitchen. Here’s how:

  • Stick to light, bright backsplash colors like white, light grey, beige and soft pastels. Dark colors close in space.
  • Glossy backsplash tile finishes reflect more light, making the room feel airier and larger.
  • Minimize strong contrasts between backsplash, countertop and cabinet colors. Monochromatic enhances flow.
  • Avoid bold, heavily patterned or dark-grouted backsplash tiles, which feel busier in a compact area.
  • Extend backsplash tiles to the ceiling to create an elongated effect.
  • Run elongated vertically installed subway tiles from counter to ceiling for illusion of height.
  • Tiny mosaic tiles feel ornate and more cramped. Opt for larger tiles and cleaner lines.
  • Natural stone-look backsplashes lend a sense of durability, balance, and permanence.

Combining Colors and Patterns for a Cohesive Look

When using multiple colors, finishes and patterns on the backsplash, adhere to basic design principles for optimal cohesion:

  • Anchor the scheme with a dominant backsplash color. Add other hues sparingly for accents.
  • Limit patterns. Too many competing prints feel disjointed.
  • Combine colors from the same family or side of the color wheel for harmony.
  • Transition between contrasting textures smoothly, without abrupt edges.
  • Echo shapes in different tiles for unity, like rounds with squares.
  • Repeat particular colors in backsplash tile grout to tie the look together.
  • Tie it in visually with pops of accent colors that match those in the backsplash.

Working with Backsplash Color Samples and Visualization Tools

Don’t choose a backsplash color solely based on tiny samples or photos online. Here are some tips:

  • Order or purchase larger backsplash tile samples and components to view color more accurately.
  • Arrange samples on the actual backsplash area to gauge how light affects the hue in the space.
  • Use project visualization apps that let you upload photos of your existing space and overlay backsplash options for previewing.
  • Print out full sheets of scaled backsplash photos or use poster board and color swatches to mock up designs.
  • Use painter’s tape to map out backsplash tile layouts and color placement combinations right on your wall.
  • View samples at different times of day when lighting conditions change.

Hiring Pro Help for Ideal Backsplash Color Selection

For expert guidance with choosing, designing, and installing the perfect backsplash color for your needs and style, consider hiring a professional:

  • Interior designers can develop custom backsplash color schemes tailored to your taste and decor.
  • Tile showrooms offer a wealth of knowledge and access to an extensive range of options to evaluate.
  • Experienced kitchen and bath remodelers help turn backsplash visions into well-executed realities.
  • Tile installers know which materials work best based on your functional needs and concerns.
  • General contractors can coordinate your entire remodeling project, including backsplashes.

Take the guesswork out of picking backsplash colors and patterns. With this comprehensive guide, you now have insider tips and color combinations for choosing a beautiful, functional backsplash design that enhances your unique space. Trust your instincts, tap the experts, and enjoy a stunning, revitalizing focal point that you’ll love admiring for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing Backsplash Color

  1. What is the most popular backsplash color?

White remains the most popular backsplash color due to its clean, classic look and ability to brighten up any kitchen or bathroom. White backsplashes with glossy subway tiles suit both traditional and contemporary spaces.

  1. Should I match the backsplash to cabinet color?

It’s generally recommended to coordinate, not match, the backsplash color to the cabinets. Contrast adds visual interest but too much disunity looks disjointed. Maintain a similar color family. For example, pair white cabinets with a cream stone backsplash.

  1. How do I choose a backsplash color for a dark kitchen?

In a dark kitchen, opt for light backsplash colors like white, off-white, light grey and beige to maximize light reflection. Add pops of brightness with glass mosaic tiles in colors like pale blue. Keep grout light-colored for a seamless look.

  1. What backsplash colors make a room look bigger?

Light, bright backsplash colors like whites, off-whites, light greys and soft pastels visually expand smaller kitchens or bathrooms. Glossy tile finishes reflect more light for an airier look. Avoid dark colors and bold patterned tiles.

  1. Should a backsplash match or complement countertops?

It’s best to pick a backsplash color that complements but doesn’t exactly match the countertops. For example, pair white cabinets and grey quartz countertops with a mosaic tile backsplash that incorporates white, grey and quartz pieces.

  1. Can I add a backsplash just for color and personality?

Definitely – the backsplash is a perfect place to infuse color, textures and prints. Take a subtle approach by limiting bold hues to the backsplash only, so the room doesn’t feel overwhelming. Use tiles, glass and metals to add striking pops.

  1. How do I know what grout color to use with colored backsplash tiles?

If using colored tiles or glass mosaics, match the grout as closely to the tile color as possible for a seamless effect. For white subway tiles, use white, light grey or very pale tan grout to maintain brightness. Dark grout boxes in the space.

  1. What kind of backsplash goes with oak cabinets?

Natural wood-tone backsplash tiles complement oak cabinets beautifully. Or stick with white subway tiles for crisp contrast. Green, burgundy and blue-toned tiles also pair nicely with warm oak cabinetry. Tile colors echoing the oak grain keep the look cohesive.

  1. Should backsplash tile and kitchen countertops line up?

It’s best practice to keep the bottom backsplash tile edge lined up evenly with the front countertop edge for a clean finished look. Avoid misalignment where the countertop overhangs the backsplash or gaps are visible.

  1. How do I decorate around a colorful patterned backsplash?

If using a bold patterned backsplash tile, keep surrounding decor simple and muted. Echo small amounts of accent colors from the backsplash in your window treatments, appliances, cookware, flowers and decor items for cohesion. Avoid competing prints.

  1. Can I put different backsplashes in my kitchen and bathroom?

Absolutely. Feel free to use different colored and styled backsplash tiles in your kitchen versus bathroom. Just be sure each one ties in well with the existing decor scheme for that individual space. The rooms don’t have to match.

  1. What is the standard height for a kitchen backsplash?

The standard height for a kitchen backsplash is 4 inches, measured from the countertop surface to the bottom edge of the upper cabinets. But extending tiles to the underside of the cabinets or all the way to the ceiling lends a clean finished look.

  1. What color backsplash goes with dark brown cabinets?

Dark chocolate or espresso brown cabinets look striking with a backsplash in a lighter brown, beige, tan, white, cream or light grey hue. Granite-patterned tiles in mocha and tan complement the rich brown cabinetry well.

  1. How do I pick a backsplash for a white kitchen?

White kitchens look stunning with almost any color backsplash for contrast and personality. Grey, black, navy, coral, yellow, green and sky blue all pop beautifully against a white backdrop. Varying textures like glass and metal tile mosaics enhance the appeal.

  1. What backsplash colors look best with stainless steel appliances?

Stainless steel appliances pair nicely with grey, white, black, beige and cream backsplash colors. Green, blue and purple backsplash tiles also complement the silvery tones. Wood-look planks infuse warmth to offset the cooler metallic.

  1. Can you put tile over existing backsplash?

In some cases it may be possible to tile over an existing backsplash, provided the old tile surface is adequately prepared. But removal is often recommended for best adhesion. Consult a tile pro to assess the viability of tiling over an existing backsplash.

  1. What are the latest trends in backsplash tiles?

Some hot backsplash tile trends include bold black colors and contrasting grout, oversized geometric shapes, authentic stone looks, three-dimensional tile effects, metallics like copper and bronze, wood-inspired linear planks, and handmade artisan tiles.

  1. What kind of paint is best for painting a backsplash?

High quality 100% acrylic latex paints formulated especially for kitchen and bathroom use are best for painting a backsplash. Look for mold/mildew resistant paint in a satin, semi-gloss or gloss sheen. Make sure the surface is properly cleaned and primed first.

  1. Should I seal my tiled backsplash?