How to End a Backsplash on an Open Wall

Ending a backsplash elegantly on an open wall can be a challenge, but with some planning and clever design, it can look polished and complete. Here are tips on how to end a backsplash on an open wall for a seamless look.

Selecting the Right Backsplash Material

Choosing the right backsplash material is key to ending it smoothly on an open wall. Consider:

  • Tile: Tile allows you to end the backsplash precisely at a grout line. Select a small format tile in a shape like subway tile that can be cut easily.
  • Metal: Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper, or tin can be cut to size and bent for clean edges.
  • Glass: Glass tile or sheet glass can be cut and polished at the edges. Use opaque, not transparent, glass.
  • Stone: Stone like marble, granite, or slate can be cut to fit, but the thickness makes for a more challenging transition.
  • Wood: Wood planks allow an easy end cap. Hide edges with trim or let them be part of the design.

Using an End Cap

For some materials like tile or glass, using an end cap trim piece in a matching or coordinating finish gives a clean termination:

  • Bullnose tile has a rounded finished edge and can be cut to fit.
  • Metal trim like aluminum or stainless steel can be cut to size.
  • Wood trim matches wood plank backsplashes.
  • PVC or vinyl are inexpensive options to finish tile or glass.

Extending the Backsplash to a Vertical Surface

Ending at a perpendicular wall or side of a cabinet helps prevent an awkward exposed edge:

  • Continue the backsplash to a side wall or tall cabinet.
  • End it where the counter changes directions like around a peninsula.
  • Take it to the edge of an appliance like the side of a refrigerator.

Transitioning Materials

Switching materials entirely such as from tile to wood or metal to painted drywall can provide a straight edge and decorative transition:

  • From tile to wood with a trim strip between them
  • From metal to drywall using a clean edge filler like caulk
  • From glass to painted wall with a metal trim between

Creative Tricks for Open Wall Ends

For truly open walls, get creative with how you end the backsplash:

  • Use a taller backsplash double the standard 4-6 inches to extend it farther.
  • Continue the backsplash fully to the ceiling.
  • Install floating shelves where the backsplash ends to act as a termination point.
  • Use a decorative tile border or accent tiles along the end.
  • Add a display shelf to mask the edge of the backsplash.

Expert Tips for Installation

Proper installation ensures a smooth transition for your backsplash termination:

  • For tile, use tile edge trim and scrape excess grout for clean lines.
  • When cutting stone, get a stone fabrication company to polish the edges.
  • With metal, precisely cut sheets and fold back 1/4 inches to hide edges.
  • caulk gaps for glass and use frosted edging for opaque finished edges.
  • For wood, use trim to hide uneven planks edges.

Answering Common Questions

Some frequent questions on finishing backsplashes on open walls include:

Should you end a backsplash in the middle of a wall?

It’s best not to end a backsplash arbitrarily in the middle of a wall. Extending it to corners, edges, transitions, or ceilings gives a more finished look.

What height should you end a backsplash?

Standard backsplash height is 4 inches above the counter, but you can extend to 6, 12, or even full wall height depending on your design. End it at a natural transition line.

Can you end tile backsplash without bullnose?

Lack of a bullnose tile trim will expose the unfinished tile edge. Options are mitering tiles at an angle, using metal trim, or small filler pieces.

What is the best way to finish an open edge?

The best finishes for open edges are polished stone, metal trim, bullnose tile, or continuing the material onto a perpendicular surface.

Should you end backsplash at cabinet or wall?

It looks more intentional to end at a vertical surface like walls, tall cabinets, and appliances instead of mid-wall.

Creative Backsplash End Ideas

Here are unique and clever ways to terminate a backsplash on an open wall:

Use Mirror Tiles

Mirror tiles reflect light and create the illusion of extension past the end of the backsplash. They add depth and make the area behind the sink appear larger.

Install a Display Shelf

Mounting wall-mounted spice racks, knife blocks, utensil hooks, or floating shelves above the backsplash termination provides a handy transition.

Add an Accent Border

A contrasting border in a different tile material, finish, or color at the backsplash endpoint draws the eye. Try mosaic tiles, metal, or glass accents.

Finish with a Decorative End Cap

For a subtle and ornate finish, install decorative end cap trim pieces like carved wood, cast iron, carved stone, or laser-cut metal.

Incorporate Artwork

Hanging artwork, prints, photos, or wall sculptures right above the backsplash endpoint fools the eye into thinking it continues behind them.

Use Lighting Effects

Direct puck lights shining onto the backsplash termination or installing under-cabinet lighting or sconces right at the end can highlight and enhance the finish.

Contrast Grout Colors

For tile backsplashes, use a darker grout color on the open edge tiles to create a finished look compared to lighter grout on the rest.

Inspiring Examples of Open Wall Backsplash Ends

To spark ideas for your own kitchen backsplash termination, here are some beautiful examples of open wall ends:

  • White marble subway tile with navy blue accent edge border.
  • Stainless steel sheet metal with a metal corner trim transitioning to white brick wall.
  • White shaker ceramic tile ending at a stainless steel vent hood over the stove.
  • Herringbone wood planks with a wood trim border connecting to dark green painted wall.
  • Frosted glass tile ending with polished metal bar trim linking to mirrors on the wall.
  • White granite countertop and gray slate tile ending at a recessed spice rack alcove.
  • Rustic stone tile wrapped around edges meeting beige concrete and warm wood shelving.


With smart backsplash material selection, careful installation, and creative open edge treatments, you can achieve an elegant termination for your backsplash, even on a difficult open wall. The options are limitless, from a coordinating border to an integrated focal point. With the right approach, you can avoid an awkward unfinished look and make the most of the backsplash as a decorative focal feature in your kitchen design. The end result will look cohesive, polished, and thoughtfully planned.