How to Hide Electrical Outlets in Backsplash

Backsplashes are a great way to add personality and visual interest to a kitchen. However, they can pose some challenges when it comes to electrical outlets. Outlets situated behind a backsplash look unsightly and disrupt the aesthetic. Thankfully, there are several clever ways to conceal outlets while retaining their functionality. This guide will explore various methods for hiding electrical outlets in backsplash installations.

Assessing the Electrical Setup

Before deciding on a strategy, take stock of the current electrical setup:

  • Identify all outlets that will end up behind the planned backsplash area. Make note of their exact positioning.
  • Determine if the outlets are simply plugged into the wall or if they are hardwired. Hardwired outlets will require more effort to reposition.
  • Check which outlets are essential and need to remain usable after the backsplash is installed. Others may be able to be disconnected and capped off.
  • Inspect the type and condition of the wiring behind each outlet. This will dictate how much rerouting can be done.
  • Consider proximity to appliances, task lighting or other necessary electrical components that may impact outlet positioning.

Thoroughly understanding the electrical framework will inform the best approach to take.

Hiding Outlets Behind the Backsplash

Concealing outlets behind the backsplash itself is often the easiest and least disruptive option:

Notch Out Sections in the Backsplash

Cut notches in the backsplash surface wherever an outlet is positioned. Size the openings to expose just the outlet faceplate. This preserves outlet functionality while keeping wiring intact.

  • Use the outlet faceplate size as a template. Trace its outline before carefully cutting out a notch using a rotary tool or jigsaw.
  • For a tile backsplash, grind out U-shaped notches in the individual tiles before installing. Position cut tiles so openings align correctly.
  • With a single-piece backsplash, measure carefully and cut openings after securing it on the wall.
  • Cut notches large enough for the outlet cover screwheads. Take care not to crack the surrounding material.

This technique blends outlets seamlessly into the backsplash for minimal visibility. The outlets remain easily accessible.

Install Outlets in Deeper Backsplash Boxes

For a deeper backsplash with several inches of space behind it, outlets can be recessed further back using extra-deep boxes:

  • Replace existing outlet boxes with new extra-deep boxes that position outlets ~2 inches further back.
  • Extend the outlet wiring as needed to conceal connections behind the backsplash.
  • Surround outlets with thin extension rings to bring even with the backsplash surface when outlets sit deep in the boxes.

The increased depth allows outlets to hide behind without needing backsplash cutouts. Wiring stays intact, minimizing work.

Add Ledge Shelves to Hide Outlets

Incorporate ledges or floating shelves into the backsplash design to conceal outlets:

  • Measure outlet locations and cut shelves to fit over them, leaving just enough rear clearance for cords.
  • Adhere sturdy ledger boards to support shelf weight. Position so shelves will overlap outlets.
  • Install shelves atop outlets, aligned with bottom of backsplash for a streamlined built-in look.

The shelves become functional decor that discretely encloses outlets. Use waterproof shelf materials in wet areas.

Repositioning Outlets Beyond the Backsplash

For a seamless backsplash look, outlets may need to be relocated outside the backsplash area. Several approaches can achieve this:

Surface Conduit to Reroute Wiring

Use surface conduit to redirect outlet wiring sideways beyond the backsplash perimeter:

  • Determine new outlet locations outside backsplash area based on appliance positioning.
  • Disconnect and cap existing outlet wires. Run new conduit and wiring to desired locations.
  • Install new outlets at conduit ends. Conceal conduit at wall edges or where covered by cabinets/appliances.

Surface conduit enables outlets to be moved while protecting the wiring. Use paintable conduit and color-match for subtlety.

Direct Wire Appliances to Eliminate Outlets

For appliances like microwaves or toaster ovens, wires can be run directly to a new outlet beyond the backsplash:

  • Disconnect appliance from existing outlet and cap wires.
  • Run new wires behind drywall to install an outlet in adjacent cabinetry or an appliance garage.
  • Connect appliance directly to new outlet to remove need for backsplash outlet.

This avoids surface conduit for a super streamlined look. Use extra-long wires to allow appliance movement.

Install New Outlets in Adjacent Cabinetry

Another option is to remove outlets on the backsplash wall and add new ones inside corner cabinets or other adjacent cabinetry:

  • Disable existing backsplash outlets and associated wiring. Patch over holes.
  • Cut holes through cabinet sides or walls to fish new wires where needed.
  • Add recessed outlets and extend short appliance cords to reach them.

Position outlets near where appliance cords naturally hang. This keeps cords organized and free from backsplash.

Hiding Visible Components Around Outlets

If outlets must remain on the backsplash wall, visible components can be camouflaged:

Use Wall Color to Minimize Visibility

Painting switches, receptacles, conduit, and coverplates to match wall color helps visually blend them into the background:

  • Clean surfaces and use painter’s tape to mask outlets and wiring.
  • Apply 2-3 thin coats of wall paint for a smooth finish. Avoid clogging workings.
  • For tile backsplashes, use grout color to coat outlets, boxes, and conduit.

Matching the wall tones minimizes the eye-catching contrast around outlets.

Conceal Outlet Gaps with Caulk

Any gaps around outlet boxes can be filled in with color-matched caulking for a cleaner outline:

  • Clean and dry areas thoroughly before applying painter’s caulk.
  • Fill gaps and openings around outlet box edges. Wet your finger and smooth the caulk.
  • Allow caulk to fully cure before using outlets. Avoid plugging in cords before caulk has set.

The caulk hides cracks and creates a more integrated look.

Use Coordinate Wall Plates and Covers

Upgrade standard white plastic faceplates and switchplates to choices like brushed metal, glass, or ceramic that coordinate with the backsplash:

  • Select plates that match the material, finish, or colors of the backsplash design.
  • Change outlet covers to rocker-style switches vs. toggle switches for sleeker aesthetics.
  • Opt for metal rather than plastic components to mimic backsplash materials.

Coordinate covers prevent jarring stylistic clashes between outlets and backsplash finishes.

FAQs About Hiding Electrical Outlets in Backsplash

Can I completely remove unused outlets behind a backsplash?

Yes, outlets that are no longer needed can be safely removed. Turn off the circuit breaker before disconnecting wires. Cap all live wires so they are fully insulated. Patch over the box opening and refinish the wall area.

Is it OK to notch ceramic tile around outlets?

It is safe to notch and cut holes in ceramic backsplash tiles to expose outlets. Use a rotary tool and run water over the tile to avoid cracking. The notched tiles may be slightly more prone to moisture damage over time. Seal cuts with caulk.

How do I hide outlet on outside of a corner backsplash?

For outside corners, run wiring through the wall to install a new outlet beyond the backsplash area. Or use right-angle power connector fittings to angle cords behind the backsplash and out of sight.

Can I glue things onto an outlet faceplate to hide it?

Do not adhere anything directly onto outlets as this poses a fire risk and is a code violation. Use other approaches like painting, notching, or shelves to conceal outlets instead. Never obstruct an outlet cover.

Is it safe to use an extension cord connected to an outlet behind a backsplash?

As long as the outlet remains accessible and not fully sealed behind the backsplash, it is fine to plug in an extension cord. Ensure the backsplash material does not pinch or damage cords. Avoid running cords through caulk or adhesives.


Installing a backsplash often necessitates creative solutions for hiding electrical outlets that end up behind it. With some strategic electrical modifications like rerouting or moving wiring, the outlets can be concealed without losing functionality. For outlets remaining in the backsplash area, notching tile, installing deeper boxes, or adding ledges or shelves allows outlets to blend seamlessly into the design. Where outlets can’t be moved, cover plates and wall paint can help downplay visible electrical components. With the right approach, backsplashes and outlets can coexist without aesthetic or electrical compromise.