How to Hide Uneven Backsplash

An uneven backsplash can disrupt the clean lines and sleek look of your kitchen. But before you rip it out and start over, there are several clever ways to hide or minimize the imperfections for a fraction of the cost and effort of a full replacement. With a bit of creativity and DIY skills, you can easily disguise uneven tiles, grout lines, and other flaws to restore the beauty of your backsplash.

Use Accent Tiles or Molding

One easy fix is to add coordinated tiles or trim pieces to camouflage uneven edges or grout lines. Look for accent tiles in a complementary color or material to your existing backsplash. Arrange them in a pattern to break up straight lines and draw the eye away from problem spots. Or install tile molding strips along the top and bottom or vertically between tiles. The molding adds definition and makes uneven grout lines far less noticeable.

Adjust Grout Lines

Grout buildup or inconsistent grout lines are common causes of an uneven looking backsplash. Carefully scrape out thick grout then re-grout the tiles, taking care to smooth the lines. Use a grout saw or rotary tool to clear out particularly narrowed grout lines. Match the grout color as closely as possible to the original. Wider grout lines present a more consistent and smoother appearance than thin, uneven grout.

Use Strategic Painting or Wallpaper

Another fix is to paint or wallpaper the section of wall above the backsplash. This interrupts the uneven line and draws the eyes upward. Paint the wall above the backsplash a complementary color to the tiles. Or apply wallpaper or a decorative decal to add interest and disguise flaws. Keep the design simple and streamlined for a cohesive look.

Add Floating Shelves

Installing floating shelves is an easy way to distract from an uneven backsplash. Choose shelving in a matching material, like wood shelves with wood-look tile. Or go for contrast with metal shelves over ceramic tile. Style the shelves with decorative objects, lighting or greenery. The shelves break up the expanse of tile and become a focal point rather than the uneven grout.

Use Lighting and Decor

Careful lighting and decorative accents can also creatively disguise an uneven backsplash. Install puck lights or a decorative light fixture over the backsplash area to cast shadows and obscure imperfect grout lines. Hang a large mirror overlapping part of the backsplash to reflect light and draw attention upward. Pretty vases, art, or a colorful runner can further divert focus away from any unevenness.

Apply a Faux Backsplash

For a more dramatic transformation, install a faux backsplash right over your existing tile. Choose paneling, wallpaper, vinyl sheets or fabric designed to look like trendy tiles or natural stone. Measure carefully and use liquid nails adhesive to affix the faux backsplash over the entire area. The new material completely conceals uneven tile, grout and all imperfections for a fresh backsplash look.

How to Prep and Install Accent Tiles

If some tiles in your backsplash stick out, quickly installing a few carefully placed accent tiles can easily mask uneven spots. Here’s how to prep and arrange complementary tiles:

Supplies Needed:

  • Accent tiles
  • Thinset mortar
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Tiling spacers
  • Mixing bucket
  • Notched trowel
  • Grout float


  1. Clean existing tile thoroughly and remove any loose grout or caulk.
  2. Plan accent tile placement to divert attention from uneven areas.
  3. Cut tiles as needed to fit using tile nippers.
  4. Apply thinset mortar and use spacers between accent tiles.
  5. Allow tiles to set completely before grouting.
  6. Grout and seal accent tiles to match existing.

How to Refinish Grout Lines

Inconsistent grout lines or sloppy grout can make your backsplash look uneven and dirty. Follow these steps to refresh grout:

Supplies Needed:

  • Grout saw or rotary tool
  • Grout scraper
  • Vacuum
  • Grout caulk
  • Grout sealer
  • Grout coloring (optional)


  1. Use grout saw to clear out haphazard thin grout lines so all lines are about 3/8”.
  2. Vacuum up debris and scrape out loose, cracked grout.
  3. Apply new grout caulk and shape into consistent lines. Allow to dry completely.
  4. Seal grout caulk lines with grout sealer.
  5. If needed, apply grout colorant for a uniform finished look.

Choosing the Right Paint or Wallpaper

To make your uneven backsplash less noticeable, paint or wallpaper the wall above it in a coordinating color or pattern. Here are some tips:

  • For paint, choose a gloss or semi-gloss sheen to contrast against the tile texture.
  • Look for wallpaper with a slightly raised texture or metallic finish for visual interest.
  • Solid colors or simple patterns like wide stripes work best. Avoid busy prints.
  • Paint a few shades darker or lighter than your tile color to define the transition.
  • Bring in one accent color from your backsplash into the wallpaper pattern.
  • Use self-adhesive wallpaper or liquid wallpaper for quick, easy application.

How to Install Floating Shelves Over Backsplash

Floating shelves add stylish function and draw the eye away from an uneven backsplash. Follow this guide for proper installation:

Supplies Needed:

  • Floating shelves
  • Shelf brackets
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Wall anchors
  • Screws


  1. Find studs using a stud finder and mark locations with painter’s tape.
  2. Level and mark bracket locations evenly spaced along wall overlapping backsplash.
  3. Drill holes for anchors in studs and drywall. Insert wall anchors.
  4. Attach shelf brackets to wall with screws.
  5. Set shelves onto brackets and hold in place. Mark and drill pilot holes.
  6. Secure shelves to brackets with screws.
  7. Style shelves with decor and lighting to highlight display.

Tricks for Using Lighting Design

Proper lighting design can help disguise an uneven backsplash and create a focal point. Useful tips include:

  • Install sconces or puck lights above the backsplash directed downward to cast shadows.
  • Position recessed can lighting to graze the backsplash indirectly.
  • Hang pendant lights over sinks, stoves or other work areas to highlight tasks rather than flaws.
  • Layer ambient, task and accent lighting. Use dimmers to adjust intensity.
  • Incorporate mirrored surfaces like a backsplash or cabinetry to reflect and diffuse light.
  • Choose bulb color temperature and lumens to provide adequate illumination without glare.

FAQs About Disguising Uneven Backsplashes

What is the quickest budget fix for an uneven backsplash?

Use caulk and paint to even out grout lines and apply a fresh coat of paint to the wall above the backsplash. This can instantly improve the look for less than $50.

Should I use matte or gloss finish paint on the wall above backsplash?

Gloss or semi-gloss paint contrasts better against the tile texture. Matte paint finishes can blend in too much and accentuate uneven grout lines.

What wallpaper styles work best for hiding uneven backsplashes?

Look for small prints, wide vertical stripes, metallics or solid textures like grasscloth. Avoid large prints or horizontal stripes which can make uneven lines more obvious.

Should I arrange accent tiles in a bricklike pattern or staggered?

A brick pattern is best because the offset rows disguise uneven edges well. Avoid a linear or stacked accent tile layout.

What depth should floating shelves be to hide backsplash flaws?

8 to 12 inches deep is ideal. Shallower shelving won’t protrude out enough. Go beyond 12 inches if you need to cover a very wide area.

How do I hide seams when applying peel and stick backsplash over tile?

Use extra adhesive at seams and carefully stagger pieces so seams don’t align. Apply trim molding over vertical seams for a seamless look.


While an uneven backsplash can be an eyesore, there are many innovative and affordable solutions to camouflage imperfect tiles or grout until you’re ready for a renovation. Accent tiles, trim molding, grout refreshment, strategic lighting and decor, faux panels, or floating shelves can quickly and drastically improve the look. With some creativity and DIY skills, you can easily disguise flaws and restore the stylish beauty of your backsplash.