How to Match Counter and Backsplash

Choosing a counter and backsplash that complement each other can really bring your kitchen design together. With so many options for colors, materials and patterns, it can be tricky to know where to start. Follow this guide on how to match counter and backsplash for a coordinated look.

Assess Your Style and Goals

Before selecting surfaces, take time to consider the overall look and feel you want for your kitchen. This will help narrow down material and color choices.

Define Your Style

What design style best suits your tastes? Options include:

  • Traditional – Opt for classic subway tiles and neutral countertops like white marble.
  • Modern – Go for sleek surfaces like quartz counters and glass mosaic tiles.
  • Farmhouse – Consider butcher block counters and handmade ceramic backsplash tiles.
  • Eclectic – Mix and match materials like concrete counters and stainless steel backsplash.

Set a Budget

Counter and backsplash materials can vary greatly in cost. Setting a budget will help guide selections. For example, natural stone is generally more expensive than ceramic or porcelain tile.

Consider Maintenance

Factor in ease of care when choosing surfaces. For instance, polished granite requires resealing while quartz is virtually maintenance-free. Tile backsplash is typically simple to clean.

Think About Functionality

How will the spaces be used? For avid home chefs, durable surfaces like metal backsplash and stone counters work well. For low-use zones, choose materials you love aesthetically.

Decide on an Focal Point

Determine if the backsplash or countertop will be the main attention-getter. This focal point can guide the other material selection.

Coordinate Colors

Choose backsplash and countertop hues that work together in both tone and intensity.

Match Tones

Tone refers to lightness or darkness of a color. For a unified look, keep tones in a similar range. Light countertops like white marble pair best with subtly colored backsplash tiles in pale hues of grey, blue or green. Deep colored counters like black granite can be matched with equally dramatic deep blue or grey metro tiles.

Balance Intensity

Intensity relates to how vibrant or muted a color appears. Try not to have competing levels of intensity. For instance, a bold red glass tile backsplash would overwhelm a neutral beige quartz countertop. Instead, intense backsplashes work best with more subdued counters.

Consider Undertones

Colors have underlying undertones that can be cool, warm or neutral. Coordinate undertones so finishes do not clash. For example, a backsplash with warm terracotta tiles would match a natural stone counter with reddish-brown veining.

Check Colors at Different Times of Day

The way a color reads can change in different lighting. Examine surface samples at varying times of day when making final decisions.

Use a Decorative Focal Point

If opting for a fairly neutral color scheme, add interest with a decorative focal point tile design in bolder complementary colors. For example, add a Moroccan fish scale tile pattern in blues and greens against a neutral white quartz counter.

Coordinate Materials and Textures

In addition to color, the materials themselves make a statement. Strive for cohesive style.

Choose a Mix of Materials

Using different materials for counter and backsplash adds visual interest. For example, combine metal tile backsplash with concrete counters. Or, pair granite countertops with ceramic subway tiles. Just be sure the two finishes share other aspects like color, pattern or texture.

Match Shine Levels

How glossy or matte a surface appears impacts the overall look. Glass backsplash and polished granite both have high shine. Matte finishes like honed limestone and cement tile backsplash coordinate well together. Combining very glossy and very matte finishes can look mismatched.

Repeat Visual Texture

Having a common texture helps unite surfaces. Concrete counters and ceramic tiles have a gritty visual texture. Marble counters and glass tiles have a smooth appearance. Try not to mix extremely smooth and rough finishes.

Tie Together with Shape and Line

Repeating shapes and lines visually bridgesthe counter and backsplash. For example, rectangular subway tile mimics the lines of a rectangular countertop. Or, circular mosaic tiles relate to rounded waterfall edge details.

Select a Layout Pattern

The tile layout itself makes a statement. Choose patterns wisely.

Align with Style of Home

Traditional patterns like basic subway tile lawsuit transitional spaces. Modern dwellingscan handle more unique layouts like herringbone. Farmhouse designs look best with simpler patterns.

Repeat Lines

Aligning backsplash tiles with counter edge lines creates flow. This is especially key with tile laid in a grid pattern. Position tiles so grout lines match up.

Use Blocks of Color

Large solid blocks of tile color help backsplashes stand out against busy granite counters. Simplify patterns if countertop is bold.

Add Interest with Inset Designs

Frame the backsplash area with trim molding. This creates a framed canvas for using an eye-catching inset tile design.

Extend to Ceiling

Backsplashes traditionally stop at the wall cabinets. For drama, continue tile to the ceiling. This works well if lower cabinets are neutral.

Pull It All Together with Accessories

Finish the look with accessories that tie into the surfaces.

Display Decor in Similar Colors

Kitchen artwork, textiles and accessories should contain some of the same hues foundin the counters and backsplash. Add pops of color that complement the finishes.

Incorporate Natural Accents

Elements from nature enhance any kitchen. Try accenting cool colored surfaces with warm wood shelves. Or add houseplants for lively green hues against earthy tiles.

Add Metal Architectural Features

Repeat metal backsplash textures with bronze faucets, stainless ventilation hoods or industrial pendants. Nickel hardware also complements silver tones.

Use Backsplash Shape in Other Design Elements

If backsplash includes circle mosaic tiles, hang pendant lights with circular details. Rectangular subway tiles can inspire framing open shelving with wood.

Showcase Collections

Glass front cabinetsrpathways to display beloved dishware. Use collections featuring predominantcounter and backsplash colors. Solid white dishes pop against dramatic dark backsplashes.

Final Review before Installation

Do one final check before installing your surfaces.

  • Review all colors and finishes together in the planned space under accurate lighting. Make sure they work cohesively.
  • Display tiles on the actual countertop surface if possible.
  • Hold up paint swatches of cabinetry and wall colors next to surfaces to check for clashing.
  • Examine chosen textures and make sure they complement each other instead of compete.
  • Evaluate the overall style of the planned kitchen and confirm selections align with your goals.

With attention to colors, materials, textures and an overall cohesive style, you can successfully determine how to match counter and backsplash. Carry these principles throughout the rest of the kitchen design for a pulled-together space you will enjoy for years to come.

Selecting Backsplash Materials

The backsplash is one of the most visible parts of any kitchen. When determining how to match counter and backsplash, the backsplash material requires thoughtful consideration. From classic subway tile to modern glass mosaics, backsplash options are plentiful. Keep the following in mind when selecting backsplash materials.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles make up the most common backsplash choices. Available in endless colors, patterns, shapes and finishes, their versatility pairs well with nearly any countertop material.

Key Benefits:

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Range of styles to suit any design aesthetic
  • Available in matte, glossy or textured finishes
  • Easy to clean
  • Simple maintenance
  • Durable and long-lasting

Material Considerations:

  • Porcelain is less prone to cracking and water damage than ceramic
  • Lighter colored grout shows dirt and stains more easily
  • Requires periodic sealing of grout lines

Recommended Countertops: Tile backsplashes work with almost any countertop type including laminate, solid surface, stone and quartz.

Style Ideas: Subway tiles, Moroccan fish scale tiles, geometric patterns, decorative medallions

Natural Stone Tiles

Backsplashes crafted from granite, marble, travertine, slate or other natural stones make a statement. Available in an array of colors with beautiful veining, natural stone tiles can be an elegant focal point.

Key Benefits:

  • Elegant, upscale aesthetic
  • Each tile has unique natural variations
  • Withstands heat and stains
  • Durable for years of beauty

Material Considerations:

  • More expensive than ceramic or porcelain
  • Requires resealing of grout lines
  • Needs gentle cleaning agents to avoid etching
  • Some stones like marble stain more easily

Recommended Countertops: Pair with granite, marble or other stone counters for a cohesive look. Also complements concrete, stainless steel or quartz.

Style Ideas: Stacked stone patterns, marble brick layouts, pebble mosaic designs

Glass Tiles

Shimmering glass backsplash tiles catch the light beautifully in kitchens. Available in an array of colors, finishes and mosaic patterns, they create a showstopping contemporary focal point.

Key Benefits:

  • Sleek, modern look
  • Reflective, eye-catching sheen
  • Easy to sanitize and clean
  • Artistic range of colors and patterns
  • Durable and scratch-resistant

Material Considerations:

  • More expensive than ceramic or porcelain
  • Not as prone to cracking or chipping as ceramic
  • Requires gentle cleaners to prevent clouding finish

Recommended Countertops: Pair with quartz, stainless steel, concrete or laminate counters for contemporary style.

Style Ideas: Ombre gradients, mosaic patterns, metallic finishes, penny round layouts

Metal Tiles

From stainless steel to embossed copper penny tiles, metal backsplashes infuse kitchens with modern industrial flair. The high-shine finish acts as an integrated decorative accent.

Key Benefits:

  • Modern, sleek and contemporary
  • Highly durable and heat resistant
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Reflective surface catches the eye
  • Rustic patina options like copper

Material Considerations:

  • More expensive than ceramic or porcelain
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Requires gentle cleaning to avoid discoloration
  • Can dent if impacted

Recommended Countertops: Metal backsplashes pair nicely with concrete, stainless steel or quartz countertops.

Style Ideas: Penny tile patterns, tin ceiling tiles, patina copper insets, stainless steel brick layouts

Wood Plank Tiles

The beauty of natural wood extends to backsplash designs. From whitewashed oak to dark walnut, wood plank tiles offer rustic warmth. Perfect for farmhouse style kitchens.

Key Benefits:

  • Warm, natural aesthetic
  • Eco-friendly renewable material
  • Each piece has unique woodgrain
  • Softer contrast to gleaming countertops

Material Considerations:

  • Requires sealing to prevent moisture damage
  • Stains and scratches more easily than tile
  • Needs color treatment to withstand moisture

Recommended Countertops: Looks fantastic paired with butcher block as well as marble, concrete and quartz.

Style Ideas Straight or diagonal plank arrangements, mixed natural wood species

Other Unique Materials

For one-of-a-kind style, consider alternative backsplash materials like the following:

  • Recycled Glass Aggregate – Crushed colorful glass in concrete matrix
  • Sea Glass – Collected polished glass fragments from the ocean
  • Found Objects – Bottle caps, shells, coins arranged in resin or grout
  • Corrugated Metal – Rustic crimped steel sheets with modern flair
  • Reclaimed Barn Wood – Salvaged aged wood planks bearing original texture
  • Pebbles and Stone – Organic compositions of loose stones and pebbles

The options are limitless for backsplash materials. Choose one that aligns with your countertop selection and overall kitchen design aesthetic.

Countertop Materials to Match

Countertops act as an anchor in kitchen design. When determining how to match counter and backsplash, choose countertop materials that coordinate well with the desired backsplash style. Consider the following popular counter options.


Granite countertops bring timeless elegance to kitchens with their natural beauty. Available in range of colors from dramatic dark hues to light neutrals.

Key Benefits

  • Visually striking stone with natural depth
  • Withstands heat, scratches and stains
  • Timeless, classic material
  • Large seamless surfaces possible
  • Adds value to homes

Material Considerations

  • Requires periodic sealing
  • Some porous types can stain
  • Needs gentle cleaning agents
  • Natural material with variation

Backsplash Pairings

  • Tile, glass or stone backsplash in coordinating granite color family
  • Neutral subway tile or mosaic pattern as statement against bold granite
  • Metal tile to link with granite’s natural minerals

Style Ideas

  • Black granite with modern glass tile
  • Multicolored granite with travertine brick
  • White granite with subway tile


Prized for its elegance, marble countertops make a graceful statement with their veining patterns. Softer and more porous than granite.

Key Benefits

  • Timeless material with natural beauty
  • Has a soft, refined appearance
  • Adds high-end luxury feel
  • Available in range of colors and patterns
  • Coordinate look from counter to backsplash

Material Considerations

  • Requires diligent sealing and maintenance
  • Easily etched by acids and stains
  • Needs gentle cleaning agents
  • Natural material with variation

Backsplash Pairings

  • Marble, stone or ceramic tile matching veining
  • Glass or marble mosaic tile in soft neutrals
  • Metallic tile for contemporary edge against marble

Style Ideas

  • White marble with white subway tile
  • Gray marble with Ogee edge marble tile
  • Carrara marble with decorative glass inserts


With the beauty of natural stone but more resilience, quartz counters are practically maintenance-free. Available in wide array of colors.

Key Benefits

  • Very durable, non-porous surface
  • Stain, scratch, chip and heat resistant
  • Easy maintenance, no sealing needed
  • Consistent color patterns
  • Antimicrobial properties

Material Considerations

  • Less natural variation than natural stone
  • Visible seams more than granite
  • Needs occasional stone polish

Backsplash Pairings

  • Vibrant glass or geometric tiles
  • Natural stone with movement to contrast solid quartz
  • Metallic tiles in colors matching layered quartz shades

Style Ideas

  • White quartz with bold flower tile design
  • Black quartz with copper metal tiles
  • Quartz with look of gray marble paired with actual marble backsplash


Affordable and practical, laminate counters mimic stone and solid surface designs at a budget price point. Great for rental or DIY installs.

Key Benefits

  • Most budget-friendly countertop option
  • Easy do-it-yourself installation
  • Wide range of colors and patterns
  • Scratch and heat resistant
  • No sealing required

Material Considerations

  • Not as durable as stone or quartz
  • Visible seams more likely
  • Limited ability to sand out scratches
  • Prone to chipping on edges

Backsplash Pairings

  • Ceramic, porcelain or glass tile
  • Mosaic sheets for quick accent wall
  • Stainless steel for modern edge
  • Vintage collectibles like plates or bottles

Style Ideas

  • Black speckled laminate with red glass tile
  • White laminate with decorative flower tile border
  • Woodgrain laminate with mosaic starburst medallion

Stainless Steel

Sleek stainless steel counters lend an industrial modern vibe. Requires less maintenance than stone but prone to scratches.

Key Benefits

  • Modern, contemporary aesthetic
  • Resilient, withstands impact
  • Stain proof and water resistant
  • Easy to sanitize and clean
  • Can be custom fit for seamless look

Material Considerations

  • Prone to scratches and dents
  • Noise and condensation issues
  • Challenging for DIY installation
  • Less cozy than other materials

Backsplash Pairings

  • Glass, metal or ceramic tile
  • Geometric glossy mosaic patterns
  • Contrasting natural materials like wood

Style Ideas

  • Brushed steel with rectangular glass tiles
  • Weathered steel look with reclaimed wood planks
  • Polished steel with sleek concrete tile

Butcher Block

Warm and inviting, butcher block counters are classic for cottages or farmhouses. Requires diligent oiling to protect from moisture damage.

Key Benefits

  • Warm, natural material
  • Classic, timeless look
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Softer feel underhand
  • Can be sanded to refresh

Material Considerations

  • Prone to stains, scratches and warping
  • Requires regular oiling
  • Not heat or water resistant
  • Needs extra prep for sanitation

Backsplash Pairings

  • White subway tile, wood planks
  • Stainless steel for modern contrast
  • Natural stone tiles in earth tones

Style Ideas

  • Light oak butcher block with white ceramic tile
  • Walnut wood counter with matching wood backsplash
  • Whitewashed wood paired with hammered copper tiles

Factors for Harmony

Beyond just choosing complimentary materials and colors, certain design factors create overall harmony between counters and backsplash. Keep these tips in mind.

Consistent Lines

Aligning the lines and geometry found in countertops and backsplash establishes visual continuity.

For example, horizont