How to Pick Backsplash Color

Choosing the right backsplash color can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. The backsplash serves both practical and aesthetic purposes, protecting the walls from splashes and spills while also providing an opportunity to add visual interest. With so many backsplash color options to choose from, it can be tricky to select the right hue for your space. This guide covers all the key factors to consider when picking a backsplash color to ensure you end up with a shade you’ll love.

Assess Your Current Color Scheme

Before selecting a backsplash color, take a look at the colors you already have going on in your kitchen. What is the cabinetry color – white, wood, black? What about the countertops – granite, quartz, butcher block? What color are the walls? Make note of all the major elements and colors at play.

Once you’ve identified your existing color scheme, think about whether you want your backsplash to blend in or stand out. If your goal is to seamlessly match, choose a backsplash hue that is similar to your cabinetry or countertops. Cream backsplash tile can look beautiful against white cabinets, for example.

On the other hand, if you want the backsplash to be a focal point, go for a color that contrasts or pops against your existing palette. Deep blue or sage green backsplash tile could contrast nicely against bright white cabinets for a striking look.

Consider the Amount of Natural Light

The amount of natural light your kitchen gets will impact how backsplash colors appear. Soft, muted hues like grays and beiges tend to work well in dark spaces without much natural light. Bolder shades can look overly dark or intense.

Well-lit kitchens can handle a wider range of backsplash colors from soft neutrals to vivid hues like emerald or sapphire. Bright whites and lights reflect and amplify natural light. Darker colors like navy blue can also work nicely in bright spaces, adding depth without looking dreary.

Assess how much sunlight your kitchen gets to determine whether to opt for a bold or soft backsplash color. Pay attention to the direction the room faces and any sources of natural light. North-facing rooms tend to be darker while southern exposures get more sun.

Complement the Cabinets

One of the most common ways to select a backsplash color is by matching or complementing the kitchen cabinets. Consider hues that are analogous, meaning they sit next to each other on the color wheel. For example:

  • Blue cabinets + green backsplash
  • Yellow cabinets + orange backsplash
  • Red cabinets + purple backsplash

These pairings create a cohesive, harmonious look. Monochromatic schemes (different shades of one color) are also an option. Light blue cabinets could pair attractively with a deeper blue backsplash, for instance.

You can also opt for backsplash colors that contrast sharply with cabinetry for visual interest. For white cabinets, deep colors like black, navy or charcoal make the white pop. Similarly, vivid backsplashes like ruby red or bright turquoise contrast beautifully against dark cabinetry.

Just be sure that high-contrast schemes don’t end up looking disjointed. Tie the elements together with accents of the backsplash color elsewhere like bar stools or kitchen accessories.

Factor in Countertops

Along with cabinets, countertops are the other major element to consider when selecting backsplash color. Granite, marble, quartz, soapstone – there are lots of countertop materials, each with their own color range.

Matching the backsplash to the exact hue of your countertops can create a streamlined, monochromatic look. Contrasting the backsplash and countertops can also be effective. Dark granite or marble pairs nicely with light cream or white backsplash tile, for instance.

One approach is picking out a secondary color from your countertops to use on the backsplash. For example, white cabinets with multicolored granite that incorporates shades of beige, gray, rust and blue. Choosing beige, gray or blue backsplash tile could complement the granite beautifully.

Just be careful not to pick a backsplash color that clashes or fights with the countertop hue. Looking at color harmony rules can help, like complementary colors vs. colors that clash.

Consider Maintenance and Stains

When selecting backsplash color, it’s also practical to consider how easy the shade will be to keep clean. Light, neutral, low-saturation colors tend to show fewer stains and water spots. Whites, off-whites, beiges and light grays blend in dirt and are easy to wipe down.

Conversely, darker and more saturated backsplash colors like navy, maroon and black will show messes, dust and fingerprints much more. Metallic and glossy backsplashes also highlight grime. Keep maintenance in mind, and opt for durable, non-porous backsplash materials if choosing a darker color.

Factor in how you’ll use your kitchen as well. Avid home cooks who do a lot of frying, sautéing and sauce-making may want to avoid light backsplash hues that will require constant wiping up of oils and splatters.

Match Flooring Style

Take a look at your kitchen flooring when selecting a backsplash color. In many kitchens, the flooring extends into the backsplash area, so you want the two elements to coordinate.

For example, if your flooring is light Italian marble or ceramic tile, choose a backsplash color in the same tone family, like white, cream, beige, light gray, etc.

If your floor is darker stained wood, consider a backsplash hue that contrasts attractively like white subway tile or blue glass tile.

Matching floor and backsplash color helps connect the elements for a cohesive look. Contrasting them can also be effective when done thoughtfully. Just avoid clashing hues.

Consider Color Psychology

Believe it or not, color can impact the mood and feeling of a space. Warm hues like reds, oranges and yellows evoke energy and excitement. Cool blues, greens and purples create a more relaxing vibe.

While color psychology shouldn’t be the only factor, it can guide your backsplash choice. For a kitchen meant for peaceful morning coffee and easygoing meals, a soft green or blue-gray backsplash could be a good fit.

Fast-paced family kitchens for hectic breakfasts and busy dinners might benefit from an energizing yellow or red backsplash.

Just remember – color associations are somewhat subjective. Make sure to choose a backsplash hue you find beautiful and energizing/relaxing according to your tastes.

Look for Inspiration

If you’re struggling to decide on a backsplash color, look for inspiration in kitchen photos, interior design magazines, home décor websites and catalogs. Create a inspiration board or Pinterest page with saved images of backsplashes you love.

This can help narrow down the types of colors and styles that appeal most. You may notice you’re attracted to lots of white marble backsplash photos, or keep pinning navy blue backsplashes. This provides guidance on your color preferences.

You can also use sites like Houzz that let you view backsplash images by color. Browse the green, gray, blue sections etc. to get ideas. Just be sure to note how these colors work with different cabinetry, flooring, etc. – not just the backsplash section in isolation.

Order Backsplash Samples

Many backsplash tile companies offer free or low-cost samples so you can see colors, patterns and materials up close. This lets you get a feel for how the tile really looks before committing.

Order a few backsplash sample tiles in colors you’re considering. Look at them at different times of day in your kitchen to see color variations in natural and artificial light. Hold samples next to cabinets, countertops and floors to assess pairings.

Seeing actual tile samples can prevent surprises down the road. A hue you thought you loved might look too bold or clash with cabinets under your kitchen lighting. Samples give you a chance to experiment.

Consider Creating an Accent Wall

If you’re having trouble deciding on one backsplash color, an accent wall could be a great solution. Use one bold, vivid hue on a single focal backsplash wall. Then do a neutral tile color like white or gray on the surrounding walls.

This provides the best of both worlds – an opportunity to use a fun, daring color while keeping the overall look cohesive with neutral tile on the other walls.

Blue, green and orange are great backsplash accent wall colors that pair well with white or gray tile but may be overpowering on multiple walls.

An accent backsplash wall is also easier to change out down the road if you tire of the bold color. Keep this in mind during resale as well.

Know When to Hire a Professional

Some kitchens and color schemes call for expert guidance when selecting a backsplash. If your cabinets, floors, counters and walls involve lots of different materials, colors and finishes, a professional designer’s eye could be invaluable.

Design pros understand color theory, visual weight, proportion and balance. They can assess all the elements in your kitchen and make sure your backsplash choice enhances rather than detracts from the overall look.

Hiring a kitchen designer may cost more upfront but save you from expensive backsplash regrets down the road. Many designers offer just color consultation services on an hourly basis too.

Choose a Timeless Color

Kitchen renovations are a significant investment. While color trends come and go, you want your backsplash hue to have enduring appeal. Shoot for a look that won’t appear quickly dated.

Clean, bright whites and off-whites have perennial popularity. Soft beiges, grays and browns work well in both modern and traditional kitchens. Low-key colors like pale blue and sage green have long-lasting appeal.

Stay away from loud, ultra-trendy hues like fuchsia or neon orange unless you plan to renovate again soon. Choose a backsplash color you’ll still enjoy 10 years down the road.

Know Your Options

From glossy ceramic to rustic stone, there are so many backsplash tile materials to choose from. Keep in mind that color often looks different depending on the tile finish and style.

A vivid teal glass subway tile backsplash will look very different than the same teal color in polished marble or textured stone. Order samples to see variations.

Certain materials may not come in the exact color you want either. Knowing tile possibilities in different hues can expand or limit your options. Do some research before falling in love with one backsplash color.

Embrace Your Style

Most importantly, choose a backsplash color aligns with your personal taste and decorating style. Don’t feel locked into popular grey and white schemes if you love bold colors. There are no universally perfect backsplash hues – follow your heart.

Maybe you’re drawn to retro 1950’s turquoise or calming, earthy terracotta. If a shade feels uniquely “you,” it’s likely the perfect backsplash color for your home.

Confidently embrace your style. Selecting a backsplash color you genuinely adore will result in a kitchen you enjoy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Colors

What is the most popular backsplash color?

White remains the most popular backsplash color by far. Crisp bright white tile provides a clean, classic look that works with nearly any cabinetry and pairs well with many countertops. Off-whites like almond and biscuit have also gained popularity for a softer look.

What backsplash color makes kitchen look bigger?

Light, reflective colors like white and cream optically enlarge kitchens by bouncing light around the room. Darker colors tend to make kitchens feel smaller and more enclosed. Pale blues, greens and grays can also effectively open up space.

What backsplash goes with dark cabinets?

White or off-white backsplashes pair beautifully with dark espresso or black cabinets, creating a striking contrast and brightening up the space. Soft beiges, champagnes and ever so slight grey-beiges also complement darker cabinets nicely.

What color backsplash goes with cherry cabinets?

The reddish-brown hue of classic cherry wood cabinets pairs well with backsplash colors in the warm beige to greige (grey-beige) range. Creamy whites also look great. For contrast, try a cool pale blue or sage green backsplash.

What color backsplash goes with oak cabinets?

The warm golden brown tones of oak cabinets complement backsplash colors like cream, beige, sand, straw, butterscotch and soft peach. Deeper shades of brown like walnut can look rich with oak as well. Clean white backsplashes provide attractive contrast.

What color backsplash goes with blue cabinets?

Soft powder blue cabinets tend to look best with equally soft and airy backsplash hues like pale greys and whites. Navy blue cabinets make a bolder statement – pair them with pops of white, bright yellow, or even a few red accents.

What color backsplash goes with grey cabinets?

Light grey cabinets suit a wide range of backsplash colors from stark white to bold hues as long as you avoid matching greys. Creamy off-whites, beiges and warmer metals like brass pair well. You can also opt for contrast with deep blue, green or black backsplashes.

What color backsplash goes with brown granite?

Brown granite with flecks of cream, beige and gray calls for a backsplash in a similar neutral color family. Soft beiges, sand colors, warm grays and light tans complement brown granite countertops beautifully. Crisp white backsplashes also pop nicely.

What color backsplash goes with white granite?

White granite with gray veins and flecks looks fabulous paired with backsplash colors that highlight those hues. Light grays, silvery glass or metal tile and medium to dark gray stone backsplashes all coordinate seamlessly with white granite counters.

What color backsplash goes with marble?

Marble’s soft whites and grays pair elegantly with backsplashes in a matching neutral color palette. Whisper white, pale gray, light beige and cream backsplashes complement marble countertops and floors. Clear or iridescent glass tile can also enhance marble’s veining.


With so many factors to weigh, it’s important to take your time considering the perfect backsplash color for your kitchen. Assess the room’s existing elements like cabinetry, countertops, flooring and lighting while also keeping your personal style in mind.

Neutral whites and beiges are always a safe bet, but don’t be afraid to infuse color and personality if it fits your vision. Bring home backsplash tile samples and live with your top choices before making a decision. Choosing a shade you genuinely love will result in a beautiful, functional kitchen you’ll enjoy for years to come.