A kitchen backsplash serves both form and function – protecting the walls from splashes and spills while also providing an opportunity to add visual interest to your kitchen design. While upscale materials like granite, marble or ceramic tile can elevate your backsplash, there are also plenty of budget-friendly options that can give you the look you want without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for inexpensive kitchen backsplash ideas, here are some of the top budget-friendly backsplash options to consider:
Use Peel-and-Stick Tile
Peel-and-stick tile backsplash provides the look of real ceramic or stone tile without the hassle or expense of installation. These self-adhesive tiles come in vinyl, metal or foam materials with countless design options from marble, travertine and subway tile patterns. Installation is a breeze – just peel off the backing and press onto a clean wall.
Some advantages of peel-and-stick tile:
- Inexpensive – Starting around $5 per square foot, a fraction of the cost of ceramic tile.
- Easy to install – No need for tile setting materials or grout. Cut tiles with scissors for outlet spaces.
- Removable and reusable – Peel off tiles without damaging the wall to change up your look over time.
- Variety of looks – From natural stone to graphic patterns, myriad design options exist.
Be sure the wall area is clean, dry and smooth before application. Apply tiles evenly, pressing down firmly to adhere. Use a grout pen or caulk between tiles for a finished look.
Choose Faux Tin Ceiling Tiles
Recreate the vintage look of a tin ceiling with faux tin panels made from materials like plastic or polystyrene. The budget-friendly tiles easily install with adhesive, nails or a grid system, adding character and dimension to any kitchen backsplash.
Benefits of faux tin ceiling tiles:
- Inexpensive – Tiles can be found starting around $1 per square foot.
- Lightweight – Weighing just pounds per tile, easy for DIY installation.
- Simple installation – Use construction adhesive or nails and install right over existing materials.
- Variety of sizes – From 2×2 inches to 2×8 feet, tiles can be mixed and arranged.
- Easy to paint – Use spray paint to match any color scheme.
Measure the backsplash area and layout tile placement before installing. Cut tiles with tin snips for outlet spaces. Wipe away excess adhesive after application and consider sealing tiles to prevent discoloration.
Use Pressed Metal Tiles
Embossed or pressed metal tiles offer beautiful pattern and color variations at a fraction of the price of genuine metal tiles. Made from materials like aluminum or tin, press metal tiles are lightweight and easy for DIY installation using adhesives or peel-and-stick application.
Advantages of pressed metal backsplash tiles:
- Durable – Metal material is water-resistant and scrubbable.
- Affordable – As low as $5 per square foot. Real metal tiles can be $75+ per square foot.
- Lightweight – Easy to cut, install and arrange designs.
- Variety – Choose from solid colors or ornate patterns.
- Easy installation – Self-adhesive or installed with thinset or construction adhesive.
Measure area and use spacers to evenly layout tiles. Use metal shears for intricate cuts around outlets. Clean and dry the surface thoroughly before installing.
Paint a Geometric Design
Add modern style with a geometric backsplash painted right onto the wall. Use painters tape and acrylic craft paints to create triangles, diamonds, lines or circles for visual impact with minimal cost.
Why a painted geometric backsplash is budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive supplies – Painter’s tape, craft paint and paint brushes are all you need.
- Customizable – Paint any shapes, colors and designs to match your style.
- Easily changeable – Paint over and redo a new design anytime.
- Beginner DIY project – No special skills needed.
Plan your design and prep your supplies. Use painter’s tape to mask off sections before painting each shape’s outline. Allow paint to fully dry before removing tape. Consider a paint pen to outline shapes for sharper edges. Seal with a clear acrylic sealer for durability.
Install Vinyl Wallpaper
Self-adhesive vinyl wallpaper can instantly transform your backsplash into any imaginable material or pattern while protecting walls from kitchen stains and splatters. Modern printing techniques create gorgeous realistic looks from natural stone and brick to metallic or graphic prints.
Reasons vinyl wallpaper is a budget backsplash solution:
- Inexpensive – As low as $5 per square foot.
- Easy application – Self-adhesive vinyl adheres straight to wall.
- Peel off and reuse – Easily change designs anytime.
- Durable – Scrubbable and water/stain-resistant surface.
- Wide variety – Hundreds of pattern options from subtle to bold.
Thoroughly clean the wall and cut paper to size before application. Slowly remove backing and apply to wall, smoothing bubbles as you go. Use a wallpaper seam roller to ensure edges adhere evenly.
Opt for Painted Glass Tiles
Glass tile backsplashes can look high-end but cost a pretty penny. A budget solution is to paint recycled glass pieces in your preferred colors and patterns for a one-of-a-kind design at a fraction of the cost. Use materials like:
- Old glass plates, trays or picture frames
- Reclaimed window glass panes
- New or recycled glass mosaic tiles
Arrange in any design and use silicone adhesive to attach to the wall. If necessary, use plastic spacers for even spacing. Paint details like lines, shapes or patterns using a paint pen between glass pieces. Seal when finished for a durable washable surface.
Reasons painted glass tile is budget-friendly:
- Creative reuse – Upcycle glass items from thrift stores or around your home.
- Custom look – Paint any colors, designs, or details.
- Inexpensive materials – Just glass pieces, paint pens, adhesive and sealant needed.
- Easy installation – Apply strong silicone adhesive to the wall and stick on glass.
Create a Photo Collage
For a personalized backsplash, arrange printed photos in decorative designs for an artsy look. Use printed photos, pages from old books, sheet music, kids’ artwork or other sentimental paper materials.
Here’s why photo collage backsplashes are budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive supplies – Just need photos printed at a copy center and adhesive.
- Customizable – Arranging photos is creative and personal.
- Easy installation – Use adhesive sheets or liquid glue for application.
- Easily changeable – Swap out photos anytime.
Print photos at your preferred size and lay out the design before adhering to the wall. Use spray adhesive or double-sided tape for a temporary option. For lasting adhesion, apply liquid glue or gel medium and carefully smooth photos to the wall.
Install Beadboard Paneling
Beadboard paneling instantly provides a shiplap or cottage-inspired look with inherent dimension. The grooves between each board cast shadows and visual interest for a textured backsplash surface. Install beadboard paneling right over existing walls.
Reasons beadboard is budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive – Prefinished panels are around $10 per 4×8 sheet.
- Quick installation – Panels adhere directly to wall with construction adhesive or nails.
- Variety of styles – From 1×4 to 1×12 inch boards in different stains.
- Easy to paint – Customize any color.
Measure area and cut panels allowing 1/8 inch gaps between boards. Nail into wall studs or use adhesive, wiping away excess squeeze-out after application. Finish nails along the perimeter achieve a polished look.
Hang Removable Wallpaper
Similar to self-adhesive wallpaper but without the permanent commitment, removable wallpaper allows you to switch up backsplash looks in minutes. When it’s time for a change, simply peel it off. Some options to try:
- Temporary wall decals: Choose from designer shapes, floral prints or faux tile patterns that apply directly to the wall.
- Removable tile stickers: Tile motifs can imitate ceramic, travertine, subway tile and more.
- Reusable wallpaper: Fabric or vinyl options cling to the wall without adhesive or damage.
- Chalkboard contact paper: Turn your backsplash into a chalkboard space for notes, menus, etc.
Smooth wallpaper over the surface, using a tool like a smoothing brush to adhere it evenly. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and removal to avoid wall damage.
Wood Panel Backsplash
Tongue-and-groove wood paneling transforms a backsplash into a focal point while lending rustic warmth to a kitchen. Use budget-friendly wood materials like:
- Pine boards
- Lumber scraps
- Fence pickets
Cut panels to fit your space and stain or paint as desired. Install using panel adhesive or nails, leaving just a slight gap between each board. Finish with wood sealer to allow for easy cleaning.
Reasons a wood panel backsplash is budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive materials – Use scrap lumber or low-cost pine.
- Easy DIY project – Cut panels to size and adhere to wall.
- Customizable – Stain, paint or finish as you desire.
- Varied looks – Rustic, coastal, modern and more.
- Durable – Wood can withstand kitchen use.
Use Brick or Faux Brick
The distinctive texture and pattern of brick instantly warms up a kitchen. Use budget-friendly options like:
- Faux brick panels or rolls: Made from materials like vinyl or PVC, create a realistic brick look at a fraction of the cost. Install with panel adhesive.
- Brick veneer: Real brick slices adhered to backer panels quickly install for an authentic brick wall.
- Paint brick motifs: Give the look of real brick with specialty brick paint and stencils.
Brick adds style while also being a sturdy, heat-resistant, and easy-to-clean backsplash material able to withstand busy kitchen use.
Reasons brick backsplash options are budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive materials – Veneer, panels or paint cost a fraction of full brickwork.
- Quick install – Use adhesive, mortar or nails over existing wall.
- Durable – Stands up to heat and stains.
- Variety of looks – Real, faux, painted, distressed, etc.
- Low maintenance – Doesn’t require re-sealing or special cleaning.
Stencil Patterned Backsplash
Add personality to your backsplash through faux finishes using stencils and paint. Try fun motifs like chevron stripes, Moroccan tiles, geometric patterns, flowers or Mediterranean plaster effects.
Why stenciling is budget-friendly:
- Inexpensive materials – Just need paint, stencils, sponges and brushes.
- Customizable – Design your own looks.
- Quick application – Freehand or layer stencils to create designs.
- Easily changeable – Paint over and create something new.
- No special skills needed – Easy DIY project.
Clean and prepare wall before applying painter’s tape around the perimeter. Use stencils and sponge applicators to apply specialty finishes. Consider highlights, shadowing or metallic paints for added dimensions. Seal with a clear finish.
Install a Green Backsplash
Bringing nature indoors, plants make for an unexpected yet beautiful backsplash. Consider using:
- Succulents arranged right onto the wall. Allow them to spill over ledges or fill in open shelves.
- Vertical herb or flower wall garden kits. Self-watering ports and grow lights allow plants to thrive.
- A wire grid secured to the wall with hanging air plants or succulents inserted into each opening.
Benefits of a living backsplash include:
- Inexpensive materials – The plants themselves cost little.
- Visually appealing – Natural textures and colors soften the space.
- Easy install – Secure supporting structures with adhesive or screws.
- Unique – No backsplash like it.
- Healthy – Plants filter the air.
Ensure the wall has adequate lighting and humidity. Check plants daily and water or mist as needed. Trim overgrowth when necessary.
Turn cherished items into art by arranging a collection for visual impact:
- Vintage kitchenware like colorful Pyrex or enamelware.
- Old silverware or utensils.
- Glass bottles, jars or vases.
Benefits of displayed collections include:
- Budget-friendly – Use items you already own and love.
- Meaningful – Showcase pieces with history or nostalgia.
- Interesting – More unique than typical art.
- Changeable – Rotate collections.
- Conversation starter – Share stories behind special pieces.
Use wreath hangers, floating shelves or picture ledges to neatly display items. Secure heavier items with museum putty or removable adhesive. Dust and change items periodically for a “new” look.
Showcase Kids’ Artwork
Proudly exhibit your budding Picasso or Pollock with a backsplash that displays kids’ artwork and school projects. Update the “gallery” with each season’s creations.
Reasons kids’ art is a budget-friendly backsplash:
- Free supplies – Use your children’s abundant art pieces.
- Easily changeable – Rotate new masterpieces in.
- Customizable – Craft projects, handprint paintings, drawings, etc.
- Meaningful – Cherish their hard work and creativity.
- Conversation piece – Talk about each piece’s artist and meaning.
Collect art projects over time and display with adhesive strips, pins, magnets or clipboards for easy swapping. Include child’s name and date on pieces. Photograph the gallery wall to chronicle their artistic development.
Incorporate Unexpected Materials
Think outside the box and create a backsplash from items not typically used in the kitchen, like:
- Old license plates – Arrange in fun designs.
- Playing cards – Layer and adhere card suits and numbers.
- Sheet music – Decoupage pages from musical scores.
- Comic books – Use pages from favorite graphic novels.
- Paper napkins – Decorate with colorful patterned napkins.
- Gift-wrapping paper – Upcycle the paper leftovers.
Benefits of repurposed material backsplashes:
- Unique – One-of-a-kind designs.
- Budget-friendly – Repurpose items you already have.
- Conversation piece – Interesting talking point.
- Easily changeable – Swap out materials.
- Creative reuse – Give used items new life.
Arrange materials in an aesthetic design before adhering to the wall with liquid adhesive. Apply a sealer over paper materials for water resistance.
FAQ About Inexpensive Kitchen Backsplashes
What is the most affordable material for a backsplash?
Some of the most budget-friendly backsplash materials include peel-and-stick tiles or wallpaper, beadsboard, painted glass, stenciled designs, or brick panels. Opting for an applied material that goes directly over the existing wall is generally cheaper than installing traditional tile.
Can you use wallpaper for a backsplash?
Yes, wallpaper makes an excellent budget-friendly backsplash. Options like peel-and-stick tiles, removable wallpaper and self-adhesive vinyl are easy for DIY application. Be sure to select wallpaper made specifically for kitchen use that can withstand moisture, grease and frequent cleaning.
How do I decorate my backsplash on a budget?
Some easy ways to decorate a kitchen backsplash cheaply include using removable wall decals, stenciling creative designs with paint, or displaying your personal collections. You can also create an artsy accent wall with materials like photos, kids’ art projects or unused paper materials like gift wrap or sheet music.
What is the cheapest backsplash alternative?
The most affordable backsplash options are materials that can be applied directly over your existing wall like self-adhesive wallpaper or tiles, beadboard paneling, or brick veneer. Paint is another ultra-budget friendly option. Paint the wall a new solid color or get creative with stenciled patterns, geometric shapes or murals.
Can you put wallpaper on the backsplash?
Yes, wallpaper makes for an easy affordable backsplash solution. Peel-and-stick tile, removable wallpaper and self-adhesive vinyl options are all durable enough to withstand kitchen usage. Just be sure to thoroughly remove old wallpaper and prepare the surface before application. Wipe spills promptly from the wallpaper and clean gently to avoid peeling.
Is wallpaper cheaper than backsplash?
Wallpaper is generally much cheaper than installing traditional backsplash materials like ceramic tile, natural stone or glass. Self-adhesive wallpaper starts around $5 per square foot compared to $15-25 per square foot for basic tile installation. Wallpaper is also an easier DIY option requiring no special saws or adhesives.
Can I just paint my backsplash?
Painting your backsplash is an affordable DIY-friendly option. Use a high-quality enamel