Kitchen Backsplash Accent Tile Create Focal Point with Tiles

A kitchen backsplash serves both form and function – it protects the walls from splashes and stains while also providing an opportunity to add visual interest to your kitchen design. Using accent tiles in your backsplash is one of the most effective ways to create a stunning focal point full of style, color, and texture.

Benefits of Adding Accent Tiles to Your Backsplash

Accent tiles instantly draw the eye, create depth, and add character to your backsplash and kitchen. Here are some of the top reasons to incorporate accent tiles into your backsplash design:

Draws Attention

Accent tiles command attention, instantly becoming a focal point in your kitchen. By adding eye-catching accent tiles, you can create a backsplash that directs the eye exactly where you want it to focus. This allows you to highlight and bring out the best features of your kitchen design.

Adds Visual Interest

Plain backsplash tile can look uninteresting and flat. Introducing different shapes, colors, textures and patterns with accent tiles adds striking visual style. Accent tiles prevent monotonous backsplashes and make the space much more visually interesting.

Complements the Design

Accent tiles pull together your kitchen design, seamlessly integrating with your existing decor. Thoughtfully chosen accent tiles that complement your cabinets, countertops, floors and other kitchen elements result in a cohesive, polished look.

Provides Functionality

Beyond aesthetics, accent tiles can serve functional purposes as well. Using mosaic tiles near a stovetop backsplash catches splashes and splatters from cooking. Bold accent tiles draw attention to a part of the kitchen, like behind the sink.

Allows Creativity and Personalization

Accent tiles provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your personal style. You can choose exciting, unique accent tiles that reflect your tastes and personality. Accent tiles introduce creative flair and allow you to customize your backsplash design.

Adds Texture and Dimension

Variations in tile texture, from the smooth glossy finish of ceramic to the uneven surface of travertine, create visual and tactile dimension. Depth is also created by using accent tiles of varying thickness and architectural shapes.

Provides Durability

Quality accent tiles made from porcelain or natural stone are very durable and able to withstand heavy use in kitchen spaces. This makes them perfect for kitchen backsplashes which need to stand up to daily wear.

Popular Types of Accent Tiles for Backsplashes

There are endless options when selecting accent tiles for your backsplash. Some of the most popular choices include:

Ceramic or Porcelain

Available in a vast array of colors, shapes, finishes and patterns, ceramic and porcelain tiles are one of the most versatile backsplash options. Glazed ceramic and porcelain accent tiles provide a glossy, polished finish.


Glass backsplash tiles make a dramatic design statement. Often containing recycled glass, they have an eye-catching, luminous sheen. Glass mosaic tiles can be arranged to create custom images or effects.


From stainless steel to tin to copper, metal tiles lend an industrial vibe. Made from real metal, they have an authentic, metallic gleam that instantly jazzes up a backsplash.


Accent tiles crafted from marble, travertine, slate and other natural stones add organic texture. Available in a range of neutral hues, natural stone tiles complement many kitchen designs.

Handmade/Art Tile

For one-of-a-kind accent tiles, consider handmade art tiles. Colorful designs and patterns result in backsplashes full of bespoke personality. Terra cotta, cement and Talavera tiles offer handcrafted charm.

Placement of Accent Tiles

Strategic placement of your accent tiles will maximize their impact. Consider incorporating accent tiles in the following spots:

Behind Stove

The wall space directly behind the stove tends to attract more grime and cooking mishaps. Durable accent tiles made from glass, metal or ceramic are ideal for this high-use area. Vibrant mosaics also help conceal wayward splatters.

Around Window

Frame your kitchen window with eye-catching accent tiles. Contrasting colors or textures around the window instantly livens up your backsplash.

In Niche

Accent tiles used in a backsplash niche draw the eye to this display area. Try designing a decorative medallion or focal shape using accent tiles in your backsplash niche.

Along Countertop

Line the space between the countertops and cabinets with a bold accent tile border. This highlights and accentuates the shape of your countertop.

Behind Sink

The area behind your kitchen sink gets splashed frequently. Accent tiles here add color and interest while also protecting the surface from water damage.

As Geometric Shape

Use accent tiles to create a geometric focal point, like a stylized diamond, circle or starburst on your backsplash. Contrasting grout lines outline the shape.

In Grid Pattern

Alternating accent tiles with field tiles in a grid pattern intersperses color and texture. Try a brickwork or herringbone layout for visual movement.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Accent Tiles

Choosing the right accent tiles for your backsplash requires thoughtful consideration. Keep the following factors in mind:


Select accent tile colors that coordinate well with your cabinetry, countertops, flooring and other kitchen elements. Contrasting hues make the accent pop while complementary shades promote harmony.


The shape of accent tiles impacts the overall look as well. For example, elongated subway tiles have a more traditional appearance while mosaic tiles conjure a more eclectic, Mediterranean feel.


Matte, glossy, crackled, metallic – the finish dramatically affects the vibe of the tile. Glossy finishes have more shine while crackled ones have an Old World, weathered appearance.


Natural stone, ceramic, glass, metal – each material has distinct properties that factor into performance, durability, and aesthetics.


Make sure the scale of your accent tiles aligns with the proportions of your kitchen. Oversized tiles can look awkward in a small kitchen while mosaics can get lost in an expansive space.


The texture of the accent tile determines the visual effect as well as how reflective the surface is. Consider how the tile’s texture aligns with your overall kitchen design style.

Grout Color

Grout lines will be part of the accent tile’s appearance. Select grout that complements both the accent and field tiles. Contrasting grout can make the tile pattern pop.

How to Add Accent Tiles Like a Pro

Installing accent tiles to create a showstopping professional backsplash requires careful planning and precision. Follow these tips:

Measure Carefully

Always measure the backsplash area thoroughly so you purchase enough accent tiles for your design. Having to piece together partial tiles looks sloppy.

Draw Layout

Map out the accent tile placement on paper first. This allows you to visualize how the tiles fit together and identify any design issues before installing.

Set Accent Tiles First

When installing, set the accent tiles in position first. Then fill in the surrounding field tiles. This helps maintain even grout line spacing.

Use Tile Spacers

Consistent grout line spacing gives a polished look. Plastic tile spacers between each tile ensure even alignment as you set them.

Cut Border Tiles Last

Don’t cut border tiles until you’ve installed the main field. Trimming tiles to fit around edges as you go can lead to uneven gaps.

Clean Thoroughly

Remove all old adhesive, grime and soap scum before applying new tile. Accent tiles adhere better to surfaces that are fully prepped and cleaned.

Seal Grout

Once your grout lines have cured, apply grout sealer. This prevents discoloration or staining of the grout lines over time, maintaining the aesthetic.

Caulk Edges

Caulk where the backsplash meets the countertop or edges. This flexible material prevents cracking from natural movement between surfaces.

Design Inspiration – Ways to Use Accent Tiles

Need inspiration for utilizing accent tiles to create a stunning backsplash? Here are some gorgeous ways to implement accent tiles:

Geometric Motif

Frame your cooktop with a graphic geometric shape like a starburst, diamond or triangle. Sleek metallic or handpainted ceramic tiles work beautifully.

Moroccan Fish Scale

For exotic drama, use iridescent tiles arranged in rows mimicking a fish scale pattern. Metallic blue and green glass tiles evoke vibes of a Moroccan palace.

Artsy Mosaic

Make a statement with a colorful, artsy mosaic backsplash. Glass, ceramic and handpainted tiles arranged in an abstract collage effect exude whimsy.

Chevron Pattern

Alternating triangle shapes create this striking directional zigzag. Glossy ceramic tiles in contrasting colors form the graphic chevron against neutral field tile.

Arabesque Shape

For ornate sophistication, frame your range with intricately shaped Arabesque tile. The elegant curves contrast beautifully against square field tile.

Framed Accent

Create a frame effect by bordering your entire backsplash in a contrasting accent tile. Thin brick or Moroccan tile delivers drama to this look.

Bold Border

Design a bold backsplash border by outlining kitchen windows, walls and niches with vivid accent tiles like cobalt blue glass or cracked mint ceramic.

Hexagon Splendor

Faceted hexagon tiles arranged in a honeycomb pattern make a seriously chic statement. Mixing matte white, glossy black and iridescent glass hexagons produces dynamism.

Vintage Revival

For turn-of-the-century allure, accent with handmade, crackle-glazed subway tiles in soft blues, yellows and rose. Their worn, weathered look is inviting and charming.

Accent Tile Ideas for Popular Kitchen Design Styles

Certain accent tiles align well with specific kitchen design aesthetics. Here are accent tile suggestions suited for popular kitchen styles:

Modern Kitchen

Sleek metallic and solid-colored ceramic accent tiles complement the streamlined look of contemporary kitchens. Penny tiles also introduce eye-catching polish.

Rustic Kitchen

Handmade terracotta tiles, tumbled travertine stone and reclaimed barnwood planks accentuate the warm, earthy feel of rustic kitchen spaces.

Farmhouse Kitchen

Vintage-look crackle-glazed ceramic tiles, classic subway tiles and hexagonal penny tiles made from marble or limestone fit seamlessly into farmhouse kitchens.

Transitional Kitchen

For an elegant combination of traditional and contemporary, try accenting with marble herringbone tiles, pretty floral ceramic tile or even Murano glass mosaics.

Industrial Kitchen

The industrial chic look leverages the visual power of materials like rusted metal, concrete and brick. Galvanized metal tiles, cement tiles and exposed brick inserts work nicely.

Mediterranean Kitchen

Transport your kitchen to sunny Tuscan villas with handpainted ceramic tile inserts, terracotta backsplashes and decorative Talavera, Deruta or Cotto tiles.

Eclectic Kitchen

Collections of unique accents like Middle Eastern zellige, brilliant stained glass mosaics, bold raku ceramic tiles and iridescent glass tiles define the eclectic kitchen aesthetic.

Accent Tile Ideas for Specific Areas

Beyond backsplashes, don’t overlook other kitchen areas perfect for adding eye-catching accent tiles:

Backsplash Niche

A decorative accent tile display in the backsplash niche becomes a work of art. Try glass tile mosaics, ceramic medallions or metallic starburst designs.

Under Cabinets

Run a glossy ceramic, metal or glass accent tile vertically underneath wall cabinets for a sleek linear look. Illuminate with LED lighting.

Kitchen Island

Wrap your kitchen island in alluring accent tiles like Moroccan fish scale tiles or Tuscan handpainted ceramic. This treatment dresses up plain cabinetry.

Apron Front Sink

Framing an apron front sink with accent tiles adds flair. Vivid solid tiles or funky mosaic sheets make a stylish sink statement.

Range Hood Surround

Dress up the range hood area by framing it with the same accent tile used on the backsplash. Elongated subway, textured stone or ceramic tiles work beautifully.

Kitchen Floor

Make a standout flooring statement by inlaying a geometric, Moroccan-inspired or floral accent tile motif into neutral wood-look porcelain planks.


What are the most popular backsplash accent tiles?

Some of today’s most popular backsplash accent tiles include glass, ceramic, porcelain, metal, marble, travertine and handmade art tile. These tiles provide endless options for adding pops of color, sheen, pattern and texture.

How much accent tile do I need?

Calculate 10-15% of your total backsplash area as a starting point for purchasing enough accent tile. Buying extra allows for cuts, cracks and future repairs. An experienced tile installer can also estimate needed quantities.

Should I use more than one accent tile?

Using one thoughtfully chosen accent tile type creates the most coherent look. Combining too many different tiles can make a backsplash feel busy and overwhelming. Focus on one or two accent tiles that work with your field tile.

What grout color should I choose?

Grout color impacts the accent tile appearance. Matching grout recedes while contrasting grout makes the tile pattern pop. White and gray grouts are versatile neutrals. Blues and browns work with stone. Bold colors are for the adventurous.

How do I clean and maintain accent tiles?

Glazed ceramic and porcelain accent tiles can be cleaned with warm water and dish soap. Grout is scrubbed with a specialized grout brush. Unsealed natural stone requires sealing to prevent staining. Avoid abrasive cleaners that could scratch.


Strategically incorporating eye-catching accent tiles into your kitchen backsplash design instantly elevates the space, providing artistic flair, dynamic texture, and robust durability. From bold mosaic medallions to Arabesque ceramic frames, the possibilities with accent tiles are endless. Thoughtfully selected accent tiles harmonize with your existing decor while adding that artistic, bespoke finishing touch. With so many colors, shapes, materials and globally-inspired patterns to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect accent tiles to create a focal point kitchen backsplash brimming with personality, visual interest and grace.






Leave a Reply