An onyx kitchen backsplash can add a dramatic, luxurious look to any kitchen design. Onyx is a striking and versatile natural stone that makes a bold statement in contemporary and traditional kitchen spaces alike. With its vibrant colors and unique patterning, onyx brings depth, texture, and sophisticated style to backsplash designs.
What Is Onyx?
Onyx is a natural stone composed of silica mineral deposits that form in bands or layers. The stone is formed when silica deposits are subjected to extreme heat and pressure in the earth’s crust. Onyx can have various colors and banding patterns depending on its mineral composition.
Some key facts about onyx:
- Onyx has a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for use as a backsplash material.
- It is composed of bands of different colors and patterns, creating visual depth and interest. Common onyx colors include white, brown, black, red, yellow, and green.
- Onyx has a smooth, glossy finish when polished, which enhances its aesthetic appeal.
- It is porous and needs to be sealed to prevent staining. Onyx is softer and less durable than other stones like granite.
- Onyx slabs are cut across the stone’s bands to highlight the unique patterns. The distinctive bands make each onyx piece one-of-a-kind.
Benefits of Onyx Backsplashes
Installing an onyx backsplash in your kitchen comes with many advantages:
The striking bands and range of colors available make onyx a real visual showstopper. It provides serious wow-factor and complements both modern and traditional design styles. The backsplash becomes a focal point and artful centerpiece in the kitchen.
Onyx exudes elegance and luxury. The stone’s delicate veining and upscale aesthetics can make any kitchen feel instantly more high-end. An onyx backsplash brings a refined, exclusive look that sets the mood in the kitchen.
No two onyx slabs have the same patterning. Onyx offers one-of-a-kind customization opportunities to create a backsplash that is fully personalized to your space. You can hand-select slabs that have markings in your preferred colors.
While softer than granite, onyx is still durable enough to withstand daily use and maintain its beauty over time. The polish creates a smooth, resilient surface. With proper sealing and care, an onyx backsplash can last for many years as a stunning kitchen accent.
Onyx Backsplash Design Ideas
Onyx backsplashes can be designed in many different styles to match your personal taste and kitchen aesthetic. Here are some popular onyx backsplash design ideas:
Contemporary Onyx Backsplashes
Sleek, modern kitchens are perfectly complemented by contemporary onyx backsplash designs. Large-scale onyx slabs in neutral tones work best for contemporary spaces. Creative patterns and artistic shapes can add modern flair. Sunny yellow or deep red onyx colors pop against white cabinetry in contemporary kitchens.
Rustic Onyx Backsplashes
For a cozy farmhouse or Tuscan kitchen design, rustic styles of onyx backsplashes are ideal. Earthy onyx tones like tan, brown, and terracotta paired with natural stone mosaics create a welcoming, organic look. Irregular stripes of varying colors enhance the rustic charm.
Geometric Onyx Backsplashes
Angular geometric shapes arranged in interesting patterns generate visual intrigue. Combining geometric mosaic tiles or listello inserts with large onyx slab backsplashes adds depth and complexity for a modern, elegant result.
Subway Tile Onyx Backsplashes
Subway tile backsplashes are a classic choice that suits traditional and contemporary kitchens. Stacked rows of rectangular onyx subway tiles create fluidity. Match the grout color to the onyx tones for a seamless look.
Stone Accent Onyx Backsplashes
Complement your onyx backsplash by adding other stone accents. Contrasting countertops like white quartz and backsplash niches lined with travertine tiles or marble mosaics enhance the onyx and provide pleasing design contrasts.
Bold Color Onyx Backsplashes
Make the backsplash the main event by installing vibrant, bold colored onyx slabs or mosaic tiles. Jewel-toned green, bright orange, rich magenta or midnight black onyx backsplashes grab attention and electrify modern kitchens.
Combining Onyx with Other Materials
While onyx itself makes a dramatic statement, combining it with other backsplash materials allows even more design possibilities. Mix and match onyx with ceramic, metal, glass, or additional stone textures.
Onyx and Metal
Metallic backsplashes are having a major moment. Pairing natural onyx with sleek metal backsplash tiles or accents creates an eye-catching combo.Brushed brass, copper, or nickel metal tiles dotted throughout the onyx inserts modern character.
Onyx and Glass
Glass tile provides beautiful contrast and reflectivity next to the matte onyx bands. Clear, frosted, or colored glass mosaics help the onyx tones pop. Intersperse glass tile strips, squares, or small accents throughout the onyx.
Onyx and Ceramic
Vividly colored or artfully hand-painted ceramic tiles laid in between onyx slab sections adds playfulness and flair. Spanish-style ceramic tiles with colorful patterns keep the aesthetic fun and lively against elegant onyx.
Onyx and Other Stones
Pairing onyx with marble, travertine or granite slabs/tiles creates an ultra-luxe effect. The unique veining of each natural stone placed alongside onyx results in a one-of-a-kind backsplash design. Mix different stone colors and textures for depth.
Installation Tips for Onyx Backsplashes
Proper installation is key to creating a stunning, lasting onyx backsplash. Here are some top tips for seamless installation:
- Consult a professional stone contractor experienced in installing onyx backsplashes.
- Select high-quality, properly sealed onyx slabs without cracks or flaws. Inspect them thoroughly before installation.
- Onyx should be installed on a clean, smooth substrate like cement board. This prevents warping or cracking.
- Use white thinset adhesive specially formulated for natural stone installation. This adhesive keeps the onyx securely bonded.
- Carefully follow all manufacturer instructions for setting times and proper application of the thinset.
- Pay close attention to the grout selection. Unsanded grout is best for thin onyx tiles to prevent cracking. Use a grout color that matches or contrasts nicely with the onyx.
- Take extreme care when grouting onyx. Gently clean off excess grout immediately using a soft sponge and minimal pressure.
- Buff and seal the onyx once installation is complete for stain protection and enhanced shine.
Maintaining and Cleaning Onyx Backsplashes
While durable, onyx requires some maintenance and careful cleaning methods to preserve its natural beauty over many years.
Regular Sealant Application
Reapplying an impregnating sealer to the onyx 1-2 times per year is highly recommended. This prevents staining and fills microscopic pores in the stone.
Gentle Cleaning Solutions
Harsh cleaners can scratch, pit or dull onyx’s surface. Use mild liquid dish soap, stone cleaner or microfiber cloths with warm water for everyday cleaning.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Do not use any acidic, alkaline, or abrasive cleaners on onyx. Vinegar, bleach, ammonia, and other chemicals can damage and discolor the stone.
Immediately Clean Up Spills
Onyx is prone to staining from oils, wine, coffee and other liquids. Quickly wipe up any spills using a soft cloth and neutral cleaner to prevent permanent damage.
Check for Signs of Damage
Inspect your onyx backsplash periodically for any cracks, pits or etching that may require professional repair to prevent further issues. Address problems proactively.
Onyx Backsplash Cost Considerations
Onyx is an investment stone that comes at a higher price point than some other backsplash options like ceramic or laminate. The total cost depends on slab size, quality, color variations and specific installation needs.
Some typical cost factors for onyx backsplashes include:
- Onyx material: $40-$100 per sq. ft. for stone slabs
- Additional tiling: $5-$50 per sq. ft. for accent mosaic tiles or listello inlays
- Installation: Average of $40-$75 per sq. ft. for professional installation labor
- Sealing/finishing: $3-$7 per sq. ft. for specialty stone sealants and finishing
- Total project cost: $100-$200 per sq. ft. on average for installed onyx backsplash
Choosing a design with onyx slab panels surrounded by smaller decorative tile accents can help reduce square footage and overall project costs.
While pricing is on the higher side, an onyx backsplash is a long-term investment that can greatly increase your home’s value. The striking elegance and luxury of onyx makes it well worth the initial expenditure for many homeowners.
Enhancing Kitchens with Onyx Backsplashes
Onyx backsplashes provide high-end, artistic style that can elevate and personalize modern and traditional kitchen designs. With numerous colors and patterns available, onyx offers customization for a truly one-of-a-kind accent wall in your kitchen. Whether aiming for a sleek contemporary look, rustic charm, or an elegant statement, onyx generates big visual impact. Following proper installation techniques and care will allow your dramatic onyx backsplash to last for decades. Embrace onyx’s striking combination of durability, luxury, and beauty for your kitchen remodeling.
Frequently Asked Questions About Onyx Kitchen Backsplashes
Onyx backsplashes are captivating and unique, but also come with some common questions from homeowners and designers. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about installing onyx stone backsplashes.
Is onyx durable enough for kitchen backsplash use?
Yes, onyx is a durable natural stone suitable for backsplashes when properly sealed and cared for. It has a hardness rating of 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, just below quartz. The smooth polish makes it resilient. With proper sealing and gentler cleaning methods, onyx backsplashes hold up well to routine kitchen use.
How thick does the onyx backsplash need to be?
Onyx is usually cut into slabs between 3/8 and 1/2 inches thick for backsplash installation. Thinner onyx around 1/4 inch can crack under stress. The 3/8 to 1/2 inch thickness gives it durability while keeping the weight manageable.
Should the onyx backsplash be sealed?
Sealing onyx is highly recommended since it is porous and prone to staining. An impregnating sealer formulated for natural stone penetrates the onyx to resist moisture, oils, and acids. Reapply sealer 1-2 times per year. Unsealed onyx will stain easily.
What kind of adhesive is best for installing onyx backsplash?
Always use a white thinset adhesive specifically designed for natural stone when installing onyx. This adhesive properly bonds onyx while having some flexibility to allow for the stone’s movement. Avoid all-purpose adhesives.
Can you use subway tiles for an onyx backsplash?
Yes, onyx subway tiles are a great choice for timeless backsplash designs. Onyx tiles are cut thinner than slabs, around 1/4 inch. The rectangular shape and classic stacked pattern create a clean, elegant look. Use caution and minimal pressure when grouting.
What grout color should be used with onyx?
A matching or slightly contrasting grout color is ideal for onyx backsplashes. Whites and grays complement lighter onyx tones. Darker sanded grout suits bold colored onyx like blacks, browns, and reds. Avoid bright white grout with pale onyx which can look dirty over time.
How much does an onyx backsplash cost?
Due to the high cost of quality onyx slabs, expect to pay $100-$200 per square foot installed. Smaller mosaic tiles lower the price closer to $100/sq ft. The specific design and amount of decorative accents impacts the total project cost. Onyx is one of the more expensive natural stone backsplash options.
Is onyx environmentally friendly?
Natural onyx stone is inherently eco-friendly and sustainable since it does not require chemical processing to produce. However, some onyx is treated with acids during finishing which lessens, but does not eliminate, the green benefit. Overall, it’s one of the better environmental options over synthetic materials.
Is onyx backsplash high maintenance?
Onyx requires more frequent sealing and careful cleaning methods compared to more robust stones like granite. But following best practices for care, onyx backsplashes are reasonably easy to maintain. Apply sealant 1-2 times per year and promptly clean spills to prevent staining.
What are the best colors for onyx backsplashes?
It depends on your overall kitchen design style. For contemporary spaces, neutral white, beige and gray onyx suit best. Rich red, black, brown and green onyx provide classic elegance. Warm yellow, orange and tan onyx tones work well for Tuscan or rustic rooms.
With iridescent elegance and luxury, onyx backsplashes provide striking refinement to kitchens of all styles. Onyx’s stunning range of natural patterns, colors and textures lend sophistication and customization. Combining onyx slabs with glass, metal or ceramic accent tiles takes the design over the top. While an investment, a professionally installed onyx backsplash treated with care is sure to be a focal point that will wow for decades to come. With so many options, you can choose onyx backsplash colors and designs that distinctly match your personal taste and kitchen decor.