Porcelain Tile Backsplash Variety of Color, Materials and Textures

A porcelain tile backsplash can add visual interest and dimension to any kitchen or bathroom. With the wide range of colors, textures, shapes, and styles available, you’re sure to find the perfect porcelain tiles to suit your design aesthetic. Keep reading to learn more about the variety of porcelain tile backsplash options to consider for your next remodel or new construction project.

Benefits of Porcelain Tile for Backsplashes

Porcelain tile has become an increasingly popular choice for backsplashes in recent years, and for good reason. Here are some of the benefits that make porcelain a great backsplash tile option:

  • Durability – Porcelain is very dense and low in water absorption, making it extremely durable, stain-resistant, and well-suited for the high-use environment of a kitchen backsplash. It stands up well to decades of daily wear and tear.
  • Easy to Clean – Porcelain’s non-porous, smooth surface makes it very easy to keep clean. Food and grease wipe right off without staining or absorbing.
  • Stylish – Porcelain tiles come in a huge range of colors, patterns, textures, and finishes. They can mimic natural stone, metal, wood, and more. Great for making a design statement.
  • Versatile – Porcelain can be used to create simple, classic backsplashes or ornate designs. Tiles can be mixed and matched in creative patterns.
  • Moisture-Resistant – Porcelain tolerates moisture well and is less prone to water damage issues than other backsplash materials. A good choice for bathrooms and sinks.

With proper installation and care, a porcelain backsplash can last for many years of beauty and protection behind sinks, stoves, and counters.

Porcelain Tile Colors and Patterns

One of the biggest advantages of porcelain tile is the vast array of colors and patterns available. You can find porcelain tiles in just about any color imaginable, allowing you to add bold pops of color or create a subtle, neutral backdrop in your kitchen or bath. Here are some of the most popular porcelain backsplash color and pattern options:

Solid Colors

From deep blacks and blues to warm beiges and browns, solid colored porcelain tiles are a simple way to add interest to your backsplash. Match or contrast them with your cabinetry, countertops, and decor. Some popular choices include:

  • White – Clean and brightens any kitchen or bath. Especially popular for modern, minimalist spaces.
  • Black – Striking and dramatic. Adds an elegant, upscale look.
  • Gray – Versatile neutral that fits well with any style, from industrial to traditional. Available in cool to warm tones.
  • Beige – Warm neutral that pairs well with natural wood cabinetry and granite counters in traditional kitchens. Provides a subtle earthy feel.
  • Blue – From navy to sky blue, adds a pop of color and a feeling of tranquility. Works in many styles from coastal to farmhouse.

Stone Looks

Porcelain tiles that mimic natural stone are widely available. They provide the look and feel of stone with extra durability and ease of maintenance. Great for achieving a rustic, Old World style. Options include:

  • Marble – Elegant and timeless, yet versatile enough for both traditional and modern spaces. Available in Carrara, statuary, and colored marble looks.
  • Travertine – Warm, earthy beiges and browns recreate the colors of natural travertine. Has a rustic, textured style popular in Tuscan designs.
  • Slate – Replicates the grayish-blue hues of natural slate stone in a smooth or textured finish. Works well in craftsman and industrial spaces.
  • Limestone – Offers light tans and beiges with subtle veining for a soft, natural stone aesthetic suitable for a range of home styles.

Modern Geometric Patterns

For a bold, contemporary look, choose porcelain tiles with graphic patterns like chevrons, stacked rectangles, tessellated designs, or multi-colored stripes. These eye-catching patterns make the backsplash the focal point of a sleek, modern kitchen.

Subway Tiles

Subway tiles are classic 3″ x 6″ rectangular glossy tiles arranged in a brickwork pattern. Available in white, black, gray, blue, and other solid colors, these tiles have a timeless, clean look. Great for traditional, vintage, or retro kitchen designs.


Tiny porcelain mosaic tiles allow you to create intricate backsplash designs full of visual interest and dimension. Mosaics come either mounted on mesh sheets or as loose cubes. Use them to make patterns, medallions, borders, or allover tile designs.

Porcelain Tile Textures and Finishes

In addition to the variety of colors and patterns, porcelain backsplash tiles also come in many different surface textures and finishes. The texture greatly impacts the overall look and feel of the tile. Here are some common porcelain tile textures to consider:

Glossy/Shiny Finish

Glossy porcelain tiles have a shiny, reflective surface that creates a formal, elegant look. They have high light reflectance that can make a space feel open and airy. A popular choice for subway tiles and mosaics.

Matte Finish

Matte or satin finish porcelain has a non-reflective, low-sheen surface. Matte tiles have an understated, contemporary style. Their muted finish hides fingerprints, water spots, and other marks.

Textured Finish

Textured porcelain tiles have visible texture for added visual appeal. Options include raised dots, wavy patterns, simulated stone textures, relief surfaces, and more. Adds subtle interest and dimension.

Glass/Crystal Tile

Glass porcelain tiles have tiny glass particles fused into the surface to create a shimmering, jewel-like appearance. Available in many sheens from matte to glossy. Adds a glittery, luxurious look.

Metal Tile

Porcelain tile with a metallic finish, such as a bronze, pewter, silver or gold look adds glamour and shine to a backsplash. Great for Mid-Century modern, Hollywood glam, or Art Deco decors.

Wood Look

Wood-look porcelain mimics the look of natural wood planks, with realistic grains, knots, and textures. Has natural warmth perfect for farmhouse, craftsman, or transitional spaces.

Shapes and Sizes

In addition to the array of colors, patterns, and textures available, porcelain backsplash tiles come in many different shapes and sizes to suit your design needs. Here are some of the most common options:

Subway Tile

The quintessential backsplash tile, subway tiles are 2-3 inches wide and 4-6 inches long. Their rectangular shape allows quick installation in elegant brickwork patterns.

Square Tile

4 inch square tiles have a clean, balanced look. They can be easily combined with rectangle subway tiles. Stack them in interesting patterns or lay in a grid.

Penny Round Tile

1-2 inch round porcelain tiles create fun retro-inspired patterns. Their small scale adds lots of grout lines for visual interest.

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon-shaped tiles create gorgeous honeycomb-like designs. Combine with other unique shapes for artistic backsplashes.

Diamond Tile

Diamond-shaped porcelain tiles lend a graceful, ornate style. Lay them on point or in a straight grid.

Large Format Tile

Porcelain tiles 12 inches or larger have a seamless, sleek look. Great for minimalist contemporary spaces. Fewer grout lines make them faster to install.

Mosaic Tile Sheets

Mosaic tiles come mounted on mesh sheets in geometric patterns, medallions, decorative lists, and all-over designs. Just install the whole sheet at once for intricate designs.

Best Places to Buy Porcelain Tile

Many home improvement stores carry a selection of porcelain tile, but for the greatest variety, check out stores specializing in tile and stone. Some top retailers to find beautiful and unique porcelain backsplash tiles include:

  • Tile Shop
  • Bedrosians Tile & Stone
  • Marble Systems
  • Emser Tile
  • Arizona Tile
  • United Tile
  • Floor & Decor
  • Living Tile

Many of these stores have online buying options if you don’t live near a brick and mortar location. Take advantage of their search filters to find tiles by color, style, finish, material, or shape to zero in on options that match your backsplash vision.

Hiring a Tile Installation Professional

While porcelain tile DIY installation is possible for the handiest of homeowners, intricate backsplash tile designs are best left to tile installation professionals. The Tile Contractors Association recommends only hiring tile installers who are members of the National Tile Contractors Association or Ceramic Tile Education Foundation certified. These organizations ensure installers meet the highest standards for knowledge and expertise.

When interviewing tile installation contractors, ask to see photos of past backsplash projects to evaluate the quality of their work. A reputable contractor will have no problem providing multiple references. Ask if they have experience with the specific type of porcelain tile you want installed. Discuss your design plans to see if they have the skill to execute it properly.

Be sure to get a detailed written estimate of the project scope and costs involved. Confirm timeline expectations as well. For a smooth install, be sure to communicate clearly and frequently throughout the project. With an experienced contractor handling the tricky tile cutting, detailing, and grouting, you can relax knowing your porcelain backsplash will elevate your space for years to come.

Porcelain Tile Backsplash Design Ideas

With so many porcelain tile shapes, colors, finishes, and patterns to work with, the design possibilities are endless for your backsplash. Here are some top design ideas to spark your inspiration:

All-Over Subway Tile

A classic white or light gray subway tile backsplash covering the entire wall behind a stove or sink provides a seamless, clean look popular in traditional and contemporary kitchens alike.

Bold Colored Geometric

Make a dramatic style statement by using glossy porcelain tiles in bold colors like navy blue, emerald, or cherry red laid in a zig zag, herringbone, or geometric pattern.

Mix and Match

Pick 2-3 colors of porcelain tile in coordinating hues, like beige, brown, and gray, and mix them in for textural interest. Combine with stone for eclectic charm.

Large Format Neutrals

For a sleek, seamless look, install large format neutral colored porcelain tiles like white, beige, or gray arranged in a stack or brick pattern.

Metallic Style

Use glass or metallic finished porcelain tiles in bold patterns or shapes for retro, Art Deco, or boho chic flair. Accent with black subway tiles for striking contrast.

Tuscan Charm

Achieve rustic Tuscan style by combining brown, beige, and cream tiles in stone patterns like travertine and slate. Add texture with handmade ceramic tiles.

Contemporary Country

Blending clean white subway tiles with blue, green, and wood-look accents creates a fresh take on country style perfect for a modern farmhouse.

Minimalist Style

Keep it simple with all-white glossy subway tiles in multiple sizes laid in a contemporary grid pattern against white walls for an ultra-minimalist look.

Eclectic Cottage

Mix vintage patterned tiles with solid colored tiles and varied textures like marble mosaics for a quirky, eclectic cottage kitchen vibe.

Statement Accent Wall

Make the backsplash the main event by using bold patterned or mosaic tiles to cover one wall or section of wall, leaving surrounding walls neutrally tiled.

With thoughtful design, high-quality porcelain backsplash tile transforms kitchens and baths from boring to beautiful. Take your time considering all the color, pattern, texture, and style options to create a backsplash design that perfectly matches your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Porcelain Tile Backsplashes

What are the best porcelain tiles for kitchen backsplash?

For kitchen backsplashes, glossy or matte finish porcelain tiles between 2 to 6 inches in size work best. Subway tiles, mosaics, squares, and hexagons are all suitable shapes. White and neutral tones resist visible grime and food stains.

How do I choose a backsplash color?

Consider the color scheme and style of your kitchen cabinets, countertops, flooring, and decor when selecting a backsplash color. Contrasting colors pop, while matching tones blend seamlessly. Neutrals like white suit any style.

What backsplash goes with white cabinets?

White cabinets pair beautifully with white, light gray, beige and cream porcelain backsplash tiles. For contrast, add navy, black, or bold patterns. Wood-look planks also complement white cabinets.

What are the most popular backsplash tile sizes?

Standard 3×6 inch subway tiles are the most common size. Other popular sizes are 1 inch mosaics, 4 inch squares, and 4×12 inch rectangles. For modern designs, large format 12×24 inch tile works. Mix tile sizes for interest.

How do you do an affordable backsplash?

Peel-and-stick backsplash panels or ceramic tiles are budget-friendly options under $10 per square foot. Look for smaller and irregularly sized tiles to maximize coverage with product. Install yourself to further reduce costs.

Can you put porcelain tile on top of existing backsplash?

If the existing backsplash is in good condition, porcelain or ceramic tile can be installed right over it, provided you prepare the surface correctly. This avoids demolition costs. Check for moisture damage first.

How much does it cost to install a porcelain tile backsplash?

Porcelain tile backsplash installation costs $40 to $70 per square foot installed. Basic tile layouts start around $1500 while intricate tile designs cost $3000 or more. Location and tile selections impact pricing.


The variety of porcelain tile shapes, colors, textures, patterns, and finishes available makes it possible to design a backsplash that perfectly suits your personal taste and kitchen or bath style. Carefully weigh the benefits and design considerations of different porcelain tile options with the help of tile professionals. With creativity and thoughtful planning, your dream backsplash can come to life in durable, easy-to-clean porcelain. Choose colors and patterns that flow with your overall design for a cohesive, integrated look you’ll enjoy for many years.






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