What Are the Latest Trends in Kitchen Backsplashes?

Kitchen backsplashes play a crucial role in protecting the walls behind sinks, stoves, and countertops from water damage, grease, food splatter, and more. But they also provide an opportunity to add visual interest, color, texture, and personality to your kitchen design. Backsplashes are relatively affordable to upgrade and easy to swap out. So it’s no surprise they are one of the most popular parts of a kitchen to update when renovating.

Backsplashes come in an endless array of styles, shapes, colors, and materials. And new trends are constantly emerging in backsplash design. If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, considering an updated backsplash is a great way to make your space feel fresh and modern without a major overhaul. Read on to learn about the hottest backsplash trends for 2023 and beyond.

Natural Stone Tiles

Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, granite, and slate never go out of style for backsplashes. Stone adds organic texture and elegant, timeless beauty to a kitchen. Stacked stone tiles are still popular, but large-format slabs are surging in popularity. Oversized stone tiles make less of a “mosaic” look and more of a sleek, sophisticated statement. Neutral tones like white Carrara marble or beige limestone are livable everyday choices. But don’t be afraid to make your backsplash the jewelry of your kitchen with bold azure or green marble.

Benefits of natural stone:

  • Timeless, classic look
  • Natural texture and variation
  • Durable and heat-resistant
  • Can be honed or polished for different finishes
  • Available in slate, marble, granite, travertine, quartzite

Tips for choosing natural stone:

  • Be aware of porosity—some materials may stain
  • Consider thickness—thinner tiles can crack more easily
  • Check color consistency across multiple tiles
  • Factor in natural variation in pattern and veining
  • Large slabs minimize grout lines for a cleaner look

Handmade and Subway Tiles

Smaller tiles like subway tiles and penny tiles have graced backsplashes for generations, and they remain a staple choice. The classics are 3- by 6-inch or 4-by-4-inch, glazed ceramic tiles often with beveled edges. But today there is more variety than ever before. Modern takes include wider planks, elongated sizes like 4-inch by 8-inch, mosaics, Moroccan fish scale tiles, geometric patterns, and handmade artisan tiles.

While subway tiles are budget-friendly and easy to install, handmade tile adds artisanal charm and interest with subtle color variations, cracks, bubbles, and an antiqued look. Concrete tiles are also growing in popularity for backsplashes. Their color all the way through provides a limitless color palette.

Benefits of small and handmade tile:

  • Classic, time-proven style
  • Budget-friendly and easy to install
  • Handmade tiles provide artisanal charm
  • Wide range of colors, shapes, patterns available
  • Grout provides texture and visual interest

Tips for choosing handmade or subway tile:

  • Standard sizes range from 1” to 6” square
  • Colors like white, black, gray most versatile
  • Contrast grout color to emphasize tiles
  • Limit variety for a clean, cohesive look
  • Small tiles show less dirt and are easy to clean

Statement Moroccan and Spanish-Style Tile

For decades, backsplashes were often an afterthought or accent wall at most. But statement tiles in vibrant colors and bold patterns are claiming their space as the jewelry and focal point of today’s kitchen. Dramatic tile designs inspired by Moroccan, Spanish, and Mediterranean aesthetics are hot in 2023. These eye-catching tiles are no longer just for the backsplash either—they frequently run from countertops to ceiling.

From intricate zellige patterns to colorful encaustic cement tiles, they provide plenty of wow-factor. Terra-cotta tile in warm oranges and reds is another way to channel rustic Spanish style. Just take care to balance busier backsplashes with more simple cabinetry and counters so the overall look isn’t overpowering.

Benefits of statement tile:

  • Makes backsplash the jewelry of the kitchen
  • Vibrant colors and striking patterns
  • Visually expands smaller kitchens
  • Provides artistic, artisanal look and texture
  • Often handmade with natural variations

Tips for choosing statement tile:

  • Sample multiple tiles to ensure color consistency
  • Balance with simple counters and cabinet fronts
  • Skip upper cabinets for a more open look
  • Use open shelving to let backsplash shine
  • Embrace small “imperfections” as character

Minimalist Look with Glass, Metal, and Solid Surfaces

On the opposite end of the spectrum from bold tiles, minimalist backsplashes provide a sleek, contemporary look. Think large-format slabs of glass or stone, solid surfaces like quartz, or metal tiles. Minimal grout lines and lack of strong pattern create seamless, futuristic style. These backsplashes recede to provide understated support rather than stealing the show.

Matte black metal tiles and bold veining of large marble slabs are extra dramatic. But for lighter and more subtle style, choose glass tiles or muted solid surface colors like warm gray or creamy white. Make sure your countertops and other finishes have compatible visual weight so the kitchen doesn’t feel disjointed.

Benefits of minimalist backsplashes:

  • Sleek, contemporary, futuristic look
  • Lack of pattern minimizes visual clutter
  • Easy-clean surfaces like glass and metal
  • Quartz provides durability and custom colors
  • Open, airy look with fewer grout lines

Tips for choosing minimalist materials:

  • Select compatible finishes for counters
  • Mind the reflection of glass tile
  • Prepare walls to minimize unevenness
  • Check durability and heat-resistance
  • Embrace visible seams as deliberate

Sophisticated Shapes: Hexagons, Triangles, Diamonds, and More

Backsplash tiles aren’t just squares and rectangles anymore. From hexagons and fish scales to elongated diamonds, triangles, curves, and freeform shapes, there are endless options to create visual interest beyond just color and pattern. Whimsical curved and circle tiles provide fluid, organic shapes. Elongated tiles, diamond shapes, and triangular tiles lend choreography and movement to backsplash designs.

Geometric patterns using multiple tile shapes have a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic effect. Mixing up shapes within a tonal color scheme is an easy way to incorporate interest without overpowering the space. Keep grout colors soft so shaped tiles can take center stage. Just take care when laying out shaped tiles to map out plans and seams carefully.

Benefits of shaped tiles:

  • Visual interest beyond just color
  • Dimension, angles provide depth
  • Organic, fluid options like circles
  • Geometric for mesmerizing patterns
  • Elongated planks expand smaller spaces

Tips for working with shaped tiles:

  • Mix sizes and orientations for interest
  • Map layout to minimize small cuts
  • Use paper templates for tricky patterns
  • Allow wide grout joints between small tiles
  • Level walls and prep substrate carefully

Mosaic Makeover: Small Tiles, Big Impact

Mosaic tile backsplashes provide visual pop without overpowering. These backsplashes use small 1-inch square or rectangular tiles assembled in sheets to create intricate patterns. Traditional glass mosaics offer tons of colors and iridescent effects. Or make a statement with handmade ceramic mosaics full of artistry. Modern interpretations incorporate chunky stone like marble. Thin grout lines delineate mosaic tiles without segmenting the design too much.

Watch out for motifs that feel overly noisy or dated. Mosaic only provides impact when used judiciously. Carefully positioned away from busy granite counters or next to simple cabinetry, mosaic backsplashes shine. Their small scale and jewel-like quality makes mosaic ideal for small spaces in need of personality.

Benefits of mosaic backsplash tile:

  • Intricate, mesmerizing patterns
  • Handmade mosaics provide artisanal charm
  • Color and iridescence of glass mosaics
  • Makes a statement without overwhelming
  • Ideal for adding visual interest to small spaces

Tips for choosing mosaic tile:

  • Avoid mosaics with too-busy patterns
  • Use larger grout joints with stone mosaics
  • Consider finishing edges with bullnose
  • Mix multiple colors or iridescent glass
  • Pair with simple cabinets and counters

Touchable Textures: 3D Tiles, Subway Variations, and Peel-and-Stick

Depth and texture provide visual and tactile interest on backsplashes. Dimensional tiles build out from the wall with 3D shapes and bevels for light play. Subway tiles are exiting their smooth, flat era with wavy, cracked, foiled, and fish scale options. Peel-and-stick backsplash materials offer affordable texture too.

Textured glass, beveled subway tiles, crackle-glazed ceramics, and fish scale tiles capture light beautifully. Modern versions of classic penny round mosaics have tactile ridges. Peel-and-stick backsplash sheets made of metal, vinyl, removable stone veneer, or fabric come in an array of textures. Just keep excess texturing in check—stick to one focal feature wall so the overall kitchen doesn’t feel too busy.

Benefits of textured backsplash tiles:

  • Adds depth and architectural interest
  • Interactive, tactile appeal
  • Beveled subway tiles refract light
  • Dimensional tiles create shadows and contours
  • Peel-and-stick options provide affordable texture

Tips for working with textured materials:

  • Use strategically on focal wall or small space
  • Combine with flat tiles or surfaces
  • Check thickness of dimensional tiles
  • Use medium-width grout for pebble and stone
  • Clean textured tiles regularly to avoid grime buildup

Creative Patterns: Colors, Shapes, and Stylized Motifs

Patterned backsplash tile provides energy, spirit, and creativity. From floral prints to geometrics, repeats and frames enliven backsplashes. Bright colors, hand-drawn motifs, and abstract graphic styles feel fresh and modern. Moroccan and Spanish-influenced tiles use intricate geometry. Retro color palettes combined with updated scale and finish provide funky flair.

Watch pattern scale so backsplashes don’t feel too busy. Medium-sized tile behind a stove provides ideal landing space for ingredients with room to breathe. Frame decorative patterns with simple borders in a coordinating color. Whether embracing vintage-inspired florals or saturated hues in geometric forms, patterns make backsplashes sing.

Benefits of patterned backsplash tile:

  • Energizing dose of color and pattern
  • Graphic motifs with artistic edge
  • Geometric and floral designs
  • Vintage inspired or retro color palettes
  • Hand-drawn screen-printed effects

Tips for working with patterned tile:

  • Mix and match scale of patterns
  • Use framing borders in a coordinating color
  • Choose wipeable glossy or ceramic finishes
  • Limit patterns to a single focal wall
  • Pair with simple cabinets and counters

Wood Look: Warm, Organic, and Timeless

Wood-look backsplashes provide natural warmth and texture. Porcelain and ceramic tiles give the look of weathered barnwood, reclaimed boards, or stained oak for an organic feel. Elongated wood-look planks run horizontally along the backsplash and stove wall to expand smaller kitchens. The blend of natural material with durable porcelain creates a comforting aesthetic.

Focus wood look tile behind appliances or prep areas to limit any busy feeling. For a lighter effect, use whitewashed or blonde wood finishes. Mix wood look porcelain with marble, stone or concrete for rustic elegance. Limit upper cabinets to maximize views of wood backsplashes. Just take care with staining and porous grout lines when using behind cooktops.

Benefits of wood-look backsplash tile:

  • Warm, organic natural look
  • Weathered and reclaimed wood options
  • Porcelain durability with wood aesthetics
  • Horizontal planks expand smaller kitchens
  • Easy-clean porcelain or ceramic
  • Combines nicely with stone and marble

Tips for choosing wood-look tile:

  • Select porcelain or ceramic, not actual wood
  • Limit wood look to a single focal wall
  • Use light grout colors to avoid “dirty” look
  • Clean regularly to prevent staining and buildup
  • Pair with heat-resistant wall materials around stove

Creative Touches: Accent Tiles, Borders, Niches

Beyond the field tiles, backsplashes can incorporate decorative accents and textures. From bullnose edges to attractive border tiles, customized niches to special feature tiles over the range, there are endless options to personalize backsplashes.

Handmade accent tiles, pretty borders, shelf niches for displaying beloved dishware, or a focal medallion tile above the stove customize backsplashes. Contrasting grout color and mosaic inserts provide subtle interest. Make sure accent elements enhance, rather than overwhelm, the main field tile. Thoughtful details tailored to your tastes help any backsplash feel special.

Creative backsplash design touches:

  • Bullnose edges for clean finish
  • Borders that accent or frame main tile
  • Contrasting grout colors to highlight tile
  • Handmade ceramic detail tiles
  • Multiple materials like combining wood and marble
  • Shelves or niches for displaying items
  • Medallion or focal tile over cooking surface

Tips for adding creative touches:

  • Pick accents that coordinate with main tiles
  • Include accent color from counters or cabinets
  • Showcase memorabilia or collections in niches
  • Limit accents to retain clean look
  • Bullnose edges on seams between different materials

Environmentally Friendly Options

Eco-friendly materials make backsplashes sustainable as well as stylish. Recycled glass, natural stone remnants, and reclaimed wood in tile often get new life on backsplashes. Durably poured concrete backsplashes contain local aggregates and pigments. Tile made from renewable bamboo material provides warmth. Porcelain tiles can now incorporate recycled content.

Always ask manufacturers about recycling and reclamation procedures as well as low-VOC processes. Local tile made nearby reduces the carbon footprint from transport. Many small artisan tile companies pride themselves on handmade, small-batch sustainable processes. Install backsplash tile using non-toxic grout and sealants to complete the healthy kitchen.

Benefits of eco-friendly backsplashes:

  • Recycled glass, concrete, and porcelain tiles
  • Reclaimed wood and remnant stone tiles
  • Renewable and local materials like bamboo
  • Low-VOC sealants and grouts available
  • Artisan tiles often prioritize sustainability

Tips for choosing eco-friendly tiles:

  • Ask about recycled content and processes
  • Look for non-toxic grouts and sealants
  • Consider durability to avoid replacements
  • Choose local options to reduce transport miles
  • Install using sustainable methods

Backsplash Installation and Maintenance Best Practices

Installing backsplash tile takes care, precision, and proper planning—but the results are worth it. Follow these best practices for a long-lasting backsplash installation:


  • Clean walls thoroughly and repair any damage
  • Apply appropriate backer like cementboard
  • Level walls and fill any unevenness
  • Prime surfaces according to tile requirements


  • Gather all materials and tools before starting
  • Double check quantity calculations
  • Dry lay pattern and design before installing
  • Mix tile from all boxes to ensure color consistency


  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for products
  • Work in small sections for easier application
  • Use leveling systems to keep tile flat and aligned
  • Allow proper drying time between steps
  • Grout and seal once tiles are firmly set


  • Seal grout periodically to prevent staining
  • Use gentle cleaners designed for natural stone if needed
  • Re-caulk corners and edges when needed
  • Address any cracks or loose tiles promptly to prevent damage

With proper installation and care, your backsplash should provide many years of beauty and protection for your kitchen. Reach out to a qualified contractor if unsure about any steps.

FAQ About Latest Trends in Kitchen Backsplashes

What are the most popular backsplash tiles right now?

Currently, bold statement tiles, oversized natural stone slabs, Moroccan and Mediterranean inspired patterns, glass and metal sheets, and wood look planks are trending. Vintage design styles and retro color palettes are also making a comeback.

What backsplash colors will be popular in 2023?

Earth tones like terracotta and rust continue trending for 2023. Bold primaries in jewel tones and retro color palettes have made a resurgence as well. Neutral tones like soft grays and creamy whites remain popular. Deep greens and blues are expected to grow, along with blending and muting color schemes.

How do I choose a timeless backsplash style?

Classic white subway tiles, natural stone materials like marble and travertine, and mosaic tiles stand the test of time. Steer clear of overly bold patterns or colors to avoid looking dated quickly. Focus on quality materials and classic shapes for long-lasting style.

What is the most affordable backsplash option?

Standard 3-inch by 6-inch glossy ceramic subway tiles provide an affordable and classic backsplash choice. Peel-and-stick backsplash panels are also budget-friendly. Limiting backsplash to a small space behind the stove or single focal wall reduces cost as well.

Can you put tile backsplash directly on drywall?

Tile should never be applied directly to drywall, which lacks the strength to hold it. Cementboard or a fiber-cement underlayment must be installed over drywall first to provide a secure base. Be sure to prime and seal the backer before applying tile.

How do I clean and maintain my backsplash?