Butcher block counters can be a beautiful addition to any kitchen. Made from thick slabs of wood, they provide a warm, natural look and feel. However, choosing the right backsplash to go with butcher block counters is important to ensure your kitchen looks cohesive and put-together. There are several factors to consider when selecting a backsplash, such as color, material, and style. With the right backsplash, you can make your butcher block counters the stunning focal point of your kitchen.
Matching the Color and Tone
One of the most important things to think about is choosing a backsplash color and tone that complements the hue of your butcher block. Butcher block counters are available in a range of wood tones, from light to dark.
For Light Butcher Block
If you have a light-colored butcher block with woods like maple or birch, aim for backsplash colors in the white, beige, or light gray families. Soft, muted backsplash colors will allow your light butcher block to stand out and take center stage. Some specific colors to consider:
- White subway tile – A popular choice, white tiles have a clean, bright look that pairs beautifully with light butcher block. White grout keeps the aesthetic light and airy.
- Beige or tan subway tile – Warmer than straight white, beige or tan tiles and grout add a subtle touch of contrast while still keeping things neutral.
- Light gray or greige subway tile – A little deeper than beige or tan, a pale gray or “greige” backsplash is another sophisticated option for light butcher block.
- White or light gray marble or stone – Elegant and timeless, marble, limestone or travertine in a light natural hue can make a lovely backsplash for light-toned butcher block.
- White or cream glass tile – Sleek and modern, glass tile comes in shades like cream, snow white or milk white that work perfectly with light butcher block.
For Medium or Reddish Butcher Block
If your butcher block counters have a reddish-brown, walnut or cherry stain, pair them with backsplash tiles in warm, earthy shades. Rich colors like terracotta, brown, beige and tan will harmonize beautifully with the wood tones. Consider these backsplash options:
- Terracotta or rust subway tile – The orangey-red hue of terracotta is an ideal match for medium or reddish-stained butcher block. Use a matching grout for a monochromatic look.
- Chocolate brown or caramel subway tile – Sophisticated shades of brown complement reddish butcher block while adding visual interest.
- Natural stone like travertine or marble in a brown, beige or tan hue – The inherent variation in natural stone makes for a striking yet coordinated backsplash with reddish butcher block.
- Cream or ivory subway tile – A shade or two lighter than the butcher block, cream or ivory tiles give just enough contrast while remaining warm and harmonious.
For Dark or Espresso Butcher Block
Bold, dark-stained butcher block counters call for an equally dramatic backsplash. Deep, saturated colors and materials will look striking against the dark wood. Try these powerful backsplash ideas:
- Deep blue, green or purple subway tile – Jewel-toned tiles in rich shades of cobalt, emerald or amethyst make a bold statement with dark espresso butcher block. Use matching colored grout.
- Black subway tile – For dramatic contrast, glossy black tiles with black grout are a bold but stylish choice to pair with dark butcher block.
- Dark brown or bronze subway tile – Slightly lighter and warmer than black, deep chocolate or bronze brown tiles are bold yet a little more subtle.
- Stainless steel – Modern and eye-catching, a sleek stainless steel backsplash can complement dark espresso butcher block while adding an edgy, industrial vibe.
- Glass tile or mosaic in a dark color – Make a statement with iridescent glass tiles or a mosaic pattern in a deep shade.
No matter what tone your butcher block counters are, be sure to bring in backsplash tile or stone samples to compare colors in person before making your final decision. The backsplash colors will look different next to the actual counters in your space and lighting.
Complementary Textures and Materials
In addition to color, think about how the textures and materials of your backsplash and butcher block play off each other. You want the two surfaces to complement each other without being too matchy-matchy.
For example, sleek subway tile and weathered butcher block offer an eye-catching mix of textures. Or combine the visual warmth of wood butcher block with the coolness of stainless steel or mosaic tile.
Here are some backsplash textures that pair well with the look of natural wood butcher block:
- Subway tile – The smooth, straight lines of subway tile backsplash create an appealing contrast to the grain, knots and imperfections of natural wood butcher block.
- Stainless steel – The ultramodern sheen of stainless steel is an unexpected yet stylish pairing with rugged wood counters. Try a single sheet of stainless or a mosaic pattern.
- Stone or marble mosaic – Small pieces of travertine, marble, or another stone in a mosaic pattern adds natural texture and variation behind wood butcher block.
- Glass, metal or ceramic tile – The refined smoothness and shine of glass, metal or ceramic tile plays off a butcher block’s rustic vibe.
- Penny tile or hexagon tile – The small scale and geometric shapes of penny rounds or hex tiles provide visual punch.
To strike the right textural balance, limit yourself to no more than 2 materials in your overall kitchen backsplash design. For example, a stainless steel mosaic tile backsplash combines the modern and natural in one eye-catching design.
Styles that Complement Butcher Block Counters
Certain decorative styles naturally pair well with the striking look of wood butcher block counters. When choosing your backsplash, keep these compatible design styles in mind:
Warm, rustic elements like butcher block counters fit right in with the charming farmhouse aesthetic. For your backsplash, think vintage-inspired subway tile, beaded board panels, or reclaimed wood planks. Whites, beiges and wood tones enhance the farmhouse vibe.
Wood butcher block counters bring a traditional, timeless look that calls for classic backsplash materials like white subway tile, marble, or travertine. Simple subway layouts with little embellishment suit the traditional style best.
Sleek, contemporary kitchens can incorporate wood butcher block counters to add natural texture. For the backsplash, think crisp white tiles, eye-catching glass or metal tile, or a bold solid color to contrast the wood counters.
The raw, utilitarian look of wood butcher block suits industrial kitchens with their metal, concrete and brick accents. Black, white or stainless steel metal tile backsplashes complement this rugged yet refined aesthetic.
For a cozy rustic kitchen, wood grain butcher block counters need little embellishment. A simple backsplash of reclaimed wood planks or neutral beige stone tiles allows the butcher block to take center stage.
No matter your decorating style, choose backsplash materials and colors that enhance, rather than compete with, your beautiful butcher block counters. The key is finding the right balance of materials and hues.
Factors that Affect Your Choice
Beyond color, texture and style, a few practical considerations may help shape your backsplash decision.
Material costs can vary widely. At the low end, ceramic or porcelain tile runs $5-$25 per square foot. The price goes up for stone, glass and metal tile. Premium materials like stainless steel can exceed $50 per square foot.
Ease of Cleaning
Wood butcher block requires maintenance like seasonal oiling. Choose a backsplash material that cleans up easily without much fuss. Subway tile, glass, stainless steel, and some stone are good wipeable options.
The backsplash endures plenty of wear and tear right behind a kitchen work zone. Durable, resilient materials like ceramic tile, stainless steel, and stone stand up well to daily use.
DIY vs. Hiring Out
DIY-friendly materials include subway tile, backsplash panels, and peel-and-stick options. Complex materials like large-format stone or glass and specialty installations may warrant hiring a tile pro.
Design Ideas and Accents
To make your butcher block backsplash design unique, here are some special touches to consider:
Add Interest with Shape and Layout
- Stagger rows of rectangular subway tiles in a brickwork pattern
- Create a herringbone design with elongated tiles
- Use hexagon or penny tile for a vintage vibe
- Try an artistic mosaic or medallion for the focal point
Vary Color and Pattern
- Contrast dark grout lines with white subway tiles
- Alternate tiles in two colors for a checkerboard effect
- Make a bold statement with one brightly colored mosaic section
- Embrace boho chic with Moroccan-inspired tile patterns
Incorporate Natural Materials
- Use reclaimed barn wood planks for a rustic backsplash
- Add rows of pebbles, marble shards, or seashells
- Create a dynamic blend of stone, tile and stainless steel
Add Visual Layers
- Mix large and small tile sizes
- Overlap materials, like tile over wood planks
- Add a decorative tile border or trim
- Use backsplash niches to display cherished items
With some thoughtful design choices, you can create a backsplash that perfectly complements your beautiful butcher block counters. The options are nearly endless!
Recommended Backsplash Ideas for Butcher Block Counters
Here is an overview of some of the best-looking, most functional backsplash choices for paired with different styles of butcher block counters:
For Light Butcher Block Counters
- White subway tile with white grout
- Carrara marble tile or mosaic
- Gray, beige or cream glass tile
- Stainless steel sheet or mosaic
For Medium to Reddish Butcher Block Counters
- Cream or beige subway tile with dark grout
- Travertine tile mosaic
- Terracotta or rust-colored ceramic tile
- Peel-and-stick faux brick panels
For Dark or Espresso Butcher Block Counters
- Black glass tile with metal accents
- Deep blue or emerald green glass mosaic
- Black metal or stainless steel tile
- Slate tile in grayish-black
Answers to Common Questions about Backsplashes for Butcher Block
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions homeowners have about selecting a backsplash to match their new butcher block counters:
Should the backsplash match the butcher block color exactly?
Not necessarily. Having some contrast between the two surfaces can make for a more dynamic look. However, you want colors in a similar tone so they complement each other.
What’s the best backsplash for a rustic butcher block kitchen?
Rustic styles pair well with materials like reclaimed wood, cream subway tile, stone mosaic, or faux tin backsplash panels.
Can I put different backsplashes behind different sections of butcher block?
Absolutely! It’s fine to use different materials, colors or designs behind a section of prep space versus sink area versus stove top. Just be sure the overall look ties together compositionally.
Should I seal my butcher block before installing the backsplash?
Yes, it’s best to seal and thoroughly clean your butcher block prior to installing the backsplash. This prevents food, grease splatter, and moisture from penetrating the vulnerable unfinished wood edges.
What’s an easy backsplash to install myself?
Peel-and-stick tile, backsplash panels, and standard subway tile are relatively easy DIY backsplash projects. Watch online tutorials to guide the process. For stone, glass or metal tile, it’s wise to hire a professional tile installer.
How do I clean and care for the backsplash?
Always use manufacturer recommended cleaners and methods specific to your backsplash materials. For example, mild soap and water for subway tile, stainless steel cleaner for stainless steel, etc. Take care not to get the backsplash wet when caring for oiled butcher block.
The perfect backsplash completes your butcher block counter kitchen, pulling the whole space together stylishly.
When choosing your backsplash, consider the color, texture, and style that best complements your butcher block counters. Popular options include subway tile, marble or stone mosaic, reclaimed wood, and stainless steel.
Pair warm, natural butcher block with backsplash materials that enhance its rustic vibe. Or create an eye-catching contrast with sleek, modern materials.
Take into account practical factors like budget, ease of cleaning, and durability. Add unique personality with fun shape patterns or mixed design elements.
Most importantly, choose backsplash materials you love looking at so you can enjoy this beautiful focal point of your kitchen for years to come. With the right backsplash, your butcher block counters will be the stunning star of your space. Let your backsplash enhance these wood counters you’ve invested in.
With a properly sealed and cared for butcher block paired with a backsplash designed for your unique style, you’ll have a kitchen surface combination that will provide lasting function and beauty.