What Backsplash Goes with Butcher Block?

Your kitchen backsplash plays a vital role in tying together your kitchen’s design and protecting your walls from splashes, spills, and stains. When paired with butcher block countertops, selecting the right backsplash becomes even more critical for achieving a cohesive look. But with so many backsplash options to choose from, deciding what backsplash goes with butcher block can feel overwhelming.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through how to choose the perfect backsplash for butcher block countertops. We’ll cover the most popular materials like tile, stone, metal, glass, and accent panels. We’ll also discuss factors like color, texture, and style so you can make the best decision for your kitchen’s design. With the right information, you’ll feel confident picking a backsplash that beautifully complements your butcher block counters.

What to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash for Butcher Block

There are several important considerations when selecting a backsplash to pair with butcher block countertops:


Since the backsplash is meant to protect your walls, durability and stain resistance are key factors. Tile, stone, and metal backsplashes stand up well to splashes from cooking and cleaning. Glass tiles and accent panels require gentler treatment.


Look for a backsplash color that ties into the varied wood tones in your butcher block without exactly matching. Soft beiges, warm grays, and moody browns work well. Bold colors can look dated.


Matching the visual texture of the backsplash with that of the butcher block makes for a cohesive look. The natural graininess of tile, stone, or textured metallics pairs nicely with butcher block’s wooden pattern.


Choose a backsplash that fits the overall style you want for your kitchen. For traditional or cottage kitchens, classic subway tile is a perfect match for butcher block counters. Modern designs look great with sleek glass or metal backsplashes.

Once you’ve determined the look and function you want from your backsplash, it’s time to explore specific materials that combine well with butcher block countertops.

Tile Backsplashes for Butcher Block Counters

Tile is one of the most common backsplash choices because it’s affordable, easy to clean, and available in endless colors, sizes, textures, and patterns. The natural texture and colors of ceramic, porcelain, or stone tile beautifully complement the look of butcher block. Here are some great tile options to consider:

Subway Tile

The most classic backsplash tile, subway style features 3×6 inch rectangular tiles in a brickwork pattern. Choose a soft neutral color like off-white, light gray, or beige that doesn’t clash with the butcher block. Glossy finish tiles pair best with the sheen of sealed butcher block.

Carrara Marble Tile

The soft white and gray veining of Carrara marble tile adds subtle elegance that allows the butcher block to stand out. Marble pairs especially well with lighter-toned maple or birch butcher blocks. Be aware that marble stains more easily than ceramic or porcelain tile.

Travertine Tile

With tans, browns, rust, and ivory colors blending together, travertine tile has a natural stone look that feels right at home with butcher block counters. The slightly uneven surface provides visual depth and interest. The porous nature means travertine needs to be sealed to prevent stains.

Cork Tiles

For a beautiful natural and earthy aesthetic, cork tiles make an ideal backsplash with butcher block. Cork comes in shades ranging from golden honey to deep chocolate brown. The soft texture provides a striking contrast from the hardness of the wood countertop.

Handpainted Ceramic Tile

Vibrant handpainted ceramic tiles in geometric, floral, or nature motifs add a rustic yet artistic flair. They pop against butcher block, creating a focal point in the kitchen. Vivid blues, greens, and yellows should be avoided, but earthy reds, oranges, and purples look striking.

Peel and Stick Tile

If you want the look of tile without the hassle of grout and permanence of mortaring, peel and stick tiles make an easy and affordable backsplash option. Use natural stone or ceramic styles for a seamless pairing with butcher block. Just make sure the adhesive is waterproof and oil-resistant.

Stone Backsplash Ideas for Butcher Block

For a true natural look, pair your butcher block counters with backsplash materials made from real stone. Here are some stone options that work beautifully:

Stacked Stone

Irregular blocks of travertine, marble, granite, limestone, or slate in stacked stone patterns add lovely texture. Earthy neutral and brown shades reflect the variations in the butcher block while providing an elegant complement. The modular blocks make installation simple.

Ledger Panels

Cut thin and mounted on mesh backing, natural stone ledger panels create a clean, sleek statement as a backsplash. Gray, white, and beige marbles blend seamlessly with butcher block. Rustic slate or quartzite ledger panels add natural contrast. Just be gentle with stains on the porous stone surface.

River Rock

A backsplash of smooth handpicked river rocks in warm natural tones makes a big textural statement that grounds the butcher block counters. Use pebbles, cracked slate, beach glass, or sea shells for added interest. Epoxy resin coated over the rocks makes the surface waterproof and easy to clean.

Metal Backsplashes for Butcher Block Counters

The cool, modern look of metal backsplashes plays beautifully against the warmth of wood butcher block. Here are striking metal ideas to consider:

Stainless Steel

For an industrial chic style, a full stainless steel backsplash is a bold choice that allows the richness of the butcher block to shine. Brushed finish stainless has a softer look than polished. Use extra caution cleaning the surface to avoid damaging the finish.


The warm, orangey-pink tones of copper metal make a gorgeous pairing with light and mid-tone butcher block countertops. Over time, the copper will gradually patina to a lovely teal green hue. Copper withstands heat and is naturally antimicrobial, making it very functional.

Tin Tiles

Rectangular tin tiles in muted silvers, coppers, and golds lend a vintage vibe along with the butcher block’s classic appeal. Affordable and easy to install, tin tiles come in a variety of shapes and finishes from shiny to distressed. Use caution with moisture to prevent corrosion.

Metal Accent Tiles

For a pop of shine, add handmade metal mosaic tiles, often decorated with glass, shell, or marble fragments. Tiny copper, brass, and nickel silver tiles with ornate motifs make captivating accent inserts with any surrounding material. Use them sparingly for optimal impact.

Rusted Corten Steel

If you want an edgy, industrial look, corten steel has an intentionally rusted finish that makes a bold statement contrasted with butcher block. The dark burnt orange rust patina mimics wood tones. Despite the rust, corten steel is actually quite durable and weather-resistant.

Glass Tile & Panel Backsplashes for Butcher Block

Glistening glass backsplashes add amazing reflective shine and visual depth against the wood grain beauty of butcher block countertops. Here’s how to incorporate glass:

Glass Mosaic Tiles

Tiny glass mosaic tiles come in every color and finish imaginable from solid hues to translucent, iridescent, or faceted glass. Neutral metallics, earth tones, and ocean-inspired blues suit the butcher block well. Use caution with stains and heat on fragile glass.

Large Format Glass Tile

For a sleek contemporary look, bold oversized glass tiles make a serious style statement. Stick to frosted or smoky glass in subtle grays, beiges, and taupes that complement the butcher block without overpowering it. Large tiles minimize messy grout lines.

Glass Ledger Panels

Glass ledger panels featuring textured glass, pressed designs, or custom color blending add major visual impact with their translucency and sheen. Illuminated panels behind the glass create even more drama. Take care not to scratch the glass which can be costly to replace.

Glass Accent Tiles

Unique artisan glass tiles can be combined with other backsplash materials or used alone as focal points. Iridescent glass tiles shift colors as you move. Italian glass mosaic murrine tiles reveal intricate patterns when cut. Show off their beauty against butcher block.

Wood Panel Backsplashes for Butcher Block

For a seamless and cohesive look, wood-based backsplash panels allow you to extend the butcher block motif right up the wall. Here are beautiful wood backsplash ideas:

Wood Planks

Use tongue and groove planks stained, painted, or finished to match your counters for a super sleek built-in look. Maple, oak, or walnut offer durability and allow you to incorporate different wood grains for interest. Just keep them sealed and properly vented from moisture.

Reclaimed Wood

Salvaged barn wood, wine barrels, or fencing planks in grayed natural or washed paint colors add a charming rustic vibe to complement the butcher block counters. Each piece of reclaimed wood has unique charm with dings, nail holes, and color variations.

3D Wall Panels

Three dimensional wood wall panels made from triangular sections of pine, cedar, or redwood make a contemporary statement with butcher block. The repetition of shapes connects seamlessly to the linear patterns of the wood grain. Spotlight their texture with accent lighting.

Bamboo Panels

With similar graining to light butcher blocks, bamboo paneling comes in flat sheets, 3D geometric shapes, or split slat patterns stained in caramel browns and blonde shades. Sleek yet natural, bamboo creates the feeling of an integrated solid wood wall and countertop.

Accent Materials Backsplashes for Butcher Block

Beyond the basics, don’t be afraid to get creative and incorporate unexpected materials into your backsplash design with butcher block. Inspiring accent backsplash ideas include:

Brick, Wood Beams & Shiplap

Exposed original or faux brick, solid wood beams, and overlapping shiplap boards lend a cozy rustic feeling to balance out the sleekness of the butcher block. Keep mortar and wood finish colors in warm beiges, grays, and pale whites.

Seashells & Coral

For beach house flair, cover your backsplash in actual seashells, pieces of coral, and sand dollars. Use marine epoxy resin to fully seal and smooth the organic materials into a durable and wipeable surface. The natural creams, tans, and greys beautifully accent the wood.

Penny Tiles

In addition to their monetary meaning, copper pennies sanded flush into tile or epoxy backsplashes add shine and a sense of playfulness to match the butcher block’s warmth. Mix new and old coins for patina contrast.

Fabric Panels

For a super soft complement to the hardness of wood counters, use panels of fabric like felt, canvas, burlap, or upholstery on the backsplash. Neutral solids or subtle patterns work best. Keep them tightly stretched and treated to repel oils and moisture.


Make the backsplash the focal point by installing tile-able wallpaper or decals with nature motifs, geometric patterns, or textural effects like faux crocodile. Use temporary options to switch up the look over time. Waterproof options only behind the stove.

Factors that Impact Your Choice of Butcher Block Backsplash

Beyond just aesthetics, several factors specific to your kitchen should guide your backsplash decision with butcher block counters. Consider the following:

Cooking Style

Frequent frying and oil splatter call for easy-to-clean backsplashes like stainless steel. Bakers favor durable surfaces like tile that hold up to dough and sugar spills. Messy cooks benefit from materials like glass tile that wipe clean without staining.


The amount of natural and artificial lighting impacts the backsplash. Darker spaces do better with light, reflective materials like glass or mirrored stainless. Well-lit kitchens can handle darker backsplashes like metal or slate that would feel too heavy otherwise.

Kitchen Size

Small spaces are overwhelmed by bold backsplashes like distracting patterns or dark colors that compete with the butcher block. Clean-lined tiles or all-matching wood panels open up tight kitchens. Large kitchens can handle more adventurous materials and decorative motifs.

Price Range

Budget plays a key role in backsplash selection for butcher block. Lower cost options like faux bricks, patterned wallpapers, or peel and stick tiles balance practicality with style. Premium materials like handmade artisan tiles, natural stone slabs, and metal installations require a higher price point.

Personal Style

Most importantly, choose a backsplash aesthetic that suits your personal taste so you enjoy the finished kitchen. Playful types will embrace mosaic pennies or seashell tiles. Minimalists keep to sleek wood slats or single large format tiles. Choose materials you’ll love living with.

Avoiding Mistakes When Pairing a Backsplash with Butcher Block

While the possibilities for backsplashes with butcher block counters are endless, you’ll want to avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Don’t pick a solid backsplash color that clashes with the varied wood tones of the butcher block. Stick to neutral solids or subtle patterns.
  • Don’t assume tile size won’t be noticeable behind a stove or fixtures. Varying grout line widths between large and small tiles looks sloppy.
  • Don’t forget to seal porous natural stone backsplashes which will stain easily from cooking splatters.
  • Don’t use a delicate glass tile backsplash right behind a cooking surface subject to high heat and grease splatter.
  • Don’t assume peel and stick tiles or temporary wallpaper will hold up long term without being designed for kitchen backsplash use.
  • Don’t let an overly bold or trendy backsplash overwhelm or compete with the beauty of the natural wood butcher block counters.

Enhancing Your Butcher Block Backsplash

To get the most beauty and function from your new backsplash, consider these finishing touches:

Add Accent Lighting

Install delicate undercabinet lighting or stylish sconces to create a focal glow on the backsplash tiles, stone, or glass materials. Illumination enhances the design details.

Contrast Grout Colors

Pick grout in a lighter neutral shade than the backsplash tile or in a bold complementary color for more contrast and visual interest. Just be sure to seal porous grout to keep it cleanable.

Incorporate Decorative Moldings

Frame the backsplash with trim molding at the top or bottom for added architecture. Floating wood shelves on top provide useful space to continue the butcher block motif.

Display Decor

Make the most of the new backsplash by highlighting art, plants, colored glass objects, clocks or your best kitchen tools on open shelves or in suspended racks. Keep substances away from moisture-sensitive surfaces.

Set the Tone with Paint

Use wall color to support your backsplash-butcher block palette. Warm beiges, soothing blues, or muted greens encourage the natural tones to pop while cool grays and whites keep the focus on the textures.

Popular Backsplash Designs with Butcher Block Counters

To see how all the principles and materials come together, here are some winning combinations of butcher block counters and backsplash designs:

Rustic Farmhouse

Butcher block island + white subway tile + exposed brick backsplash + open shelving + black hardware

Vintage Cottage

Light oak butcher block counters + mint green glass tiles + copper sconces + floating corner shelves

Contemporary Industrial

Walnut butcher block + stainless steel mosaic mosaic + black paneled refrigerator + undercabinet lighting

Modern Minimalist

White quartzite butcher block + oversized gray ledger panel + sleek cooktop hood + neutral cabinetry

Traditional Elegance

Marble butcher block + beveled white subway tile + polished sconces + crown molding

Coastal Chic

Teak butcher block + woven bamboo panels + rope trim + pastel wall colors

Bohemian Flair

Reclaimed wood butcher block + Moroccan cement tiles + brass shelves + cafe curtains + pendant lighting

FAQs about Pairing a Backsplash with Butcher Block Counters

Some common questions about combining backsplashes and butcher block counters include:

Should the backsplash match the butcher block counters?

Matching the backsplash and butcher block counters exactly can look monotonous. It’s best to pick a backsplash that complements the varied wood tones without trying to match exactly. Neutral solids or simple patterns are ideal for pairing.

Do you need a backsplash with butcher block countertops?

Installing a backsplash is highly recommended with butcher block counters. The backsplash protects the walls from moisture damage and splatters that can stain and damage walls. It also makes cleaning easier by preventing debris and grease from getting into crevices.

What color backsplash goes with light butcher block countertops?

Good backsplash colors to pair with light-toned maple, birch, lyptus, or oak butcher block counters include off-white, soft gray, warm beige, pale yellow, and antique white subway tiles. Natural stones like marble, travertine, or limestone also suit lighter butcher blocks beautifully.

Can you put tile directly on butcher block?

Tile should never be placed directly on butcher block countertops. The thinset mortar can damage the wood. Instead, run the tile down from the wall onto a small ledge in front of the butcher block. Use caulk to fill any gaps. The ledge prevents water from seeping under the butcher block.

Should you seal a tile backsplash?

Sealing your backsplash tile and grout lines is highly recommended for any kitchen backsplash, especially behind the range. Sealers prevent stains from water splashes, oils, sauces, and other cooking liquids. Reseal every 1-2 years for optimal stain protection over time.

Is a full height backsplash better than a partial?

A full