What Backsplash Goes With Hickory Cabinets

Hickory cabinets can add a wonderful warmth and richness to a kitchen. With their reddish-brown tones and attractive grain patterns, hickory cabinets make a bold design statement. When it comes to selecting a backsplash to complement your hickory cabinets, you have lots of options to consider. The key is choosing a backsplash hue, material, and design that will enhance rather than compete with the distinctive beauty of the hickory cabinetry.

Complementary Color Backsplash Ideas for Hickory Cabinets

Warm Neutral Tones

Warm neutral colored backsplashes are a foolproof choice to pair with rich hickory cabinets. Paler beige, tan, cream, and light brown backsplash tiles or slabs will contrast just enough with the deeper reddish-brown cabinetry while still coordinating beautifully. The warmth of the neutral backsplash tones will pick up the subtle warmth in the wood grain pattern for a cohesive look.

For a soft, understated contrast, try:

  • Beige marble, travertine, or ceramic subway tiles
  • Cream or tan porcelain tiles with subtle stone-look veining
  • Light taupe ceramic tiles or slabs with a honed or matte finish
  • Sandstone tile or slabs

Earthy Browns

Deeper brown backsplash colors also coordinate seamlessly with hickory cabinets. Matching the intensity of the cabinet color creates a harmonious and grounded aesthetic. Rich chocolate brown, deep tan, or coffee-colored backsplash materials feel bold yet elegant against dark hickory cabinetry.

Some specific shades to consider:

  • Dark brown ceramic tiles with a matte finish
  • Chocolate or mocha colored natural stone mosaic tiles
  • Espresso slate tile
  • Mid-tone travertine slabs with earthy veining

Rustic Reds

Since hickory cabinets have noticeable reddish undertones, brick red, terra cotta or rustic red backsplash materials make for a natural-looking pairing. Choose red tones with some variation or veining so they don’t look overly matchy-matchy with the cabinet color. A bit of contrast between the reds keeps the palette nuanced.

Perfect reddish options include:

  • Multicolored red and tan natural stone mosaic tiles
  • Red-brown ceramic tiles with artisan glazing
  • Brick red quarry tiles
  • Rustic terra cotta tiles with visible crazing

Vintage Greens

For a more bold and daring contrast, consider a deep green backsplash against rich hickory cabinets. Emerald, olive and deep sage greens have both a sophistication and earthiness that complements the organic texture of the wood grain. The interplay between the golden red cabinet color and lush green backsplash is dramatic and elegant.

Some green hues that would look beautiful include:

  • Antique sage ceramic subway tiles
  • Deep emerald green glass tiles
  • Marbled green-grey slate tiles
  • Weathered olive green ceramic wall tiles

Backsplash Materials That Work With Hickory Cabinets

Beyond just color, the texture and finish of your backsplash material impacts the overall look and feel. Here are some of the most popular backsplash materials that coordinate seamlessly with hickory cabinetry:

Natural Stone

The earthy tones and unique veining of natural stone make it an ideal backsplash choice for hickory cabinets. Materials like marble, travertine, slate, and granite all have variation in coloring that ties in beautifully with the wood grain patterning. A stone backsplash has a timelessness that matches the classic warmth of the hickory cabinetry.

Consider marble, travertine, slate or bluestone arranged in a:

  • Subway tile pattern
  • Mosaic tile design
  • Mix of different sized rectangular tiles
  • Single large slab backsplash

Ceramic Or Porcelain Tile

The color options are nearly endless with ceramic and porcelain tile, making it easier to find the perfect coordinating hue for your hickory cabinets. From pale neutrals to daring brights, ceramic and porcelain tiles come in styles ranging from simple single tone tiles to elaborate mosaics, handpainted tiles, metallic finishes and more.

Some top ceramic or porcelain tile backsplash ideas include:

  • Subway tiles in cream, beige, tan
  • Elongated rectangular tiles in warm earth tones
  • Terracotta inspired artisan tiles
  • Geometric mosaic tiles in coordinating neutrals

Stainless Steel

A sleek stainless steel backsplash provides an eye-catching contrast to the traditional warmth of hickory cabinets. The inherent greys and hints of silver in the steel color complement the range of brown tones in the cabinetry. Combining the industrial vibe of metal with natural hickory wood creates an eclectic aesthetic.

To incorporate stainless steel:

  • Use metal mosaic tiles for a splash of shine
  • Try sleek stainless subway tiles
  • Install a stainless steel sheet backsplash

Glass Tile

Like stainless steel, glass tile can impart a contemporary feel against timeless hickory cabinets. The sleekness and reflectivity of glass tile contrasts beautifully with the matte, organic look of wood cabinetry. Backpainted or solid colored glass tile in warm neutral, brown, or green hues harmonizes flawlessly with the cabinet color too.

Some glass tile backsplash ideas include:

  • Tumbled glass subway tiles
  • Multicolored glass mosaic tiles
  • Large format glass wall tiles

Stylish Backsplash Designs for Hickory Cabinets

Beyond just color and materials, the overall style and design of your backsplash impacts how it pairs with hickory cabinets. Here are some backsplash design approaches that look stunning:

Subway Tile Layout

Classic white or colored subway tiles arranged in a staggered brickwork pattern is one of the most versatile and timeless backsplash pairings for hickory cabinets. The clean lined orderliness of subway tiles contrasts strikingly with the more varied wood grain.

Use either 3×6 or 4×8 sized subway tiles, and opt for beveled edges for added depth and shadow lines. Lay the tiles with thin grout lines to keep the backsplash looking streamlined and contemporary.

Mosaic Madness

Small mosaic tiles amp up the visual interest in a kitchen backsplash, pairing beautifully with the rich graining in hickory cabinets. Multicolored mosaics in earth tone shades create an almost pointillist effect that adds depth and complexity against the wood cabinetry.

For a mosaic backsplash, consider:

  • Mixing different natural stones like travertine, marble and slate
  • Using mosaic ‘sheets’ featuring multiple shapes and colors
  • Combining glass, stone and ceramic tiles for eclectic charm

Oversized Pattern

Make a big design statement with an oversized tile pattern backsplash. Large tiles or slabs with an eye-catching Moroccan fish scale motif or staggered ashlar look make hickory cabinets the striking focal point. The expansive pattern turns the backsplash into a work of art.

Some oversized pattern backsplash options include:

  • Geometric fish scale tiles laid in diagonal rows
  • Marble or ceramic tiles in an ashlar pattern
  • Extra wide wood-look plank tile laid horizontally

Picture Frame

Framing out the backsplash area with decorative tiles or trim is an easy way to accentuate hickory cabinets. The frame draws attention to the gorgeous warm wood tones and grain. For bonus contrast, opt for a different material inside the frame like stainless steel, marble or glass.

Picture frame backsplash ideas:

  • Wood trim framing marble slab backsplash
  • Ceramic tile outer border with subway tiles inside
  • Metal bar framing around a floating glass tile design

Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix up different tiles in colors, sizes, shapes and materials for maximum contrast against hickory cabinetry. Combining stone, ceramic, glass and even stainless steel tiles can result in a showstopping backsplash. Include some decorative accent tiles for a pop of color.

Some mix and match approaches:

  • Combining subway tiles, stone mosaics, ceramic accents
  • Using multiple colors of glass tile in a herringbone pattern
  • Creating a penny round mother of pearl dot pattern
  • Layering rectangular ceramic tiles, marble tiles, metal trim

What Backsplash Color Goes Best With Hickory Cabinets?

With so many gorgeous backsplash options for hickory cabinets, it can be tough to narrow down your ideal color choice. Here are a few of the most foolproof backsplash colors for pairing with the distinctive reddish-brown tones of hickory cabinetry:


Cream or off-white backsplashes with a subtle warm undertone look fresh and light against hickory’s deeper wood tones. The neutral color is a classic choice that complements any style. Pair creamy tiles with brass hardware and fixtures for a harmonious and timeless kitchen palette.

Light Brown

Match lighter brown backsplash hues like tan, beige, sand or taupe to hickory cabinets for a seamless coordinated look. The subtle contrast adds depth without competing. Light brown backsplashes enhance the rich reddish notes in the cabinet color.

Charcoal Grey

For more drama, go bold with a dark charcoal grey backsplash against hickory cabinets. The cool grey undertones create striking contrast while still coordinating thanks to the red and brown notes in the wood grain. A dark grey backsplash has both modern edge and natural warmth.

Brick Red

Choose backsplash materials like brick, terra cotta or rustic red ceramic tiles to match the intense saturated color in hickory cabinets. Matching the red tones creates vibrancy while the variation in the materials prevents them from blending together.

5 Ideas for Backsplashes with Hickory Cabinets

Here are 5 stunning, foolproof backsplash designs to pair with rich, warm hickory cabinets:

1. Cream Subway Tile

Classic white subway tiles laid in an offset pattern is one of the most versatile backsplash options for hickory cabinets. Choose tiles with cream, off-white or light beige tones and a matte finish to coordinate with the wood cabinetry while providing subtle contrast. Pair with brass fixtures for a timeless and harmonious look.

2. Multicolored Stone Mosaic

For major visual impact against dramatic hickory cabinetry, opt for an artful mosaic backsplash mixing different earth tone natural stones. Combining slate, travertine and marble in a mosaic pattern adds intrigue with the varying colors, textures and natural patterning. Tying the stone tones to the wood grain keeps the palette cohesive.

3. Gray Stacked Stone

Hickory cabinets can handle bold, dark backsplash colors thanks to their dynamic wood tones. A backsplash of stacked cool grey slate stone tiles makes the rich reddish-brown cabinet color pop while adding natural texture. Gray and wood pair surprisingly well for a commanding yet earthy aesthetic.

4. Rustic Terracotta Subway Tile

Terracotta inspired subway tiles in burnt orange, brick red or reddish brown are a match made in heaven for hickory cabinetry. Their reddish warmth and natural mottling mirror the variations in the wood grain for synergy. Lay the elongated tiles vertically in a classic brick pattern for timeless style.

5. Mixed Metals

Combine stainless steel, nickel, and copper mosaic tiles or sheets to create a dynamic metal backsplash that pops against hickory cabinets. The mixture of warm and cool metallics complements the multi-tonal reddish wood. Keep grout thin between the mixed metal tiles for an ultra-modern vibe.

Tips for Backsplashes with Hickory Cabinets

  • Sample different tiles against your cabinet finish before making a final backsplash decision. Colors can look different next to the wood grain.
  • Consider finishing edges of stone or ceramic backsplash tiles for a clean polished look against hickory cabinets.
  • If choosing a neutral backsplash, make sure it has subtle warm, red, or brown undertones to tie into the hickory.
  • Dark charcoal grey backsplashes work surprisingly well with hickory’s bold coloring and warm red undertones.
  • Natural stone backsplash materials emphasize the organic beauty of real wood cabinetry.
  • Don’t overlook green hues like sage and emerald that complement the red notes in hickory cabinets.
  • For contemporary style, try sleek glass or metal backsplashes to contrast the traditional hickory cabinets.
  • Match the backsplash material finish (honed, polished, glossy etc) to the cabinet finish for harmony.
  • Opt for beveled subway tiles or stacked stone for added dimension against flat hickory cabinets.
  • Avoid pure white backsplashes as they can look harsh against soft hickory wood tones. Cream is a warmer choice.

Hickory Cabinet Backsplash Ideas by Kitchen Style

The overall style of your kitchen can help determine the perfect backsplash pairing for hickory cabinets.

Traditional Kitchen

For a traditional kitchen with hickory cabinets, choose classic backsplash materials like subway tile, marble and travertine. Warm cream tiles in a brick layout or mosaic marble tiles suit the timeless style. Stainless steel adds an unexpected twist.

Rustic Kitchen

In a rustic kitchen, pair hickory cabinets with backsplashes using reclaimed wood planks, weathered stone or terracotta. Handmade ceramic tiles and brick add to the organic charm. Copper mosaic tiles can bring an artisanal touch.

Transitional Kitchen

With transitional style, combine hickory cabinets with backsplashes that bridge traditional and contemporary. Think stone or ceramic tiles in an oversized pattern or unexpected colors like charcoal grey. Frameless glass or stainless steel inserts freshen up the look.

Contemporary Kitchen

For sleek contemporary style, contrast the natural hickory cabinets with ultra-modern backsplash materials. Bright solid glass tiles, polished stone slab, or a full stainless steel backsplash mirror the clean lines of the cabinetry while adding interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What color backsplash goes with honey hickory cabinets?

Lighter warm neutrals like cream, beige, tan and light brown are foolproof backsplash colors that complement the warm reddish-brown tones of honey hickory cabinets. Light tan or cream subway tiles suit honey hickory’s traditional styling.

Do you need to seal hickory cabinets before installing a backsplash?

It’s not strictly necessary but is recommended for added protection, especially for backsplashes that go right up to the underside of wall cabinets. Seal hickory with a water-based urethane to prevent moisture damage during backsplash installation and grouting.

What backsplash tiles are best with rustic hickory cabinets?

For a cohesive rustic style with hickory cabinets, good backsplash tile options include slate or travertine stone, handmade artisan ceramic tile, reclaimed brick, and handcrafted mosaic tiles that mimic the variations in the wood grain.

Can you put tile directly on hickory cabinets?

It’s not advisable to install tile backsplash directly on hickory cabinets. The weight of the tile could damage the wood over time. Instead install cement backerboard on the wall above the cabinets first before tiling for structure and waterproofing.

What color grout looks best with hickory cabinets?

Neutral toned grout like off-white, tan, or light brown helps backsplash tiles blend harmoniously with warm hickory cabinets. Avoid stark white or dark gray grout colors which can appear too harsh. Match the grout hue to your backsplash color.

Should backsplash tile match or contrast with hickory cabinets?

It depends on the look you want, but both matching and contrasting tiles can pair beautifully with hickory cabinets. Warm earth tones or reds match seamlessly, while vibrant colors like emerald green or sleek metallics contrast for drama. Mixing coordinating tiles creates nuance.

What kind of trim moulding works with a hickory cabinet backsplash?

Natural wooden trim mouldings like oak or maple complement hickory cabinets nicely. For contemporary style try a metal trim like stainless steel, chrome or nickel to juxtapose the traditional hickory. Paint trim to match or contrast.


The beauty of hickory cabinets lies in their dramatic wood graining and rich reddish-brown color. Choosing a backsplash design that celebrates and enhances those distinctive qualities is key. Whether you opt for earthy stone tiles in harmonizing warm neutrals or sleek contemporary materials with bold contrast, the possibilities for complementing hickory cabinetry are endless. Use the hickory wood tones as inspiration when selecting backsplash materials and colors. With the right backsplash design, your hickory cabinets will become a true focal point in your kitchen.