Choosing a backsplash for your kitchen can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options to consider from materials, colors, patterns and styles, it’s important to think about your own personal taste, lifestyle and budget. Here’s an in-depth look at the different types of kitchen backsplashes to help you determine the best choice for your home.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tile remain one of the most popular backsplash choices because of their durability, easy maintenance, affordability and variety of colors/patterns. What backsplash options are available in different styles such as subway tile, mosaics, arabesque and ledgestone.
- Durable and withstands heat, stains and moisture
- Easy to clean
- Affordable pricing
- Available in range of colors, shapes and textures
- Tile grout requires sealing
- Breakage possible if tile is dropped
- Can chip if hit with heavy pans
Best for contemporary, modern, traditional or old world style kitchens. Use white tile for a clean, sleek look or bold colors/patterns to make a design statement.
Natural stone like marble, travertine, granite and slate create a high-end, timeless look. Available in a range of colors from neutrals to vivid hues. Natural patterns and veins add visual interest.
- Luxurious, dramatic visual appeal
- Withstands heat and stains
- Each piece unique with natural veining
- Can be polished or honed finish
- Needs resealing of grout lines
- Can stain or etch
- Heavy weight for installation
Best for upscale kitchens. Use polished marble or travertine for a glamorous look. Honed slate or limestone offer a rustic charm. Granite provides speckled pattern.
Stainless steel delivers a modern, industrial vibe. Often used for a full wall application rather than just a small backsplash area.
- Sleek, contemporary look
- Resists heat, stains, moisture
- Nonporous for easy cleaning
- Durable and long-lasting
- Higher cost than tile
- Can show fingerprints
- Susceptible to scratches
- Makes loud noise when pots or pans hit it
Best for contemporary and modern kitchens. Use it behind cooktops or near appliances where heat and moisture resistance is key.
Glass tile dazzles as a backsplash with its radiant colors, glossy finish and ability to refract light. Best for use on a non-work surface since it can crack under impact.
- Radiant colors and sheen
- Easy to clean smooth surface
- Variety of patterns and styles
- Resilient to moisture and stains
- vulnerable to cracks and chips
- Grout requires sealing
Best used for non-work areas or behind sinks/stoves. Use vibrant multicolor tile for an artsy style or metallic glass for a glam look.
Peel-and-stick tile offers a temporary and affordable backsplash option. The self-adhesive backing allows you to install it directly over existing surfaces.
- Easy “do-it-yourself” installation
- Variety of materials like ceramic, metal or vinyl
- Temporary solution
- Not as durable long-term
- Adhesive can fail over time
- Limit on pattern/style choices
Best for rentals, DIYers or temporary backsplash. Use it to refresh outdated tile or laminate until ready for a permanent solution.
Wood brings natural warmth and texture to a backsplash. Use real wood planks or faux panels made of materials like tin, aluminum or vinyl.
- Provides texture and depth
- Warms up kitchen aesthetic
- Materials like tin are mold/moisture resistant
- Relatively easy DIY install
- Can be susceptible to stains/damage from moisture over time
- Natural wood requires sealing
- Not as durable as tile or stone
Best for farmhouse, cottage, rustic or transitional style kitchens. Use natural wood for an authentic look or faux tin for a historic charm.
Painting your backsplash is an affordable and easy DIY option. Use high-quality epoxy or acrylic paints designed for kitchen surfaces.
- Budget-friendly DIY project
- Instantly transform look
- Variety of sheens and colors
- Easy application with roller or brush
- Requires meticulous surface prep
- Prone to stains over time
- Needs occasional touch ups
- Not as durable as tile
Best for small spaces, rentals or quick refreshes. Use a bright, glossy paint on a fun accent wall or try an antique distressed finish for cottage flair.
Which is Best for Your Kitchen?
When selecting your backsplash, consider your kitchen’s style, budget, and how you use the space. Active cooking zones and high-traffic areas do best with durable ceramic, porcelain or natural stone. Glass, wood or paint work nicely for less utilized spaces where appearance is more important than function.
Most importantly, choose a backsplash you find beautiful. This is a design element that makes a statement. Blend colors and materials from counters, cabinets and floors for a cohesive look. Visit design showrooms to view options in person. And don’t rush – selecting the perfect backsplash can take time but the results are worth it for a kitchen you’ll love.
Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplashes
What is the most popular backsplash?
Subway tile is the most popular choice for what backsplash. The rectangular ceramic tile comes in a variety of colors and patterns at affordable prices. Subway tile offers a classic, clean look for both traditional and contemporary kitchens.
How do I choose a backsplash color?
Consider the overall color scheme of your kitchen cabinets, countertops, floors and paint colors. Contrasting colors can make the backsplash pop while complementary hues create a cohesive look. Don’t forget about appliances – stainless steel pairs well with cool grays.
What height should a backsplash be?
Standard backsplash height is 4 inches from the counter, extending up to around 18 inches. Full height backsplashes that go all the way to the underside of wall cabinets are also popular. Heights are based on function and visual preference.
What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?
Both made from clay that’s fired, ceramic is more porous while porcelain is denser and tougher. Porcelain is better for heavy use areas and resists staining/absorption. Ceramic costs less but provides more color options.
Should backsplash tile match floor tile?
Matching tile can make spaces appear larger but using different tiles add definition. Coordinate floor and backsplash tiles in the same color family. Accent the backsplash with mosaic patterns or unique shapes for contrast.
How do I cut tile around outlets and switches?
Use a rotary tool for detailed cuts. Turn off power, remove cover plates, trace outline, score the tile and break over edge. Use caution and proper eye/ear protection. Precision is key for clean results.
Selecting a kitchen backsplash brings your design aesthetic to life, while also serving practical functions like protecting walls from moisture and stains. Carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each material – like porcelain, metal, glass or paint – based on your kitchen needs and style preferences. Planning your design around your cooking habits, traffic patterns, colors and lighting ensures you’ll end up with a beautiful, functional backsplash you’ll enjoy for years to come.