What Can I Use Instead of a Backsplash?

A backsplash is an integral part of any kitchen design, protecting the walls above countertops from water, stains, and splashes. However, backsplashes can be expensive, and not everyone has the budget for a custom tile or stone backsplash installation. Luckily, there are plenty of clever and affordable backsplash ideas that can give you the look you want without breaking the bank.

Use Peel-and-Stick Backsplash Tiles

Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles have become widely popular in recent years as an easy and budget-friendly alternative to traditional backsplash materials. These self-adhesive tile sheets come in a range of styles – from ceramic, stone, and marble looks to metallics, patterns, and solid colors.

Peel-and-stick tiles go up quickly and easily without any messy mortar or grout. Just measure, cut, peel, and stick them to any smooth, clean surface. Use them to create a simple subway tile look, geometric patterns, or even mimic the look of expensive hand-laid stone and ceramic tiles.

Best of all, peel-and-stick backsplash tiles cost a fraction of the price of authentic tile and can be easily removed or replaced when you want to change up the look. They make upgrading your backsplash quick, easy, and affordable.

Use Tin Backsplash Tiles

Another inventive option is to use affordable tin ceiling tiles as a backsplash. These durable metal sheets snap or glue into place row-by-row, much like a suspended ceiling grid.

Tin backsplash tiles come in a variety of finishes like brushed metal, copper, rustic tin, and more. Use them to create vintage-inspired backsplashes with beautiful dimension and texture. Mix and match colors and sizes for even more customization.

One benefit of tin backsplash tiles is that the material is moisture-resistant and easy to wipe clean. Tin tiles also hold up well over time. This stylish option costs less than custom tiles and is simpler to install yourself.

Install Beadboard Planks

For a cottage-inspired backsplash alternative, consider beadboard. These long wooden planks have a distinctive raised bead design. Often used on walls and ceilings, beadboard makes an attractive, affordable option for backsplashes too.

Use traditional white painted beadboard for a beachy, coastal vibe or try a natural, stained wood finish for rustic farmhouse charm. Beadboard planks screw directly into the wall or adhere with construction adhesive. Just cut them to fit your space.

Accent beadboard backsplashes with pretty trim molding around the edges and where planks meet. You can easily change up the look just by giving the wood a fresh coat of paint. It’s a budget-friendly project perfect for DIYers.

Attach Wallpaper or Contact Paper

An easy temporary makeover for your existing backsplash is to cover it with adhesive wallpaper or contact paper. Self-adhesive wallpaper and contact paper come in endless colors, prints, and textures.

Look for water-resistant, scrubbable vinyl contact paper intended for kitchen use. Then measure your backsplash area and cut the contact paper to size. Slowly peel away the backing and stick it directly onto the existing tile or drywall.

From marble and geometric patterns to faux brick and nature prints, the design options are limitless. It offers an affordable way to refresh the look until you’re ready for a permanent backsplash upgrade.

Hang Tin Ceiling Tiles

Tin ceiling tiles aren’t just for walls and ceilings. Use them to make a dramatic statement by hanging a full sheet of tin tile in a grid pattern on your backsplash area.

This idea requires a little more work since the tin sheets need to be hung. Start by mapping out a grid layout and cutting tiles to fit your design. Use specialty nails or removable adhesive to affix the tin tiles to create the grid.

Hanging tin tiles as a backsplash instantly adds eye-catching metallic shine and dimension. Mix silver, copper, brass, and colored tiles for even more visual interest. The floating look is modern and industrial.

Add Board and Batten

Board and batten is an attention-grabbing architectural detail that can easily translate to backsplash designs. Use vertical battens (trim strips) over flat boards to break up and accentuate the backsplash surface.

Paint or stain battens and boards for crisp contrast. Or opt for matching tones for a more subtle look. Use board and batten backsplashes to enhance rustic, farmhouse, or cottage kitchen themes. Battens can be applied over beadboard, shiplap, plywood panels, or existing drywall.

The narrow strips create charming shiplap-like lines and add great texture and dimension to plain backsplash walls. Installation is also relatively simple DIY project if you’re handy.

Try Removable Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper offers another decorative and temporary option to upgrade your existing backsplash. This re-stickable, repositionable wallpaper uses such a low-tack adhesive that it won’t damage surfaces when removed.

So it allows you to easily add bold and trendy prints, faux textures, geometric patterns, or color without any commitment. Change it up whenever the mood strikes since it comes off cleanly. Look for prepasted removable wallpaper that’s also waterproof and peels off effortlessly.

From marble, tile, and natural stone to graphic prints, removable wallpaper opens up limitless quick and affordable backsplash possibilities.

Install Faux Subway Tiles

Love the look of subway tile but not the price? Get the same classic square tile effect in your kitchen backsplash with budget-friendly faux subway tile wallpaper or contact paper.

Peel-and-stick sheets come with adhesive backing to easily install the tile pattern of your choice – like white, black, or gray stacked squares. Or go bold with fun colors. For a 3D look, use contact paper with raised subway tile grout lines.

Faux subway tiles offer high visual impact and completely transform a backsplash for just a fraction of the cost of real tile. Many self-adhesive options also wipe clean easily. It’s a simple upgrade that anyone can DIY.

Paint or Stencil a Design

If you want color and personality but don’t have room in your budget for new backsplash materials, paint is an easy solution. Just paint the existing backsplash area a fresh color to give it a whole new look for minimal cost.

For extra flair, stencil on a fun pattern or decorative stripes. Paint the grout a contrasting color for even more definition. Use painter’s tape to create crisp lines and triangles or get creative with freehand geometric shapes.

Painting and stenciling lets you customize your backsplash any way you like. Change up the colors whenever you want an affordable refresh. Consider chalkboard paint for a surface you can write on. The possibilities are endless and budget-friendly.

Use Temporary Vinyl Backsplash

Temporary vinyl backsplashes offer another removable option to revamp your kitchen backsplash on a budget. These thin PVC backsplash stickers come in all sorts of materials to mimic – like marble, ceramic tile, metal, stone, and more.

Find graphic prints, geometric patterns, faux brick, and artistic murals to make a unique style statement. Install the vinyl backsplash in minutes just by peeling and sticking. When it’s time for a change, just peel it off.

Temporary vinyl backsplash stickers are affordable, easy to install, and designed not to leave behind any sticky residue or damage surfaces. So it’s a fantastic temporary solution for renters and homeowners.

Add Mirrors or Tin Tile Accents

If a full new backsplash isn’t in your budget, use mirrors or tin ceiling tiles as stylish backsplash accents instead. Mount a large mirror framed in wood trim or a row of small round mirrors. The reflective surface visually expands the space.

Tin ceiling tiles make great backsplash accents too. Install a strip of rectangular tin tiles along the bottom or in the middle of the backsplash area as an eye-catching focal point. Paint or stain wood trim to frame and finish the look.

With just minimal accent tiles or mirrors, you can transform the look of your existing backsplash and bring the charm and character you crave without a full replacement.


With a little creativity, you can make a big impact on your kitchen’s style without the high costs of installing all-new backsplash materials. Peel-and-stick tiles, contact paper, wallpaper, wood planks, paint, stencils, and mirrors all offer clever and budget-friendly alternatives to enhance your backsplash space.

The possibilities are truly endless for how you can personalize any kitchen on a budget. Change up the look anytime simply by switching up your affordable backsplash option. With easy DIY projects or temporary solutions, you don’t have to live with a backsplash you dislike until you can afford a kitchen renovation. A fun, fashionable backsplash refresh is possible now for just the cost of a few innovative backsplash materials and your personalized design vision.