Choosing the right backsplash color for white countertops can be challenging. With so many options to choose from—glossy, matte, painted, tile, and natural stone—it’s important to consider the look and feel you want to achieve with your kitchen design. The backsplash serves both stylish and practical functions, so picking a hue that complements your cabinetry, floors, and other finishes is key. For a cohesive and pulled-together space, the backsplash color should both highlight and bounce off the crisp white countertops. With some simple guidelines, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect backsplash for your white countertops.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash Color
There are a few key factors to keep in mind when selecting a backsplash color for white countertops:
The Room’s Natural Light
Take note of how much natural sunlight your kitchen receives. North-facing rooms tend to have cool, bluish light while south-facing rooms have warmer, yellow light. If your kitchen has cool undertones, avoid yellow and cream backsplash tiles as they may look dingy. Instead opt for paler blues, greens, and grays which will complement the natural light. For rooms with warm sunlight, creamy off-whites, beiges, light yellows, and terra cotta colors will enhance the space beautifully.
Color Scheme and Overall Aesthetic
Think about the look and feel you want for your kitchen. Is it modern and minimalist or traditional and homey? Match your backsplash to your desired aesthetic. For contemporary styles, glossy subway tiles in gray, black, or navy blue make a sleek statement. Travertine, marble, or stone backsplashes give a timeless, classic look.
Cabinets and Flooring
Choose a backsplash color that coordinates well with your existing cabinetry and floors. For oak cabinets, both beige and green backsplashes pair nicely. With cherry-stained wood, try a copper or bronze-hued tile. For especially light cabinets or floors, opt for darker shades like slate gray to avoid looking too washed-out.
Factor in how the color of your countertop material impacts your options. Honed granite and marble provide more flexibility than highly-pigmented quartz or solid surface. With natural stone counters, nearly any shade can complement without clashing. For solid whites like quartz, be careful to avoid any backsplash tones that are too similar.
Top Backsplash Color Ideas for White Countertops
Here are some of the most popular and fail-safe backsplash colors for pairing with crisp white countertops:
Off-whites, beiges, browns, and grayish shades are easy neutrals that act as a subtle, blank canvas for white countertops to shine. Try:
- White subway tile with light gray grout lines
- Beige marble mosaic tile
- Soft gray slate or ceramic tiles
- Creamy or oatmeal-colored stone tiles
- Light sand-colored ceramic bricks
Neutral backsplashes allow the counter, cabinets, flooring, and other elements make the design statement. They elegantly blend in without competing.
Bold and Vibrant Hues
For a punch of color, go for glossy tiles in deeper shades like navy blue, emerald, or rich yellow. While vibrant, these colors have a classic look. Consider:
- Navy or cobalt blue glass tiles
- Deep green and blue-green tiles
- Golden yellow ceramic tiles
- Brick red or burgundy glass tiles
Lively hues make the backsplash a focal point while still highlighting clean white counters.
Metallics add a glamorous, reflective touch. Try:
- Polished nickel or stainless penny tiles
- Weathered copper mosaic tiles
- Multi-toned metal mesh tiles
- Silver, pewter, or platinum subway tiles
- Aged bronze brick tiles
Metallic mosaic tiles make a particularly dazzling statement.
For a natural look, consider stone or ceramic tiles in earthy neutrals like:
- Tuscan terra cotta
- Smooth travertine
- Pebble mosaic tiles
- Creamy natural limestone
- Neutral granite
Organic textures pair seamlessly with the smooth countertops.
Black and White
For dramatic contrast, combine glossy white and black tiles:
- Chessboard pattern with black and white tiles
- White subway tile with thin black grout lines
- White tiles with a geometric or floral design in black
Timeless and bold, the palette makes counters pop.
Popular Styles of Backsplashes for White Countertops
Beyond just color, the style of backsplash you choose also impacts the overall look. Consider these stylish backsplash ideas for white countertops:
Classic white 3×6” glossy subway tiles laid in a brick pattern provide clean lines. Improve the contrast even further by incorporating thin black grout lines. Subway tiles have an enduring, vintage appeal.
For an organic yet polished look, a single slab of natural stone makes a luxurious backsplash. Marbles like Carrara, limestone, and travertine have beautiful veining that pairs well with solid white counters. Make sure the undertones of the stone complement the cabinet colors.
Metal and Glass Mix
Combining glass and metal tiles creates breathtaking contrast and dazzle. Try mixing navy blue glass with polished pewter penny tiles or silver etched subway tiles with bronze accents. The blend of textures enlivens the look.
Interesting shapes, lines, and angles add a modern, geometric element. Try hexagonal tiles, herringbone and chevron patterns, vertical stacks, or zigzag designs. Geometric patterns feel clean-lined and contemporary.
Moroccan Fish Scale
For old world exotic flair, fish scale tiles laid in an interlocking pattern create lovely dimension and visual interest. The iridescent glass tiles come in opalescent whites, sea blues, and ocean greens that really make white counters stand out.
One-of-a-kind hand-painted tiles turn the backsplash into a work of art. Try tiles painted with delicate floral designs, exotic birds, or brilliant Mediterranean colors for a playful pop of pattern. Hand-painted tiles feel fresh and artistic.
What to Avoid with White Countertops
While white countertops suit many backsplash hues, some combinations are less than ideal:
- Don’t pair pure white counters with pure white backsplashes—this can look washed out. Incorporate a shade like soft gray to differentiate.
- Avoid a matching backsplash and countertop material, like installing white granite counters with a granite backsplash. Too much of the same look tends to be monotonous.
- Don’t choose a heavily patterned backsplash like an ornate mosaic with white counters. The busy combination distracts rather than highlights the clean white surface.
- Darker browns with orange, red, or yellow undertones usually don’t complement white countertops well. Soft beige-based and gray-based neutrals are best.
- Don’t overlook the grout color. For pure white tiles, bright white grout blends too much. Use an off-white or light gray grout for a more seamless look.
Design Ideas for Popular Kitchen Color Schemes
Contemporary Gray and White Kitchen
For an ultramodern kitchen with clean lines, pair bright white quartz counters with plain white subway tiles edged in light gray grout lines. Add a gray waterfall-style island for plenty of extra seating and sleek surfaces. Silver hardware and stainless appliances keep the minimalist aesthetic. Use this timeless combo in contemporary spaces.
|White subway tile with gray grout
|Matte gray lowers; glossy white uppers
|Gray wood plank tile
Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen
Give a rustic, cottage kitchen warmth with creamy off-white counters paired with beige and ivory ceramic brick backsplash tiles. Keep cabinets light—painted antique white or a weathered natural wood. Add ceramic knobs and an apron-front sink. Open shelving and butcher block accents complete the welcoming farmhouse vibe.
|Beige and ivory ceramic brick
|Antique white painted or light natural wood
|Aged bronze or ceramic knobs
|Stainless steel or matte black
Sophisticated & Vibrant Kitchen
For a colorful, elegant look, set off bright white solid surface counters with a vibrant peacock blue glass mosaic backsplash. The dazzling splash of color makes the space feel vibrant yet refined. Keep cabinets, flooring, and hardware neutrally toned to avoid a busy clash. This bold backsplash pairs perfectly with the clean white surfaces.
|Bright white solid surface
|Peacock glass mosaic tile
|White shaker style
Traditional & Natural Kitchen
Create a timeless traditional look with crisp white marble counters and neutral travertine subway tile backsplash. For cabinets, choose a warm wood finish like cherry or mahogany. Aged bronze hardware and fixtures lend an old world feel. Honed stones nicely complement ornate molded edges on counters. The soft natural backsplash prevents strong contrasts.
|Ivory travertine subway tile
|Cherry or mahogany wood
|Stainless steel or matte black
|Marble or travertine tile
Frequently Asked Questions
What color backsplash goes best with white marble countertops?
Softer tones like beige, light gray, and ivory complement white marble countertops beautifully. White marble has dramatic veining that acts as an elegant pattern, so colors reading continuum color wheel chart neutral allow that detail to take center stage.
Can you put a white backsplash with white countertops?
Yes, but the combination risks looking washed-out or monotonous. For white on white, make sure the shade or material differs slightly. Try a soft gray subway tile backsplash with bright white solid surface counters. Different textures also help distinguish the surfaces.
What tile color matches white countertops?
Stick with lighter neutrals like soft grays, beiges, and off-whites that complement (rather than match) white counters. Natural stone tiles in cream, gray, and ivory are also safe options that pair well without clashing.
What backsplash goes with off-white countertops?
Try backsplashes in light warm tones that coordinate with “off-white” counters, like cream, beige, light brown, tan, and soft peach shades. You can also opt for a neutral contrast with pale grays and cool off-whites.
Can you pair a dark backsplash with white countertops?
Darker colors like navy blue, charcoal, black, and emerald green can look striking against bright white countertops for a bold, high-contrast look. Keep the lines sleek and modern. Vintage or ornate backsplash tile designs tend to clash with dark on white.
Should backsplash match countertops?
It’s actually best if they don’t directly match. Different textures and colors prevent a monotonous look. However, the backsplash hue should complement the overall color scheme and coordinate with the counters without starkly contrasting.
Achieving the Perfect Backsplash for White Countertops
The key to choosing the perfect backsplash color for crisp white countertops is sticking to lighter neutrals, soft naturals, or bold high-contrast shades. Consider the overall aesthetic you want and how much you’d like the backsplash to stand out or blend in. Softer beiges, off-whites, and grays create a cohesive, unified look that highlights the counters, while vivid blues, greens, and metallics make the backsplash a jewelry-like focal point. Just be sure to avoid matching your counters exactly or choosing a color with clashing undertones. With the right backsplash hue that complements your counters and kitchen design, you’ll achieve a pulled-together, stylish space.