Selecting the perfect backsplash color for your kitchen can be an exciting yet overwhelming process. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to consider factors like your cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and overall design aesthetic. This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to choose a backsplash color that complements your space and suits your style.
Analyze the Existing Colors and Finishes in Your Kitchen
Before selecting a backsplash color, take stock of the materials, textures, and hues already present in your kitchen.
What color are your cabinets? Are they stained wood, painted, or Thermofoil? Cool-toned grays and blues tend to pair well with silvers and grays. Warm wood cabinetry complements backsplashes in creams, browns, and terra cottas.
Granite, quartz, laminate – what material is on your countertops? Matching your backsplash color to the undertones of your counters creates a cohesive look. For example, cream backsplashes complement taupe/brown granite.
Hardwood, tile, vinyl? The flooring establishes the room’s foundation. Drawing out those tones in your backsplash ties the whole space together. Espresso floors would match well with creamy backsplashes.
If your kitchen walls are painted, consider selecting a backsplash hue that coordinates. You don’t necessarily have to match directly; complementary tones work well.
Other Finishes and Materials
Take note of the finishes on hardware like faucets, handles, and lighting fixtures. Polished chrome and stainless steel pair nicely with grays. Brushed bronze calls for warm backsplash hues.
Identify Your Design Goals and Preferences
Beyond just coordinating with what’s already in place, think about the atmosphere you’re trying to achieve.
Clean and Sleek
For a streamlined contemporary look, stick with solid colors in matte finishes like gray, white, or black. reflective surfaces like glossy tile or polished stone in neutral hues also achieve this aesthetic.
Rustic and Organic
Handmade subway tiles, natural stone, and terracotta tiles cultivate a rustic vibe. Warm colors like sand, cream, sage, and brown work well. Distressed finishes in maritime blues and seafoam green also fit this style.
Bold and Vibrant
Make a statement with an energetic bright or deeply saturated backsplash tile. Jewel tones, sunny yellows, regal purples, or fiery oranges infuse your kitchen with color and visual interest.
Traditional and Timeless
Classic white or neutral beige backsplashes offer a clean, elegant look that suits traditional kitchens. For some subtle contrast, add Movement with veining in natural marble or travertine.
The amount of natural light your kitchen receives impacts how backsplash colors appear. Northern light tends to be cooler and overcast skies yield gray, bluish hues. Southern light is warmer and intensifies reds, oranges, and yellows.
North-facing spaces with limited direct sun exposure benefit from lighter, brighter backsplash colors that boost luminosity. Whites, creams, light grays, and subtle cool tones prevent these rooms from feeling dark and gloomy.
With plentiful sunshine streaming in, south-facing kitchens can handle deeper, bolder backsplash colors. However, darker hues also absorb more light, so stick to paler shades if you prefer a well-lit space.
Check backsplash colors at night to see how they appear under artificial lights. LED and halogen lights cast a brighter, whiter light that emphasizes blues and grays. Incandescent and CFL bulbs emit a yellowish warm glow that intensifies orange, red, and brown tones.
Complement Your Style
Beyond just the physical kitchen layout, let your backsplash reflect your personal taste.
For a classic aesthetic, choose a simple subway tile backsplash in a neutral white, beige, or light gray. Basic brick patterns or coordinating countertop finishes like marble also exude timeless elegance.
Vintage-style spaces benefit from creamy whites, light wood grains, and pale blues or sage greens. A little distressing on subway tiles or penny rounds adds charm. Stacked stone backsplashes boost the rustic factor.
Sleek contemporary designs shine with solid minimalist tile colors or dynamic patterns. Go for monochromatic sophistication in blacks, whites and grays. Introduce pops of color with vibrant glass or polished stone mosaic tiles.
This hybrid look bridges traditional and current elements. Achieve it by pairing classic white subway tiles with modern metallic or marble accents. Sophisticated grays also effortlessly straddle both worlds.
For an eclectic space embracing diverse styles, customize different backsplash areas. Try a bold mosaic wall behind the range, rustic stone tiles over the sink, and weathered tin panels across the perimeter.
Factors that Impact Backsplash Color Perception
Tile Size and Pattern
Larger tiles expand color fields for bolder hues. Smaller mosaics and intricate patterns contain color variety within each tile for subtler shades. Simpler layouts suit bold colors; busy designs pair better with neutrals.
The sheen of your backsplash finish impacts color perception. Matte and honed tiles mute hues for an understated look. Polished, high-gloss, and metallic finishes reflect light and amplify colors.
Contrasting grout calls attention to each tile, enhancing vibrancy. Matching or tonally coordinated grout minimizes definition between tiles for a more unified, subtle effect. Dark grout outlines light tiles; light grout blends into darker tiles.
Color character and depth varies across materials. Natural stone offers earthy, varied hues. Ceramics provide uniform solid colors. Glass and metal tiles radiate shiny high-impact colors. Choose materials aligning with your goals.
Choose Backsplash Colors that Coordinate With Cabinetry
One of the most critical backsplash considerations is pairing colors with existing cabinetry. Complementary combinations create harmony. Clashing tones feel disjointed.
A versatile neutral, white cabinets permit nearly any backsplash color. Play it safe with white, cream, or pale gray. Go bold with navy, black, or jewel tones. Warm wood backsplashes also pop nicely.
From light driftwood to dark charcoal, gray cabinets represent a broad range. Stick with lighter backsplashes for dark gray cabinets. White, silver, light gray, pastels, or glass tiles maintain balance.
Make a dramatic style statement with black cabinets. Intense colors like red, yellow and orange make them pop. Clean white, gray, or wood backsplash hues prevent overwhelming darkness.
Drawing out the brown tones, creamy tans, mochas, and lighter wood grains complement espresso cabinets. Avoid matching directly with chocolate brown backsplashes for high contrast.
White Cabinets with Wood Accents
Many kitchens combine white uppers with wood base cabinets. Select a backsplash that ties the two together, like light wood plank tiles. Creamy off-whites also seamlessly meld the materials.
Expert Tips for Selecting Coordinating Backsplash Colors
Beyond the basic cabinet and counter pairings, professional designers recommend a few helpful guidelines for choosing harmonious backsplash hues.
Light cabinets suit light backsplashes; dark cabinets pair better with dark colors. Matching tones prevents jarring contrast.
Repeat cabinet under-tones
Look closely at undertones in wood grains and paints. Blush, taupe, and sage backsplash colors repeat those kitchen elements.
Accent a complementary shade
Consider the color wheel. Red backsplashes accent green accents; yellows enhance blues. Adjacent kitchen hues attract.
Glossy backsplashes offset matte cabinets and counters. Textured tiles pop against smooth surfaces. Varying visual textures creates interest.
Extend flooring hues
Pick out shared flooring and backsplash tones to carry cohesion from the ground up. This helps spaces feel intentionally designed.
Recall historical combinations
Vintage color pairing wisdom still applies. Blue and white, yellow and gray, green and cream remain timeless kitchen classics.
Turn to nature
Earthy organic hues feel innately pleasing. Greens, browns, taupes, and blues emulate plants, earth, water adding calm.
Avoid Clashing Backsplash and Countertop Combos
Just as seamlessly coordinating counters and backsplashes create harmony, clashing pairings feel disconnected and chaotic. When selecting materials, aim for complementary colors and textures.
Pair naturally compatible stones
Granites and marbles tend to coordinate best with backsplashes in their native color families. Green granite works with green and blue backsplashes. Warm brown granite suits cream and beige tiles.
Even solid surfaces contain complex pigments. A white quartz may have gray veining. Choose a backsplash that reflects those subtle tones.
Consider finish and texture
Glossy backsplashes make matte counters appear dull. Smooth tiles contrast with granite’s speckled pattern. Match sheens and textures.
Avoid competing colors
Don’t pit complementary colors against each other. Green counters with red backsplashes vibrate. Blue counters with orange backsplashes clash. Stick with harmonious hues.
Be wary of bold contrasts
High contrast does help differentiate counters from backsplashes, but very light and very dark pairings often feel awkward and disconnected.
Double check in different lighting
Colors can appear wildly different under various light sources. Verify pairings in daylight and at night to catch potential mismatches.
Gallery of Backsplash Colors Paired with Popular Kitchen Finishes
Seeing palette combinations in real kitchen designs provides helpful visual examples. Here are stunning backsplashes coordinated with common cabinetry, counters, floors, and color schemes.
White Cabinets with White Subway Tile Backsplash
Crisp and classic, the ever-popular white on white kitchen remains elegantly timeless. Light grout keeps the look seamless.
Photo by John Doe via Flickr
Espresso Cabinets with Creamy Stone Backsplash
Warm, organic cream backsplashes pair attractively with rich espresso cabinetry in this cozy kitchen.
Photo by Jane Doe via Unsplash
Navy Blue Cabinets with White Beadboard Backsplash
Crisp clean white backsplash panels pop against the dramatic navy cabinets in this vibrant, nautical-inspired kitchen.
Photo by John Smith via Pixabay
Black Cabinets and Counters with Red Brick Backsplash
The bold, lively red brick backsplash energizes this sleek black kitchen. The red picks up accents on the bar stools.
Photo by Jane Smith via StockSnap
Gray Cabinets and Quartz Counters with White Hexagon Tile
This transitional kitchen pairs dignified gray Shaker cabinets with geometric white hex backsplash tile.
Photo by Hans Vivek via Unsplash
Weathered Wood Cabinets with Mint Green Subway Tile
The cool minty backsplash complements and contemporizes the warm, rustic wood cabinetry in this cottage kitchen.
Photo by Anna Larson via Pexels
Common Backsplash Color Schemes
If you’re stuck between a few different color options, it helps to consider some tried-and-true pairings. These backsplash and cabinet schemes pop up frequently because they simply work.
Blue and White
Crisp, graphic, and nautical, the classic blue and white pairing always looks fresh and lively. White backsplashes make blue cabinets pop. Blue backsplashes give white cabinets personality. Subway tiles, glass mosaics, and Moroccan motifs all shine in this versatile combination.
Black and White
For sleek modern elegance, black and white delivers definitive contrast. Black cabinets paired with a clean white backsplash creates a striking high-end look. White cabinets with a bold black backsplash makes a powerful contemporary statement.
Green and Brown
Organic hues straight from the earth, green and brown feel intrinsically harmonious. Deep green cabinetry suits brown and beige backsplashes. Mossy green backsplashes complement brown cabinets. Incorporate natural wood and stone accents to enhance the earthy charm.
Yellow and Gray
Cheerful sunshiny yellow enlivens dignified gray in this vibrant modern mix. Gray grounds bright yellow backsplashes. Yellow backsplashes inject charisma into gray cabinetry. Glossy finishes and geometric designs enhance the energy.
Backsplash Ideas for Specific Kitchen Colors
Unsure where to start with your existing kitchen cabinetry? Here are perfect backsplash matches for popular cabinet colors.
White Cabinet Backsplash Ideas
- White subway tile
- Cream stone or ceramic brick
- Pale blue glass tiles
- Bold black hexagons
- Natural wood planks
Gray Cabinet Backsplash Ideas
- Bright white subway tile
- Subtle white marble mosaic
- Bold teal glass tile
- Contrasting black penny tile
- Warm wood herringbone
Espresso Cabinet Backsplash Ideas
- White shiplap boards
- Creamy travertine tile
- Tan ceramic brick
- Rustic wood plank tiles
- Slate mosaic tiles
Navy Blue Cabinet Backsplash Ideas
- White subway tile
- White marble hexagons
- Gray stone mosaic
- Distressed wood planks
Black Cabinet Backsplash Ideas
- White marble slab
- Gray stone bricks
- Wood plank tiles
- Stainless steel mosaic
Setting the Mood with Backsplash Color
Beyond just pairing functionally with cabinetry, counter tops, and floors, different backsplash colors set distinct moods in your kitchen. Choose hues that cultivate the atmosphere and emotions you want to experience in your space.
Energizing Backsplash Colors
Vibrant, saturated hues like citrus orange, cherry red, and lime green infuse kitchens with energy and cheer. Great for morning cooking spaces, energizing backsplashes wake you up.
Soothing Backsplash Colors
Cool off with serene backsplash colors like sky blue, mint, sage, and pale yellow. Peaceful and relaxing, these soft calming hues smooth away stress.
Moody Backsplash Colors
Deeper dramatic colors like deep red, emerald, navy, and eggplant create an exotic, artistic ambiance. Use them to make bold personal style statements.
Nostalgic Backsplash Colors
Warm nostalgic hues like terracotta, mustard, avocado, and burnt orange revive retro charm. Use them to create a homey, welcoming vintage vibe.
Creative Backsplash Design Ideas
Exciting backsplash materials, cool patterns, and clever layouts transform your backsplash into a work of art. Here are innovative backsplash ideas to spark your creativity.
From simple brick layouts to complex tessellated mosaics, geometric backsplash designs add visual interest through repetition of shapes and angles.
Intricate tile patterns mimicking those found in ancient Moroccan architecture inject exotic global style. Common motifs include octagons, stars, and medallions.
Art Mural Backsplashes
Make your backsplash a literal work of art by using decorative tile to recreate a beautiful landscape scene, waterfall, or forest.
For a reflective surface that amplifies light, try a backsplash composed of mirrored tile. Mix with clear glass for sparkling accents.
Natural Stone Slices
Slab backsplashes using thin slices of real stone in materials like quartz, agate, and marble create stunning nature-made artworks.
Combining natural stone, wood slices, corrugated tin panels, brick and salvaged finds makes an eclectic rustic statement. The imperfections give character.