Selecting the ideal backsplash color to pair with white kitchen cabinets can elevate your space and pull your design together. The right backsplash provides an opportunity to add visual interest, dimension, and personality to your culinary space. With limitless color options to choose from, it’s important to consider the look you’re trying to achieve as well as your kitchen’s layout and features. We’ll explore popular backsplash color choices for white cabinetry and ideas to inspire your dream kitchen design.
Complementary Color Palettes for White Kitchen Cabinets
When choosing a backsplash color, it’s helpful to understand color theory. Complementary colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel, creating high contrast. For white cabinets, some top complementary color options include:
From navy to azure, a blue backsplash pops against white cabinets. Depending on the shade, blue can create a nautical kitchen theme or formal, elegant look. Dark blues are dramatic, while lighter tones feel breezy and relaxed. Try coordinating with stainless steel appliances for a contemporary ensemble.
Forest green, sage, or olive backsplashes feel earthy yet sophisticated with light cabinets. Dark green hues deliver a bold, dramatic impact, or opt for soft minty shades for a more subtle effect. Green elegantly complements natural wood butcher block or stained countertops.
Spice up your kitchen with a dynamic orange backsplash. From carrot and coral to firecracker shades, orange injects energy into your design. Pair with modern elements like concrete or metal accents for an eclectic look. Soft peach-infused hues offer a subtler, inviting style.
Buttery yellow, lemon, or mustard backsplashes breathe life into a plain white kitchen. Depending on your cabinets’ undertones, yellow can look crisp and contemporary or charmingly rustic. Use citrus shades to enhance a cottage feel or amber tones for a sophisticated flair.
Red immediately amps up the drama and passion in a kitchen. Crimson, burgundy, and brick backsplashes make a bold statement against white cabinetry. Use red as an accent against a more neutral base color. Red energizes contemporary spaces and feels cozy with traditional, country charm.
Lavender, lilac, plum, or eggplant purple backsplashes blend beautifully with white cabinetry. Light, airy purples create a dreamy, ethereal ambiance, while bold jewel tones make an exotic statement. Purple pairs nicely with marble, quartz, or stainless steel.
Natural Color Schemes
If you prefer a calmer, more neutral palette, earthy hues can provide an organic feel. Natural stone surfaces like marble, travertine, and granite make ideal backsplashes to match white cabinets.
Almond, khaki, or sand-colored backsplashes harmonize seamlessly with white cabinets for a subtle, calming look. Play with different textures and patterns to add visual interest without high contrast colors.Beige feels homey yet elegant.
From soft dove to charcoal, gray gracefully complements white kitchen cabinetry.Cool grays have a refined, modern effect, while blue-grays feel tranquil. Pair white and gray with chrome accents for a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic. Use white grout to contrast with gray stone or tile patterns.
Mocha, chestnut, and espresso-colored backsplashes match beautifully with white cabinets, bringing a sense of nature indoors. Brown feels welcoming and adds a traditional touch. Pair creamy off-white cabinets with chocolate brown for a classic combination.
Although unconventional, a black backsplash provides dramatic contrast with white cabinets. Use sparingly against a light backdrop or opt for white grout lines to soften the look. Hints of black add a sophisticated, striking detail. Smartly chosen hardware finishes the high-end style.
Factors that Impact Backsplash Color
Several elements influence the ideal backsplash colors to match your white kitchen cabinets. Assess the following aspects of your space to narrow down options:
Pure snow white cabinets can handle bolder backsplash colors than antique whites with grey undertones. The more subtle the cabinet color, the more muted your backsplash should be to prevent clashing. Clean white cabinets also pair better with cool-toned backsplash colors while off-whites match warmer hues.
Countertops & Floors
Survey your countertops, island, floors, and other built-ins to identify the undertones and colors already represented in your kitchen. For example, if your counters and floors have grey veining or tones, avoid a grey backsplash. Ideal pairings include white cabinets with navy countertops and green backsplash or white cabinets with neutral floors and a pop of red backsplash.
Factor in how your backsplash color will appear in different lighting. Yellow incandescent bulbs boost warm undertones while cool fluorescent or LED lighting emphasizes blues and greens. Natural light can show colors differently throughout the day. Ask your kitchen designer for lighting recommendations to enhance your backsplash.
Kitchen Size & Layout
In a small kitchen, bright white cabinetry paired with a vibrant backsplash can feel overwhelming. Opt for softer complementary hues or muted tones in a tight space. Large open layouts handle bold, dramatic colors beautifully, especially if bordered with plenty of neutral backdrop.
Consider your aesthetic preferences and overall home design style. For a cottage or farmhouse, pastels, sage, and terra cotta suit a rustic sensibility. Contemporary spaces favor vivid high-contrast colors. Traditional kitchens tend towards classic sophisticated palettes of navy, grey, white and wood tones.
Purpose & Function
Factor in how heavily your kitchen is used. Delicate glass, light marble, or polished metal backsplashes require careful maintenance in busy cooking spaces prone to grease splatter. Hearty materials like ceramic tile stand up better to heavy wear and tear.
Best Backsplash Colors for White Cabinets
Now that you’ve assessed your kitchen, here are some of the most popular, foolproof backsplash color combinations to match white cabinetry:
From slate to cobalt, navy elegantly complements white cabinets. The classic color combo feels nautical and distinguished. Use white grout and nickel or chrome finishes for a clean, timeless look.
Deep green hues prevent an all-white kitchen from feeling clinical. Green grounds the space with natural, earthy vibes. Play up the charm with brass hardware, organic textures, and wooden accents.
A go-to alternative to basic white, charcoal gray works with almost any style from modern to farmhouse. Pair with marble counters for lots of smooth, luxurious surfaces. Crisp white trim keeps the moody hue from feeling too somber.
Mochas and chocolate browns infuse traditional warmth into a white kitchen. The sweet combination resembles fresh whipped cream paired with coffee. Browns also disguise staining on busy backsplashes better than light colors.
For a subtle pop of color, tan, almond and oatmeal backsplashes provide an easy match for off-white cabinetry. Beige imparts a comforting, welcoming vibe. Use mosaic tiles, patterns, and metallic pendants for interest.
Creative Techniques to Showcase Your Backsplash
Beyond selecting paint swatches, get creative with shape, material, and configuration:
Jazz up a simple subway tile backsplash with geometric shapes, lines, and intersections. Geometric patterns add movement and modern personality to a space.
Contrast Grout Lines
White grout crisply highlights colored, patterned backsplash tiles. Light cabinets paired with a dark slate backsplash come alive with bright white grout. Dark grout mutes colorful tiles for a subtler effect.
Natural Stone Accents
Combine the beauty of natural stone with the functionality of ceramic or glass tile. Use marble or travertine inserts within a tile backsplash to designate special areas. Surround a range hood or highlight open shelving.
Add light and the illusion of space with mirrored backsplashes. Reflective surfaces play off the sheen of stainless, glass, and chrome finishes. Mirrored sections strategically placed behind sinks or lighting cast glimmers around the room.
Blend materials like stone, ceramic, metal, and glass for eclectic appeal. This works especially well in transitional spaces bridging modern and traditional. Mix bigger stone slab sections with detailed mosaics.
Creative Shape Layout
Herringbone patterns, irregular bricks, shaped inlays, and artistic mosaics all provide visual energy. Lay subway tiles vertically versus horizontally or at an angle. Add height with stacked ledges, rectangular tiles, or decorative trim.
Ideal Backsplash Height for White Cabinets
Proper backsplash dimensions and placement significantly impact functionality. Standard backsplash height ranges from 4 inches to 6 inches above countertops. However, creative layouts might feature a mix of heights and accent sections.
For prep and cooking areas, a minimum 4-inch height protects walls from splatters and spills. Near a sink or range, extending the backsplash to 18-30 inches can protect surrounding surfaces. Full height backsplashes behind stoves contribute to safety. For open shelving, continue backsplashes uninterrupted across entire sections for a streamlined look.
Range Hoods & Appliances
Take measurements from the height of your range hood down to determine optimal backsplash sizing. Create a symmetrical look by extending the backsplash equal distances above and below hoods. Make sure the backsplash fulfills any clearance requirements for safe operation and ventilation.
Lighting & Electrical
Check measurements for outlets, switches, and fixtures to ensure the backsplash installation doesn’t impact lighting or electricity. If necessary, lighting can be incorporated directly into a glass, mirror, or stone backsplash for a built-in look.
Windows & Architectural Features
Take note of the position and size of windows, trims, dividers, registers, and other built-ins. Wrap the backsplash around, frame, or abut up to architectural elements for a seamless finish. Continuing the backsplash across an entire wall provides a rich backdrop.
Plumbing & Sink Orientation
Coordinate backsplash size and shape with the footprint of your sink and plumbing elements. For example, a classy apron front sink pairs beautifully with an oversized backsplash. Arrange the orientation to allow for faucet height and hardware clearance.
How to Choose Grout Color for White Cabinet Backsplashes
Grout color impacts the overall look of your backsplash design almost as much as the tiles themselves. Follow these guidelines for selecting the ideal grout to complement white cabinets:
Match Grout to Tile
Matching grout to tile color minimizes visual contrast for a unified, monochromatic look. The subtle effect works well with white, beige, or very lightly colored tiles. Contrasting grout calls more attention to intricate tile shapes and patterns.
Light Grout with Dark Tile
White grout paired with dramatic dark backsplash tiles creates relief between the surfaces and outlines each tile. Light grout against a bold navy, black, or charcoal backsplash prevents an overwhelming dark mass.
Dark Grout with Light Tile
Conversely, dark grout can ground light-colored tiles and tie them together visually. Espresso neatly defines the edges of whitewashed wood, cream subway tiles, or an airy granite backsplash.
For a happy medium, neutral grout splits the difference between matching and contrasting. Soft beige, tan, or light grey grout blends in without completely disappearing against white tiles. Neutral evens out opposing tile and cabinet tones.
Heavily textured or patterned tiles benefit from matching grout so the color variations aren’t overshadowed. Honed marble, travertine, stone mosaics, and busier patterns deserve uninterrupted visibility. Save high-contrast grout for smoother, uniform tiles.
Factor in Dirt
Grout inevitably collects dirt and requires regular scrubbing. White grout shows grime easily, even with sealant. Opt for grey, tan, or darker grout lines in exposed areas prone to soil buildup like behind ranges or near sinks.
FAQs about Backsplash Colors for White Cabinets
Still have questions about selecting the perfect backsplash for your white kitchen cabinets? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Can you put a dark backsplash with white cabinets?
Yes, dark dramatic backsplashes work beautifully against bright white cabinets. Contrast creates visual interest. Opt for colors like navy, charcoal, black, emerald, or eggplant. Use sparingly or break up dark colors with light grout lines.
What backsplash goes with off-white cabinets?
Softer off-white or antique white cabinetspair well with equally subtle, earthy backsplash colors. Recommended hues include almond, tan, sand, light terra cotta, slate blue, and pale sage greens. Avoid stark high-contrast backsplashes.
Should you match the countertop color to backsplash?
It’s not mandatory but can create a streamlined look. For example, white marble countertops flowing into a marble subway backsplash tile. If countertops and backsplash share similar busy patterns, use a solid cabinet color to prevent clashing.
Can you use glass tile with white cabinets?
Definitely. Glass backsplash tiles add brilliant color, shine, and texture against white cabinets. Use frosted, opaque, clear, or mirrored glass in vivid hues. Glass is easy to wipe clean but prone to showing fingerprints and water spots. Use sealant.
What are some inexpensive backsplash ideas for white cabinets?
Affordable backsplash solutions include ceramic subway tiles, faux tin tiles, checkerboard mosaic sheets, weatherproof vinyl stickers, beadboard panels, textured wallpaper, laminate sheets, or paint. Look for peel-and-stick options for easy application.
Enhancing White Kitchen Cabinets with Backsplash Color
The ideal backsplash color harmonizes beautifully with your white cabinetry while creating visual interest and showcasing your unique kitchen aesthetic. As a finishing touch that covers a wide surface area, the backsplash color makes a major impact on the overall design of your culinary space. Thoughtfully weigh options in color theory, materials, sheen, and grout to select a backsplash that ties your fabulous room together. With limitless possibilities, get creative and have fun designing a backsplash that puts the perfect final accent on your gorgeous white kitchen cabinets!