What is the Purpose of a Kitchen Backsplash?

A kitchen backsplash serves several important purposes that make it an essential component of any well-designed kitchen. Here is an overview of the key functions and benefits of installing a backsplash in your kitchen.

Protects Your Walls from Damage

One of the primary purposes of a backsplash is to protect the walls behind a cooktop or sink from water damage, stains, and other messes that can occur during food preparation and cleanup. Spills and splatters are inevitable in a kitchen, especially when cooking and washing dishes. A backsplash provides a protective barrier that preserves the condition of your wall underneath. High-quality backsplash materials like metal, ceramic tile, or stone are water-resistant and easy to clean. This durability prevents moisture from seeping into drywall or paint and causing stains, peeling, mold growth, and other wall damage over time. A backsplash saves you from repeatedly having to repaint or re-wallpaper your kitchen.

Makes Cleaning Easier

In addition to preventing wall damage, a backsplash also makes cleaning your kitchen much simpler. When food splatters or grease spatters hit the backsplash, you can quickly wipe it clean without harming the underlying wall. Backsplash materials like ceramic, metal and stone have smooth, non-porous surfaces that don’t absorb stains. This allows you to easily scrub the backsplash clean as needed. The backsplash contains the mess to a single surface area, rather than letting spills seep into wall crevices. Cleaning a backsplash is much faster and more effective than scrubbing food stains out of wallpaper or paint. The ease of cleaning is one of the most convenient benefits of installing a backsplash in your kitchen.

Provides Visual Appeal

While the protective and practical functions are essential, a kitchen backsplash also serves an important aesthetic purpose. The backsplash is a focal point that can make a dramatic visual impact in your kitchen’s decor. Backsplash materials like tile or stone come in a vast array of colors, textures, shapes and styles. You can match your backsplash to your existing kitchen decor, or use it as an opportunity to introduce eye-catching new colors and designs. The backsplash brings visual interest to what would otherwise be a blank wall space. It complements and accentuates the cabinets and countertops. You can create almost any aesthetic, from rustic charm to sleek modernism, through your choice of backsplash design. This decorative element allows you to put your personal stamp on your kitchen.

Increases Resale Value

Installing a backsplash is an investment that can significantly increase the value of your home. The addition of a backsplash signals that a kitchen is updated and designed for functionality. Backsplashes are expected in modern kitchens. Going without one can cause potential buyers to view the space as dated. The stylishness and appeal of your backsplash can also positively influence prospective buyers. A renewed kitchen with a fashionable backsplash could potentially help you increase the sale price of your home. For such a relatively low-cost project, a quality backsplash offers excellent return on investment.

Key Questions About Kitchen Backsplashes

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about kitchen backsplashes:

Where should the backsplash go in my kitchen?

The backsplash should be installed on the wall surfaces directly behind sinks, stoves, ranges and workstations. It should begin at the countertop edge and extend upwards to the bottom of wall cabinets. Full ceiling height is ideal, but 4-6 feet is most common.

What materials can I use for a backsplash?

Ceramic tile is the most popular choice, but you also have many options like natural stone, metal, glass, marble, and high-end finishes like mosaic. The material determines the cost, ease of installation, and maintenance needs.

Should the backsplash match the countertops?

It’s common to have the backsplash and countertops coordinate, but they don’t necessarily have to match. Contrasting colors and textures can look very striking. The backsplash gives you flexibility to introduce colors different from cabinets and countertops.

How is a backsplash installed?

In most cases backsplashes are securely adhered directly to the wall surface using materials like mastic, mortar or adhesive. The installation process depends on the material being used. Hiring a professional is recommended.

Is a backsplash a DIY project?

Installing a backsplash can be DIYed, but it’s a more complex project than painting. Factors like precise tile cutting and achieving a uniform finish make professional installation worthwhile for many homeowners. Always thoroughly research your material and its installation requirements.


A kitchen backsplash is much more than a decorative frill. This essential kitchen feature serves the very practical purposes of safeguarding your walls, simplifying cleaning efforts and providing visual appeal. Installing a backsplash also enables you to add personality and flair to your kitchen design. The return on investment is well worth the relatively low cost and effort. For optimal function and aesthetics, a kitchen backsplash should always be a high priority in your kitchen remodeling or designing plans. With the right backsplash choice, you can take your kitchen from basic to beautiful.