What Tiles Are Best for Kitchen Backsplash?

Choosing the right backsplash tiles for your kitchen can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options to pick from, it’s important to understand which tiles will look great and stand the test of time in a busy kitchen.

In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the most popular backsplash tile materials, designs, colors, and other factors to consider when selecting kitchen backsplash tiles. Read on for plenty of ideas and inspiration to make your backsplash dreams a reality.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles are some of the most commonly used backsplash tiles, and for good reason. They come in endless style and color variations, stand up well to heat, stains, and moisture, and provide a polished look.


  • Durable and resistant to cracks, scratches, and heat.
  • Available in tons of colors, shapes, sizes, and finishes.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Budget-friendly compared to other backsplash tile types.


  • Porcelain is less prone to cracking and water absorption than ceramic.
  • Glossy tiles show smears and fingerprints more easily.
  • Grout lines can get grimy if not cleaned regularly.

Some popular kitchen backsplash tile ideas using ceramic or porcelain include:

  • Subway tile: Classic 3×6” rectangular tiles in white or colored glossy glaze. Create patterns by stacking bricks or turning them diagonally.
  • Mosaic tile: Tiny tiles mounted in grids create lovely geometric patterns and texture. Great for accents.
  • Moroccan fish scale: Interlocking tiles with an artistic, fish scale-like shape for a backsplash full of visual interest.
  • Patterned & hand-painted tile: From floral designs to bold geometrics, customized ceramic tiles make a statement.
White subway tile backsplash

White subway tile backsplash. Image Source

Glass Tile

Glass backsplash tiles lend eye-catching brilliance and reflect light beautifully in the kitchen. They’re available in an endless spectrum of colors, with different textures ranging from smooth to pebbled.


  • Reflective, shimmery appearance.
  • Translucent quality and variety of colors.
  • Heat and water resistant.
  • Easy to clean smooth surface.
  • More unique and artistic than ceramic.


  • Prone to cracking or chipping if hit. Handle carefully!
  • Grout staining can be an issue over time. Use epoxy grout.
  • Avoid behind cooktops where direct heat can cause cracking.

Some stylish ways to use glass backsplash tile:

  • Metallic mosaic: Tiny glass tiles with a glittery, hammered metal appearance in colors like bronze, silver, gold, and more.
  • Iridescent glass: Tiles change color depending on the light and viewing angle. Creates magical effects!
  • Frosted, etched & clear glass: Alternating glass tiles with different translucent finishes creates visual depth.
  • Penny tiles: Affordable clear, blue, or green 1” hexagon tiles covering the whole wall.
Blue glass subway tile backsplash

Blue glass subway tile backsplash. Image Source

Metal & Stainless Steel Tile

Metal backsplashes bring contemporary style, luxury, and industrial flair through tiles made of stainless steel, copper, brass, and other metals. They make a serious style statement.


  • Extremely durable, heat resistant, and easy to clean.
  • Visually eye-catching and modern.
  • Many metal finish options like hammered, aged, or rustic patinas.
  • Can be cut for install around outlets and fixtures.


  • Expensive compared to ceramic or glass tile.
  • Can dent or scratch if impacted.
  • Difficult for DIY installation, may require professional.

Some of the most popular ways to use metal backsplash tiles:

  • Stainless steel: A uniform, chrome-like look in various finishes from brushed to polished.
  • Copper: Natural warmth and an artisanal appearance that patinas over time. Also available in metallic finishes.
  • Metal mosaics: Tiny individual tiles create dazzling patterns and reflect light.
  • Tin tiles: Mimic an old-world, weathered tin ceiling with elegance and texture.
Stainless steel herringbone backsplash

Stainless steel herringbone backsplash. Image Source

Stone Tile

Backsplashes made of natural stone like marble, travertine, slate, or granite elevate kitchens with timeless elegance. Each stone boasts unique veining and texture.


  • Natural material with striking visual depth and interest.
  • Withstands heat and is very durable over time.
  • Many finish options from polished to tumbled or textured.
  • Classic, high-end look for kitchens.


  • Natural stone is porous and requires sealing.
  • On the pricier side, especially for larger formats.
  • Stone can stain and etching can occur from acids.

Stylish approaches for stone kitchen backsplash tile:

  • Marble mosaic: Small marble tiles create elegant patterns and visual depth. Use polished or tumbled.
  • Slate mosaic: Natural cleft slate in dark hues has an earthy, organic look.
  • Travertine: Has a porous, textured finish that’s available in warm tan/brown colors.
  • Ledger stone: Flatter, rectangular slices of natural stones like sandstone or quartzite.
White marble herringbone backsplash

White marble herringbone backsplash. Image Source

Brick, Wood, and Alternative Backsplashes

For a backsplash that’s truly one-of-a-kind, get creative with materials like reclaimed wood planks, red brick, patterned tiles, or tin ceiling panels.


  • Lots of eclectic, non-traditional options to choose from.
  • Opportunity to repurpose salvaged materials.
  • Adds unique architectural and rustic interest.


  • These non-tile materials can be less durable.
  • Installation and cutting is trickier.
  • Limited sizing options.

Some eye-catching examples include:

  • Wood planks: Use reclaimed barnwood or tongue-and-groove boards.
  • Red brick: Salvaged or new brick brings vintage industrial charm. Stagger or do a herringbone pattern.
  • Tin ceiling panels: Provide a 19th century architectural aesthetic.
  • Patterned tile: Moroccan, Spanish, or handpainted tiles make a bold style statement.
Wood plank backsplash

Wood plank backsplash. Image Source

Factors To Consider When Choosing Tile

With so many types of backsplash tiles to pick from, keep the following factors in mind to help narrow down your options:

Style & Design

Select tile shapes, colors, and patterns that align with the overall kitchen design style you want. For modern kitchens, sleek metallics, mosaics, or unique textures work well. Farmhouse kitchens tend to use white subway tile, woods, or red brick.

Function & Durability

Consider how much cooking, cleaning, and traffic the backsplash endures. Heat and stain resistant, low-maintenance materials like porcelain or glass are ideal for active kitchens. Natural stone can also withstand heavy use when properly sealed.


Prices per square foot range widely from $5 per sq ft on the low end for ceramic and porcelain, $15-50 for stone and glass, up to $75-100+ for metal and handmade art tile. Measure your backsplash area and do the math.

DIY Ability

Many ceramic, glass, and porcelain backsplash tiles can be installed DIY. Irregular stones, metallics, and large format tiles may require a pro. Assess your skill level and tools.

Countertop & Cabinets

Choose backsplash tile colors and textures that pair nicely with existing countertops and cabinets. Contrasting tones complement each other. Warm metals and stones match wood cabinetry.

Appliances & Fixtures

If your backsplash tile runs behind appliances, make sure it can be easily cut around their installation. Avoid highly reflective glass tiles where the glare could be an issue.

Design Ideas for Popular Kitchen Backsplash Tiles

Here are some gorgeous yet functional backsplash design ideas for the most popular kitchen tile materials:

Subway Tile Designs

The classic rectangular shape and proportions of subway tiles make them infinitely versatile and great for do-it-yourself projects. Here are some stylish ideas:

  • Stacked offset pattern in white, black, or gray glossy glaze
  • Vertical “bricklaid” layout with shimmery gray grout
  • Contrasting edges, like white tile with black edges
  • Horizontal muted multi-color tones for contemporary style
  • Mini subway tiles at 2×8” for thinner, more delicate lines
  • Combination of subway tiles and accent mosaic or metal tiles
White subway tile kitchen backsplash

White subway tile kitchen backsplash. Image Source

Glass & Metal Mosaic Ideas

Tiny glass and metal mosaic tiles create eye-catching shimmer when installed in creative patterns like:

  • Metallic mosaics in silver, gold, copper, or bronze for contemporary glam
  • Multicolored iridescent glass tiles in swirling or zigzag designs
  • Mix of frosted, clear, or iridescent glass for dimensional effect
  • Circles, arrows, stripes, or geometric art mosaic patterns
  • Combination of metallic mosaic sheets and marble or stone accents
Glass mosaic backsplash tile

Glass mosaic backsplash tile. Image Source

Brick & Wood Plank Patterns

Reclaimed wood and brick add timeworn character to kitchens in arrangements like:

  • Red brick in a horizontal row or offset stacked bond pattern
  • Mini brick tiles for thinner grout lines and smoother look
  • Mixed sizes of wood planks running vertically or horizontally
  • Tongue and groove barnwood boards separated by dark grout
  • Combination of reclaimed wood and white subway tiles
Wood plank brick backsplash

Wood plank brick backsplash. Image Source

Large Format Tile Layouts

Cleaner lines and fewer grout joints result from using 12”x24” tiles or larger:

  • Marble, travertine or limestone tiles in polished or textured finish
  • Porcelain tiles made to mimic natural stone patterns
  • White, black, or gray glossy ceramic tiles
  • Stainless steel tiles with bold grain lines
  • Stacked offset pattern or fresh vertical orientation
White marble large format backsplash

White marble large format backsplash. Image Source

Choosing Backsplash Colors

Kitchen backsplash tiles come in every color imaginable. To narrow down choices, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Match or complement countertop and cabinet colors
  • Contrast natural stone and wood tones with bright or white tiles
  • Monochromatic color schemes (all one color palette) create unity
  • Warm metal backsplashes (copper, bronze) pair well with wood
  • Cool countertops like quartz look great with vibrant or dark backsplash colors
  • In small kitchens, stick with light tile colors to keep things visually open

Some fail-safe backsplash color combinations:

  • White subway tiles + dark grout with white cabinets & counters
  • Gray stone or ceramic tiles with espresso cabinets & white quartz
  • Navy blue glass + brass accents + white cabinets & quartz countertop
  • Black mosaic tiles with stainless appliances & light granite counters
Backsplash tile colors

Backsplash tile color ideas. Image Source

Backsplash Tile Placement

Proper backsplash tile placement is key both for function and the best visual look. Follow these tips:


  • Backsplashes typically extend 4 inches from the counter to the underside of upper cabinets.
  • Can go all the way to the ceiling for fuller wall coverage.
  • Building codes require backsplashes to extend minimum of 1 1⁄2 inches above countertop surface.

Around outlets, windows, & appliances

  • Most backsplash tile materials can be cut to fit cleanly around outlets, junction boxes, and built-in appliances.
  • For a seamless look, align grout lines with edges of outlets or cut precise openings.
  • If needed, relocate outlets higher to allow room for full tiles.

Inside corners

  • Use thin tile strips, pencil trim, or caulk for clean interior corner joints.
  • Bullnose edge tiles avoid awkward corner cuts.


  • Seal natural stone tiles and grout before installing to allow easy cleanup of spills, grease, etc during install process.
Full height backsplash placement

Full height kitchen backsplash placement. Image Source

Maintaining and Cleaning Tile Backsplashes

To keep your kitchen backsplash tiles looking fresh:

  • Use a gentle pH neutral daily cleaner for tile and grout. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Re-seal natural stone tiles every 1-2 years to prevent staining and increase water resistance.
  • Clean up spills right away to avoid stains setting into the grout or tile surface.
  • Use a specialty grout cleaner periodically to keep grout lines free of dirt and grime buildup.
  • Don’t use abrasive scrubs or scouring pads, which can scratch tile surfaces and polish away grout.
  • Use a squeegee after cleaning to prevent water spots as tile dries.

Hiring a Tile Installation Pro

Installing kitchen backsplash tile takes precision, skill, and the right tools to get clean results. If tiling is new to you, consider hiring a professional installer for:

  • Natural stone tile: prone to cracking if inexperienced
  • Large format tile: 12”x24” tiles amplify any irregularities
  • Intricate tile patterns: precise alignment is crucial
  • Outlet relocation: requires electrical expertise
  • Tricky spaces: angled walls or cooktop vent areas
  • Metallic tiles: use special cutters and setters not found at home stores
  • Perfect finished look: minimal tile cuts, properly leveled, aligned joints

Pro tilers have specialized tools like wetsaws and optical levels to achieve flawless finished tile work. They can also properly prep and seal the surface.

Beautiful Backsplash Inspiration

For more kitchen backsplash design ideas, browse these gorgeous examples showcasing creative use of tile:

Herringbone marble mosaic

Herringbone marble backsplash

Herringbone marble mosaic backsplash. Image Source

Geometric Moroccan fish scale

Moroccan fish scale backsplash

Geometric fish scale backsplash. Image Source

Dark slate stacked stone