What to Put on the Edge of Tile Backsplash

Bullnose Tile

Bullnose tile has a rounded finished edge that creates a smooth transition from the countertop to the backsplash. The curve softens the look and feels much nicer under your hand than a sharp tile edge. Bullnose tiles come in many sizes, materials, colors, and finishes to coordinate with your backsplash tile. Using the same tile for both the flat backsplash tile and its bullnose edge results in a seamless, integrated appearance.


  • Provides a finished look with minimal seams or corners
  • Smooth surface protects hands from sharp tile edges
  • Numerous style options to match or accent backsplash tile
  • Easy installation with thin-set mortar

Tips for Installing Bullnose Tile Edging:

  • Use bullnose tiles on both the vertical edges and lower horizontal edge along countertops
  • Cut bullnose tiles carefully to fit inside corners and around outlets
  • Match bullnose tile thickness to flat backsplash tile for even transition

Metal Tile Trim

Metal backsplash edge trim comes in stainless steel, copper, bronze, nickel, and other metals to match your kitchen decor. The straight trim strip gives a simple, clean finish to tile edges, with many options for textures and finishes like brushed, polished, or hammered. Metal trim coordinates well with contemporary and industrial design styles.

Advantages of Metal Trim:

  • Sleek, minimalist look
  • Variety of metal finishes to suit your style
  • More durable material than ceramic tile
  • Quick and easy installation with construction adhesive

Tips for Choosing Metal Trim:

  • Select thickness similar to tile for smooth finish
  • Use tile spacers to evenly space trim strip from tiles
  • Cut metal trim with tin snips and file sharp edges
  • Use trim on both inside and outside edges of backsplash

Glass Tile Edge

Using glass mosaic tiles to shape and accent the edges of a backsplash is a way to add interest with color, texture, and light effects. The small glass tiles come in endless color and finish options like frosted, metallic, iridescent, and patterned. You can create borders, geometric designs, listellos, or tile shapes like curves, points, cloud forms and more.

Why Use Glass Tiles for Edging:

  • Translucent and reflective properties add depth
  • Versatile for both modern and vintage kitchen styles
  • Can coordinate with glass tile used elsewhere in backsplash
  • Diffused light creates a soft glow effect

Design Tips:

  • Use same thickness glass tile as main backsplash
  • Alternate glass tile colors and patterns
  • Accent inside and outside corners with border tiles
  • Lay out pattern before setting tiles for best visual flow

Ceramic Tile Border

A border of decorative ceramic tiles along the edges of the backsplash is an easy way to jazz it up. Contrasting colors or patterns used in the border tile add visual interest while coordinating materials give it a polished, coordinated look. Geometric designs, ornate styles, mosaic sheets, and ceramic listellos are all options.

Why Add a Ceramic Tile Border:

  • Wide range of color, size, and shape options
  • Can match or contrast main backsplash tile
  • Provides finished edge without requiring bullnose tiles
  • Opportunity to layer patterns and textures

Installation Tips:

  • Use border tile that’s the same thickness as backsplash tile
  • Line up grout lines between border and field tile
  • Accent the area around faucets, windows, corners, and other details
  • Use tile spacers for even spacing and straight lines

LED Lighting

Installing LED lighting strips along the edges of the backsplash can create ambient lighting effects. The lighting highlights the tile textures and designs while also providing useful task lighting. LED strips come in different lengths, brightness, and color temperatures to get the desired look and function.

Benefits of Adding LED Lighting:

  • Creates a focal glow along the backsplash
  • Can illuminate the countertop workspace
  • LEDs have very long lifespans compared to other lighting
  • Low profile strips fit discreetly on edges and corners

Tips for Installing LED Lights:

  • Use LED tape lights or LED light bars
  • Look for waterproof LEDs rated for kitchen use
  • Power LEDs off nearby outlets or hardwire directly
  • Use LEDs with remote controls or smart technology

What to Put on the Edge of Tile Backsplash: Conclusion

The edge of your tile backsplash provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your design style. Whether you prefer the clean look of bullnose tile, the shine of metal trim, the pop of glass mosaic tiles, or the drama of LED lighting, finishing the backsplash edges thoughtfully can take your kitchen decor to the next level. Pay attention to the color, texture, and shape options that best complement your existing tile and cabinetry. Then install your edge treatment professionally to get a seamless, integrated look. The end result will be a backsplash that makes a stunning visual impact and becomes a focal point in your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular edge options for a tile backsplash?

Some of the most popular edging options for tile backsplashes include bullnose tile, metal trim, glass mosaic tiles, ceramic tile borders, and LED lighting strips.

What type of tile edging is easiest to install?

Bullnose tiles and metal trim strips tend to be the easiest edging materials to install on a tile backsplash. Bullnose tiles just need thinset mortar while metal strips use construction adhesive.

How do you create an accent border on a tile backsplash edge?

Use decorative ceramic tiles, glass mosaics, or patterned listellos to create a coordinating or contrasting border along the inner and outer edges of the backsplash.

Can you use LED lights on a tile backsplash?

Yes, LED tape lights or LED light bars can be installed discreetly on the edges and corners of a backsplash to add ambient lighting effects. Choose waterproof, kitchen-rated LEDs.

What edging should you use for a contemporary style backsplash?

Metal trim strips, bullnose tiles, and glass mosaics all pair well with contemporary kitchen designs. Stainless steel or nickel trim gives a sleek modern look.

How do you soften the transition from a tile backsplash to the wall?

Using a coordinating bullnose tile along the top backsplash edge provides a curved profile that softens the transition from tile to wall.

What kind of edge do you put on a subway tile backsplash?

Bullnose tiles and metal trim are common edging choices for basic subway tile backsplashes. You can also add interest by framing the edges with glass or ceramic accent tiles.