What to Use for Tile Backsplash

Choosing the right tile for your backsplash can transform the look and feel of your kitchen. With so many options available, from natural stone and ceramic to glass and metal, it can be tricky to settle on the perfect backsplash tile. Here are some tips on what to use for a tile backsplash based on your style, budget and needs.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are classic choices for backsplashes. Available in a wide range of sizes, textures, colors and patterns, they are an affordable and durable option suitable for most kitchens.


  • Budget-friendly, starting around $5 per square foot
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Many style options available
  • Resists moisture and stains

Popular choices include subway tile, decorative ceramic tiles, and handmade artisan tiles. Go for glossy tiles for a sleek, modern look or textured tiles for an Old World feel. Mix and match colors and patterns for a customized backsplash. Ceramic tiles are easy to install, making them a great DIY option.

Natural Stone Tile

For a high-end, luxurious look, natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, and granite make beautiful backsplash options. Available in a stunning array of colors, patterns and finishes, stone tiles add instant character and appeal.


  • Elegant, sophisticated look
  • Each tile has unique natural variations
  • Withstands heavy use
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Good investment, increases home value

Stone backsplashes work equally well in traditional and contemporary kitchens. Go for dramatic marble veining or subtle travertine textures. Honed finishes give a matte look while polished finishes have a shiny, reflective surface. Though pricier than ceramic tile, stone backsplashes are a worthwhile investment.

Glass Tile

Glass backsplash tiles infuse any kitchen with eye-catching brilliance and shine. Available in endless colors, shapes and styles, glass tile provides a translucent, jeweled effect.


  • Reflects light beautifully
  • Distinctive, shiny appearance
  • Effortless way to add color
  • Easy to clean, resists stains
  • Variety of styles like subway, mosaic, or large format

The reflective quality of glass tile can make a small kitchen appear larger while also amplifying light. Use it to create a focal point or accent wall. Mix glass with ceramic or stone tile for contrast. Go for iridescent glass tiles or recycled glass tiles made from old bottles. Though delicate, glass tile is durable with proper installation and care.

Metal Tile

For contemporary, urban edge, metal backsplash tiles lend an industrial look, like stainless steel, copper, brass or aluminum. The sleek, metallic aesthetic works equally well in modern and rustic kitchens.


  • Modern, contemporary appearance
  • Available in range of metal finishes
  • Highly durable and scratch-resistant
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Makes a strong style statement

Go for stainless steel tiles or penny round tiles for an authentic retro diner look. Copper and brass backsplashes impart an appealing warmth, patina and rich texture. Mix metal mosaic tiles with natural stone for contrast. Use metal tiles selectively on a focal wall or behind the cooktop. Though expensive, a metal backsplash is a smart long-term investment that enhances resale value.

Wood Plank Tile

Wood-look plank tiles offer the beauty of natural wood with the durability and water-resistance of porcelain or ceramic tile. Realistic wood grain textures like oak, maple and teak mimic the look of authentic hardwood.


  • Provides warmth and character of real wood
  • More affordable than natural wood
  • Durable and moisture-resistant
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Complements various kitchen styles

Wood-look tiles work well in cottage, farmhouse, rustic and transitional kitchens. Use warm honey-colored tiles to brighten a small kitchen or darker planks for a cozy aesthetic. Combine varying plank sizes, arrange in geometric patterns or use in a brick layout for visual interest. Use wood-look tile selectively behind the stove or around focal areas.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles provide an easy, budget-friendly way to refresh your backsplash with minimal mess and labor. Available in ceramic, glass, metal and other materials, they have a self-adhesive backing for simple application.


  • Budget-friendly material and installation
  • Quick and easy DIY project
  • Peels off easily for replacement
  • Variety of material and style choices
  • No need for grout or special tools

Great for renters or temporary upgrades, peel-and-stick tiles allow you to easily change your backsplash look. Use them selectively behind the sink or stove rather than the entire backsplash. Ensure the wall area is clean before application. Most brands offer a removable, non-permanent option, but verify before installing.

Factors to Consider

  • Budget – Material and installation costs vary widely so choose tile that fits your budget. Ceramic and peel-and-stick tiles are the most affordable options.
  • Style – Select tile that complements your overall kitchen design and color scheme. Consider the backsplash area size and layout.
  • Durability – Glass and metal tile require gentle cleaning while stone and ceramic are very durable. Check ratings for scratch, stain and moisture resistance.
  • Ease of installation – Stone, ceramic and glass tile require more extensive installation while peel-and-stick is quick and easy. Factor in complexity.
  • Maintenance – Ceramic and stone are low maintenance. Metal may require sealing. Glass needs gentle cleaning. Peel-and-stick is replaceable.

Trendy Backsplash Ideas

Here are some of the most popular backsplash trends:

  • Subway tile – Classic rectangular white tiles arranged in a brick pattern for timeless appeal
  • Bold colors and patterns – Make a vibrant style statement with colorful tile or an eye-catching mosaic
  • Metal accents – Add a contemporary touch with metallic tiles, stainless steel or copper accents
  • Mixed textures and materials – Blend stone, ceramic, glass and metal tiles for visual interest
  • Handmade artisan tile – Unique, handcrafted tiles and mosaics for one-of-a-kind charm
  • Large-scale graphic tile – Oversized tiles with bold geometric patterns make a dramatic impact
  • 3D dimensional tile – Three-dimensional tiles add depth and visual texture
  • Moroccan-inspired tile – Exotic zellige tiles in colorful intricate patterns
  • Wood-look plank tile – Warm, natural wood-grain patterns in durable porcelain or ceramic
  • Glass subway tile – A fresh, light twist on classic subway layouts


The right backsplash tile can elevate your kitchen’s style in an instant. Consider the overall design aesthetic, use patterns and materials strategically, and select tile suited for your budget and skill level. With limitless options from sleek and modern to rustic and artisanal, there is a backsplash tile to match your personal taste and transform your cooking space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Tile

What are the most popular backsplash tiles?

The most popular backsplash tile materials are ceramic, porcelain, glass, natural stone, and metal. Subway tile, mosaic tile, marble, travertine, penny tile, and glass subway tiles are some of the most common styles.

How do I choose a kitchen backsplash tile?

Consider the overall design and color scheme of your kitchen. Look for backsplash tile that complements your cabinets, countertops, floors, and appliances. Factor in ease of cleaning, durability, budget, and your DIY skill level.

What is the most cost-effective backsplash tile?

Ceramic and porcelain tile provide the most affordable options starting around $5 per square foot. Peel-and-stick backsplash tile is also budget-friendly and easy to install.

What backsplash goes best with white cabinets?

White cabinets pair beautifully with light and bright backsplash tiles like white subway tile, carrara marble, glass, or metallic varieties. Darker cabinets can be matched with bold, colorful backsplash tile.

What is the most durable material for a backsplash?

Porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone tiles are extremely durable backsplash materials. Glass tile is delicate and requires gentler cleaning. Metal tile resists scratches, stains and moisture when properly sealed.

Should you use the same backsplash tile on the walls and behind the stove?

Consistency looks best, so use the same tile on the backsplash walls and behind the stove. Natural stone or ceramic work well behind a stove while glass mosaic accents provide a nice contrast.

How difficult is it to install a tile backsplash?

Installing a tile backsplash is an intermediate DIY project. While not overly complicated, it requires proper tools, materials, and techniques to get clean results. Many opt to hire a professional tile installer for the best outcome.

Can you use peel-and-stick tiles for a backsplash?

Yes, peel-and-stick backsplash tiles provide a quick and easy upgrade. Ensure the wall surface is smooth and clean before application. They can be used on entire backsplashes or smaller accent areas.

How do you cut backsplash tile?

Ceramic and porcelain tile is best cut with a wet saw but can be manually scored and snapped. Glass and stone tile require a wet saw for smooth cuts. Use a tile nipper for small irregular edge pieces. Follow all manufacturer instructions.