Where Do You End A Backsplash?

Installing a beautiful backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can really take the design to the next level. However, one decision that often causes confusion is where exactly to end the backsplash. There are a few factors to consider when determining the ideal stopping point for your backsplash.

Determining Where to End a Backsplash Based on Function

One of the most important considerations when deciding where to end a backsplash is function. Here are some tips:

Protect Areas Prone to Splashes and Spills

The main purpose of a backsplash is to protect the walls from moisture, splashes, and spills. Analyze your countertop area to determine where you typically prepare food, wash dishes, etc. Make sure the backsplash covers these vulnerable areas. Often the range or cooktop area is a key target zone.

Consider Potential Obstructions

Take into account any potential obstructions that could get in the way of a full backsplash. For example, is there a light switch or electrical outlet that sits about 4 feet up that would disrupt the backsplash? Finding workarounds for obstacles can be helpful to ensure full protection.

Extend to Countertop Edge

For the most coverage, extend the backsplash to the outer edge of the countertops if possible. This helps safeguard the entire prep area.

Cover Entire Sink and Faucet Area

For a kitchen backsplash, encompassing the entire sink and faucet area is ideal. This protects the surrounding walls from daily use and water exposure.

Determining Where to End a Backsplash Based on Style

The aesthetics of your design are also an important factor when deciding the best stopping point. Here are some style considerations for backsplashes:

Align With Surrounding Tiles

If there are other existing backsplashes or tilework in the space, aligning the edges can help everything flow together seamlessly.

Complement Backsplash Texture and Materials

Take into account the texture, size, and materials used in the backsplash. Stopping at a grout line or edge that complements the overall look is key.

Consider Symmetry

Creating a balanced, symmetrical look can be pleasing to the eye. Centering the backsplash behind a sink or stopping at equal points on each side helps achieve this.

Align With Cabinets and Design Elements

Stopping the backsplash where it aligns evenly with existing cabinets, shelving, windows, etc. can finish the space nicely.

Accent a Focal Point

Sometimes a cooktop hood, range, or decorative niche serves as a focal point. Extending the backsplash to accent this area can be an attractive choice.

Common Places to End a Backsplash

Taking functionality and aesthetics into account, here are some of the most common places people choose to end their backsplashes:

  • Where the countertops meet the upper cabinets. This provides full coverage of the prep areas against walls.
  • Right below any wall-mounted cabinets. This allows you to seal off the space beneath the cabinets.
  • Along the same horizontal line as the bottom edge of wall cabinets. Creating a continuous line can give a seamless look.
  • Around electrical outlets or switches positioned 4 feet or lower on the wall. The backsplash has to work around them.
  • At a grout line or edge that coordinates with the sink basin or range hood. Tying it into surrounding elements looks cohesive.
  • At the end of a kitchen peninsula or island. The backsplash can terminate where the counter ends without wrapping all sides.

Expert Tips for Ending a Backsplash

When planning where to end your new backsplash, keep these pro tips in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials. Using a different edge piece can provide a finished look.
  • Add caulking or sealant where the backsplash meets the countertop and wall for water protection.
  • Cut glass backsplash tiles with a specialized wet saw for smooth edges.
  • Use tile edging pieces on the sides and tops for a polished, professional end point.
  • Consider height variations if your backsplash covers multiple walls. It doesn’t have to end at the same point everywhere.
  • Examine the space during different times of day. Morning and evening light can impact the look.
  • Don’t underestimate lighting and electrical. Outlets, switches, and lighting can dictate layout.
  • For DIY projects, practice scribing tiles around uneven boundaries for a snug fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some standard backsplash heights?

Some typical backsplash heights are 4 inches, 6 inches, and up to 18-24 inches. Full height backsplashes that go all the way to the underside of cabinets are also popular.

Should kitchen backsplashes cover outlets?

It is recommended to cover outlets with the backsplash to provide full protection from moisture and spills. Carefully cutting the outlet openings in the tile allows coverage.

Why are some backsplashes ended before hitting a window?

Leaving a gap between the backsplash edge and windows/walls allows room for drapes, blinds, and window treatments without interfering with the tiles.

Should I end the backsplash at the wall or wrap it around the edge of a peninsula?

For maximum spillover protection, wrap the backsplash around the edge of a peninsula or island. For a cleaner look, you can end it right at the corner before turning the edge too.

What is the most popular height to end a kitchen backsplash?

Many people end kitchen backsplashes where the countertops meet the wall cabinets, typically 18-24” above countertops. This covers prep zones without overwhelming the space.


Determining the optimal ending point for your backsplash comes down to a combination of functional coverage goals and aesthetic design tastes. Assess high use areas in your kitchen or bath that need protection from splashes. Also observe how potential stopping points interact with cabinets, lighting, tile patterns, and overall styling. This helps strike the right balance between practicality and creating a beautiful finished look with your backsplash installation. With some planning and tile measuring, you can achieve the ideal endpoint that checks off both boxes.