Where Does Backsplash Go in Kitchen?


Backsplash refers to the material installed on the wall between the countertops and kitchen cabinets. It is installed to protect the walls from accidental spills, splatters, and splashes while cooking or cleaning. Backsplash also acts as a decorative focal point in the kitchen.

Choosing the right backsplash design and material can dramatically enhance the look and feel of your kitchen. The most popular backsplash materials are ceramic or porcelain tiles, natural stones like granite and marble, glass, metal, and laminates. Backsplash comes in different colors, patterns, textures and finishes.

Where Does Backsplash Go in Kitchen?

Behind Stove/Cooktop

The prime location for backsplash installation is right behind the stove or cooktop. This high-activity area is prone to oil splatters, sauce splashes, and food spills. A properly installed quality backsplash protects the wall from stains and damage.

Backsplash behind the stove should extend from the bottom of wall cabinets to the counter or range hood. For a seamless look, you can continue the same backsplash tile from behind the stove to the entire kitchen perimeter.

Behind Kitchen Sink

Another important area for backsplash is behind the kitchen sink. Regular water splashes while washing dishes and frequent sponge wipe-downs can damage the wall. Water seepage over time can lead to mold, mildew, and wall damage.

Install backsplash from the counter to the underside of wall cabinets behind the sink. Make sure it overlaps any side splashes by at least an inch for water runoff.

Perimeter Walls

For a cohesive look, it is recommended to install backsplash on all perimeter kitchen walls. Continuous backsplash installation minimizes seams and gives a smooth finished appearance.

Full wall backsplashes work best for relatively smaller kitchens. For larger kitchens, continuous backsplash installation can get expensive. In such cases, limit the backsplash to key areas only.

Backsplash with Islands

For kitchen islands, backsplashes are optional. Islands tend to have more countertop space on all sides. Limit backsplash to counter areas that see heavier usage like food prep.

Also, if the island houses appliances like sinks, dishwashers or cooktops, installing backsplash behind them is recommended.

Backsplash Height

Standard backsplash height is 4 inches. But you can customize it as per your preference. Backsplashes typically extend from counter to bottom of wall cabinets. For a seamless look, align the top of backsplash tiles with cabinet bottoms.

If there is significant gap between counter and cabinets, you can install a full-height backsplash. Make sure to caulk the seam between backsplash and wall carefully.

Types of Backsplashes for Kitchen

Here are some of the most popular kitchen backsplash ideas:

Tile Backsplash

Ceramic and porcelain tiles make excellent backsplash materials. Available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns, tiles can create feature walls in the kitchen. Glass tile backsplashes also provide shiny and sleek looks.

Stone Backsplash

Granite, marble or other natural stones can provide an upscale elegant look as backsplash. But being porous, stone requires sealing to prevent stains.

Metal Backsplash

Metal backsplashes like copper, stainless steel or tin can create an industrial chic look. Metals are low maintenance, fire and heat resistant.

Glass Backsplash

Glass sheet or mesh backsplashes can create a modern sophisticated look. Molten glass tiles are also gaining popularity recently.

Wood Backsplash

Wood adds warmth and texture to the kitchen. Use water-resistant wood species like teak or use moisture-proof treatments.

Laminate Backsplash

Low cost, easy maintenance and extensive patterns make laminates a budget-friendly backsplash option.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Backsplash

  • Purpose: Is it for protection from splashes or for decorative accent?
  • Location: Does it need to cover the entire wall or just around cooking areas?
  • Maintenance: How easy it is to clean and maintain? Stone requires sealing while tiles need grout cleaning.
  • Styles: Does it match your overall kitchen design aesthetic?
  • Budget: Certain materials like natural stone or glass are more expensive.

FAQs About Backsplash Placement

Should backsplash go all the way to the ceiling?

It is not essential to install backsplash till ceiling. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches from counter. Full height looks stylish but requires caulking at top.

How high should backsplash go with no cabinets?

In absence of overhead cabinets, backsplash can extend from counter to approx. 18-24 inches high. Alternatively, you can opt for full height backsplash for a seamless finish.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It is recommended but not necessary to match backsplash with countertops. Contrasting colors can make the backsplash pop as an accent wall.

Can backsplash be a different color than cabinets?

Absolutely. Backsplash need not match cabinet color. Choose a contrasting color to create an accent wall effect.

Should backsplash extend to edge of countertop?

Backsplash should overlap the edges of countertop at least by an inch. This prevents water, oil and food debris from getting behind the backsplash.

Can I install backsplash just behind stove?

Yes, if budget is a constraint, you can install backsplash just behind the cooktop/stove. But for best protection and looks, continue it along the whole wall.


Strategically installing backsplash in high use and spill-prone areas like behind stove, sink, and perimeter walls can help protect kitchen walls effectively. Continuous backsplash installation provides a seamless finished look. Choosing the right backsplash material that suits your kitchen style, needs and budget is key for maximum benefits. With a myriad of options available, get creative with backsplash and use it as a focal point to elevate your kitchen’s decor.