Where to Buy Backsplash – The Ultimate Guide

A backsplash is an important design element that can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Choosing the right backsplash involves considering material, color, pattern, and where to purchase it. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about where to buy backsplash tile or panels to match your style and budget.

What is a Backsplash?

A backsplash is a decorative wall treatment installed on the wall behind a countertop, most commonly behind sinks and stoves. Backsplashes serve both aesthetic and functional purposes:

  • Visually, they can complement your cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and overall kitchen decor.
  • Functionally, they protect the walls from moisture, grease, food splatter, and other cooking mess.

Backsplashes are typically made of easy-to-clean materials like ceramic tile, metal, glass, and stone. However, you can also find backsplash panels made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo, reclaimed wood, and recycled glass.

Benefits of Installing a Backsplash

Here are some of the top benefits of installing a backsplash in your kitchen:

  • Protects your walls – Backsplashes prevent damage and deterioration of drywall and paint from constant exposure to water and cooking grease. This saves you from expensive wall repairs.
  • Easy to clean – Materials like glass, metal and ceramic tile can be easily wiped down. This makes cleaning splatters and grease buildup a breeze.
  • Adds visual interest – Backsplashes come in a myriad of colors, textures, materials and patterns. This allows you to make a design statement and add eye-catching flair.
  • Increases resale value‌ – Tastefully decorated kitchens with backsplashes appeal to homebuyers and can bolster resale value.
  • Affordable – Backsplash tile and panels are a budget-friendly way to update your kitchen’s style compared to a full remodel.
  • DIY friendly – Installing a backsplash is an approachable weekend project for many DIYers.

Where to Buy Backsplash Tile and Panels

Now that you’ve decided to install a backsplash, it’s time to choose where to purchase your materials. Consider the following places:

Home Improvement Stores

Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a wide selection of backsplash tile, including:

  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Natural stone tile
  • Glass tile
  • Metal tile

They also stock backsplash panels like beadboard, stainless steel, tin backsplashes, and peel-and-stick tiles.

The advantage of home improvement stores is convenience. You can buy your tile or panels and grout/adhesive all in one place. Keep an eye out for sales and bundle deals on installation products.

Tile Showrooms

Standalone tile showrooms have an enormous range of unique and specialty tile not found in big box stores. Here you’ll discover handmade artisan tiles in just about any material, color, finish and pattern you can imagine. Custom mosaic designs are also possible.

Showrooms also have knowledge staff who can help you pull together a professional designer look. Keep in mind tile from showrooms tends to be more expensive. Always ask about sales or discount remnants.

Online Retailers

Ordering backsplash tile and panels online opens up many possibilities outside your local area. Online specialty retailers like:

  • TileBar
  • Backsplash.com
  • SubwayTileOutlet.com

Offer curated collections of trending backsplash tile, often at lower prices. Be sure to order samples first to see materials in person. Factor in shipping costs and delivery timelines.

Big Box Home Decor Stores

Retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, and At Home have affordable backsplash panels like:

  • Peel-and-stick tile
  • Faux subway tile
  • Tin panels
  • Mirror tiles
  • Geometric designs

The panels are designed to be DIY-friendly. However, the tradeoff is less customization and material options compared to tile.

Salvage Shops & Resellers

For a unique vintage backsplash, visit architectural salvage stores and resellers in your area. Here you can discover new old stock and reclaimed materials like:

  • Authentic collectible subway tile
  • Antique pressed tin
  • Weathered barn wood
  • Old terra cotta tiles
  • Creative repurposed pieces like damaged china

Salvaged materials make great rustic, farmhouse or eclectic backsplashes. Be prepared to put in time hunting for these hidden gems.

Where to Buy Backsplash by Material

From natural stone to glass to metal and beyond, backsplashes come in a diverse range of materials. Here is an overview of where to buy popular backsplash materials:

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles are classic choices perfect for either traditional or contemporary kitchens. Benefits are they are budget-friendly, easy to clean, and durable.

All the major home improvement stores sell ceramic and porcelain tile. Go to tile specialty stores for premium designer porcelain collections.

Watch for ceramic tile sales at big box stores – you can often find deals for as low as $1 per square foot.

Glass Tile

Glass tile adds a colorful, sleek modern or art deco accent wall. It’s most commonly found in smaller mosaic tiles mounted on a mesh sheet. Expect to pay $15-30 per square foot.

Buy glass mosaic tiles at:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Online at retailers like Wayfair and Build.com
  • Tile showrooms

Natural Stone Tile

Elegant natural stone like marble, travertine, and granite bring luxury to backsplashes. Stone has unique veining patterns with upscale appeal. Prices range from $15-50+ per square foot.

Shop natural stone tile at:

  • Tile specialty showrooms – best selection
  • Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wayfair – more limited selection
  • Stone distributors for rare exotic stones

Metal Tile

Mirror-finish metal tiles make a contemporary glam statement. Stainless steel and tin backsplashes are popular. Expect to invest $25-50 per square foot.

Purchase metal tile online or in stores at:

  • Wayfair
  • Overstock
  • Home Depot
  • Bed Bath & Beyond

Check restaurant supply stores for commercial-grade stainless steel.

Subway Tile

Classic rectangular white 3×6 or 3×12 subway tiles instantly give vintage charm. Prices are very reasonable, starting around $5 per square foot.

Subway tile is in stock at:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Online specialty retailers like SubwayTileOutlet.com

Delve into architectural salvage stores to discover authentic vintage subway tiles.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

Budget-friendly peel-and-stick backsplash tile offers a user-friendly DIY-friendly option. Many replicate the look of real tile but are vinyl, plastic or laminate. Prices average $5-10 per square foot.

Find peel-and-stick tile at:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Amazon
  • Online specialty retailers like StickTiles.com

Factors that Impact Cost of Backsplash

When budgeting for your backsplash, keep these cost factors in mind:

  • Materials – Natural stone, metal, and handmade tile are premium and cost more than ceramic, porcelain or faux tiles.
  • Size of backsplash area – Larger backsplashes require more tile and labor, increasing overall cost.
  • Specialty shapes and patterns – Mosaic, hexagon tile, and special cuts and borders add to material costs.
  • Labor – Hiring a professional tile installer adds $200-500 or more to the total project cost.
  • Delivery fees – Having heavy boxes of tile shipped adds a delivery surcharge.
  • Grouts, adhesives, sealants – Specialty grouts and installation products can increase costs but are worth it.

Top 5 Money-Saving Tips

Here are handy tips for keeping your backsplash project budget-friendly:

1. Compare prices online – Be sure to shop around online and check for e-coupons before purchasing materials.

2. Buy remnants – Ask tile showrooms if they have discounted remnants or discontinued tile on sale.

3. Limit decorative accents – Use decorative tile sparingly as accents to reduce costs.

4. DIY installation – Avoid labor fees by installing the backsplash yourself if you have tiling experience.

5. Buy tile spacers in bulk – Reusable tile spacers are a must for even grout lines. Bulk packs save money.

How Much Does a Backsplash Cost?

In total, you can expect to spend:

  • $100 to $500 for a simple DIY-installed backsplash using budget tile or stick-on panels.
  • $500 to $1,500 for a mid-range backsplash installed by a tile professional.
  • $1,500 to $5,000+ for a high-end designer backsplash with premium materials and custom labor.

Many factors affect the final cost, but in general backsplashes are an affordable way to make a big impact. Invest in the best materials and installation you can afford to get a durable and stunning result.

Should I Hire a Pro or DIY My Backsplash?

Deciding between DIY vs. hiring a professional comes down to your skill level and project scope:

DIY Backsplash If:

  • You have tiling experience and feel confident doing it yourself.
  • Your design is simple without intricate patterns or specialty tile work.
  • You have time for a potentially slower hands-on installation.
  • You want to save on labor costs.

Hire a Pro Backsplash Installer If:

  • You want your project done quickly and hassle-free.
  • Your design includes specialty cuts, decorative borders or mosaics.
  • Your walls have tricky angles or obstructions.
  • You want a perfect professional result and are willing to pay labor costs.
  • You have no tiling experience and want to avoid beginner mistakes.

Many DIYers feel a sense of accomplishment tackling their own backsplash project. Watch online tutorial videos to gain skills. If in doubt, seek help to get your backsplash done right.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Install a Tile Backsplash

If doing it yourself, follow this step-by-step DIY guide:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • Tile
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Tile saw (if cutting tile)
  • Trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Caulk
  • Grout sponge

Step 2: Prepare the Wall

  • Clean the wall surface thoroughly and fill any holes or cracks with caulk.
  • Paint the walls with primer and latex paint if needed – this provides an easy-clean surface.

Step 3: Plan Your Tile Layout

  • Measure your backsplash area and sketch a layout to plan the tile positioning.
  • Account for outlets, corners, and edges in your design.
  • Cut border and accent tiles if needed.

Step 4: Apply the Tile Adhesive

  • Spread a thin layer of tile adhesive on a small section of the wall using a notched trowel.

Step 5: Set the Tiles

  • Place the first tile in the corner as your guide. Use spacers between tiles for even grout lines.
  • Press tiles into the adhesive firmly. Check they are level and aligned.
  • Continue setting tiles row by row. Cut border tiles as needed.

Step 6: Grout the Tiles

  • Let the tile adhesive cure fully per manufacturer’s directions.
  • Apply grout by spreading over the tiles with a grout float or rubber grout.
  • Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge. Rinse sponge frequently.
  • Once grout has dried, use a soft cloth to polish the tile and remove any remaining haze.

Step 7: Seal and Finish

  • Apply a grout sealer per product instructions. This protects the grout from stains.
  • Caulk along the edges if needed to prevent moisture getting behind the tiles.
  • Admire your finished backsplash installation!

Follow these tips and you can DIY a beautiful backsplash that will upgrade your entire kitchen.

Backsplash Tile Patterns and Designs

When selecting a backsplash, the tile layout possibilities are endless. Here are some top backsplash tile patterns to inspire your kitchen’s focal point:

Subway Tile Patterns

Stacking rectangular subway tile vertically creates a classic vintage look. Offset the tiles in a brick laid pattern for interest. Frame with coordinating trim.


Angled rows of rectangular tile set in a V pattern add visual movement. Contrasting grout ties the design together.

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon tiles cover walls in a retro honeycomb pattern that grabs attention. Combine with marble, glass or ceramic tiles.

Freeform Mosaic

Artistic freeform mosaics use small irregularly shaped tiles to form abstract designs. Natural stone and glass are common.


Bold geometric shapes like triangles, chevrons and diagonals make modern statements. Try two-tone designs in contrasting colors.

Moroccan Fish Scale

Overlapping tiles that resemble fish scales offer an artistic global vibe. Use iridescent glass or ceramic tiles.

Penny Round Tiles

Dotted circles of penny tile create retro polka dot flair. Use porcelain, ceramic or glass penny rounds.

Stacked Subway With Accents

Stacking subway tile in a neutral color and adding glass, stone or ceramic accent pieces jazzes up the look.

Novelty Patterns

Make a fun statement with novelty and conversation starting tile like Scrabble letters, sea shells or colored pencils.

Choosing Color for Your Backsplash

The color palette you choose for your backsplash impacts the entire kitchen’s decor. Follow these tips for selecting hues:

Match Your Countertops

Choose backsplash tile in colors that complement your countertops. For granite, select from the same color family. With white quartz, practically any tile color pairs nicely.

Complement Cabinetry

Look at your cabinet finish and hardware to inspire backsplash colors that tie everything together. For example, brass hardware pops against deep blue or emerald tiles.

Contrast Appliances

Use backsplash tile colors to contrast stainless steel or other appliances and make them stand out. For example, bold red tile complements brushed metal.

Factor in Flooring

Keep flooring in mind too. Natural stone or wood floors pair well with organic backsplash colors like tan, brown, beige and cream.

Consider Lighting

The level of natural and ambient lighting impacts how colors show. Lighter tiles work best in dark spaces. Bold dark hues are enhanced by bright light.

Add Your Style

Infuse your personal taste into the backsplash colors. Like modern design? Go bold with brights or metallics. Love all things vintage? Use retro mint green or turquoise.

Backsplash Ideas for Specific Kitchen Looks

Here are backsplash ideas tailored to popular kitchen styles:

Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen

  • White subway tile
  • Reclaimed wood planks
  • Exposed brick backsplash
  • Rustic terracotta tile
  • Woven rattan panels

Modern Kitchen

  • Sleek glass mosaic
  • Glossy ceramic in geometric shapes
  • Polished quartzite or marble stone
  • Graphic metallics like stainless steel
  • Contrasting grout colors

Traditional Kitchen

  • Classic white 3×6 subway tile
  • Beadboard panels
  • Tumbled natural stone like travertine
  • Weathered antique tin tiles
  • Hexagon marble mosaic floor to ceiling

Transitional Kitchen

  • Stacked white subway with marble mosaic accents
  • Peel-and-stick moroccan fish scale tiles
  • Mix of ceramic, glass, and metal tiles
  • Honed limestone running bond tile layout

Cottage Kitchen

  • Vintage collectible subway tile
  • Pastel yellow, seafoam or robin’s egg blue tiles
  • Patterned ceramic tile
  • Painted or distressed tin backsplash panels
  • Recycled glass tiles

Cafe/Bistro Kitchen

  • Rustic terracotta or ceramic tiles
  • Stainless steel “subway”-style tiles
  • Red glass bricks
  • Weathered tin panels
  • Salvaged barnwood

No matter your kitchen style, there is a perfect backsplash tile to make your space look pulled together. Use combinations of shapes, textures and colors to create your signature look.

Smart Planning Tips

  • Install the backsplash last in your kitchen remodel after cabinetry, countertops and appliances are in place. This allows you to match your tile to the full design.
  • Gather tile samples, hold them next to cabinets and countertops, and view in your lighting to get an accurate impression of how they’ll look. Order extra tiles in case repairs are needed later.
  • Hire an experienced tile setter if you want a seamless professional installation. Confirm they know the special techniques for backsplash prep and installation.
  • For a do-it-yourself backsplash, start with a small area like behind the stove. Get the hang of proper tiling techniques before tackling a full wall.
  • Use sanded caulk in coordinating colors along the top and bottom edges for a clean finish that seals the edges to prevent moisture intrusion behind the tile.

Invest time planning the perfect backsplash. This relatively small kitchen element makes a huge visual impact.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Backsplash Questions

Q: What is the most popular backsplash tile?

A: Classic white 3×6 subway