Where to End Backsplash on Open Wall

Having an open wall in your kitchen provides a stylish, airy feel. Deciding where to end the backsplash on an open wall requires careful planning to achieve the right aesthetic. Here are some tips on determining the best stopping point for your open wall backsplash.


An open wall, also called a pony wall, in a kitchen stops partway up from the countertops, leaving an open area above before reaching the ceiling. This creates a light, modern look and makes the space feel more open.

The backsplash protects the wall from splashes and spills. On an open wall, the backsplash typically extends from the countertops up to the bottom of the open wall. Determining the right stopping point for the backsplash is key for both form and function.

Where to End Backsplash on Open Wall

Backsplash to Bottom of Open Wall

The most common approach is to end the backsplash at the bottom of the open wall. This provides splash protection for the entire prep and cook zone. Visually, it grounds the backsplash and provides a finished look.

Ending at the open wall bottom creates a clear delineation between the backsplash and wall area above. It gives a balanced, proportional appearance that works well in contemporary and traditional kitchens alike.

This traditional look remains popular. The backsplash and lower cabinets form a unified base zone, with the open wall above taking on a lighter, airier quality.

Backsplash Extended Above Open Wall

For a more contemporary, seamless aesthetic, the backsplash can extend above the open wall line. This makes the backsplash a dominant feature on the wall rather than just a utilitarian surface.

Backsplashes made of metal, stone, or glass tiles work especially well extended above the open wall. The sleek, continuous surface becomes an impactful design element.

When debating how far to extend the backsplash above the open wall, consider the overall wall height and kitchen proportions. Don’t extend too far up that it clashes with the wall area or overwhelms the space.

Backsplash Aligns with Cabinets

Another option is to end the backsplash aligning with your upper cabinets rather than the open wall. This creates a unified line across the whole kitchen perimeter.

If the upper cabinets are much higher than the open wall, this can give a cleaner, less disjointed look than ending at different spots. The continuous backsplash line adds to the cohesion.

Make sure to leave enough open wall showing for the desired open, airy aesthetic. Aligning with extremely tall upper cabinets could minimize the pony wall effect.

Factors to Consider

When deciding where to stop backsplash on an open wall, keep these factors in mind:

  • Overall kitchen proportions – Balance backsplash height with room size.
  • Cabinetry heights – Consider aligning backsplash with lower or upper cabinets.
  • Function – Ensure proper splash protection for prep zones.
  • Visual flow – Create a smooth transition from backsplash to open wall.
  • Materials – Factor how different surfaces and patterns play together.
  • Personal style – Contemporary, traditional, or a mix?

Expert Tips for Open Wall Backsplash

  • Extend backsplash 6-12 inches above open wall for a streamlined look.
  • Add floating shelves or open cubbies on open wall to tie spaces together.
  • Use same materials on backsplash and open wall for a cohesive aesthetic.
  • Consider how backsplash color and pattern interact with wall paint or wallpaper.
  • Lightly sand the transition edge between backsplash and open wall to blur the line.
  • Size upper cabinets to allow enough open wall space for visual balance.
  • Carry same backsplash tile up several courses above open wall to frame the space.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Ending backsplash randomly rather than relating it to cabinetry or overall design.
  • Extending backsplash too high above open wall resulting in a disproportionate look.
  • Allowing too little open wall space by building upper cabinets too low.
  • Creating a harsh, abrupt line between backsplash and open wall materials.
  • Letting function solely dictate design without considering backsplash visual impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should backsplash end at bottom of open wall or extend above?

This depends on your desired look. Ending at the open wall bottom is traditional, while extending up is more contemporary. Take into account kitchen proportions and style.

How far above open wall should backsplash extend?

As a general rule, 6-12 inches above the open wall bottom helps continue the backsplash impact without overwhelming the space. Consider kitchen scale.

Should open wall have same material as backsplash?

Using the same material, like tile, helps unite the spaces visually. But contrasting materials like tile and paintwork well too. Just transition smoothly between the two.

What about open wall backsplash when no upper cabinets?

Without upper cabinets, aligning the backsplash endpoint is harder. Keeping it proportionate with countertop height is a safe bet. Let overall kitchen scale guide you.

How do I create smooth backsplash/open wall transition?

Lightly sanding the edge helps blur the transition line. Using a coordinating caulk color between the two also minimizes seams. Continuing backsplash tile up a few courses helps too.


The open wall backsplash decision impacts both aesthetics and function in your kitchen. Carefully weigh design aspects like materials, color, and proportions along with practical factors such as prep zones and cabinetry. Blending your personal style with expert tricks can help you achieve the ideal finishing point and gorgeous, cohesive look. With an artful, well-planned backsplash, your open wall will elevate your kitchen’s style exponentially.