Where to End Kitchen Backsplash


Deciding where to end your kitchen backsplash can be a tricky design choice when renovating or building a new kitchen. The backsplash serves both form and function – protecting the walls from splashes and spills while also providing an opportunity to add style, color, and visual interest. There are a few main options for backsplash end points, each with their own pros and cons. Carefully considering the size and layout of your kitchen can help determine the best place to stop tiling.

Backsplash to the Bottom of Wall Cabinets

Ending the backsplash at the bottom of the wall cabinets is a popular and classic choice. This allows you to protect the wall behind the countertops and sink, which are the highest splatter zones. It also enables you to highlight the wall cabinets by framing them with tile.


  • Protects the busiest part of the back wall from water damage and stains.
  • Creates a polished, built-in look by framing the cabinets in tile.
  • Provides plenty of space for a dramatic or vibrant backsplash tile.
  • More budget-friendly since it requires less tile.


  • Lower portion of the wall behind appliances remains unprotected.
  • Can make the kitchen feel segmented if wall cabinets have less than full coverage.

This traditional backsplash height suits many styles, from modern to traditional. It’s a great option for small or galley kitchens.

Backsplash to the Bottom of the Countertops

Extending tile from countertop to ceiling creates a seamless, integrated look. The backsplash becomes part of the countertops instead of being its own separate accent.


  • Gives a built-in, seamless appearance.
  • Makes kitchen feel more spacious by removing barriers between counters and walls.
  • Protects the entire back wall from floor to ceiling.


  • More expensive due to requiring more tile.
  • Can make a small kitchen feel too busy if bold patterns are used.
  • Provides less flexibility to change up décor later on.

Full height backsplashes work best in contemporary or minimalist kitchens. They can make small spaces feel more expansive.

Backsplash Spanning Entire Wall

For a dramatic statement, tile can extend across the entire back wall from corner to corner. This envelopes the cooking area in tile.


  • Creates a strong focal point and bold visual impact.
  • Gives the opportunity to use large-scale tile patterns.
  • Protects and unifies the entire back wall.


  • Much more tile required, increasing costs.
  • Can make a narrow kitchen feel closed in if dark tiles are used.
  • Limits later flexibility and décor options.

Wrapping an entire wall in tile suits bold, contemporary kitchen styles. The impactful design draws attention to the back wall.

Backsplash Stacked with Window Height

If your back wall contains windows, consider ending the backsplash just below the window sill level. This technique uses the windows as a natural breakpoint.


  • Allows windows to be the upper focal point instead of competing with tile.
  • Provides good protection right where the countertops meet the wall.
  • Feels balanced and integrated since tile aligns tightly with windows.


  • Leaves wall area above counters vulnerable.
  • Can look choppy if there’s a large gap between countertops and windows.

Aligning with windows frames the backsplash as one coherent design zone. The windows then become the accent for the upper portion of the wall.

Consider the Entire Kitchen Design

  • Smaller kitchens should avoid full wall or full height backsplashes which can overwhelm.
  • Contemporary designs suit full height backsplashes for an integrated look.
  • Classic kitchens look best with backsplash terminating at cabinet bottom.
  • Backsplashes that span multiple walls work well for open, expansive kitchens.
  • Make sure tile color and style complements countertops and cabinetry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Popular options include ending at cabinet bottom, countertop bottom, or full wall span.
  • Window placement can dictate stopping tile just below sill level.
  • Small galley kitchens look best with backsplash ending at wall cabinets.
  • Contemporary kitchens suit full height backsplashes for a seamless look.
  • Consider how high you need splash protection based on cooking habits.
  • Decorative tile choice impacts the ideal stopping point aesthetically.

Deciding where to end a backsplash significantly impacts the style, function and budget of your kitchen. Carefully weigh the options to determine the best stopping point for your space and needs.