Choosing the perfect backsplash to pair with granite countertops can be a fun yet challenging process. The type of granite, overall kitchen design, budget, and personal style preferences are all important factors to consider when selecting backsplash tiles. Ultimately, the backsplash should beautifully complement the granite rather than compete with it.
When it comes to which backsplash tile goes with granite, there are many excellent options to explore. Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, and slate can make gorgeous backsplashes for granite. Ceramic and porcelain tiles in various colors, shapes, and designs are also suitable pairings. Glass, metal, and mosaic tiles can add a modern, dazzling touch.
Here is an in-depth look at the best backsplash tiles to combine with granite countertops for a seamless, stylish result:
Pairing Natural Stone Tiles with Granite
Using natural stone for both the counters and backsplash creates a cohesive, luxurious look. Stone tiles with veining, speckles, and unique patterns are ideal for showcasing the depth and dimension of granite.
Marble Backsplash Tile
Marble backsplashes are a perfect match for granite. The swirls and movement in the marble complement granite’s speckled patina. Carrara and statuario marblelook especially striking against darker granite slabs. For a more modern vibe, large-format marble subway tiles create crisp lines. Distressed, tumbled marble bricks offer an Old World feel.
Benefits of a Marble Backsplash:
- Timeless, elegant aesthetic
- Endless variety in colors and patterns
- Matches beautifully with polished, shiny granites
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Withstands heat and stains well
With its earthy, rustic charm, travertine tile brings a nice contrast to polished granite countertops. The small holes and textured surface help highlight the smoothness of the granite. For patters, opt for travertine in a brick layout or hexagon mosaic.
Why Travertine Works with Granite:
- Adds natural warmth and casual vibe
- Distressed travertine has an antique appearance
- Works with polished or honed granites
- Durable, handles kitchen heat and spills
- Budget-friendly natural stone option
Slate backsplashes have an undeniably modern, sleek look that pairs beautifully with granite. The grayish-blue hue of slate resonates well with the speckles and veins in granite. Focus the eye upward with a bold grid pattern or staggered brick slate design.
Benefits of Pairing Slate and Granite:
- Modern, sophisticated visual
- Matte finish contrasts nicely with granite’s polish
- Grey-blue slate complements granite’s black flecks
- Holds up well to kitchen usage without cracking
- More affordable than marble or travertine
Ceramic & Porcelain Backsplash Tiles
Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles offer an almost endless array of colors, shapes, prints, and patterns. This allows for creative backsplashes that can pick up on the unique tones and textures in the granite.
Classic white 3×6 subway tiles instantly create a clean, crisp backsplash look. Rows of bright white tiles make the speckles and colors in the granite pop. Subway tiles also come in pastels, bold hues, or dynamic patterns to match the granite.
Reasons Subway Tile Complements Granite:
- Timeless, versatile visual works with any granite
- Affordable and easy to install
- Sleek, minimalist look enhances granite
- Many color options like blue, green, black
- Durable and easy to clean
Tiny mosaic tiles form eye-catching geometric shapes, floral motifs, or abstract designs. Use mosaics in colors lifted from the granite for a cohesive look. Iridescent glass mosaic tiles paired with polished granite create a glamorous statement.
Why Mosaic Tiles Work with Granite:
- Tiny tiles show off granite’s visual texture
- Creatively match mosaic colors to granite tones
- Dimension from tile patterns and shapes
- Modern or classic motifs available
- Durable and water-resistant
Decorative & Accent Tiles
For a playful backsplash, choose decorative tiles with fish, fruit, or floral shapes. Accent tiles with interesting cracks, grout lines, or hand-painted designs combine well with granite. Mix different patterns and textures for lots of visual interest.
Benefits of Using Decorative Accent Tiles:
- Make a bold, unique design statement
- Mix and match shapes, colors, and motifs
- Contrast the tiles textures with the granite
- Work nicely with a colorful polished granite
- Add a fun, lively vibe to the kitchen
Backsplashes with Metal, Glass & Stone Tiles
Shiny metal, glistening glass, and vibrant stone tiles create gorgeous dramatic backsplashes for granite. The light and movement from these tiles play beautifully off the granite colors.
Metal backsplash tiles add brilliant glamour and contemporary style. Stainless steel tiles pick up the grey veining in granite. Copper penny tiles introduce warmth. Brass tiles paired with black granite creates a glitzy, dramatic impact.
Why Metal Tiles Work with Granite:
- Reflective surface enlivens the backsplash
- Metallic shine contrasts beautifully with stone
- Super sleek, modern look
- Many metal colors like copper, nickel, bronze
- Very durable and easy to clean
Glass mesh, brick, and subway tiles bring luminous shine and texture. Use frosted or tinted glass tiles to subtly pick up on granite patterns. Clear glass tiles keep the area light and airy.
Benefits of Glass Backsplashes with Granite:
- Mirrored effect reflects and enhances granite
- Available in every color and finish imaginable
- Textured glass diffuses light beautifully
- Withstands heat, stains, moisture very well
- Can create an illusion of depth
Small stone tiles create visually intriguing granite backsplash designs. Mix different natural stones like travertine, limestone, onyx, quartzite for cascading colors and patterns. Linear stone mosaic stripes make a modern statement.
Why Stone Mosaics Work with Granite:
- Mix of natural stones resonates with granite
- Small tiles show off all the granite details
- Distinct combinations of colors and textures
- Relatively affordable way to get stone backsplash
- Endless pattern options like brick, basketweave, dots
Factors that Influence the Tile Choice
While all of these backsplash tile types can beautifully match granite, the most optimal choice depends on:
Granite Color & Pattern
Backsplash tiles should enhance, not compete with, the granite’s coloring. For example, beige and brown toned tiles suit warm brown granites. Sparkling glass mosaics highlight black galaxy granite. The backsplash tile shouldn’t be so bold or busy that it distracts from the gorgeous granite.
Look at cabinet color and style to select backsplash tiles that provide the best contrast. For instance, bright white subway tiles help lighten and brighten dark wood cabinets. With painted cabinets, pick a tile hue lifted from the cabinet color
Contemporary kitchens tend to lean towards sleeker backsplash looks like large-format porcelain or glass tiles. Old world cottage kitchens do well with handmade cement tiles or tumbled travertine bricks. Always match the backsplash style with the overall kitchen aesthetic.
Natural stone, glass, and metal tiles fall on the pricier end while affordable options include ceramic, porcelain, and mosaic tiles. Know how much you can spend and find the best match for your granite within your budget.
Never underestimate the power of choosing a backsplash tile that simply makes you happy! A backsplash is a great place to add a meaningful pop of color, display tiles with a favorite motif, or create a fun pattern.
By thoughtfully weighing all these factors, you can select beautiful, functional backsplash tiles that perfectly suit your granite countertops.
How to Pick Colors for Granite Backsplashes
One of the keys to making any backsplash and granite combination look cohesive is picking tile colors that coordinate seamlessly with the granite’s complex patterning. Here are some helpful tips on choosing backsplash colors to match granite:
Match the Dominant Color
Look closely at the granite slab to determine the dominant background color. Then find tiles in the same exact hue or one that’s slightly deeper or lighter. Having backsplash tile and granite colors that closely match creates a soothing, blended look.
Selecting tile colors on the opposite side of the color wheel from the main granite color automatically creates an eye-catching visual dynamic while still ensuring the tones work in harmony.
Choosing backsplash tile colors within the same color family or “analogous” to the granite colors maintains a sense of balance. For example, if the granite is mainly tan, use different shades of cream, beige, brown, or terracotta tiles.
Black & White
For a punch of contrast, bold black and crisp white tiles almost always complement granites beautifully. Try combining the two colors for added interest.
Warm metallic backsplash tiles in brass, bronze and copper bring amazing shine and elegance to granites like Ubatuba or Santa Cecilia. Cooler silver and nickel tiles pop against darker black granites.
Soft pastel tiles in shades of blue, green, pink, or purple create a cheerful, vibrant accent to neutral toned granites. Use sparingly to avoid looking overly sweet.
When making your tile and granite color choices, lay out actual samples side-by-side and view them in both natural and artificial light. Trust your eyes to guide you to the most pleasing, harmonious color combinations.
Backsplash Designs that Pair Well with Granite
Now that you’ve selected the perfect granite-matching tiles, it’s time to decide on the backsplash layout and design. Here are some top backsplash designs that look striking with granite:
Subway Tile Layouts
Straight, brick, or stacked subway tile patterns create clean, classic lines on the backsplash. Go for thick grout lines to add distinct separation from the granite. If the granite has strong linear veining, position the subway tiles vertically to complement it.
Choose mosaic tiles that distinctly coordinate with unique granite colors and shapes. Geometric mosaics with triangular, hexagonal, or octagonal tiles paired with heavily patterned granites like Blue Bahia are gorgeous.
Freeform & Irregular Layouts
Backsplashes with organic, irregularly shaped tiles in interesting formations add movement. The lack of formal lines contrasts beautifully with the linear veining found in many granites.
Inlays and Borders
Thin tile borders or geometric inlaid designs perfectly frame the edges of a backsplash and transition nicely to the granite counters. Try mixing marble, glass or ceramic tiles for inlays.
Add hand-painted or intricately carved ceramic tiles as sporadic accents across the backsplash. Scatter beautiful one-of-a-kind tiles amongst coordinating field tiles. Allow them to complement, but not compete with the granite.
Extralarge square, rectangular, or triangular tiles make a contemporary statement. The expansive tiles really highlight the granite’s textural beauty. Polished large-format tiles also reflect light gorgeously.
The design should attractively showcase the gorgeous granite rather than overwhelming it. Let the granite shine by keeping the backsplash relatively simple.
Backsplash Ideas for Popular Granite Colors
Below are backsplash suggestions specially matched to some of the most popular granite colors installed in today’s kitchens:
Backsplash for Uba Tuba Granite
Uba Tuba’s flowing ribbons of rich brown, caramel, and golden brown paired with a backsplash of:
- Tumbled travertine bricks
- Multicolor slate mosaic
- Metallic copper penny tiles
- Creamy beige or brown subway tiles
Backsplash for New Caledonia Granite
New Caledonia’s soft grey background and black, taupe, and silver accents looks amazing with:
- Light gray glass subway tiles
- White marble pencil trim border
- Silver or gray metal mosaic tiles
- Carrara marble herringbone pattern
Backsplash for Kashmir Gold Granite
Kashmir Gold’s exotic white background with vibrant blue, gold and taupe veining works great with:
- Deep blue glass mosaic tiles
- White marble tile with gray veining
- White subway tile with thin taupe stripes
- Frosted sea glass tiles in white and blue
Backsplash for Azul Platino Granite
Azul Platino granite’s stark white field with dramatic blue-grey veining would shine with:
- Blue glass mosaic tiles
- Blue and white Moroccan cement tiles
- White marble herringbone with grey grout
- Frosted silver or nickel metal tiles
Backsplash for Black Pearl Granite
For Black Pearl’s rich black background and faint grey patterning try:
- Black marble brick tiles
- White subway tiles with black grout
- Bold silver or stainless steel tiles
- Geometric grey and white ceramic mosaic
The design possibilities are endless when you thoughtfully pair gorgeous granite with the perfect coordinating backsplash tile materials, colors, and designs.
Installing the Granite and Backsplash
Once you’ve selected the ideal backsplash tiles for your granite countertops, it’s time for installation. Proper installation order and techniques ensure the tiles properly align with the granite. Here’s a quick overview of the process:
Install the Granite First
Always install the granite countertops before tiling the backsplash. The granite provides a level, stable surface to butt the backsplash tiles against for flush alignment. Granite must be completely sealed before applying tiles.
Mark the Tile Layout
Lay out the tile design on the wall with a chalk line to guide installation. This helps tiles join correctly at corners and around switches or outlets. Align the bottom tiles with the granite seamlessly.
Prepare the Surface
To ready the surface, first apply thinset mortar with a notched trowel. Make sure the area is smooth and thoroughly cleaned. Next, spread the thinset evenly over the installation area.
Set & Grout the Tiles
Firmly press tiles into the thinset one row at a time. Use spacers between tiles for consistent grout spacing. Once dry, apply and smooth grout between the tiles. Clean excess grout with a damp sponge.
Seal & Finish
For a finished edge along granite, install bullnose tiles or a coordinating tile trim piece. Caulk edges where the backsplash and granite meet. Lastly, apply a penetrating sealer to the tiles for added protection.
With proper planning and installation, your stunning new granite and tile backsplash will work together in perfect harmony for years to come.
FAQs about Backsplashes with Granite Countertops
Consider these commonly asked questions as you select the ideal backsplash for your new or existing granite:
Which is better: bullnose tile edges or trim along the granite?
This often comes down to personal preference. Bullnose tiles (tiles with one rounded finished edge) provide a smooth transition from wall tiles to granite. Alternatively, materials like marble pencil liners, metal strips, or decorative moldings can trim the edge elegantly while allowing you to use regular square wall tiles.
Should the upper cabinets be installed before tiling the backsplash?
It’s recommended to install upper cabinets prior to tiling. This allows the backsplash tiles to be slipped partially behind the cabinet bottom for better stability and cleaner visual lines.
Can ceramic tiles be used as a backsplash with granite?
Absolutely! Glazed ceramic tiles are an extremely popular choice paired with granite counters. Available in endless colors and patterns, ceramic tiles coordinate beautifully with granite. Just be sure to seal the tiles properly.
Is white subway tile too plain for a granite backsplash?
Not at all! Classic white subway tile actually enhances and highlights the veining in many granites. It creates a crisp, clean contrast and reflects light well. Jazz it up by stacking the tiles or adding thin accent tile borders.
What’s the best way to attach tile above textured granite backsplashes?
Use caution when tiling over deeply textured granites like Taj Mahal quartzite. To fully support the tiles above bumpy areas, first flatten the surface with thinset mortar before applying tile.
How are the joints between granite slabs and the backsplash treated?
Where two pieces of granite and the backsplash meet, seal the joint with flexible silicone caulk, pulling away any grout first. The caulk allows for subtle shifting and prevents moisture issues.
What tile cuts look best against the uneven edges of granite?
Mitered tile edges form sharp ninety-degree angles that don’t always complement the organic edges of granite slabs. Soft broken joints better align with granite’s freeform shapes.
Carefully planning the backsplash design and properly installing the tiles ensures your new granite and tile backsplash combination looks seamless.
The Takeaway on Pairing Granite with Backsplash Tile
Whether you opt for sleek modern porcelain, natural stone, or handmade ceramic tiles, there are endless options to perfectly complement granite countertops. Always keep the unique granite colors and pattern in mind when selecting backsplash materials. Look for tiles with colors pulled from the same palette. The texture and sheen of the tiles should also align with the granite’s aesthetic.
Similarly, keep the overall kitchen design style consistent for tile shapes, motifs and layouts. For a truly harmonious look, thoroughly review tile and granite samples together in the space. With an artful backsplash designed to match flawlessly with the granite, you’ll have a kitchen that’s distinctly yours.