Kitchen Backsplash Ideas & Tips

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Design Concept

Your kitchen backsplash can be as artistic as it is practical. Ranging between four inches and two feet high, backsplashes are commonly placed behind sinks, stoves, and countertops to prevent walls from becoming messy from dirt, grease, and spills. They are easy to clean and keep clean so that grime and mildew do not become a problem in your kitchen.

In addition to its practical functions, a backsplash can help you expand upon your overall kitchen design and theme. Instead of installing a basic functional backsplash, you can experiment with different colors, materials, textures, and patterns. You can even create unique designs, artwork, and mosaics. Choose from prefabricated designs, or create custom configurations.

When you build your backsplash, make sure that you select a material that coordinates with the rest of your kitchen. Be sure to consider your cabinets, appliances, lighting, and overall décor. Avoid using porous or unglazed materials in areas where food is likely to splatter since these surfaces may be difficult to clean and prone to permanent stains.

Materials

You can create a kitchen backsplash using a variety of materials. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are popular options, while marble and glass tile are possibilities for people with generous budgets and more money to spend. All materials will have their benefits and drawbacks, and some will enable more creativity than others. Check out the suggestions below for a quick introduction to the different options available.

Glass Tile Backsplash Ideas

Glass tiles are ideal for people who need a balance between practicality, flexibility, and creativity. These types of tiles are available in a variety of colors and shapes, so it is possible to experiment with collages, patterns, and designs. For backsplashes, it is advisable to select glass tile pieces that are relatively small so that the weight and pressure can be evenly distributed across the entire surface.

You can use small pieces to create unique mosaics and patterns. If you need structure, prefabricated designs are available to serve as a guide. If you want complete creativity and freedom to design something unique, you can create your own collage from scratch. Just make sure that you map out your plan ahead of time since you won't be able to erase any mistakes that you make. If you feel uncomfortable completing the project yourself, you may choose to hire a professional. It may also help to select tiles with irregular shapes as opposed to streamlined geometric patterns.

Tin Backsplash Ideas

Tin backsplashes are attractive options for a variety of kitchen themes. They are available in a variety of colors and designs with three-dimensional embossed patterns. Example colors include white, brown, bronze, black, red, yellow, green, purple, blue, silver, and more.

Tin backsplashes prevent moisture from accumulating on the kitchen walls, and they can withstand high temperatures. They are easy to clean with basic supplies such as soap and water.

Tile Backsplash Ideas

Ceramic and porcelain tile backsplashes are among the most popular options because they are easy to clean and maintain. You can customize patterns and color combinations, and some tiles even come with artistic designs. It's possible to simulate a painting or work of art with porcelain and ceramic tiles.

You can select tiles to accent the edges on your wall, or you can select tiles to cover the entire space of your backsplash. No matter what you choose, tile backsplashes provide a simplified way to make your kitchen appear elegant.

Tiles are ideal for backsplashes because they are easy to sanitize with basic cleaning supplies. You can easily clean food, mildew, and dirt with basic soap and water. One of the main drawbacks of selecting tiles is that they can break easily, especially if you bump into your backsplash with heavy pots and pans.

Natural Stone Backsplash Ideas

Natural stone is an attractive and environmentally friendly option for your backsplash. Depending on the size of your space, you can find stone backsplashes for under $1,000. Experiment with textures, shapes, colors, patterns, and finishes to give your kitchen an elegant aesthetic. If you use marble, for example, consider working with diamond shaped tiles with a crisscross pattern. Mix and match colors and shades to create gradients for your kitchen's natural look.

One of the drawbacks of a natural stone backsplash is that it stains easily and is difficult to clean. Stone is very porous, and over time, moisture may accumulate and cause mold and bacteria to grow. You may need to hire a professional to seal the stone on an annual basis. If you install a stone backsplash, make an effort to keep it clean.

Wooden Backsplash Ideas

Wooden backsplashes are less common, but they have the potential to make your space look incredibly elegant. If you have a country-themed kitchen for example, you may decide that a wooden backsplash is your best option. Wood can be cut into flat slabs to fit on your kitchen wall as a backsplash. If you have a butcher's block countertop, you may want to install a coordinating wooden backsplash using a thick slab. If you create a wooden backsplash, you'll need to inspect it regularly to make sure that the finish is intact. Without a sealant, wooden backsplashes can become damaged very quickly, and splattered food can easily become a permanent stain. There are many sealants that are available on the market today. Polythurene is an example, and is one of the best ways to protect a wooden backsplash.

Keep in mind that wood changes size with temperature. When it is warm, wood will expand, and when it is cold, wood contracts. This behavior is directly related to the molecular properties of wood.

Lighting Backsplash Ideas

Optimize your kitchen lighting to illuminate your kitchen backsplash. Lower-level under-mount cabinet lighting can be used to highlight the design of a backsplash. Consider investing in lighting with adjustable dimness for maximum control over your kitchen's look and feel. If your backsplash is made from a material such as wood, ceramic tile, or glass tile, it may have a glossy and luminous finish. On the other hand, matte materials will not reflect light and will not appear shiny. The type of finish that you select may affect the luminosity of your kitchen backsplash.

Last Updated: March 22, 2012
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for Investopedia.com's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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