When designing (or redesigning) a kitchen, you really have three elements to play with: your cabinets, your countertops, and your backsplash. More often than not, your cabinets and countertops will get most of the attention, and this makes sense. After all, they’re the largest and most functional elements in your space. But, since your backsplash is that final piece that’ll bring your space together, it deserves a fair amount of care and attention, too.
If you’ve never heard the phrase “kitchen backsplash” before, rest assured knowing the concept isn’t that complicated. A kitchen backsplash is an easy-to-clean surface that sits behind your sink and/or your stove to protect your walls from splashes. It can be crafted from a range of different materials, though it’s typically lined with tiles or marble. Just like your countertops and cabinets, it can add a dose of statement-making style to your space.
Your backsplash can serve as a pop of color, print, or texture, or it can simply help you unite the other aesthetic elements in your space. In short, kitchen backsplash ideas abound—and we’ve rounded up 51 worth adding to your library of interior design inspo below.
Color-Coordinate the Backsplash and Island
Committing to a backsplash palette can be tough. So, why not stick with the palette you already have? Look to other statement-makers in your space—like your kitchen island—and let them inspire your color choices. To keep your palette crisp, choose a backsplash color that matches your island exactly. Or switch things up by choosing a slightly different shade.
Add a Pop of Print to Your Space
The easiest way to make a statement with your backsplash? Stock up on printed tiles. Choose a pattern that suits your home’s aesthetic, and opt for a palette that’s exactly as bold as you want it to be. Even a soft peach backsplash can make a statement when it’s the only print in your space.
Stick to Simply Painted Wood Paneling
Tiles may be a popular backsplash option, but they’re not your only option. Other materials can look just as striking, and since they’re less expected, they’re bound to make a statement.
Consider what you want your backsplash to feel like, and ask yourself whether tiles are the best way to get there. If you’re craving something matte, textured, and minimalist, white-painted wood paneling may be a better bet.
Match Your Grout to Your Tiles
When most of us hear the word “grout,” we envision a pasty off-white substance. But the truth is, grout doesn’t have to be off-white. It comes in a veritable rainbow of colors—and it also comes in striking neutrals, like charcoal and black. If you want to create a wall of color that’s uninterrupted—even by your grout—consider snagging grout in a shade that matches your backsplash tiles.
DIY Your Own Backsplash Pattern
Tiles come in an array of prints and patterns, but if you’re struggling to find a set that suits your space just right, remember that you can always craft a pattern of your own. Tilted subway tiles can quickly become a zigzag—especially when they’re flanked by triangular tiles in a contrasting shade.
Trade Rectangles for Squares
Most backsplash tiles are rectangular, but that doesn’t mean yours have to be. Simply trading rectangular tiles for square ones can add visual interest to your backsplash—even if the tiles you choose are subtle and neutral.
Paint Everything but Your Backsplash
Adding a pop of color with your backsplash is a popular choice, but you can create the same effect by painting everything around your backsplash, instead. If your cabinets, walls, and range hood are lined with striking forest green, your crisp white backsplash is sure to stand out.
And if you want to create continuity, you can always match your countertops to your backsplash.
Choose Tiles With Texture
Color, pattern, and shape aren’t the only elements you can play with when stocking up on tiles—texture is also on the menu. If you find yourself torn between an elegant marble backsplash and a more classic tile-lined one, rest assured knowing you can have your cake and eat it too: stock up on marble tiles.
Set the Scene With Wallpaper
Patterned tiles can be a great way to switch up your backsplash. But, if you’d prefer a lower-effort upgrade that can deliver the same visual impact, consider lining your walls with printed wallpaper, instead. Plus, if you opt for peel-and-stick wallpaper, you can swap out your backsplash as often as you’d like.
Add Shine With Iridescent Tiles
Most glazed ceramic tiles are glossy, but if you want a backsplash that’s next-level shiny, consider investing in a set of iridescent tiles. There are options available in every shade of the rainbow, so it shouldn’t be tough to find a set that suits your palette.
Paint Your Walls a Striking Color
One easy way to transform your backsplash? Paint it. By covering your walls in a striking color, you can create the illusion of a backsplash without tackling a full-blown renovation. Just be sure to choose a shade that will complement the kitchenware you plan to put on display.
Commit to a Bold Pattern
There’s no denying it: If you want a statement-making backsplash, bold tiles are sure to deliver it. Snag a striking pattern in a palette of your choosing.
If you want to temper the intensity of your backsplash, we recommend sticking with a neutral color scheme and painting your cabinets to match.
Turn Your Tiles Sideways
Rectangular backsplash tiles run in the same direction most of the time: the shorter end runs up and down, while the longer end runs from side to side. So, one simple way to make a statement is to invert this expectation and let your tiles run the other way. You can do this with any tile color or texture, but you need rectangular tiles to pull it off.
Give Your Backsplash a Border
Looking for a way to draw attention to your backsplash? Line it with two kinds of tiles. Designate one set to cover the bulk of the backsplash, then use the other to create a built-in frame around your backsplash. By choosing tiles in similar shades but different sizes, you should be able to create the visual contrast you want without sacrificing subtlety.
Add Warmth With Off-White Tiles
White tiles may seem overdone in the backsplash space, but off-white tiles are decidedly underrated. They can be a great way to warm up white walls without jeopardizing your carefully curated color scheme.
Merge Your Backsplash With Your Countertops
Your backsplash and your countertops don’t have to be separate entities. If you’re looking for a way to create cohesion in your space, consider crafting your backsplash from the same material as your countertops.
Create a Pop of Color
Pops of color can be a great way to make your space look more dynamic, and your backsplash is an excellent candidate for a vibrant shade. Paint it a bright color or line it with striking tiles—either way, you’re in for a show-stopper.
Plan Your Tile Layout
Once you’ve picked out your tiles and your grout, you may think you’re ready for an install, but that’s not quite true. Before you affix your tiles to your wall, you should know how you want to lay them out.
You could keep things classic by placing the center of one tile under the seam of two others, or you could introduce some serious order to your space by keeping your seams consistent.
Line Your Backsplash With Fabric
Looking for a non-obvious way to add color and texture to your walls? Consider lining them with fabric. Fabric can be applied to your walls nearly the same way wallpaper can. And it’s sure to add a pop of luxury to any wall it touches.
Layer Two Striking Textures
Remember that your backsplash doesn’t exist in a vacuum: it’s interacting with all the other textures in your space. So, choose a backsplash that can hold its own against the boldest elements in the room.
A white marble backsplash will add contrast to a kitchen filled with dark-stained wood cabinets. And since both materials share organic striations, it should add a touch of cohesion, too.
Add a New Color to Your Palette
If you want to ensure your backsplash stands out, use it to introduce a new color to your palette. Cover your backsplash in an accent color that appears nowhere else in your home. This unexpected approach is sure to leave you with a show-stopper—even if the color you choose is relatively neutral.
Make a Subtle Statement With Textured White Tiles
Statement-making backsplashes tend to boast bold prints or vibrant colors, but these aren’t your only options. Textured tiles can look just as striking, and if you snag a set in a crisp, unassuming white, you can end up with a backsplash that looks versatile from far away—and truly special up close.
Let Your Windows Be Your Backsplash
If you’ve been blessed with a window-lined kitchen, make the most of it: let one of your windows be your backsplash. Glass is a hardy material, so it should be just as easy to clean as classic backsplash tiles, and a window should give you the same visual separation you’d get from a more traditional backsplash.
Pair Light Tiles With Dark Grout
Searching for a way to make classic white backsplash tiles a little more statement-making? Pair them with dark grout. The contrast should make your backsplash even more eye-catching than it already is, and it’ll add some welcome texture to your kitchen.
Let Your Backsplash Run From Ceiling to Countertop
Choosing what material to use for your backsplash is one major decision. Another? How big to make your backsplash. Backsplashes can be confined to one small area, or they can sprawl across your kitchen, running from ceiling to countertop and from wall to wall.
Of course, covering your walls with any material is going to be an investment. But, the design choice is bound to make a statement—especially if you spring for a boldly colored, printed, or textured material.
Buy the Same Tile in Different Colors
Remember that your backsplash doesn’t have to be just one color. By snagging the same tile in a few different shades, you can piece together a multicolored backsplash, creating your own print from the varied tiles.
Snag a Freestanding Backsplash
Not drawn to the idea of a full-blown reno? No problem. You can buy a freestanding backsplash and mount it on your wall. This approach can be particularly great if you want a backsplash with a unique shape.
Curves may be hard to pull off with tiles, but with a freestanding slab of marble, they should be no problem at all.
Try a Retro Zigzag Layout
When deciding how to lay out your tiles, don’t be afraid to get playful. Grid-like layouts may be popular, but they’re not your only options. If you’re looking for a layout that’s a little more fun and dynamic, consider a zigzag pattern like chevron or herringbone.
Both layouts can add serious visual interest to your space, and since both date back to ancient civilizations, you can rest assured knowing they’re timeless rather than trendy.
Match Your Backsplash to Your Cabinets
Monochromatic palettes may be minimal, but they certainly know how to make a statement. If you want your space to feel straightforward but striking, consider matching your backsplash to your cabinets.
The two don’t need to match exactly—even monochromatic design makes space for tonal differences. And if you want to make the biggest impact possible, make sure the color runs from ceiling to floor.
Let Your Floors Steal the Show
A backsplash crafted from white subway tiles may feel overdone, but there are still plenty of interesting ways to use the accent. One of them? Pair your classic white backsplash with boldly tiled floors.
Your subtle subway tiles will add balance to your space, keeping the attention where it belongs: on your stunning floors. And if you want your space to feel even more harmonious, you can make some of your bold floor tiles the same crisp white as your subway tiles.
Sprinkle in Your Accent Color
If there’s an accent color in your palette, your backsplash can be a great place to highlight it. That doesn’t have to mean stocking up on colorful tiles. Instead, it can mean snagging tiles that have bits of your accent color in them.
These subtle nods to your palette should make your backsplash look more interesting and your space feel more cohesive.
Make the Most of Exposed Brick
Backsplashes can be made from a variety of different materials, and if the area behind your stove is already lined with exposed brick—or some other similarly striking material—embrace it. Instead of covering the built-in accent with tiles or paint, leave it as is—and revel in the fact that you got a statement-making backsplash without renovating a thing.
Write a Mosaic Message
Any time you’re decorating with tiles, you have an opportunity to create a mosaic. You can, of course, craft a stunning image, or you can simply write a tongue-in-cheek message on your wall.
Spring for a Mixed Tile Set
When shopping for a backsplash tileset, it may feel like you have to choose between homogeneity and overwhelm. Tiles either match each other perfectly or vary tremendously. But, rest assured knowing a middle ground does exist.
Mixed tile sets boast matching tiles that vary slightly in shade, giving you that dynamic visual texture you’re looking for—without making your space look unwieldy.
Color-Coordinate Your Hardware
If you want your backsplash to look even sleeker than it already does, consider letting your hardware in on the fun. By matching necessities like switch plate covers, faucets, and appliances to your backsplash, you can create an interrupted line of color in your space.
Build Two Different Backsplashes
Depending on how your kitchen is structured, you may not have to stick to just one backsplash. If your sink and your stove sit on different walls, you can craft backsplashes for both of them—and each can look a little different.
This is great news for anyone struggling to choose between different backsplash options. You can line your sink’s backsplash with tiles and your stove’s with marble.
To keep your space cohesive, you can always render both in similar colors.
Pair Dark With Light
Backsplashes are often light or colorful, but darker backsplashes can work just as well. If your kitchen is filled with light floors, light walls, and light cabinets, consider letting your backsplash serve as a counterpoint. A charcoal marble backsplash may read too dark in a darker kitchen, but it’s sure to offer some welcome contrast in a lighter one.
Add Detail With Super-Skinny Tiles
If you love the look of a backsplash with a grid-like layout, consider trading your classic subway tiles for super-skinny options, instead. These narrower tiles will form even more gridlines, making your orderly layout more dramatic and intricate.
Match Your Backsplash to Your Walls
When designing a backsplash, many of us go for the obvious: we want our backsplashes to stand out. But, design a backsplash that fits into your space, and you could end up with something just as striking.
Instead of using your backsplash as a pop of color, consider matching it to one of the most prominent colors in your space, like the paint color lining your walls. This consistency in color should leave your kitchen feeling incredibly sleek—especially if you let your countertops in on the fun, too.
Pair Bold Countertops With an Even Bolder Backsplash
If your countertops are incredibly bold, you may feel tempted to keep your backsplash subdued. After all, you don’t want to overwhelm your space with statement-making accents. But the truth is, your kitchen can probably handle more than just one show-stopper.
Consider pairing your striated marble countertops with an eye-catching patterned backsplash. Add cohesion by keeping your palette consistent from accent to accent, and pair prints that are different enough from each other to look distinct.
Take a Risk on an Unexpected Color
Colors like mint green and royal blue are popular in kitchens, so naturally, they’re popular in backsplashes, too. But that’s no reason to write off some of the more underrated colors in the rainbow. If you want your backsplash to stand out, don’t just pick the boldest color you can find—pick an unexpected color you feel drawn to. Even subtler colors, like mauve, can make a statement, thanks to their rarity in the design world.
Let Your Backsplash Double as a Shelf
Storage is a must in any kitchen, so why not let your backsplash do double-duty? Opt for a shorter backsplash that sits above your countertops, and snag an option with a built-in shelf. Even if the shelf is fairly shallow, you should be able to use it to store smaller kitchen necessities—and maybe even to display art.
Mix and Match Different Tile Sets
If you simply can’t choose between two striking tile sets, forgo the choice and buy both. Use one set to create an accent backsplash behind your stove or your sink, and use the other to line the walls above your countertops.
Assemble an Uneven Surface
Tiles tend to be pretty sleek and flat, but they certainly don’t have to be. If you’re looking for a subtle way to add texture to your backsplash, consider snagging a set of unevenly sculpted ceramic tiles.
For ultimate impact, place these tiles as close together as possible. The proximity will highlight the differences between the tiles, drawing the eye, in particular, to the bits that jut out.
Keep Your Backsplash and Your Shelves Uniform
It can be hard to commit to a backsplash that runs from ceiling to countertop, especially if that backsplash isn’t white. But, if you’re looking for ways to cut down on visual clutter, consider matching your kitchen shelves to your backsplash. This color continuity should make your kitchen feel more open and spacious, without forcing you to sacrifice storage space.
Segment Your Space With a Strip of Marble
One easy way to create the illusion of a backsplash? Mount a strip of marble—or some other material—on your wall. Hang the strip a few inches above your sink (about where you’d want your backsplash to end). Then, leave the rest of your space as is.
That simple addition should give you the appearance of a backsplash, and depending on how far it juts out, it might give you an extra shelf to take advantage of, too.
Add Interest With Triangular Tiles
Unusual tiles can be tough to decorate with, so it’s little surprise that most of us stick with classic rectangular options. But, if you want the flexibility of classic tiles and the visual interest of unusual ones, all hope isn’t lost.
Triangular tiles bridge this gap perfectly. They’re less obvious than classic rectangular subway tiles, but since they combine to form squares, they’re incredibly easy to decorate with.
Piece Together a Two-Tone Backsplash
No one said your backsplash had to be just one color—or made from just one material. By segmenting your backsplash just below your range hood, you can create two separate backsplash areas, which can work together to form a two-tone whole.
Turn Heads With a Metallic Tiles
Look long enough, and you’ll stumble upon some seriously statement-making tiles. (Think: tiles so metallic they could double as mirrors.) These bold options may not be easy to decorate with, but they’re sure to pack an aesthetic punch.
Leave Your Walls Exactly as They Are
Perhaps the boldest decision of all is to forgo the backsplash entirely. Of course, this choice won’t work in every aesthetic. But, if your kitchen is so incredibly minimalist that your cabinets don’t even have handles, then favoring crisp white walls over a textured backsplash might make sense.