White subway tile is as timeless as it comes and not going out of style anytime soon, but that doesn't mean you should settle for "classic." We're all about kitchens with character . . . and in a place as informal as they come, why not have a little fun? Luckily, the latest trends in backsplashes offer just that.
Whether your aesthetic is minimalist Scandinavian or Upper East Side chic, there's a sexy tile to suit you. If you don't like the geometry -- or grout lines -- of repeated tile, consider a whole slab of marble on your walls -- or both your walls and
countertops. A sheet of metal is another option with a seamless effect. Read below to hear what materials are trending in the chicest kitchens.
Photographs: Victoria Pearson for House Beautiful, Eric Piasecki for House Beautiful, William Abranowicz for Elle Decor, Templeton Architecture, T Magazine, Staffan Johansson for WSJ, Better Homes & Gardens, Ashley Whittaker Design, Keller + Keller for New England Home, Remodelista, Design*Sponge
||The Trend: Honed Calacatta Marble
Why We Love It: More rare than the much-sought-after Carrara marble, Calacatta marble is white with bolder, more dramatic veining. Meanwhile, honed marble lacks the shininess and reflective qualities of polished marble. Together the duo of the marble and its finish have a luxurious yet rustic and laidback look that's very à la mode and perfect for a casual setting like a kitchen.
To Try: Carmelstone Imports, find a local dealer
||The Trend: Burnished Glass Tile
Why It Works: These mirror-esque tiles make for a statement backsplash if we ever saw one, and who doesn't love bravery? These bold disco tiles are best balanced by more pastoral furnishings and accessories; look for an old farmhouse table or some Windsor chairs for an intriguing juxtaposition.
To Try: Thyssen Tile, $23/sq. ft., GlassTileSelect
The Trend: Stainless Steel
Why It Works: Stainless steel may feel a little clinical, but mixed with the right materials, it's just the thing to usher your home into the "20-teens." Here, organic butcher-block countertops, modern geometric hexagonal tiles, and steel form an unbeatable trio.
To Try: Stainless Steel Backsplash, $52, Build.com
||The Material: Patterned Cement Tile
Why It Works: We've made it known that we love patterned cement tiles, but the backsplash might just be one of our favorite places for it. At eye level, it's a feast for the eyes, and with every color under the sun available in these tiles, it's a beautiful way to bring attention to other colors in your home.
To Try: Ambrose Cement Tile, from $7, Villa Lagoon Tile
||The Material: Unlacquered Brass
Why It Works: Brass is having a major heyday in accessories and furniture, so its no surprise to see that trickle over into finishes. Kelly Wearstler did it up beautifully for her client Cameron Diaz with matching brass-trimmed cabinetry. We're prepared to see this everywhere for years to come -- pretty please.
To Try: Waterworks, made to order