Move Over, Subway Tile: These 27 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas Are Anything But Ordinary

A kitchen with a black and white tiled backsplash and striking marble countertops

Tyler Karu

A bold backsplash can easily become the focal point of your kitchen. If you’ve never heard of a backsplash before, rest assured knowing it’s exactly what it sounds like: a panel that lives behind your sink or your stove to protect your walls from splashes. 

This panel can be restricted to its given area, or it can extend around your kitchen. Since it can be rendered in an array of different colors, prints, and materials, there are all kinds of ways to make your kitchen backsplash look bold and unique.

Ahead, you’ll find 27 unique—and ridiculously stylish—kitchen backsplash ideas worth trying in your own space.

01 of 27

Take a Risk on a Bold Pattern

A kitchen with gray cabinets and a boldly tiled backsplash

Reena Sotropa

Your backsplash is a great place to make a statement. If you find yourself drawn to a bold tile pattern, take a risk and try the tiles in your space. You can always order samples and reverse course if they don’t look quite the way you thought they would.

If you’re worried about overwhelming your kitchen, stick to a simple palette—just be sure to consider the colors of your cabinets and your countertops as you do.

A series of blue and white printed tiles you can buy at Home Depot
Home Depot Merola Tile Harmonia Kings Tile $7.98/square foot
Shop
02 of 27

Make the Most of Your Space

A small kitchenette with a backsplash lined with forest green tiles

Arbor & Co.

Your space is never too small to have fun with. Even if you’re navigating a teeny-tiny kitchenette, you can make room for a bold backsplash.

Choose a set of tiles you love and outfit your space in them. If you want to make the room feel more spacious, let the tiles run from ceiling to countertop, as this will draw the eye upward and create the illusion of more space.

03 of 27

Play With Color

A kitchen with a light blue backsplash and royal blue island

Cathie Hong

Looking to bring color into your space? Let your backsplash expand your palette. You can match it to your island, or choose a contrasting color. As long as the shade suits your space and everything that’s already in it, you should have a pretty palette on your hands.

A series of light blue tiles you can buy at Bedroisians Tile & Stone
Bedrosians Tile & Stone Cloe Baby Blue Ceramic Tile $6.99/square foot
Shop
04 of 27

Embrace Tiles With Texture

A kitchen with blue cabinets and a marble tiled backsplash

Bespoke Only

Colorful tiles aren’t the only bold options on offer—textured tiles can be just as fun to play with. Look for tiles made from a sleek material like marble, as these tiles come with built-in visual texture and will surely add dimension to your space without feeling quite as loud as a vibrant shade or a striking pattern.

05 of 27

Try a Surprising Material

A kitchen with sage green cabinets and a backsplash lined with black wood panels

Design: Mindy Gayer, Photo: Vanessa Lentine

Your backsplash doesn’t have to be lined with tiles. If you’re craving something a little more surprising, try a wood-paneled backsplash, instead. The material will add texture and warmth to your space.

Since you can customize the wood panels by painting or staining them, you can rest assured knowing they’ll fit right into your space.

06 of 27

Make a Subtle Statement

A kitchen with ash gray wood cabinets and a backsplash lined with shiny white tiles

Design: Sandra Fox Interiors, Photo: Amy Bartlam

Bold backsplashes are great, but there are plenty of ways to make a subtler statement that is still unique.

If you’ve curated a minimalist kitchen, let your backsplash in on the fun. Your wooden cabinets and marble countertops would look great next to some sleek white tiles, and if you want your backsplash to feel a touch more dynamic, you can always dial up the sheen on your tiles.

07 of 27

Set the Tone in Your Space

A wet bar with a boldly tiled backsplash

Pure Salt Interiors

Your backsplash is one of the first things you’ll see every time you walk into your kitchen, so make sure it establishes the mood you want it to. If your kitchen was designed with entertaining in mind, set the tone with a backsplash that feels bold and fun. And of course, be sure to cement that mood with every accent piece you add.

A series of printed tiles you can buy at Home Depot
Home Depot Merola Tile King Rombos Tile $7.58/square foot
Shop
08 of 27

Spring for an Unusual Shade

A kitchen lined with mauve tiles

Jessica Nelson Design

Blue, black, and white backsplashes are abound, but there are plenty of other options on offer. Consider featuring a slightly less obvious shade in your space.

Mauve might not have been the first color that came to mind when you thought “kitchen,” but the shade will look great next to crisp white countertops and warm wooden accents. And if purple just isn’t resonating with you, rest assured knowing there are tons of other surprising shades to choose from.

09 of 27

Play With Your Tile Placement

A kitchen with mint green cabinets and a boldly tiled backsplash

Design: D. L. Rhein, Photo: Amy Bartlam

Most of the time when you see a backsplash, it’s behind a sink. But, if it doesn’t make sense to put yours there, remember that you don’t have to.

Your backsplash could just as easily live behind your stove, giving you a chance to showcase some seriously pretty tiles without forcing you to rework your space.

10 of 27

Layer Texture on Texture

A kitchen with a black and white tiled backsplash and striking marble countertops

Tyler Karu

Once you’ve committed to a striking backsplash, you may feel like your kitchen can’t handle any more bold décor. But the truth is, it probably can. A patterned backsplash can look surprisingly great next to high-contrast marble countertops, as seen here.

If things start to feel unwieldy, constrain your palette and stick to a few shades that are easy on the eye.

Black and white geometric kitchen tiles you can buy at TileBar
TileBar Mezzo Brava Polished Marble Mosaic $39.95/square foot
Shop
11 of 27

Try an Iridescent Backsplash

A kitchen with blue cabinets and an iridescent backsplash

Studio Peake

One very underrated way to craft a statement-making backsplash? Spring for iridescent tiles. Though the shiny tiles are available in a variety of colors, some of the prettiest options come in sleek whites and grays.

These high-sheen neutrals will fit seamlessly into your space, and they’ll offer your kitchen a welcome dose of visual texture.

12 of 27

Invert Expectations

A kitchen with a backsplash lined with white tiles and a kitchen island lined with printed tiles

Blue Copper Design

Fun kitchen tiles are supposed to go on your backsplash, right? But who’s to say they can’t line your kitchen island, instead?

If you’ve found two sets of tiles you absolutely love, consider inverting expectations by lining your backsplash with the subtler tiles and saving the statement-making tiles for your island. This surprising choice is sure to make a statement, plus, it’ll free up some visual space along your countertops.

13 of 27

Play With Pops of Print

An all-white kitchen with a black and white tiled backsplash

Katie Hodges Design

Pops of color are popular, but why not add a pop of print, instead? If your kitchen is particularly sleek and simple, consider using your backsplash to shake things up.

With a few thoughtfully chosen tiles, you can introduce a new pattern to your space, and even if you leave everything else as is, your brand new backsplash is sure to leave your space feeling transformed.

14 of 27

Try Out a Narrower Tile

A kitchen with mint cabinets and narrow backsplash tiles

Cathie Hong

Most kitchen backsplash tiles are relatively large and rectangular, so you can make a statement simply by choosing a narrower option. There are tons of long, thin tiles out there—and they look particularly great when organized neatly. Find a shade that suits your space and stock up.

15 of 27

Make Space for Your Statement-Makers

A kitchen with shiny bronze backsplash tiles

LeClair Decor

When designing your kitchen, you have full control over what gets put on display. If your countertops are particularly stunning, choose a backsplash that brings out the best in them.

If you’ve stumbled upon a set of tiles so pretty you want to spend all day staring at them, make those the centerpiece of your space. It’s not every day you find metallic bronze backsplash tiles, so when you do, embrace the opportunity.

16 of 27

Mind Your Grout

A wet bar with a backsplash lined with black tiles and black grout

Proem Studio

Remember that your tiles don’t exist in a vacuum. Realistically, they’ll be installed using grout, and since this grout will effectively frame all of your very pretty tiles, you’ll want to put some thought into it.

The most obvious choice is to use a versatile white grout. But in the right setting, black grout can look just as sleek. Since it’s a surprising choice, it’ll leave your space feeling veritably statement-making.

17 of 27

Match Your Backsplash to Your Countertops

A kitchen with navy cabinets, marble countertops, and a marble-lined backsplash

Mary Patton Design

If you’re not sure what to do with your backsplash, remember that you can always match it to your countertops. This holds true whether your countertops are crafted from sleek marble, warm wood panels, or even crisp laminate.

18 of 27

Do Something You’ve Never Seen Before

A kitchen lined with copper tiles

Erin Williamson Design

When it comes to designing your kitchen, the most important thing is making sure you love the space you’ve curated. Commit to stocking up on colors, textures, and patterns you love looking at—even if you’ve never seen anyone else try them before. Who says your kitchen walls can’t be lined with shiny copper tiles?

Invest in statement-makers you feel drawn to, and you’ll end up with a space you love spending time in.

19 of 27

Play With Penny Tiles

An all-white kitchen with walls lined with penny tiles

Desiree Burns Interiors

Penny tiles—small, round tiles the size of pennies—are a popular choice for bathroom floors—and that’s exactly why they’ll look so interesting in your kitchen.

Putting floor tiles on your walls is a bold choice, and putting bathroom tiles in your kitchen is an even bolder one. Statement-making decisions aside, the tiles are also sure to add some sleek texture to your space.

20 of 27

Use Your Backsplash as a Pop of Color

A kitchen with wood-paneled walls and a bright blue backsplash

Tyler Karu

Your colorful backsplash doesn’t have to extend across your kitchen. Instead, it can frame only your stove or your sink—giving you a splash of vibrant color that’s restricted to one area.

Though many people use the phrase “pop of color” to describe the addition of any vibrant shade to their space, this design choice could be a true pop of color. You could keep the rest of your palette consistent and pared-down, allowing your striking backsplash to make a prominent impact in your space.

A series of blue tiles you can buy at Home Depot
Home Depot Merola Tile Ocean Blue Tile $9.98/square foot
Shop
21 of 27

Layer Tiles Throughout Your Space

An open-concept kitchen with a tile-lined kitchen island

White Sands

Your tiles don’t have to stop at your backsplash. If you find a few sets you love, use one on your backsplash, cover your kitchen island in another, and put the other on display somewhere else in your house.

By choosing sets with similar patterns and palettes, you can keep your space feeling dynamic, but cohesive.

22 of 27

Keep Things Sleek as Can Be

A kitchen lined with black tiles, black cabinets, and black marble countertops

Reena Sotropa

Backsplashes can be fun and kitschy—but they can just as easily be sleek and sophisticated. So, rest assured knowing you can find a unique backsplash that looks great in your space.

If your kitchen is bold and contemporary, try a black subway tile. The design will feel classic, while the palette will feel modern, surprising, and just a little bit edgy.

A series of black subway tiles you can buy at Home Depot
Home Depot Merola Tile Chester Nero Subway Tile $9.09/square foot
Shop
23 of 27

Keep Your Eye on the Details

A white kitchen backsplash lined with textured tiles

Tyler Karu

If you look hard enough, you’ll find tiles that can only be described as sculptural. These tiles aren’t patterned or printed, and they’re rarely rendered in vibrant colors. Instead, they boast carved designs and genuine texture.

Since these tiles are often monochromatic, you can use them to make a subtle statement in your space. From far away, they’ll look like classic white backsplash tiles, and when you take a closer look, you’ll notice all their intricate texture.

24 of 27

Design from Ceiling to Floor

An all-white kitchen with off-white cabinets and a white tiled backsplash

Rikki Snyder

Your backsplash can play a vital role in your kitchen’s aesthetic, but remember that it’s just one piece of a bigger whole. Consider the cabinets and countertops you’re pairing your backsplash with, and use all the pieces in tandem to make a statement.

Pair contrasting colors and prints, or take a more delicate approach and use a monochromatic palette from top to bottom.

25 of 27

Turn Your Stripes Into Zigzags

A minimalist kitchen with a white herringbone tile backsplash

Cathie Hong

Most kitchen backsplashes are made up of stripes of tiles, so if you want your space to feel surprising, you can simply try a different layout.

Turn your stripes into zigzags by opting for a herringbone pattern. Even the simplest, sleekest white tiles can make a statement when titled or turned on their sides.

White herringbone tiles you can buy at Bedrosians Tile & Stone
Bedrosians Tile & Stone Calcatta Floor & Wall Mosaic $19.59/square foot
Shop
26 of 27

Pair Congruent Textures

A wet bar lined with blue printed tiles

Pure Salt Interiors

The texture doesn’t have to stop at your backsplash. Realistically, tons of other furniture and décor will fill your space, and you can cement your aesthetic by stocking up on pieces that complement your backsplash.

Pair a tropical print tile with woven rattan chairs, and put your barware on full display. Before you know it, your space will feel like a beachside bar—and you’ll be dying to escape there at the end of your next work day.

27 of 27

Have Fun With It

A mosaic tile backsplash with the word "cocktails" on it

Pure Salt Interiors

Outfitting your backsplash can be a really fun process if you let it. Embrace opportunities to add personality to your space.

Take risks on bold prints and vibrant colors, and build tongue-in-cheek details—like a mosaic that says “cocktails”—into your walls. These little additions will make your space feel more special—and ultimately, more you.

Related Stories