Making a (Back)Splash
When designing a kitchen, the biggest expense by far is kitchen cabinetry. But for dollars spent vs. visual impact, the biggest decision to make is the not-so-humble backsplash. Yes, the backsplash serves a functional purpose as an easily-cleaned surface, but visually it sets the tone for the entire kitchen. It can be simple or as grand as you like, it’s all up to you and your designer, but it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
Most people think of tile when they think of a backsplash, but your choices are not limited to to tile alone. Any hard surface can work - tile, stone, glass, metal, even sealed wood (not recommended near the stove). A rule of thumb is anything you can see being used on the floor can be used on a wall as a backsplash!
Sometimes, the best decision can be to keep your materials simple, particularly in an open plan kitchen. In a modern farmhouse kitchen I recently completed, I kept things minimal and cohesive but also luxurious by choosing a heavily veined marble for both counters and backsplash and matched the cabinetry paint colors to complement. Pro-tip: there are infinite colors of paint, so select your hard surfaces like backsplash, counters, and floor first, then coordinate paint.
Sometimes you want your backsplash to be the statement, so that’s the time to co crazy with color!
Now the next photo has something in common with the jewel-toned kitchen above - can you guess what it is? They both used classic subway tile, but in unexpected ways! The white subway in a vertical running bond pattern below, makes the most inexpensive of tiles looks fresh presented in a brand new way. The blue tiled wall above is a smaller size of subway tile, in delicious matte colors, arranged in a modified basket weave bond. I love the idea of new ways of seeing an old look!
Another luxurious look with a relatively inexpensive material is to use antique-look mirror for the backsplash. This is a favorite trick of mine in small, galley kitchens as it makes the space seem open and infinite, and looks particularly good with today’s dramatic black kitchen trend.
Last, don’t be afraid to do the unexpected with your backsplash. This modern farmhouse kitchen used square tiles with a delicate decorative pattern that could have easily overwhelmed the space. Randomly interspersing the pattern with plain white squares helps keep the minimal, Scandinavian design aesthetic.
For more backsplash inspiration, please visit my “Tile Talk” Pinterest board!