How to Pick A Backsplash for your Kitchen and Avoid Costly Mistakes

Where do I start?

First, decide on whether your backsplash should make a statement or take a backseat to everything else in the kitchen. Look around and analyze what is in the room already. One mistake often made is thinking that every element in a room must be a star. 
If your cabinets are elaborate, and or if there is a lot going on in the room, you don’t need another star, select a plain tile.  Because choosing something simpler will balance the room. As a result, you will be able to enjoy the other more elaborate elements rather than having them competing with your backsplash for your attention.  

Is Plain Tile Boring For A Backsplash?

Sometimes plain tile is the way to go because everything else in the room is elaborate. Just because the tile is plain, it does not have to be boring.  Here are some suggestions of different tile types to consider.

  • Marble tile.  It is classic and elegant.
  • Tile with a beveled edge.  The beveled edge creates visual interest without being busy
  • Add a row of pencil tiles to add sculptural detail
  • Subway tile, installed in a brick pattern
  • Soft colored tile that complements the color scheme of the room
Custom mural created for a kitchen backsplash

How do I add personality to my kitchen?

Now, if you have been reserved with your selections for the rest of the room and feel that it needs some “punch,” this is the opportunity to jazz it up.  You can choose a show stopper back-splash to bring everything together. 

There are so many ways to do this!  Here are some suggestions to consider.

  • Make the space over the stove a focal point.  You can incorporate a mural or make a design using different type of tiles. 
  • Add bling by using glass tiles
  • Install tiles on diagonal
  • Use border tiles to bring color and showcase your style

How do I figure out the tile layout?

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the tile layout but here are some tricks that I use that will help tremendously!

  1. To determine size of mural, use painters tape or draw on sheetrock with chalk, create a box the size you are considering and look at it from different angles and decide if it is the appropriate size for the space.  I like to make sure there is negative space around the mural but like to go as big as the room can handle.
  2. To help you visualize placement of tile, make some photocopies of the tile, cut them out and tape them to the sheet rock.  This is especially helpful when determining placement of deco tiles because you can see exactly how it will look when it is installed.  You can move them around until you find the right placement.

I have been designing back splashes for twenty years and I tell every client when purchasing things that are permanent, don’t select on the mood of the day, select things that you always gravitate to.  This will prevent you from saying, what the ______ was I thinking, on installation day! 

Tile Calculator

If you are planning a tile backsplash you may find How much tile do I need for my backsplash helpful.

Leave a comment to ask any back-splash question or to share a back-splash experience. What do you love or dislike about your back-splash?

Published by

Barbara Rose

Hi I am Barbara Rose. I am an Interior Designer and I started design2bhappy to inspire others to think of Interior Design as more than just creating a beautiful home. It is about living comfortably, while being surrounded by things you love. It is about creating an environment that we feel good in while providing a sanctuary to counter- balance the stress that life can throw at us. This blog is aimed at helping others achieve that "there is no place like home" feeling.

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