A functional space like a kitchen may be a workhorse, but that doesn’t mean it has to look bland. That’s why brainstorming through backsplash ideas can add just the right amount of embellishment and pizzazz without overwhelming the room. “Kitchen backsplashes are a place where one is able to make a large impact visually,” says Lauren Martin-Moro, founder and creative director of LM Design Associates in Los Angeles. A kitchen backsplash is like jewellery, filled with options for every aesthetic. Go bold with colourful accents like a painted glass tile backsplash or stick to the eternally classic white subway tile for an understated look. Cover only the space behind the cooktop, or let the wall tile design stretch all the way to the ceiling for jaw-dropping impact.
Personal preference, however, is what matters when it comes to selecting your dream kitchen backsplash. "The most popular backsplash for any project will be the one that delights those who live in the space,” says Roy Marcus, brand ambassador at Artistic Tile. Grey Marble Flooring
Take a deep dive into all things backsplashes for traditional to ornate to modern kitchens. Here, 51 kitchen backsplash ideas that capture both the newest design trends and dig into AD archives to showcase the culinary gems in the homes of Gisel Bündchen, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Nate Berkus, Yves Saint Laurent cofounder Pierre Bergé, as well as other celebrities. But first, FAQs about kitchen backsplashes to get you inspired for your next DIY project.
With so many kitchen backsplash ideas on the internet, it can be overwhelming to decide which style or color scheme will suit your remodel. Interior design experts have pegged a few au courant backsplash designs that are dominating the scene. “For 2023, we anticipate seeing a continued attraction to natural stones mixed with unusual cabinetry colour pairings,” Martin-Moro says. “Bold stone striations and movement within a slab will take the centre stage of kitchens.” Martin-Moro also predicts small, patterned tiles will be making a comeback, especially those that are handmade, have character, and add whimsy. The effortlessly eclectic design ideas seen in European kitchens are also picking up in popularity.
Meanwhile, Lesley Myrick, owner and principal interior designer based in Atlanta, is drawn to the “counter splash” trend, in which the backsplash is made from the same material as the countertops, often a quartz or natural stone with large-scale, dramatic veining. The designer embraces the luxe look, a welcome departure from small-scale backsplash tiles.
Marcus adds, “The power of colour to create a sense of wellbeing is undeniable; natural quartzite, marble and onyx slabs in a range of radiant and vibrant hues and shades has changed the way we look at kitchen design in general, and at splashes in particular." Art glass, for example, he says of the in-vogue material, is saturated with colour, cuttable into myriad mosaic designs, and is impervious to staining of any sort. These properties make it an exceptional choice for serious cooks with an eye for beauty.
And is the trendy backsplash material replacing anything? Here’s Marcus’s take: "White subway tile will always be a ‘correct’ material, but backsplash design can and should be so much more rewarding.” Marcus is a proponent of natural and truly artisanal materials, especially in homes designed for inheritability."
Ah, the weighty question. "Every space has different light: natural, ambient, tasks, and accent, which will provide direction,” says Marcus, conceding that there are few “rights or wrongs” at play. He does point out that the bigger focus should be on selecting the countertop material that works with the lifestyle of the cook, then deciding on the colour scheme to suit the kitchen cabinets and the rest of the home decor. “Marble is not hard to care for, and the patina it acquires over the years can be very alluring. Not all cooks will appreciate this, so for them a quartzite with low acid-sensitivity is a better choice,” he adds.
Myrick stresses that, since kitchen remodels are a large investment, she often hears hesitation from potential clients about introducing too much personality into the design. Still, refraining from embracing your personal style isn’t always the best move. “If you’re remodelling your kitchen with the intent to sell your home within a couple of years, then choosing a ‘safer’ backsplash option may help make the most of your investment,” she says. “However, if you’re designing a kitchen for your forever home, or even a home you plan to enjoy for the next 5 to 10 years, then I strongly recommend creating a statement backsplash. The beauty of a backsplash is that it’s not typically a lot of square footage, so it’s a worthy splurge, from a design perspective.”
“Many people are unaware that kitchen backsplashes perform a function other than just background material,” Janette Mallory, founder and principal designer Janette Mallory Interiors in Santa Monica. “As the name indicates, it has to catch the splash of water and grime that are an inevitable part of washing dishes and pots and pans. Therefore, you need to consider something that cleans easily and has durability.” When remodelling your kitchen, remember: The purpose of a backsplash is to protect the kitchen wall behind the countertops, stove, and sink. No one wants to repaint this space over and over. Keep in mind, the protective barrier comes in a variety of easy-to-wipe-down backsplash materials. If you’re not in the budget for a slab of natural stone or porcelain tile, consider installing a panel of stainless steel. Vintage tin tiles can also do the trick, though may be more challenging to clean if they are placed behind a stovetop.
Designer Leah Alexander does not shy away from vibrant hues when it comes to kitchen design.
A lime backsplash? A delight. The use of colour in a kitchen can have an energizing effect when doing the most mundane tasks like meal prepping or dishes. “If the last few years have taught us anything, it's to take risks and lean into the things that bring joy,” says Atlanta designer Leah Alexander. “Taking to heart the existential impermanence of it all, I encourage everyone to dig a bit deeper and fully explore that which feels risky, exciting, and rewarding, starting with our immediate surroundings.”
Principal Swati Goorha employs shine to brighten a darker palette.
You can still make a statement backsplash without bold color. Instead, try metallic shine. “Reflective tiles for a backsplash are a great way to add light to an otherwise dark kitchen,” says Swati Goorha, principal Swati Goorha Designs in New Providence, New Jersey. “In this kitchen we added rose gold mirrored tiles to offset the green kitchen cabinets,” she elaborates, adding that the soft pink offers a pop of colour without taking away from the drama on the green cabinets. The reflective tiles make the space look larger to boot.
The kitchen cabinets look as if they are in pinstripe, thanks to the marble backsplash in the background of this Janette Mallory–designed space.
To elevate your kitchen’s appeal, Mallory is a fan of natural marble slabs for backsplashes—for both an aesthetic and practical reason. “I try and avoid using a tile backsplash because it has grout joints that crack, stain, and start to discolour over time and eventually will need to be replaced,” she says. “Natural marble slabs on the other hand are classic and timeless. The level of the veins in the slabs will determine how dramatic the backsplash will be.”
Tanya Smith-Shiflett adds texture to the otherwise neutral kitchen by pairing natural stone with zellige tile.
Tanya Smith-Shiflett says her firm is seeing an uptick in British-inspired designs when it comes to kitchen design. The trend is noticeable in this Fairfax, Virginia, kitchen from Unique Kitchens & Baths custom cabinetry and design studio. “We choose to extend the counter halfway up to the floating shelf and introduce the tile squares so they would have a beginning starting point,” she says. “The organic and handmade elements of the tile provide movement to the space.” When it comes to backsplash tiles, natural stones are timeless, age well, and add to the rustic look that pairs so nicely with drywall hoods with plaster for texture.
Taupe tiles enlarged, an intentional choice by designer Avery Cox.
Breathe fresh life into expected subway tiles with a riff on traditional scale. "We're seeing a lot of creative uses of subway tile in backsplashes. For example, we used oversized subway tiles in this Austin bungalow, and I love how the bigger size makes the traditional subway tile feel fresher, as well as anchors the space,” says Avery Cox of Avery Cox Design. “In this home, the kitchen could be seen across the dining room so the larger scale pattern really anchors the space better than a smaller size tile, which would have felt busier and more chaotic."
Interior designer Anastasia Casey makes square tiles look like tapestry.
Swoon for zellige tile’s wavy, imperfect aesthetic. “The popularity of zellige tile backsplash has soared in recent years,” says Anastasia Casey, the founder of IDCO Studio and Design Camp. “It coincides with homeowners’ desire for bespoke, handcrafted design features, which is exactly what a zellige tile backsplash delivers. The perfectly imperfect look of zellige tile makes an all-white backsplash look like an intricate tapestry.”
Shades of grey by designer Bethany Adams.
“Full-height stone backsplashes have been gaining in popularity and I think that's mostly what we're going to see in 2023,” says Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. “Particularly if the backsplash is framed like a picture on all four sides by cabinetry.”
Also read: 3 simple ways to segregate the kitchen in an open-plan layout
Little black backsplash by Sire Design: Shiny glass behind a countertop is akin to something Audrey Hepburn would select.
Not a fan of scrubbing tile or dealing with dirty grout? A sleek glass backsplash may be the way to go. “We went with black glass to maintain the monochromatic colour palette our client loves that is used throughout the home,” says Eilyn Jimenez, founder and creative director of Sire Design, who did the kitchen design in St. Petersburg, Florida. “The colour and finish of the backsplash also provides a reflection of the home’s oceanfront views. As an added bonus, it is easy to maintain and clean which is especially important to the homeowner, who loves to cook.”
The vibrant blue backsplash is the anchoring element in this contemporary kitchen by designer Sarah Jefferys.
White cabinetry with ocean-like tile, complemented by deep wood grain come together beautifully in this modern kitchen. “The cerulean blue Fireclay tiles add a splash of colour and cheer to the kitchen. These pops of blue appear throughout the predominantly neutral apartment in the pendant lights, wallpaper, artwork, and cushions,” says Sarah Jefferys, principal and founder of Sarah Jefferys Architecture + Interiors in New York. “The backsplash is a commanding element that ties these pops of colour together.”
Stainless steel doesn’t have to look like something out of an industrial kitchen, shows Geddes Ulinskas.
Geddes Ulinskas, principal and founder of Geddes Ulinskas Architects, showcases his project with stainless steel backsplash design in this light-filled California home. “This kitchen has a breathtaking view of the San Francisco bay, and we selected the stainless backsplash to subtly reflect the light and colour shining in,” he says. “It was our way of integrating the exterior palette further into the kitchen area.”
Go green, literally, like designer Jenni Vetter.
Jenni Vetter of Vetter Architects in Milwaukee, winner of BlueStar Kitchen Design Project, executed this backsplash with hand-cut tiles positioned to create a continuous backsplash wall that lends texture and warmth to the hearth of the home. “Filling the expansive back wall with one tile was an exciting element to commit to,” she says. “The deep olive green tile has been in my inspiration folder for years before the kitchen became a reality.” Locally sourced in San Francisco, the Heath Ceramics tile has a beautiful natural colour variation that speaks to its handmade quality. “I knew that the colour palette was going to be saturated hues of deep green that would contrast beautifully with the black and brass BlueStar range.”
Interior designer Stephanie Lindsey is all about of splashes of blue.
Stephanie Lindsey, principal designer of Etch Design Group in Austin, used light blue ceramic tile for this kitchen makeover. “The beautiful blue kitchen tiles were showcased in a unique alternating horizontal and vertical pattern. The coloured tile against the white cabinets creates a dynamic contrast,” Lindsey says. “The glossiness also adds a sleek element to the overall kitchen design. The light blue pattern is more traditional and adds the perfect balance to the subtle cabinet and plumbing details."
Glazed tile pulls all the other elements together in this Dynia Architects project.
For homeowners who want a sharp kitchen design keep the space above the stovetop minimal by avoiding upper cabinets. Karen Parent, principal at Dynia Architects based in Jackson, Wyoming, chose hand-glazed tile in an eclectic blue to adds a fun anchor of depth and character that still softens the adjacent oversized aluminum cabinets, the lower walnut cabinets, and the bold black countertops. “The use of mixed colours and materials navigates the eye around the full kitchen, instead of stealing your attention in one direction,” she says. “The colorful tile serves as a backdrop for simple, steel floating shelves that offer an easy built-in functionality.”
Marble is a stroke of genius in this Lauren Martin-Moro-designed kitchen.
Martin-Moro decided on pure white quartz for the back counter tops and added a more vivid, uniquely patterned marble for the backsplash as a standout feature. “The marble on the vertical wall surface will be more durable over time, away from citrus and red wine spills, leaving the perfect opportunity for us to find an extra special slab,” she explains. Using a natural stone for a backsplash design element, also helps reduce the overall slab costs, compared to doing full kitchen countertops in a specialty high-end material.
Also read: 7 budget-friendly DIY kitchen ideas to bookmark right now
High-gloss tile chosen by Stephanie Lindsey is a gorgeous design idea for an unexpected backsplash.
The eye-catching glossiness of scene-stealing tiles is well-worth the investment when doing a kitchen remodel. The effect of these chevron-like tiles makes the kitchen space feel inviting, and lively, and yet also leave a lingering sense of sanctuary. “This bold peacock ceramic tile used in the kitchen was unique and added a gorgeous pop of colour against the stark white cabinets,” Lindsey continues, noting that this tile has a more modern pattern, creating a bit of contemporary edge.
Designer Liz Toombs shows that white-on-white can look very good when done right.
Liz Toombs, owner and president of the firm PDR Interiors in Lexington, Kentucky, notes that you can enhance the look of basic subway tile by choosing tile with a beveled edge. “This simple detail adds dimension and visual interest to the classic backsplash choice,” she says.
Artistic Tile design by Deb Ingersoll scalloped motif puts a surprising twist on black-and-white.
This selection from Artistic Tile with design by Deb Ingersoll, owner of Virtue Tile, is a visual stunner. "A dynamic pattern like Geotzzo Ribbon adds modern movement to a classic black-and-white colour scheme,” says Marcus. “The matte black cabinetry, with its ordered vertical grooves, creates a clean and interesting frame for the adventuresome repeat of the backsplash."
Slim and trim backsplash adds just enough interest to a soft grey kitchen by Lauren Martin-Moro.
A backsplash that riffs on other design flourishes in your kitchen is always a good idea, as shown in this minimalist modern space. “For this midcentury full kitchen remodel, we were seeking warm, modern simplicity,” Martin-Moro says. “To soften the sight lines of the modestly sized kitchen, we opted for the soft grey quartz countertop material to be repeated as a backsplash. Both walls and backsplash are easy on the eyes and the maintenance level is slim to none.”
The pearlescent sheen might be subtle, but stately.
An eye-catching backsplash makes a beautiful kitchen with its magnetic pull, perhaps as the desired hub for a prep station when entertaining. Here, the luminescent hand-glazed terracotta zellige tiles add the perfect amount of pizzazz and patina. “The irregularity in size and shape, paired with the natural colour variations, makes for a dynamic visual spot,” Martin-Moro says.
Lesley Myrick's blue kitchen is on point.
Subway tile loyalists can reimagine the wall tile staple by trading in the iconic white subway tile for shades of dusty blue, which can create a monochromatic look when paired with deep blue cabinetry. “Removing some of the upper cabinets and extending the backsplash to the ceiling brings a fresh look to this 90-year-old home,” Myrick says.
Moroccan tile gives the backsplash elegance in this Lauren Martin-Moro-designed space.
The character lies in the details. Bring in a taste of Morocco when researching backsplash design ideas to dazzle with intrigue. Martin-Moro notes the transformation the tile bestowed on a kitchen once rimmed by dark-stained wood and an unimaginative backsplash is enhanced by the geometric tile.
Twice as nice when using two patterns from Artistic Tile.
Artistic Tile alongside design by T.K. Wismer of Department of the Interiors in Louisville, Kentucky, shows that maximalist glamour is oh-so-right for a backsplash that was inspired by the legendary Iris Apfel. The Café Appliances Bold Ambition Kitchen employs two striking patterns (one on the backsplash, the other on the range hood), Billie Ombre and Hip 2B Square, to harmonized into one colour scheme: green, black, and gold colour. “The repetition of shapes, colours and materials—squares on squares, bronze on bronze, green on green—makes this space a great example of maximalism in design and shows how strong design can be compatible with everyday living," Marcus says.
Art Deco–inspired meets modern chic by Artistic Tile, design by Shea Pumarejo of Younique Designs.
When extending a backsplash from counter to ceiling with a strong pattern, like Alison Rose Euclid from Artistic Tile, Marcus comments that it is key to be diligent with accessories. “An oversized brass hood and sleek hardware celebrate the power of the backsplash; though the brass is itself remarkable and powerful, the contrast with Euclid is pleasant, and the two do not compete,” he says.
Textured tile works as an accent for designer Swati Goorha.
“Adding accent tiles is a great way to enhance a space and highlight key areas in a kitchen,” Goorha says. Even if you prefer not to commit to colourful backsplash, a variegated chevron pattern in a multi-grey colour scheme can still serve as a focal point that gives your wall tile personality.
Bold orange veining in this Artistic Tile polished stone add character.
This sophisticated onyx polished stone, Tiger Lily from Artistic Tile is surely enviable. “A simple kitchen design becomes instantly bold and daring with the use the waterfall island and backsplash,” Marcus says. “Wood accents add warmth to the space while allowing the bold orange striping to dominate."
Also read: These 9 kitchen trends are here to stay
The Mondrian-inspired backsplash by designer Kim Armstrong creates a strong visual focal point while adding a bit of playfulness.
To add a twist to a suburban home remodel, Rockwall, Texas-based interior designer Kim Armstrong opted for a Scandinavian vibe. “[Piet] Mondrian served as inspiration for how to lay out the pattern and mix of materials on the cabinetry,” she says. As a result, the heartbeat of the kitchen is undoubtedly the Adessi Canberra Decor porcelain tile. The Mondrian-inspired backsplash by designer Kim Armstrong creates a strong visual focal point while adding a bit of playfulness.
Clean and sleek metro tiles elevate the IKEA cabinetry in this Edinburgh kitchen by Luke McClelland.
Luke McClelland designed dozens of high-end kitchens for clients before he took on the task of renovating his own. Here, he chose to complement the ensemble with a clean white tile backsplash, but instead of going with predictable subway tile, he upped the ante by stacking it vertically.
A pink scallop complements the mint cabinetry in this eclectic 1930s townhouse outfitted by Ding Dong.
For this house in Porto, Portugal, architecture studio Ding Dong’s founders Michael Miranda and Davide Gomes imbued the 1930s townhouse with a 21st-century twist by adding blush-coloured scalloped backsplash for warmth and delightful texture. The calming sea foam green cabinets further enhance the green leopard wallpaper.
A starburst hexagon backsplash elevates this Brooklyn kitchen by Alexandra Baker.
Alexandra Barker, founder and principal of BAAO Studio took on the renovation of a couple’s town house in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The kitchen backsplash is one of the most fun design elements in the entire space: The duo opted for a patterned Kelly green cement tile from Clé. The bright green colour with geometric patterns on hexagon tile makes for the perfect pop. A clean and simple white cabinetry and a white-marble kitchen island with wooden chairs round out the polished yet unfussy look.
A chrome backsplash makes the perfect chef’s kitchen in this suburban LA home designed by Jeff Kaplon.
A metallic chrome backsplash makes the perfect chef’s kitchen in this suburban LA home. It’s not something you see very often, but the unconventional backsplash material does a lot for the space. With a slight reflective sheen, it adds subtle brightness. “It was important to introduce a communal aspect to the family spaces and foster a rich connection to the exterior,” says Jeff Kaplon, the interior designer and co-owner of Part Office. “Another main objective was to have a high-functioning but practical chef’s kitchen that would also serve as the social centre of the house.”
Designer Grey Joyner embraces the continuous backsplash and kitchen countertop look.
“Using the same material as your countertop for a backsplash creates a very clean and sleek look for a kitchen,” says Grey Joyner, an interior designer in Wilson, North Carolina, who thinks this trend is here to stay. “A continuous countertop and backsplash can really make a kitchen appear more open.” The seamless transition of this backsplash design allows for a smooth transition from countertop to backsplash, and thus allows for bolder choices in cabinetry, wall treatments, and other design elements in the space. Bonus: It’s also a cinch to clean.
Lesley Myrick embraces various blue tones.
The blue kitchen cabinets anchor the space, allowing the vintage-inspired backsplash tiles to add visual rhythm and harmony, “Kitchens are often composed of large swathes of solid colour like painted cabinets and white quartz countertops, but a patterned backsplash is a way to infuse personality, colour, and texture into the space,” Myrick says.
The hexagon backsplash tiles in this Lesley Myrick kitchen look as if they are in watercolour.
This guest house kitchenette nook gets a dose of spunky style with this blue backsplash in a standout elongated hexagon shape that awakes the otherwise plain wall. "Installed vertically, the backsplash accentuates the ceiling height and brings more presence to this petite kitchen,” Myrick says. “Floating asymmetrical shelves and a statement wall sconce add a relaxed element to the strong visual lines.”
Speckles add just enough interest.
“Understatement is the statement,” says Wendy Word, interior designer and founder of Wendy Word Design in Manhattan Beach, California. “With the variety of entertaining styles at home, a flashy statement tile is no longer the direction. A backsplash that is subdued and used extensively evokes a feeling or experience rather than a memory of strictly the backsplash material.” Word says to consider the backsplash as a canvas to the kitchen, then layer in elements to work as an artist's palette of colour and expression. Adding speckled tile will keep it from looking flat.
A smaller-scale backsplash in quirky pattern can make all the difference.
Natural Marble Stone Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibbs, cofounders of LIVDEN, a modern tile manufacturer, know that going with bolder backsplashes not only adds vibrancy, but can also be a budget-friendly kitchen remodel hack. "Only utilizing the tile above the range creates an impactful focal point and can still completely transform your kitchen," Smith says.