Kitchen backsplashes behind the countertops and appliances serve a dual function in a kitchen. They both protect the back wall from food and water spills, but they also can serve a primary design function in the kitchen. Backsplashes can be very dramatic and beautiful, and it's possible to spend a lot of money on them. But it is not necessary for backsplashes to be expensive, and there are some very easy countertop treatments that are very attractive even while they are amazingly affordable. Sometimes all they require is patience and a little work on the part of a DIY homeowner.
Check out the projects below for beautiful backsplashes that won't break your budget. Our cost estimates presume 10 linear feet of countertop, and the difficulty scale runs from 1 (easiest) to 5 (hardest).
01 of 05
Iowa-based Bethany Sywassink, who runs a home remodeling blog called Sawdust & Embryos, replaced her kitchen's nasty beige diagonal backsplash tile with gorgeous long glass tiles. Or at least that's what it looks like.
Actually, this backsplash isn't glass tile at all, but simple paint artistically applied. Beth ran long strips of 1/4-inch painters tape in perfect horizontal lines, followed by short vertical strips to create the look of separate tiles. According to Beth, she "...wanted very contrasting colors, so I did some light(ish) natural ‘travertine’-looking tiles. I decided to throw in some solid colors that would look like ‘glass’ tiles… so I went with solid black, silver, and dark teal (using some leftover wall color)."
Such artistic paint treatments admittedly require some patience, but the process isn't hard.
- Cost: less than $20 in paint and painter's tape
- Difficulty factor: 3
02 of 05
Faux Metal Backsplash Rolls
Tin or aluminum backsplash tiles aren't particularly hard to install, but you can make it even easier by using faux metal tiles sold in a big, continuous roll. These rolls are 25 inches high, the perfect size to reach from the counter to the bottom of the cabinets. Rolls range from 15 to 30 feet long. and range from 15 to 30 feet long. Even though they are made of PVC plastic, this product has a metallic finish and is available in look-alike copper, aluminum, tin, brass, and other metals. Because this is not real metal, you can easily cut it to size with a pair of scissors. It is applied to the wall with adhesives.
Decorative Ceiling Tiles currently has 12 different styles of faux metal rolls in stock. The company also offers a variety of sheet products and individual PVC backsplash squares.
Cost: About $65, including adhesive. A 25-foot roll costs about $112.
Difficulty factor: 2
03 of 05
Real Metal Ceiling Tiles
Several manufacturers make real metal ceiling tiles, and these can be easily used for backsplashes. Although manufacturers of faux-metal tiles may say their products are Class 1-fire rated and safe for use behind a stove, a real metal may give you a feeling of more security.
With the gap between the countertop and the bottom of wall cabinets usually about 18 inches in most kitchens, the best choice for backsplashes is probably to choose 24-inch square metal ceiling tiles and cut them down to size with tin snips. Behind the stove, full-size tiles might work just fine.
Ceiling tiles can be attached to walls in a variety of ways, but the most secure is glue them with an epoxy adhesive, reinforced with nails driven every 6 inches or so with a nail gun.
Cost: About $65 for a 10-foot backsplash of stainless steel tiles from American Tin Ceiling Co.
Difficulty factor: 3
04 of 05
Peel-and-Stick Ceramic Tiles
The peel-and-stick ceramic tile backsplash is an idea steadily growing in acceptance. Early products were too heavy for the peel-and-stick adhesives to keep their grip on the wall, but recent innovations are beginning to solve this problem. These products are mosaic sheets, usually 12 x 12-inches in size, that can be cut to fit. The backing is then peeled off and the sheets applied to the wall. Once the installation is complete, the mosaic tiles are grouted in the same manner as any wall tile installation.
Acceptance of this product was initially slow, but dozens of these self-adhesive backsplash products are now available from many manufacturers.
Cost: From $60 to $125 for 10 linear feet of backsplash.
Difficulty factor: 5Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Don't forget that a painted wall can act as a backsplash, too. This solution is both cheap and easy, and if you're about to discount this as a low-grade option, think again. Good-quality paint (oil-based or latex) makes a perfectly durable and waterproof backsplash surface. And it is far easier to clean than ceramic tile grout lines or metal or faux-metal tiles.
So, if moisture protection is your only goal, paint can provide this, provided the caulk joint between wall and countertop is occasionally touched up.
Cost: Less than $10.
Difficulty Factor: 1