30 Amazing Design Ideas for Kitchen Backsplashes

Traditional Backsplash
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  • 01 of 31

    Today's Backsplash

    The days when a kitchen backsplash was simply a continuation of whatever surface was on the countertop are long gone. And a simple painted wall as a backsplash? Forget it—today, the backsplash is regarded as a key design element in a kitchen, and a great deal of thought and planning go into the choice of materials and the design of the surface. 

    Traditional ceramic tile certainly still has its place—especially when it is stylishly planned with striking colors. But in today's kitchens, a large variety of non-traditional tiles are also possible, ranging from natural stones to glass and metal tiles. 

    These 30 great ideas will inspire you to create your own kitchen backsplash that makes a unique design statement.  

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  • 02 of 31

    4 x 4 Diagonal White Tile

    Charlotte Granite Kitchens
    granite-charlotte/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    When you're talking kitchen backsplash ideas, it doesn't get much easier than this. You can introduce a nice crisp, clean, and traditional style to your kitchen for bargain prices with this great design.

    How It's Done

    Run 4 x 4-inch white tiles in a diagonal layout along the back wall of your countertop. These 4 x 4 tiles are the true workhorse of the tile world, usable in bathrooms and floors as well as kitchens. But too many diagonal "four by" white tiles can be too much of a good thing. In this case, the installation begins with a level row of 4 x 4 tiles to border the countertop.

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  • 03 of 31

    Tile Medallions

    Kitchen Backsplash with Tile Medallion Over Stove
    Steve Cole / Getty Images

    Now, this is one kitchen backsplash idea that goes way beyond the basic concept of "splash."

    Backsplashes can run the entire length of the counter, not only just the area behind the sink. In this case, a rich Tuscan look is achieved with cream tiles offset by a tile centerpiece or medallion. This medallion was built from scratch by the tile-setters, highlighted by setting it within a field of tiles set diagonally to distinguish them from the surrounding tiles.

    How It's Done

    Not interested in building your own tile medallion? You can also buy ready-made tile medallions that can be mortared into place, saving you the considerable work of creating such a complex tile design. Kitchen designers recommend that tile medallions should highlight some major feature of the kitchen—in this case, the stove.

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  • 04 of 31

    Tiny Subway Tiles

    Subway Tile Backsplash
    Steven Miric / Getty Images

    You're looking at tiles that are individually 1inch high and  2 inches wide, giving your kitchen backsplash more visual "length." They are also something of a conversation piece since subway tile layouts typically use much larger tiles.

    How It's Done

    These 1 x 2-inch tiles come in 12-inch square sheets attached to a mesh backing for easy installation. This makes for an easy installation that looks like it took hours of work. To finish off the bottom and prevent water intrusion, this homeowner has installed a 3" marble border.

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  • 05 of 31

    Bold Purple and Pink

    Brilliant, Colorful Kitchen Backsplash
    Jean Maurice / Getty Images

    Here's a bold idea: install 6-inch tiles in multiple colors. This homeowner has a contemporary IKEA kitchen cabinet design, so she chose to install purple and pink tiles in vertical columns.

    How It's Done

    The actual Installation is just like installing any ceramic tiles—easier, in fact, because you are dealing with bigger tiles and thus have less grouting to contend with. The challenge here is in choosing the right colors and arranging them in a pleasing way. Some preliminary sketching is a good idea when you are thinking outside the box like this. 

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  • 06 of 31

    Glass Mosaic

    For a remarkably sophisticated look, this is a seriously easy kitchen backsplash design. This example shows Daltile's Egyptian Glass Series, Mediterranean Blue. In the field, each tile is 1 x 1-inch, but don't worry: these come pre-mounted on mesh backings that are 1-foot square 

    How It's Done

    Measure the width and height of your backsplash area. Don't omit any cut-outs (i.e., electrical outlets) unless they are more than a few feet square. Then install the mosaic sheets as you would any ceramic tile. 

    The accent that really gives this kitchen backsplash some character is the 6-inch offset composed of Daltile Cristallo Glass Peridot Torello, made from 12-inch mesh squares cut in half.  

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  • 07 of 31

    Copper Slate Tiles

    Kitchen Backsplash Idea - Daltile Copper Slate
    Daltile

    This 4 x 4-inch real stone tile comes from Daltile, and it's called Copper Tumbled Slate. The "tumbled" part means that the edges and corners are rounded off. The surface of this tile has a rough, pitted appearance—very attractive for some kitchen styles.

    How It's Done

    Part of the charm here is in the alcove-like setting of this backsplash. This is actually a constructed offset—a simple structure of dimensional lumber, drywall, and shelf molding purchased from a home improvement store. It can be built in a couple of weekends by an ambitious DIY homeowner.

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  • 08 of 31

    Metal Ceiling Tiles

    Even easier than the tile installations already described is this: a metal kitchen backsplash. Normally, stainless steel is not something a DIYer wants to handle—it's hard to cut, hard to fabricate. 

    How It's Done

    But this version is fabricated with ordinary metal ceiling tiles and applied with construction glue straight to the wall behind the counter. It's a super-clean installation technique that doesn't require messy thin-set mortar. 

    American Tin Ceilings has an excellent installation guide, and they recommend patterns of 6 inches or less, which is a good idea with any kind of kitchen backsplash.

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  • 09 of 31

    Indian Slate

    Stone Kitchen Backsplash
    Merola

    This is stone tile backsplash from Merola, featuring 4-inch square Indian slate tile.

    How It's Done

    Slate or any other stone tile requires special cutting tools to shape—normally a wet saw—but is applied to the wall with the same kind of thin-set adhesives used with regular ceramic tiles. Slate is a fairly porous stone, though, and in a location such as a backsplash, it must be sealed against stains. Check with your tile source for recommendations on how to seal the stone. 

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  • 10 of 31

    Harlequin Tile Design

    Kitchen Tile Backsplash from American Olean
    American Olean

    This bold design is from American Olean. The main feature of this backsplash is a pair of coordinated harlequin (diamond-shaped) tiles, called Mink and Smoky Sky. Each tile is 6 x 3 inches, installed vertically The bottom border is Sylvan Accent Strip Rattan, 4 x 8 inches.

    How It's Done

    Harlequin is a lively tile pattern that requires some forethought to avoid making it feel too busy. Muted colors like the ones featured here (as opposed to stark black and white) are a good way to go about that. In application, this design is applied like any other ceramic tile. Layout is the most critical task, along with a lot of cutting of tiles—such as the row of half tiles that begin the layout. 

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  • 11 of 31

    Classic Subway Tiles

    If you've ever waited in a New York subway station, you've probably viewed classic subway tile. But subway tile, removed from the subway itself, can be a great design look. Your basic subway tile is white, 3 x 6 inches or 2 x 6 inches, although variations abound.

    With white grout, subway tile is a clean and crisp kitchen backsplash idea that complements modern or traditional home styles. Grouted in gray or black, subway tile no longer recedes into the background: it pops forward and announces itself, although some homeowners find that black grout creates a look that is too grid-like.

    How It's Done

    This is simply a standard ceramic tile installation, but take care to keep the staggered joints carefully aligned. Perfect geometry is critical to the look here. 

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  • 12 of 31

    Glass 4-inch Tiles

    Kitchen Backsplash from American Olean
    American Olean

    From a distance, this kitchen backsplash looks like regular ceramic tile of three different colors. But on closer examination, you can see that we're actually dealing with a glass tile backsplash made of 4 1/4-inch tile. The advantage? Glass tile catches light like no other type, practically glowing under indirect lighting.  

    How It's Done

    If you're uncomfortable cutting glass tile, then have a tile installer do the job. Other than the cutting, though, it's a fairly straight-forward backsplash installation.

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  • 13 of 31

    Glass Mosaic Combined with Stone Tiles

    Glass Mosaic Backsplash
    American Olean

    This backsplash consists of 4-inch stone tiles in two rows along the bottom, with glass mosaic sheets filling in the field behind the range hood. The glass surface is American Olean Legacy Glass Green Blend 1 x 1-inch. One advantage of glass tiles is the ease with which grease and spaghetti sauce splatter can be cleaned away.

    How It's Done

    Generally, mosaic tiles aren't a great choice to position right behind a stove, since they have many grout lines. So if you do this, make sure to keep the grout very well sealed to avoid discoloration. Using a dark grout can also help. 

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  • 14 of 31

    Ceramic "Travertine Look" Tiles

    Ceramic Travertine Tile
    American Olean

    We have seen some downright startling kitchen backsplash designs in this overview, but here's something that is sure to help you relax. Sandy Ridge: what could be more calming?

    • Sandy Ridge in Sage 6 x 6-inch wall field tile
    • Sage Travertine 4 x 12-inch
    • Natural stone accent strip and chair rail

    How It's Done

    This backsplash is simple to install. It's a row of 6 x 6-inch tiles adjoining the kitchen counter, with an accent strip of 4 x 12-inch tiles on top, then, another row of 6 x 6-inch tiles on top of that.

    That top row will need some cutting, but with a wet tile saw, it's a cinch. Even the ragged edges produced by a snap tile cutter should be (mostly) hidden because these edges will be tucked away against the bottom of the cabinets.

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  • 15 of 31

    Urban Gray Stone Tiles

    Kitchen Backsplash: Sahara Grigio Tile By Marazzi
    Maracci

    This is a gray mosaic tile from Marazzi. Although it looks like natural stone, it is actually a through-body (not glazed) porcelain tile. Unlike stone, which requires sealing and may get stained when uses as a backsplash material, porcelain is ideal for backsplashes.

    How It's Done

    This product is called Sahara Grigio; the sheets are 12 by 24 inches for quick installation. The sheets apply with standard thin-set adhesive like any tile product. 

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  • 16 of 31

    Diagonal Mexican-Style Tile

    Kitchen Backsplash - Marazzi Saguaro
    Marazzi

    This warm friendly tile backsplash adds conviviality to any kitchen. A glazed porcelain stoneware, the Saguaro 6 by 6-inch tiles shown here are set at a diagonal, interspersed with ocotillo decorative tiles.

    How It's Done

    Begin with the bottom border and work up. Although it is not a difficult installation, it will require a fair amount of cutting. Clear layout lines drawn on the wall will help keep your installation precise. 

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  • 17 of 31

    Full-Wall Glass Mosaic Tiles

    Glass Mosaic Tile Backsplash
    Marazzi

    You see this all over. It's popular. It's worldwide.

    But you cannot argue with success. From the Marazzi Olive Oxfords collection, this is a glass, mesh-mounted mosaic tile backsplash. Glass is the ideal backsplash material—it easily cleans to a shimmering surface, and the color never fades.

    How It's Done

    Mosaic tiles make for perfect DIY installation, as the sheets install quickly and it is very easy to keep seams aligned. The sheets are easily cut to fit small areas or obstacles. 

     

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  • 18 of 31

    Glass and Stone Mosaic

    Glass Stone Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash
    Marazzi

    Stone or glass?  Why should you have to make a decision, when you can have both?

    Combined here are glass and stone materials fused to mosaic tile mesh sheets. These are 12 by 12-inch sheets from Marazzi. The style is known as called Crystal, and this color is called Ivory.

    How It's Done

    This backsplash installed like any other mosaic tile sheets. Consult your tile supplier for advice on the proper adhesives and sealants. While most glass tiles don't require sealing, the presence of natural stone here means that some kind of sealing will be necessary. 

     

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  • 19 of 31

    Wood-Look Porcelain Tiles

    Wood-Look Porcelain Kitchen Tile Backsplash
    Marazzi

    From Marazzi, this kitchen tile backsplash looks like wood but it's really a solid-body porcelain called Oak, from the Riflessi di Legno series of tiles with a wood-grain appearance. In addition to Oak, you will also find Ash, Cherry, Ebony, and Walnut. 

    How It's Done

    These are mosaic sheets and are installed in traditional fashion. 

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  • 20 of 31

    Full-Wall Glass Tiles

    Glass Kitchen Backsplash Behind Stove
    Florim USA

    This is an example of wall-as-backsplash. The entire kitchen wall is laid with Florim USA's Moonstone—part of its Gems collection—above the counters and even behind the stove.

    These are fairly muted, neutral colors—it's called Smoky Quartz—but the tile is far from boring. This tile is made of glass, so even the most neutral colors sparkle and shimmer when light hits the tile just right. 

    How It's Done

    When this kind of look is done with individual tiles, it's a labor-intensive installation that might be best left to a professional installer. DIYers may want to limit their attempts to products available in sheets. 

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  • 21 of 31

    Horizontal Tiles Turned Vertical

    Hampton Dunes Kitchen Backsplash from Florim USA
    Florim USA

    Want to shake up ordinary backsplash installations? Instead of mounting the tiles horizontally, flip them 90 degrees for a vertical installation. Few installations are as striking as this look. These come from Florim USA's Iced Rocks Hampton Dunes Blend series.

    How It's Done

    No problem. Just like a horizontal tile installation....but vertical.

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  • 22 of 31

    Designer Mosaic

    Blue and Green Flower Pattern Kitchen Backsplash Tile
    Ann Sacks

    Why should your backsplash be a mousy shrinking violet?  How about a bold chrysanthemum instead?  

    This backsplash tile from Ann Sacks positively refuses to be ignored: a Beau Monde glass mosaic in quartz, peridot, and jade. Peridot is a gem often called "the evening emerald by ancient Romans, who noticed that peridot's green color shone even more vividly in lamplight," according to our jewelry expert.

    How It's Done

    This is an expensive product that you can't afford to make mistakes with. It's best to hire an installer if you are already spending thousands on the materials. 

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  • 23 of 31

    Continuous Mosaic Tile

    Azure Continuous Flower Pattern Kitchen Backsplash
    Ann Sacks

    Almost all tile installations use a repeated pattern, but for a truly gorgeous look, you might consider a continuous tile mosaic. In the true sense of mosaic, individual sheets of tile join in a prescribed order to form an overall large picture.

    This is Ann Sacks' Azure Birch mosaic.

    How It's Done

    This is a tricky installation that should be attempted by only the most intrepid DIYer. It is a very expensive product that is best left to an installation professional. 

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  • 24 of 31

    Oval Ceramic Tiles

    Unique Oval Pattern Ceramic Backsplash For Retro-Modern Kitchen
    Ann Sacks

    Supplementing the clean Sixties-era-yet-modern flair in this kitchen are two interlocking tiles from Ann Sacks.  Both are from the Gotham series and they give the kitchen a distinctly Googie feeling:

    • First, a 2 x 5-inch oval tile in alternating shades of green-blue tile.
    • Second, a starburst tile called Gotham Oval Star (2 x 3.75-inch) that fits between those ovals. You can see how it works in the magnified inset shown at top right. Without this complementing star, you would have large spaces between the ovals that would otherwise need to be filled with grout.

    How It's Done

    This kind of tile installation is very time-consuming for DIYers and professionals alike, so the payback is great if you can do the work yourself. The real challenge here is taking your time and being very precise with the layout. 

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    Surf-Colored Subway Tiles, Straight-Lay

    Surf-Colored Green Glass Kitchen Backsplash Subway Tile
    Modwalls

    These large subway tiles are arranged in a straight-lay pattern rather than the standard staggered running-bond pattern usually used for subway tiles. 

    This 4 x 12-inch  glass subway-sized tile is from ModWalls from its Lush series of glass tile.

    How It's Done

    This is a standard ceramic tile installation; the only challenge is keeping the lines straight. With large tiles like this, the layout is critical, because you want to avoid having to cut narrow strips of tile along the borders. 

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    Cork Tiles

    Cork Kitchen Backsplash Tile
    ModWalls

    Definitely one of the more unusual materials for backsplashes, recycled cork comes to the kitchen in the form of 12 x 12-inch sheets of individual 1-inch diameter "penny rounds," each about the size of a sliced-off wine cork. 

    How It's Done 

    The recommended adhesives will be particular to the product, so check the manufacturer's recommendations carefully. Cork tiles do not come sealed, and it is critical that you do this immediately after installation. Once cork becomes wet or discolored, it is very hard to restore. 

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    Graphic Colors

    Green Brickwork Tile Backsplash in Kitchen
    Susan Jablon

    Check out SJM's lush, rich lime-green color for these glossy tiles.  Each piece is 1 x 3-inch and each sheet is 1 square foot. Considering the high-style look, this small shop tile is relatively affordable. 

    How It's Done

    The band is called Accent Tile, which we'll just call MBC-3527371. It, too, comes in 12-inch square sheets, and here has been cut up into bands.  Each sheet gives you three bands, with only a small amount of waste. 

    Sharp-eyed shoppers may notice that one of the mosaic tessarae tiles is the accent band is the same color as the subway tile

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    Sound-Wave Effect

    Kitchen Backsplash With Sound Wave Effect
    Susan Jablon

    This very unusual effect uses small 1.5 x 0.75-inch mosaic tiles from a small upstate New York tile maker, with tiles mounted vertically and laid out in the shape of a sound wave.

    How It's Done

    Such unique effects require an artistic eye to design the layout, then careful installation to match the design. The actual application, though, is done like any mosaic tile sheets. 

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  • 29 of 31

    Fiery Orange Tile Backsplash with Cabinet Echo

    Fiery Orange Kitchen Tile Backsplash Repeated on Island
    Susan Jablon

    The blazing orange glass mosaic tile backsplash in this kitchen has one small, but significant, tweak: it's repeated as a band on the kitchen island. It's a brilliant touch, visually tying the backsplash together with the island. And it provides a fun, lively touch to an otherwise serious Shaker-cabinet island. This tile is Orange 1 x 6-inch glass from Susan Jablon.

    How It's Done

    On wall surfaces, ceramic tile is best applied to a cement board backer panel, but on a wood cabinet, it can be applied directly to the wood with the same thin-set adhesives used for the wall tiles. 

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    Tumbled Slate

    Slate 2 Tumbled Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash
    Bedrosian's

    Backsplash tiles are very often done with a high-gloss ceramic or porcelain tile, but there is another direction you can go: the look of rustic, tumbled stone, a lively visual chaos that keeps things interesting. This look might be too busy for some, but the continuation of natural stone from the granite countertop into the slate backsplash makes a strong statement. The product here is 2 x 2-inch Butterscotch Tumbled Mosaic Slate from Bedrosian's.

    How It's Done

    As mentioned earlier, natural stone backsplashes—especially those made with porous stone like slate—must be sealed periodically to keep them from staining. Installation is the same as for standard ceramic tile. 

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    Shimmery Copper Mosaic

    Tumbled Copper Mosaic Kitchen Backsplash
    Bedrosian's

    In this example, a contrasting backsplash behind the stove range is made from a tumbled copper mosaic from Bedrosian-One. These areas are often markedly different because they perform different functions—catching ultra-messy splashes (bacon, gravy, spaghetti sauce, etc.)—and hence a different backsplash treatment is often appropriate. 

    How It's Done

    Metal tiles are usually installed with different adhesives than those used with ceramic or stone tiles. Check with the tile manufacturer for recommendations for installation.