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The Ultimate Guide


20 Surprising Kitchen Backsplashes That Aren't Subway Tile

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    Backsplash Ideas With a Dash of Fun

    White hygge tile
    in4mal/iStock/Getty Images

    Listen, we love subway tile as much as the next guy. There's a reason it's so popular; it's versatile, timeless, and can make any renovation look classy and modern. But after seeing endless kitchens with the same same subway-tile-and-white-shaker-cabinet combination, we just needed to cleanse our palette and find something a little more unique. From concrete to marble to easy DIY stickers, these backsplash ideas are a breath of fresh air in a world full of subway tile and are perfect if you're looking to spice things up in your kitchen.

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    White Panels

    Just because you're ready to try something new and different doesn't mean you can't still go with a neutral, white kitchen. This whitewashed wood paneling is the perfect way to bring a little country chic into a modern kitchen. You can easily steal this look with white tongue-and-groove board or beadboard. We love the black bottom cabinets in this kitchen from A Beautiful Mess; they really pop against the white backsplash.

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    If you've got it, flaunt it. Brick adds warmth and richness to any room, and if you happen to have it hiding behind your kitchen walls, exposing it is a cheap way to make the space feel cozy and modern. If you're worried about cleaning brick behind your stove and sink, it's surprisingly easy. Even if your home doesn't have brick to expose, you can easily fake this look with faux brick panels or wallpaper.

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    Brick for a Neutral Kitchen

    While we're on the subject of brick, this white brick backsplash is a gorgeous alternative to the traditional red. We love how it is reminiscent of subway tile, but a little more rough around the edges. Pick solid wood accessories, like these rustic wood shelves, to give your kitchen a "hip Parisian cafe" look. This designer also used beadboards to cover up an unsightly stove vent and round the whole kitchen.

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    Mesmerizing Tile

    Scaled tiles via Noemie Noiseux

    The mermaid look is huge right now; from mermaid tail crocheted blankets to ocean-inspired decor, becoming one with your alter-mermaid is very in. This Moroccan fish scale backsplash is a beautiful way to bring the deep sea into your kitchen. The eye-catching design is versatile enough to work with any cabinet and countertop combo.

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    Add Some Texture

    Modern kitchen design tends to focus on bold clean lines, but adding a bit of texture into your decor doesn't have to look outdated. This intricate backsplash tile has an old world European look but feels fresh and stylish paired with modern granite and white cabinets. It's a beautiful way to keep your kitchen traditional without looking too antique.

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    DIY Sticker Tiles

    DIY Sticker Tiles
    the nic studio

    Sticker tiles, like these sunny Spanish-style ones from the nic studio, are an easy way to transform a kitchen in a single afternoon. Perfect for a rental or just a low budget "renovation," you can find these removable adhesive tiles at most big box stores in a variety of colors and styles. Feeling spicy? This is a daring way to add a punch of color to your space on a whim.

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    Chalk It Up

    Another super easy, but totally stylish backsplash is chalkboard paint. This simple update from Country Mouse Tales is both sleek and useful (because seriously, who couldn't use a few more reminders?). It's a backsplash even your kids will love — extend the chalkboard paint to an empty wall in the kitchen and you'll have built-in entertainment next time you cook dinner. This look works with any style of cabinetry; just make sure to remove old tiles or backsplash before you paint.

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    Mix and Match

    The best part about tiled backsplashes is that you don't need to tile your entire kitchen to make a statement. This stunning kitchen utilizes its bare white cinderblock as the perfect canvas for an eye-popping green hexagon tile. The area behind your stove tends to get the dirtiest, so it's a great space fill with a beautiful (and easily washable) tile. Plus, tiling only a portion of your kitchen's backsplash saves money without taking away from the design.

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    Disco Chic

    A little bit industrial, a little bit '70s nightclub (in a good way), this metal backsplash design is far from plain. We love how Capital Builders Houston paired the bold design with sleek modern cabinetry. The shiny metal backsplash is a showstopper, and it completely transforms an otherwise simple kitchen.

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    Magnificent Monochrome

    Sticking to a single color palette often delivers the biggest punch. This kitchen incorporates a monochrome design throughout — from the cabinets to the built-in shelving, this designer decided to take the moody grey look to the max. We love how it offers the perfect blank canvas for copper pans or fun ceramic kitchen accessories.


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    Go Greek

    Dreaming of Santorini? This Greek-inspired backsplash will transport you to a beachy paradise as you enjoy your morning coffee. The seamless blend of white, marble, and gold mixed with the soft blue tiled backsplash give this kitchen a glam European feel.

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    Concrete counters have increased in popularity over the past few years due to their affordability and modern look, but have you ever considered a concrete backsplash? This incredibly chic and unique kitchen utilizes concrete in both its countertops and backsplash, giving it a super contemporary feel. We can't get over how glamorous concrete can look when paired with copper accessories, as seen in this kitchen from Woodworking Network.

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    Subway Tile Reimagined

    If you just can't give up subway tile, but you want something a little more unusual, this chevron-style tile is the perfect solution. The simple and always classic dark-grout-and-white-tile look is reinvented by laying the titles in a zigzag design. Like standard subway tile, it's incredibly versatile and works with nearly any kitchen decor.

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    Spanish Tiles

    This stunning kitchen from Dahlias and Dimes feels cozy and inviting, with these blue and white Spanish-influenced tiles. This patterned look works best with simple and neutral kitchen decorations.

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    Similar to the brick backsplash inspiration, this natural stone look is incredibly sophisticated and inviting at the same time. The cool blue cabinets and the rustic walls give this kitchen a homey, warm feel. It's an added bonus if you have a wood-burning stove to really set the mood!

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    The best part of a simple backsplash (like this concrete tile one) is that you can easily add your own touch to personalize it. This graphic, mid-century-inspired design is made up of hexagon tiles with a white starburst treatment. You can emulate this style easily by painting onto any simple backsplash tile.

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    Most people tend to stick to neutral colors when it comes to cabinets and countertops, but your backsplash is the perfect canvas for a pop of color. This bright yellow sunflower-stenciled tile adds a dose of instant happy to any kitchen.

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    Go Gold

    There are no rules when it comes to decor, and this gold metal backsplash is the perfect example of that truth. Ditch the labor-intensive tile work and use a single sheet of eye-catching gold metal to make a statement. We love how this kitchen uses gold drawer pulls and baseboards to tie the glam look together.

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    Reclaimed wood is a classic in any home; from farmhouse tables to wide-planked flooring, the right piece of wood can turn any room into a showstopper. This rustic wood backsplash is no exception. Rather than use graphic design in backsplash tile, this designer decided to save the intricate tiling for the floor and use a simple, beautiful wood paneling for the backsplash. The deep farmhouse sink really ties this look together.

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    Tin Tiles

    Vintage is cool again. Another chic and easy DIY option, these peel-and-stick tin tiles are great for covering drab backsplashes. They look much more expensive than they are, and they give a modern kitchen an easy vintage feel. The subtle silver allows you to get creative with fresh flowers or hanging plants to complete the overall look.