5 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Kitchen Backsplash

By Amber Carfield

Homeowners spend a lot of time and effort designing their kitchen. The kitchen is not just a place for cooking. It is the most used room in the house, according to the real estate company Trulia. One area that often gets overlooked in the design process of the kitchen is the backsplash.

The backsplash offers protection against splatters and spills and provides a bit of color and style to any kitchen. There are all manner of materials, colors, and patterns of backsplashes you can use to update the look of your kitchen. As a professional kitchen remodeler and designer with Kitchens by Good Guys, here are a few things I suggest you look for when deciding on a backsplash that best suits your kitchen and your style.

Choosing the Right Material

The material you choose for your backsplash will set the tone for the style of your kitchen. If you own your home and can spend a little more money on a backsplash that will last beyond a trend, I recommend tile or stone. It’s easy to install and offers a high-end look to any kitchen.

Glass and ceramic tiles can add a splash of color to any kitchen and comes in multiple design styles. You can go bold with eccentric color choices or stay neutral and match your existing countertops and cabinets.

The material you choose will determine how much upkeep is needed. Glass and ceramic tiles don’t need much maintenance after installation, but cement or clay tile is porous and will need sealing over the years. If you tend to have splatters and spills while you are cooking, stick with glass or ceramic tile when choosing your backsplash.

If you are considering continuing your kitchen countertop material up the wall under your cabinets, you must understand the stone you currently have. Marble, granite, and limestone are more porous than other popular countertop stone options such as quartz. I recommend using quartz if you are continuing your countertop up the wall because of less maintenance. If you do decide to use marble, granite, or limestone as your backsplash you will need to reseal the stone at least every 6 months.  

Continuing your countertops up your wall for a backsplash is also a more difficult process as these stones are heavier than tile and takes some work to get it to stick to the wall.

If you are looking for a less expensive way to add some color to your backsplash you can use wood or wallpaper as an option. These are inexpensive materials and require very little upkeep. Wallpaper can be easily wiped down with soap and water. Wood can be painted with glossy paints or sealed with polyurethane for easy cleaning.

Deciding on the Perfect Color

Many homeowners use their kitchen backsplash to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutrally toned kitchen. Recent trends have been to keep the backsplashes neutral along with the cabinets and countertops as these color palates are easier to sell than bold color choices such as bright greens or electric blues when you decide to put your home on the market. You can still add color to your kitchen if you wish by choosing a tile pattern you like. 

Choosing the right color depends on the theme of your kitchen. If you like a more minimalistic look you can go for neutral colors. If this is the case for you, I suggest pulling colors from your countertops to keep the overall color theme the same. If you are a person who likes a more eccentric look you can choose tiles with patterns and colors of your choosing that stand out.

Determine Where Your Backsplash Will Go

Traditionally, a kitchen backsplash runs from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets. However, if you have open shelving you may want to consider extending the backsplash up to the ceiling providing an exciting look to your kitchen.

If you have traditional cabinetry then you will want to consider extending your backsplash behind your range up to the ceiling to create a beautiful and functional focal point.

When using backsplashes in larger spaces you need to consider the color and pattern of the materials more so than with small areas. The more space the material covers the more they can look out of place. Sticking with neutral colors or matching colors to your countertops will help create a focal point that doesn’t look out of place in your kitchen.

Choosing Grout Color to Make Your Tile Pop

Grout color is a major element in creating a backsplash.  Grout comes in different colors and can create a different feeling depending on the color of your tile. If you are the type of person who likes neutral colors, then choose a grout that blends in with the color of the tile. Choosing a similar color helps the texture of the tile stand out when you have a simple backsplash.

A contrasting grout is the way to go when you want to bring attention to an overall layout or design pattern in your backsplash. A darker grout with lighter tile will add more visual interest to geometric tile shapes. Grout color choice all depends on how much you want the backsplash to stand out from your other design elements.

Grout maintenance is relatively simple. Wipe the tile and grout clean with a washcloth and it will clean any splatters from the grout. If residue is still left over, you can create a paste with lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda for an environmentally friendly cleaner or use any store-bought foaming cleaner.

Creating a Budget 

You don’t need a large budget to install a new and exciting backsplash in your kitchen. Look through all your options and find what suits your needs. If tile and stone is too expensive for you consider buying discontinued products. You can find some tile stores selling products that are no longer in production. When a particular line of tile is going out of production stores will cut the prices to move the merchandise.

There is a plethora of backsplash options for your kitchen. Take your time and choose exactly what you want to ensure you pick a design you will love to look at for years to come. If you have questions while going through the design process, find a reputable kitchen remodeler or designer to consult with in your area.

Amber Carfield is the Design Director at Kitchens by Good Guys, a kitchen remodel company in Scottsdale, Arizona. Carfield has worked in the kitchen remodeling industry since 2000 and is an expert on all aspects of a kitchen remodel.

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