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What are the Different Types of Backsplash?

A kitchen with a tile backsplash behind the sink and countertops.
Backsplashes can be a design element in a kitchen.
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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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The purpose of a backsplash is to protect the wall behind the kitchen sink and counters, but it can also be used as a creative design element in a kitchen. From traditional and understated to contemporary and whimsical, there are many different options to choose from. Backsplashes can be made of tile, paint, mirrors, or even stainless steel.

Tile is the most common choice for a kitchen backsplash. Depending upon the type of tile chosen, a designer can create a number of different looks. Tiles can be made from glass, metal, stone, or natural ceramic featuring everything from simple geometric patterns to designs like apples or flowers. They are relatively easy to clean and can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer in one weekend. The cost depends on the manufacturer of the tile that is chosen.

People who are looking for a practical and low-cost idea might want to consider painting the area with chalkboard paint. This type of paint is very easy to clean and provides a handy space for writing notes, to-do lists, recipes, and menu ideas. The only downside is that the dark colors used can sometimes make a small kitchen feel a bit claustrophobic.

Antique ceiling tiles are a beautiful backsplash idea for a country kitchen. They add a dose of color and texture to the room, although the age of the material does make them harder to keep clean than some of the other options that are available.

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Using a series of mirrors behind the sink can give a kitchen an eye-catching and dramatic appearance. The light reflected from the backsplash can also help to visually open up a small space. This isn't the best choice for families with small children though, since they can be easily broken and will show smudges or fingerprints more than other options.

Wallpaper might seem like a good idea, but most experts recommend that homeowners avoid this choice. If the kitchen is very humid, people risk having problems with the paper starting to peel. Additionally, spills and stains can be very difficult to clean on many types of wallpaper.

A stainless steel backsplash gives a kitchen a very modern look. Heat-resistant, durable, and easy to clean, this material goes especially well with stainless steel appliances. It can be much more expensive than other options for the kitchen, however. Homeowners will also need to keep in mind that acidic foods can ruin the finish if spots are not quickly removed.

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OeKc05
Post 9

I love the look of brick inside of a home. It gives a place an old-fashioned feel, and it reminds me of a fireplace on a cold day.

So, when I started seeking a backsplash, I looked for brick tile. I found some with a lovely rough texture and slightly worn appearance. They looked like the outside of a sturdy house, and that look is exactly what I wanted.

The tile came in different styles. I liked the slightly different shaded squares, but they also came in rectangles. These tiles were shaped to be laid in a zigzag pattern diagonally. While these were very interesting, I preferred the traditional look.

I liked the look so much that I decided to surround my kitchen window with it. Bringing the backsplash up and over the window added emphasis to the design.

cloudel
Post 8

While shopping for ceramic backsplash tile, I came across some interesting variations. What I had in mind was just basic squares, but so much more is available.

I found mosaic tile in many forms. One of these was different sized circles set on a solid background of a darker color. I loved this one because it reminded me of the bubbles that escape from dishwater and float into the air.

Another mosaic tile pattern I found attractive featured a lattice appearance. It looked like basket weave or that lattice you find roses climbing up in people’s front yards. Though I loved this one, I think it could be hard to clean, so I went with the circle tile.

The circles range in shade from blue to teal, and the background is a deep turquoise. I never would have imagined something like this existed, and I am thrilled to have it in my kitchen.

wavy58
Post 7

I love the look of marble kitchen tile, so I decided to use that for my backsplash. The look of it is absolutely beautiful.

The tile I chose is deep green marble with swirls of white and black. The counter tops themselves are black marble, so this complements them perfectly.

The swirly appearance of the dark marble adds interest to the room. In addition to being attractive, it is very easy to clean. If I catch the grease or food in time, I can simply wipe it off with a wet paper towel. Even if I don't see it until later, I don't have to scrub very hard to remove a stain.

lonelygod
Post 6

Has anyone ever tried to install a stainless steel backsplash in his or her kitchen?

I am curious about updating the look of my kitchen and think that a stainless steel backsplash would go really well with the modern look I am trying for. I am not the handiest person but would be willing to give it a try myself if it isn't too hard.

Also, how did you find the cost of a stainless steel backsplash? Was it more expensive than other kinds or about the same as tiling?

I really think stainless steel would be the easiest to clean as well. I always love how quickly chefs wipe up in professional kitchens and would love that easy of cleanup in my own home.

BrickBack
Post 5

@SurfNTurf - I have seen those kitchen backsplashes, and they are pretty, but the only concern that I have is that it might date the kitchen a little.

You have to be careful with certain types of material because it may look great today and five or ten years later your home may look dated. I think that a granite backsplash which is a continuation of the counter top might be the most conservative way to go.

A ceramic tile backsplash is also pretty, but again I think it tends to create a dated look that might need updating in a few years.

manykitties2
Post 4

Installing your own backsplash can be a really fun do-it-yourself project for the weekend. I was a bit tired of my own plain white walls and decided to spruce up the kitchen myself by putting up some eye-catching glass tiles for a backsplash.

When I decided I was going to do my own backsplash the first thing I did was take a free tiling class at my local home improvement store. The class was about 20 minutes long and really gave me a good foundation for my project.

Once I had my tiles picked it was pretty easy to get everything finished and it now looks fantastic. I really recommend seeing if your local home improvement store has classes. You may be surprised at what you can learn to do.

surfNturf
Post 3

@Strawcake -I have to say that I love the glass backsplash. I remodeled my bathrooms and now I am thinking of redoing my kitchen.I am thinking about getting teal and aqua glass tiles along with granite countertops in black with specks of aqua in it.

I live on the beach and I try to incorporate the colors of the beach in my condo. I mainly use beige, teal, and other variations of blue and lime green.I would like to do the same in my kitchen. I have looked a few backsplash designs but the glass tiles are my favorite. It looks so sleek and clean.

strawCake
Post 2

@starrynight - No backsplash? Maybe you could make your own out of some kind of removable material. You could cover a thin piece of wood with some tile and find a temporary way to attach it to the wall behind the sink.

I personally really like backsplashes. They provide another opportunity for personalizing your kitchen just a little bit more.

When I was growing up my mom had our whole house decorated in the "country" style. Our backsplash was made of tile that she painted herself with designs that fit the theme. It was very cute!

starrynight
Post 1

I really love the idea of a chalkboard paint kitchen backsplash. I can definitely see myself using something like that to make notes. Unfortunately I rent an apartment and I'm not at liberty to make that kind of a change.

Right now I actually don't even have a backsplash behind my sink. All I have is a regular white wall!

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