The Four DON’Ts in Choosing Your Backsplash Tile

Choosing new tile for your kitchen backsplash can feel like a major decision. And truthfully, it can be! Your backsplash isn’t necessarily the star of your kitchen design, but bad tile or poor installation can really take centre stage for all the wrong reasons. Unlike many of your home design choices, like paint, light fixtures or furniture that can be easily changed, tile is fairly permanent and is expected to stay where it is for years to come. Beware of these important DON’Ts when choosing your kitchen tile backsplash.

1. DON’T Forgo Function for Style

In kitchen design, a backsplash is like icing on a cake. A beautiful tile or intricate layout can really make a big impression and have every guest telling you “I love that backsplash!” Now that tile backsplash has become a design focal point and it’s easy to forget that it plays an important function in the kitchen. A tile backsplash protects your wall from grime and grease, and gives you a strong surface that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Don’t forget this important function when selecting your tile. If you use your kitchen often, for cooking, entertaining or craft time, you need to select a tile that is durable and stain-resistant. While natural stone may be more likely to pick up stains, stainless steel, man-made stone and porcelain tiles stand up against high-use spaces.

2. DON’T Date Your Space

Have you ever walk into a bathroom and know that the amber tub, coordinating vanity and matching toilet was clearly the #designgoals of a 1970s homeowner? Don’t do this to your kitchen. Trends in shapes and colors will come and go, and choosing anything particularly trendy will make your kitchen appear out of date sooner than you’d like. This includes inlays, borders and accents -- anything that adds too much of a decorative element. What you choose today might not suit your style in a few years down the road; tiles can’t easily be switched out when your tastes change. Unless you’re in your retirement home, there is a good chance you’ll want to sell your house one day and the more decorative your tile choices are, the less likely they are to appeal to a wide range of buyers. You can choose something classic, neutral and natural without giving up style and design.

Don't date your space

3. DON’T Forget the Space

Your tile needs to fit your space, literally and in design. If your space is 19 inches high and you select six-inch tiles, you’re going to end up with one-inch strips around your entire backsplash. You want to avoid having lots of cuts or small pieces around corners and edges as much as possible. Choosing large sized tiles for a small space can leave your space looking poorly matched. Selecting dark tile probably won’t suit a small space but mirrored or stainless steel tiles will make the space appear larger. Consider what you would like to have, and also what would best suit the physical space in your kitchen and the existing design of your home.

4. DON’T Underestimate the Work

The tile you choose will also help determine how much work (and cost!) is involved in both installation and upkeep. If many intricate cuts are needed to fit around cabinets and outlets, it will take more time and cost more money for the installation. Something like a subway tile is fairly easy to install and is popular with DIY tilers. Any tile will require some upkeep, and different choices require different upkeep. Natural stone will need resealing yearly. Stainless steel and mirrored choices are susceptible to fingerprints and smudges so you can expect to polish them regularly. Keep this in mind when deciding what backsplash is best suited for your space and life.

Don't underestimate the work

The options for material, color, style and layout are endless when it comes to your tile backsplash. With the right plan and a little know-how, you can create a beautiful background for your kitchen design for years to come.