How to Choose the Right Kitchen Backsplash

There’s a lot to choose from when considering a new or an updated kitchen. There’s the layout, the cabinets, what appliances to purchase and the overall color scheme. Quite often the smaller – but no less important – details such as choosing the right kitchen backsplash, can get overlooked.

A kitchen backsplash can span the entire wall, add an accent behind the range, or cover the area between the countertops and the cabinets. This accent, which also serves an integral function of helping to keep hard-to-clean dirt and grease off your walls, adds color and texture to your kitchen design.

Whether your kitchen is country-chic or modern and sleek, the backsplash should be the focal point – the place where your eye is drawn. To help you pick the right kitchen backsplash, consider these designer-approved tips.

Match colors but mix materials

The best way to start is to determine your kitchen’s main color and then find complementary colors you can add. Quite often, the dominating color in your kitchen will be your cabinets or countertop. Once you have your main color choose a few complementary or contrasting colors that look good. You can use online color generators, follow known color combos that work best or embrace neutral palettes for a simple, timeless look.

Live with it for awhile

Before committing to any color scheme, live with it for some time. Tape color and tile samples to your kitchen walls to see what they look like throughout the day. The way natural light moves throughout the room in the course of a day can really change how colors and textures work together in a room.

Spend a little for the high impact zone

You can minimize cost by breaking your kitchen backsplash up into high-visual and lower-visual areas. Concentrate on how your backsplash will look in the larger areas, such as the space above the range and the wall around your sink. Since the kitchen backsplash is intended to be a focal draw, add a pop of color or texture to these larger square footage spaces, while using more neutral or conservative tile for the rest of the backsplash. Since more interesting and unique tile or material options can tend to be pricier, by breaking your kitchen backsplash into high impact and neutral areas, you spend less as your overall square foot of coverage has dropped.

When on a budget, avoid trendy

If you’re on a kitchen remodel budget, avoid the trendy tile or backsplash idea and stick with classic materials and colors. Since trends can fall in and out of favor, you could end up spending much more on your backsplash only to have it appear outdated in a few years. To avoid this, stick to classic combinations, such as white ceramic subway tiles, that can often cost much less per square foot then current trendier options.

Don’t skimp on the grout

Most people don’t even consider grout until they are asked what color they’d like and most people are stunned silent as they try and figure out what color of grout to use! But how your backsplash adheres to the wall is extremely important, so spend a bit of time considering your grout options.

Jillian Harris, the Canadian television personality and interior designer, who is best known for appearing on the television series The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Love It or List It Vancouver, confesses that she never selects a stark white grout because “it looks too bright!”

Harris’ tip is to pick a grout that is a shade lighter than the tile. If this doesn’t work, go with black, she says.

Keep it practical

While the options for selecting a kitchen backsplash can seem overwhelming, remember that this element of your kitchen must first serve its purpose. A kitchen backsplash should protect your kitchen walls from food and water stains, as well as prevent the buildup of mildew and mold (which can grow in moist environments such as bathrooms and kitchens). A good backsplash can also keep away unwanted guests such as rodents, as it forms a protective barrier between your countertop and the wall.

Knowing all this, to choose the right backsplash for your kitchen, remember to:

  • Stick to your budget
  • Get proper measurements for your space (and break those measurements up if you have high impact and low impact areas)
  • Pick a few texture and color options and live with them for a short time
  • See how your selections fit with your chosen countertops.

While the backsplash may just peek out between your cabinetry and appliances, its importance shouldn't be underestimated. As a focal point, it can draw your eye into this integral room of your home or it can unify the room in a subtle, understated way. Either way, you can’t go wrong since the beauty of a backsplash is truly in the eye of the beholder.