You’ve selected a new stove, beautiful cabinetry and countertops that are just waiting for you to prep food on them. You’ve chosen flooring and paint swatches and faucets. Your new kitchen design is coming together, but something is missing – your backsplash! Learn how to choose a kitchen backsplash to match your countertop.
Often overlooked during the initial design process, a well-designed backsplash is the pièce de résistance of any kitchen. No longer just there to protect your walls from spatters of bacon grease, this practical kitchen staple has turned into a homeowner’s chance to add a splash of color and creativity to their culinary haven.
The cool thing about selecting a beautiful backsplash is you don’t have to be an interior designer to pick one that adds style and flair to your space. All you need is a basic understanding of the materials and options out there to make an informed choice you can enjoy for years to come.
Why Install a Kitchen Backsplash
The kitchen backsplash was originally designed to protect the kitchen’s vertical surfaces from water or grease splashing onto them. In more recent years, however, the backsplash has transformed from a purely functional element to the focal point of a well-designed kitchen. Whether for function or flair, there are five reasons every kitchen should incorporate a backsplash into its design:
1. Protect the Walls
From a practical standpoint, a backsplash is designed to protect your walls from spills and spatters that could otherwise damage them. They also prevent the buildup of mildew and mold which, if left unchecked, can cause severe problems in your kitchen.
2. Prevent Stains
Food and water can also stain your walls. Over time, small spatters can build up to big stains and, eventually, walls will look dingy and dirty. Even faithful cleaning can only do so much to prolong the inevitable.
3. Easy Cleanup
A backsplash prevents stains and makes cleanup easier. Today’s backsplash materials are easy to clean, meaning you won’t spend hours scouring and scrubbing to keep them looking fabulous. You can clean most backsplash materials with a quick wipe of a damp cloth or sponge.
4. Avoid Unwanted Guests
A good backsplash won’t keep away boring clients or nosy family members, but it can reduce your chances of a visit from unwanted rodents and insects. A backsplash forms a protective barrier between the counter and wall that keeps these annoying pests from helping themselves to the leftovers in your kitchen.
5. Personalize Your Space
On average, Americans spend 37 minutes a day in their kitchens preparing meals and cleaning up after them. That’s roughly four and a half hours a week. If you’re going to spend that much time in your kitchen, don’t you want it to be beautiful?
Tips for Choosing a Kitchen Backsplash
Once you decide to install a backsplash in your kitchen, it’s time to wade through the vast selection of colors, designs and materials. The options can seem overwhelming, but these practical tips can help you narrow them down:
1. Know Your Budget
Are you on a strict budget or are you willing to pay whatever it takes to get what you want? By deciding up front what you’re ready to spend on your backsplash, you can narrow down your options. Trendier tiles with colors or elaborate designs will typically cost more than basic white tiles. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific color, consider whether you can opt for tiles made from a less expensive material. Tiles come in a variety of materials, sizes and patterns, so shopping around to figure out what works with your design and budget is the best way to get what you want at a price you can afford.
However, don’t go cheap on the grout you’ll use to seal your tiles into place. Grout is what’s going to keep your tiles on the wall, so you want to make sure that it’s going to hold up well over time. Grout also comes in a variety of colors, which can be a great way to spruce up your space if you opt for a plain white tile.
2. Know the Size of Your Space
Size and budget go hand-in-hand since a large kitchen will naturally require more materials than a small one. As you’re contemplating your design and budget, take a good look at the size of your kitchen. Typically the spaces above your oven range and your sink are the places in the kitchen that need the most coverage, so these are the areas that get a lot of attention. They are also the places that offer the most space to play with design. Consider a more detailed tile for these areas and opt for a more neutral tile in the smaller areas that won’t get noticed as much.
3. Evaluate Your Options
Take some time to think about your options. After all, this backsplash is one you’ll be living with for a long time. Tape samples of tiles to your kitchen walls and observe them for a couple of days. Watch for changes how they look as the lighting changes throughout the day. Consider how they coordinate with your cabinetry and light fixtures. Get a second option. And a third if you need it. Your backsplash is going to be with you for a long time, so you want to make sure it’s something you can live with.
4. Consider Your Countertops
While it’s important for your backsplash to coordinate nicely with your lighting and cabinets, the most critical kitchen element to consider is your countertops. Your backsplash is, in many ways, an extension of your countertops. These two elements will be right next to each other and, if you do a good job choosing them, they will ultimately showcase each other.
Best Kitchen Countertop and Backsplash Combinations
Picking a kitchen backsplash to match your countertops is important for all the reasons we mentioned above. It can be tempting to choose the same materials and colors for your countertop and backsplash, but this option can look uninspired. Ultimately, selecting a well-coordinated backsplash and countertop is essential to the design of your kitchen.
It’s usually best to select your countertops first. Countertops must be installed before the backsplash – therefore needing to be chosen first – and options for countertops are more limited than backsplash choices. With fewer choices for countertops, it can be easier to pick your countertop and then search for a backsplash that goes with it.
Once you’ve selected the countertop, you’ve got a few things to consider:
1. Matching vs. Contrasting
One of the biggest questions homeowners have when selecting a backsplash is whether it should match their countertops. There are two schools of thought when it comes to this question. Some people prefer to match, sticking to a color palette that provides a peaceful, uniform look throughout their kitchen. This is typically accomplished if you choose simple, neutral colors for both your countertops and backsplash. This is often seen these days in the trend of all-white kitchens, which showcase a white countertop, backsplash and cabinets.
Other people prefer to contrast, using a backsplash to highlight their countertops or as its own visual showpiece in the kitchen. If you’ve selected a countertop that has a unique hue or a lot of movement in it, consider selecting a neutral tile for the backsplash. Contrasting with a neutral tone allows you to showcase your gorgeous countertops. If your countertop is more neutral or flat in appearance, then you can get more creative with your backsplash.
2. Mixing Materials
If you absolutely love your countertop, there’s always the option to continue it up your walls as a backsplash. This can be especially cost-effective if you had to purchase a slab to cut your countertops and you have a lot of material left over. However, if you don’t want the same material in your backsplash or it’s not in your budget to do that, you can select tiles in similar patterns or shades to your countertop. This allows you to continue with the colors and designs in your countertop without spending the extra money on another slab.
The other option is to choose a different material for the backsplash. For a more rustic look, consider natural stone backsplash tiles.
3. Shape and Pattern of Tiles
Along those same lines, having fun with the shapes and patterns of tiles can also bring beauty to your space. Particularly popular right now are mosaic backsplash tiles. Mosaic tiles allow you to use several different colors and shades in your design, coordinating with your countertops, as well as appliances and other elements of color in the kitchen. Incorporating various shapes and patterns into tile backsplashes also adds a beautiful, custom look to your kitchen that makes it feel more personal.
Backsplash Ideas for Granite Countertops
Known for both its durability and beauty, granite countertops are one of the more popular choices on the market today. But, when it comes to selecting the best backsplash to coordinate with your granite countertops, it can be a little bit tricky. Each piece of granite has its own subtle variations in color and design, which can make choosing a backsplash difficult. However, there are several design approaches you can take to selecting your backsplash:
Consider continuing the same slab of granite you selected for your countertops up the wall. This highlights the beautiful granite you picked and saves you the time of finding tiles to coordinate with the countertop. You can either do a simple four-inch high backsplash, or you can opt to carry it all the way up the wall for a modern and dramatic effect. One word of caution on this route – depending on the color you selected and the size of your kitchen, taking your backsplash all the way up the wall may overwhelm your space.
If you don’t want to use granite in your backsplash, but you still want a uniform look, you can continue the color you selected by pulling out a color or hue in the granite and matching it to the tile you like. For example, you may choose a simple blue-gray tile as a backsplash for busy granite with white, blue and gray veining.
2. Consider Glass
Glass tiles can be an excellent complement to granite countertops because they are glossy like the granite. There are a wide variety of color and style options available in glass as well. If you opt for glass tiles, look for ones that coordinate well with the granite’s main color field.
If you don’t want to match your granite, consider using a traditional white or neutral-colored subway tile pattern. You can leave it plain, or you can incorporate a mosaic pattern into the white tiles over the range or sink. By designing the mosaic in the same color family – for example, if your granite is warmer in tone, use warmer tiles in the mosaic – it will bring the shades in the kitchen together without having to be completely coordinated.
Backsplash Ideas for Quartz Countertops
Quartz is an excellent alternative to granite because it has a similar look to granite, but it is man-made. This means it requires less maintenance to keep it in good condition. It also means that quartz countertops are usually more uniform in coloring and pattern. This makes it easier to choose a backsplash that coordinates with a quartz countertop because there is less variation in color and pattern to work with. To select a fabulous backsplash for your quartz countertops, consider these suggestions:
1. All White
You can’t go wrong with an all-white kitchen. If you’ve chosen white cabinets and countertops, adding a white backsplash, particularly the ever-popular subway tile, is a great way to guarantee that all your kitchen elements will complement each other. Alternatively, if everything else is white, you can add a pop of color with your backsplash tile.
2. Variations of the Same Color
Another option when you’re working with a quartz countertop is to use variations of the same colors throughout your kitchen. For example, if you select a dark gray quartz countertop, select lighter gray tiles for your backsplash. If you choose a quartz countertop with a lot of veining, consider selecting backsplash tiles that compliment the veining in the countertops.
3. Modern Marvel
A backsplash can be an excellent focal point, but it can also be used to feature other parts of the kitchen, such as the countertops. If you’re looking for a sleek, modern look, opt for a dark gray or black quartz countertop to set off a white backsplash and white cabinets.
Backsplash Ideas for Laminate Countertops
Laminate countertops are an inexpensive alternative to granite and quartz. Laminate countertops such as DuPontâ¢ CorianÂ® are a durable, non-porous option that stands up well to stains and daily wear-and-tear. Besides their lower cost, they are appealing because they come in a huge variety of patterns and colors. The wide variety makes matching laminate countertops with a backsplash relatively easy.
TopIn general, to select a backsplash that goes with a laminate countertop, you’ll follow the same rule of thumb that you would for a quartz or granite countertop. Typically, laminate countertops come with a traditional “Post-Formed Top.” This is the vertical edge that extends up from the countertop along the wall for several inches with a rounded edge. This is attached to the countertop, which makes it an easy and affordable solution for a backsplash.
2. Custom Backsplash
While a Post-Formed Top is certainly ideal when it comes to cost and convenience, it doesn’t add that special designer touch that many people want to incorporate into their kitchens these days. So, if you opt to be more economical when you choose your countertop, it’s a great idea to add a more luxurious touch with a tile or glass backsplash. As with the other countertop materials we’ve discussed, you can opt to select a tile color that ties in with the colors in your countertop itself, or you can stick with a simple white backsplash that will set off your beautiful cabinets and countertops. You can also play around with different materials, determining which will best compliment your laminate.
Choosing a Reputable Installer
Regardless of what backsplash you choose, it’s important to choose an experienced, trustworthy professional to install it. With more than 60 years of experience installing kitchen cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and more, Henry H. Ross & Son, Inc., has repeatedly proven itself to be the right choice for both residential and commercial renovations in Lancaster, York, Harrisburg and Reading, Pa. If you’re in the market for a kitchen update, look no further. Call H.H. Ross for a free quote on a new countertop or backsplash today.