Backsplashes were all about function in the past, protecting the walls behind countertops, ovens and sinks from well... splashes.
Nowadays, however, their ability to bring both aesthetic and practical value to a kitchen is crucial to a well-designed kitchen space.
So if you are after backsplash ideas that are going to smarten up your kitchen and perhaps even become a focal point of your space, there’s a world of choice, and a ton of other kitchen ideas to choose from.
"The kitchen backsplash is a fantastic space that you can use to add color or textural interest to your kitchen," experts at Caesarstone explain. "It's possible to work with a wide variety of materials such as quartz, tile, stone, glass, ceramic, and stainless steel to achieve the desired effect. Regardless of whether you are designing an ultra-modern or a very traditional kitchen, your choice of backsplash will have a significant impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. Luckily, designers have been redefining the look and scope of kitchen backsplashes so you can draw inspiration from many different kitchen styles."
To help narrow down your choices, we've rounded up all our favorite kitchen backsplash looks below, along with ways for you to replicate them in your own kitchen, so go and get inspired...
- Remember, if it's kitchen design advice you are after we have you covered with our in-depth feature.
1. Add a rustic look with patterned kitchen tiles
The bare plaster, crumbling walls look is bang on trend at the moment, and depending on your DIY skills, it could be something you could recreate yourself.
You would have to remove your old backsplash rather than just tile straight on top, but then you could recreate this cool, almost unfinished look, using plaster, paint or even wallpaper.
Add a smaller amount of pattern tiles, just one or two rows, and leave the rest of the space 'unfinished.'
- For tips on how to tile a backsplash head to our foolproof guide.
2. Contrast your kitchen backsplash with a funky wallpaper
Pink is everywhere at the moment and if you want your fix without overwhelming the kitchen, a backsplash is a great place to do it.
We love how the pink tiles in this kitchen work with the statement wallpaper too, and the muted sage kitchen cabinets just keep everything from looking too crazy.
If you love pink as much as us, you will want to have a read through our pink kitchen ideas too.
- Move over grey – these green kitchen ideas will inspire you to add shades of emerald, olive and sage to your cabinets, tiles, worktops and walls.
3. Neaten up your backsplash with a shelf
This is a really neat kitchen backsplash idea – add a narrow, floating shelf where your tiles end.
It looks really smart but is also a good way to cram in a little bit more kitchen storage, plus open shelves are always lovely to decorating, adding some interest to an otherwise quite flat space.
We have plenty of lovely shelving ideas to help you style up your kitchen shelves too so head over there for inspiration.
4. Create a farmhouse vibe with a traditional patterned backsplash
This kind of traditional, farmhouse decorative tile design is actually making a bit of a splash (get it?) even in modern homes.
They don't have to be as fussy as their more country style cousins either, just a simple pattern like the one above will add a touch of the farmhouse feel we all love.
- Looking for country kitchen ideas? Get inspired by these country kitchens, whether you live in a period property or a modern home
5. Paint over your kitchen backsplash
The easiest kitchen backsplash idea of all, paint over your current tiles. Yep, it's doable and we have seen so make kitchen tiles transformed with just a lick of paint.
There are a few extra steps you have to take just to make sure it will last well, and our guide to how to paint tiles will show you just what you need to do.
6. Double the impact with mirrored kitchen backsplash
A mirrored kitchen backsplash is a good small kitchen design addition to make the space feel large and brighter, plus, it can provide an intriguing new perspective.
Choose from a plain mirror, antique finishes or colored versions like this gorgeous bronze backsplash idea.
7. Go modern with a marble-effect kitchen backsplash
If you're looking for more modern kitchen ideas, well it doesn't get any more contemporary that this marble-look kitchen backsplash.
Ideal if you love the solid and impressive appearance of real stone, but not the cost, now you can just choose a backsplash with a real-stone effect instead.
This kitchen benefits from the elegant marble effect of the glass Impact Harmony Grey backsplash (opens in new tab) from British Ceramic Tile.
8. Pick an Ikea backsplash for an affordable update
Looking to make a new kitchen cost less?
Turn a boring backdrop into a statement feature with this clever backsplash idea: DIY-fit Clouds Lysekil wall panels from Ikea (opens in new tab).
They cost $39.98 for a 48" x19" (£25 for 1.2m in the UK), are easy to fit because they can be cut to the required size and glued to the wall, but shouldn’t be used in concert with a gas stove. The panels also come in marble look.
9. Add an extra dimension with textured tiles
As well as to introduce color, consider tiles to bring a tactile element to the room. From Gemini Tiles (opens in new tab), these Bridge Relief Graphite tiles will create a kitchen backsplash to complement industrial-style spaces alongside materials such as copper.
10. Match kitchen backsplash and countertops
We love the look of this backsplash idea; using the same worktop materials for preparation and dining areas as for the backsplash looks sleek and contemporary.
Here Caesarstone (opens in new tab) quartz in 5104 Tuscan Dawn has creamy veins that add visual interest and bounces light around for a space-stretching effect.
- If you want any more advice on choosing the best kitchen worktops, have a read of our guide.
11. Create industrial style with metallic backsplash ideas
The material you choose for a backsplash can help evoke a distinctive feel.
Stainless steel is often used in creating an industrial style kitchen vibe, but here it’s given the homeowners the 1950s diner look they were after.
Experts at Howdens say, 'Match your stainless steel appliances to your backsplash for an ultra-modern kitchen design. Stainless steel is easy to clean, and is often found in professional kitchens.'
12. Bookmatch kitchen backsplash for impact
Vertical surfaces have a significant influence in a design scheme.
In this kitchen, the polished Blue Savoie marble for the hob backsplash has been bookmatched, which creates a mirror image, and is an elegant focal point that complements the handsome cabinetry.
13. DIY a stylish kitchen backsplash
Glass backsplash ideas don’t only offer the choice between clear and colored designs.
Experts at Howdens (opens in new tab) explain, 'The gloss finish of a toughened glass backsplash reflects the light, making your kitchen brighter. It also withstands heat, so it can be fitted behind your hob.'
This Wicker Charcoal motif from the Laura Ashley collection at Splashback.co.uk (opens in new tab), is a simple way to dress up a plain room, and has a peel-off backing to allow it to be DIY fitted.
14. Select a backsplash for a cook's kitchen
The keenest of home chefs might like to consider backsplash ideas that promise to be stain-proof whatever the dishes being cooked up.
Orix, a concrete effect backsplash from the Industrial collection at Dekton (opens in new tab)also has high UV resistance to avoid fading.
15. Get inspired by metallic kitchen backsplash ideas
Follow the trend for warmer metals in the kitchen with a backsplash that continues the theme.
This copper backsplash is matched with polished copper handles, and has a verdigris finish with lacquer hand-applied, making each piece unique.
Love this? Check out our favorite copper kitchen accessories.
16. Choose an alternative, eco-friendly material
If your aim is to make your home more eco-friendly, your backsplash ideas can become part of the project.
Alusplash (opens in new tab) backsplahes are made from post-consumer recycled aluminum, are grout-free and therefore quick and easy to install, and come in a variety of beautiful colors.
This kitchen has been kitted out with an Alusplash in Blueberry.
17. Play with polished plaster
Polished plaster – a decorative plaster finish – can reproduce the look of different types of stone to stunning effect.
In this kitchen, it’s teamed with a worktop upstand for additional protection at the base of the wall.
Richard Cotgrove of Surfina created this design in a Pietra Spaccata finish.
18. Go for a mosaic backsplash
Make a working kitchen prettier with a backsplash in an intricate mosaic pattern.
Mosaic doesn't have to mean fussy though, a simple honeycomb design is bang on trend and the moment and they reflect the light so beautifully.
19. Add an industrial edge with an exposed brick effect
Exposed brick is cool – but not very practical in high-traffic areas, and especially not in the backsplash area, which always gets wet.
Get the look without any of the trouble with these beautiful brick-effect glazed porcelain Terramix tiles (opens in new tab) from Gemini.
With their subtle color variations and tactile texture, they are perfect for adding an industrial edge to your kitchen design.
If you want to go all out and create a feature wall of exposed brick, check out our step-by-step guide.
20. Experiment with pared-back pattern
If you are looking for kitchen backsplash ideas, that use pattern to create interest, but doesn't overwhelm a space, it's advisable to opt for tiles in muted shades for a unique, yet pared-back finish.
We love how these Cool Triangles Tiles (opens in new tab), which form part of the Ted Baker collection available at BCT, create a stylish focal point without detracting from the muted and industrial feel of this contemporary kitchen.
- Wondering how to choose the best kitchen tiles? We have loads of practical advice so you can pick the best option.
21. Create a moody effect with glass effect acrylic
Feel like your kitchen needs modernizing/want to update the look, but don't want to redo the whole kitchen?
Changing the backsplash may well do the trick – but be sure to pick a high-impact design.
We love the glass bricks used in this kitchen, they are great for small kitchens as the light can flow through them, and they are a fab choice for open plan kitchens too.
22. Create a luxurious look with a bespoke mirror-effect backsplash
How about a kitchen that looks a bit like a luxury boudoir?
The devil is in the detail: think gorgeous faucet and a bespoke backsplash.
This luxury Hampstead kitchen (opens in new tab) has been designed by Humphrey Munson and features a bespoke antique mirror-effect backsplash.
- Pack both design and functionality into the kitchen sink with our list of the best kitchen faucets.
23. Embrace the terrazzo trend for a kitchen backsplash
Cool in the '70s, tacky in the '90s, terrazzo is back with a bang in '20s. We have opened our arms to terrazzo once more and we aren’t just limiting this finish to the floors (so 2018) but starting to take terrazzo to the walls and splashbacks.
The splashback in this kitchen has been made by dzek (opens in new tab) and it can be ordered in tiles or as one whole block as seen above.
- Let these beautiful bathroom tile ideas be the inspiration you need – whether you're tiling bathroom walls, floors or both.
24. Backsplash wallpaper: no one will know it's not tile
For a very quick backsplash idea (perhaps between moving in and a major home renovation) that will still be durable and look great, opt for a backsplash wallpaper.
The KitchenWalls Wallpaper Splashback (opens in new tab) from Lime Lace is made from water-resistant and heat-resistant vinyl, but looks like metro or subway tiles. Have a look at our other wallpaper ideas for inspiration.
Experts at Howdens explain, 'If you like kitchen backsplash tile ideas and want a low-maintenance alternative, choose a tile-effect backboard. With no need for grout, these are easy for your builder to fit.'
- How to wallpaper is a key DIY skill. See where to start in a room whether hanging traditional or peel and stick wallpaper.
25. Go glam with gold leaf
How amazing does this look?! With a bit of gold leaf you can turn a tired looking kitchen into one that has a dramatic focal wall - and a super stylish backsplash to boot, plus it gives your kitchen a unique look.
You will need to seal the gold leaf after application, there are lacquers that can be painted on top, or, you can use a clear piece of glass on top of the area that could be hit with splashes.
26. Extend your backsplash to make it a feature
There are two things we love here - the herringbone style layout and the fact that the backsplash tile design is extended to the side of the freestanding unit.
Having tiles on the wall like this also saves it from the bumps and scratches from everyday family life - easy to wipe, and although it’s not something we see often, it is a great design idea and one that should be used more we think!
27. Use a backsplash to add an accent color
As we’ve mentioned before, you don’t need to just tile the standard ‘backsplash size’, you can tile up to the ceiling if you like and if you’re using the tile color as an accent it will work better visually for it to be a continuous flow rather than sections of tiles then plain painted walls or wallpaper above that line.
This blush pink shade works really well against the white Shaker style units, wood worktop and chrome accessories.
Then, carry on your accent color through into other pieces like tableware, napkins and vases.
What materials can I use for a kitchen backsplash?
There’s plenty on offer in terms of backsplash materials. Cost, care requirements and how they complement the rest of the kitchen design should all factor into your selection.
If you're fitting a kitchen, factor in whether you can DIY install your backsplash material, as is possible with panels, tiles and mosaic sheets; a professional needs to do the job with stone and solid surfaces.
- Tiles offer many color, style and pattern choices, as well as a large range of price points. They’re easy to keep clean, although grout may need more work in time.
- Laminate, meanwhile, can be a good budget buy.
- Stainless steel has an industrial look, and is easy to look after.
- Glass can be a barely visible addition, protect a wallpaper for an individual look, or stand out in its own right if you choose a colored or patterned design.
- Stone will make a statement, if you’re prepared to invest more, while attractive.
- Quartz and solid surface materials are options to match a worktop.
- More unusual are mirrored glass and metallics, which can brighten as well as protect.
What is the cheapest backsplash?
The cheapest backsplash option would be to recycle – leftover pieces from worktops, or some mosaic tiles discarded from another project for example.
Search sites like Gumtree for a second hand backsplash from someone else. Or look out for seconds from a kitchen store, it might be that there’s a tiny mark that you would hardly notice but enough to bring the price down considerably.
Perspex would be the next cheapest option, it’s great value and you can buy sheets pre-cut in colors as well as plain. And then there’s good old glass. 100% recyclable and is one of the most popular options as it looks sleek and stylish in modern kitchens.
- Refresh your kitchen with the best DIY wall paint ideas.
What is the easiest backsplash to clean?
Glass and tiles are the two top backsplashes that tick the ‘easy to clean’ box.
They simply need a wipe with a warm soapy cloth to take off any immediate splashes from cooking.
Stainless steel whilst looking fab, can be trickier – sometimes you are left with smears however hard you try to get them off – one trick is to use olive oil on a soft cloth and then buff with a paper towel, as we explain in our guide to how to clean stainless steel.
Whatever backsplash you do choose, always remember that the quicker you wipe off the splash the easier it will - we all know how hard old ones are to remove!