Anna Marie Fanelli, Showroom Owner: When I design a kitchen backsplash, I like to see a blending of color. The splash should complement the floor, cabinets and countertop. I do not feel the backsplash should be a separate entity to the space. It can be dramatic but it should not be an eyesore.
Lori Kirk-Rolley, Tile Industry Professional: The backsplash needs to complement the other materials in the kitchen. It doesn’t necessarily have to match, but colors and style should complement the other design elements in the space. As an example, if a homeowner chooses a granite countertop that has a lot of visual movement (veining, color variation) they may want to design a backsplash that is more subdued, without as much visual activity. But at the end of the day, the homeowner needs to make choices that she or he will like today as well as in the future.
Verdict: Have fun with your backsplash, but be aware of its surroundings.
Which backsplash tile materials and patterns are extremely “of the moment”? Are there any backsplashes that are starting to look dated?
What size and shape tiles are particularly popular right now?
What about tile sizes—does small work better in a small kitchen, big better in a big kitchen?
Should a backsplash match: the kitchen countertop, cabinets, flooring, or something else?
Do you prefer a uniform backsplash consisting of the same tiles, or do you like to mix and match tile shapes and colors?
What do you recommend for someone on a tight budget who still wants a great backsplash?
White subway tiles: a classic that can never go wrong, or an overused look that leads to dull backsplashes?
Are there any options for someone who is renting and wants to cover up the existing backsplash without actually replacing it?
Should people ever consider painting tiles?
Do you like when a backsplash is exactly the same material used on the countertop?
Should certain backsplash materials be avoided because they can easily be damaged by high heat or food stains?
If a backsplash is placed in an area without wall cabinets, should the backsplash go all the way to the ceiling?
Who normally designs a tile backsplash: the homeowner, a kitchen or interior designer, or someone at a tile showroom?
How does tile design affect costs?
Is it dated to have the backsplash be the counter extending up 4 inches and then have a painted wall?
How do you select grout? Do you like grout with color? Do you try to match it to tile?
What backsplash and kitchen trends from Europe and Spain can people in the States use?
Why do some European kitchens use tile on the entire wall, not just the backsplash?
Is there a prevalent backsplash style that you see in smaller kitchens in big city apartments?
What types of backsplashes do people in southwestern and western part of U.S. seem to prefer?
In the last 35 years, what have you seen change in backsplash design?
There are many great reclaimed wood kitchen products, but could you use reclaimed wood in a backsplash design?
When choosing sustainable or green tile, what should consumers look for so they know the product is truly sustainable and eco-friendly?
Meet the Backsplash Experts
Photo Courtesy of Oceanside Glasstile
Glass tiles in types of shapes, like these in the form of subway tiles, continues to be popular for kitchen backsplashes.
Courtesy of Walker Zanger
Long and thin tiles arranged vertically are a recent trend in backsplash configuration.
Photo Courtesy of Keraben and the Tiles of Spain
With plenty of room for a backsplash, this kitchen uses large, rectangular tiles to fill up the space behind the cooking area and accentuate the room’s length.
Courtesy of Oceanside Glasstile and DIY-Do It Yourself Network’s Kitchen Renovations series
This photo is a good example of using two different tile colors and sizes within a backsplash to create a stunning look.
Photo courtesy of Kohler
White subway tile has been a classic element of design for many years, but is it stylish enough to stand alone in a backsplash?
Courtesy of Mibo Tile Tattoos
Using tile decals, like the one’s from Mibo pictured above, is one way for renters to easily add a little style to their backsplash.
Courtesy of Tile of Spain
Without the barrier of wall cabinets, this backsplash is able to extend all the way to the ceiling.
Photo by Suki Medencevic
Intricate, custom backsplashes, which require tile to be cut into specific shapes, will always cost more than basic backsplash configurations.
Photo Courtesy of Kohler
This backsplash uses a very light grout that doesn’t detract from the tiles.
Photo Courtesy of Tiles of Spain
European design doesn’t always incorporate wall cabinets, which allows the wall tile to be the focal point in the room.
Photo Courtesy of Tiles of Spain
This modern kitchen eschews wall paint for a mix of cherry red and white wall tiles.
Photo Courtesy of the Atlanta Building Company
Older apartment units in big cities often stick with classic tile for backsplashes, like white subway tile seen above.
Photo Courtesy of Crossville
As backsplashes have evolved over the years, they’ve went from functional parts of the kitchen to a dimension of a kitchen that allows for creative design. The photo above shows a current backsplash with an artistic element.
Photo by Paul Dyer, courtesy of CCS Architecture
You can use reclaimed wood for something like a countertop, as seen in the kitchen above. But using reclaimed wood for a backsplash can be a difficult proposition.
Photo Courtesy of Fireclay Tile
The tiles pictured above are made from post-consumer recycled content.