How to Choose the Perfect Kitchen Backsplash

Updated: ·
Posted: 01/19/2021·

This post may contain affiliate links, please read my disclosure policy.

Learn how to select the perfect backsplash for your kitchen with these five tips from an interior designer!

This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor

Today I am so excited to show you a sneak peek of a kitchen remodel we just finished up! We’re talkin all about selecting the perfect kitchen backsplash, which is no easy feat! This project was so fun, and I can’t wait to show you the entire finished kitchen (we’re waiting on a few cabinet doors!). Don’t you love the beautiful picket backsplash!? It turned out so gorgeous! The client just wanted something light and beautiful, and I think we nailed it!

We’ve partnered with Floor & Decor to share five tips to keep in mind as you select your kitchen’s backsplash. Floor & Decor is one of my favorite places to source affordable tile for kitchens, bathrooms, and every other area of the home. They have some really amazing tile selections for every budget. Whether you’re searching for tile under $5/sf or under $10/sf, they have something for everyone! I particularly love their marble tile, and prices beat pretty much every other store! 

Calculate How Much Backsplash You Need

To calculate how much backsplash you’ll need, take the length of the area where tile will be placed and multiply it by the height of the area. Complete this calculation for each area of tile. Then add each amount together and multiply by 1.1. This is to allow for a 10% overage in case of broken tile or odd tile cuts.  

Subway Tile Isn’t the Only Option

It might seem like the only option that feels timeless, but that simply isn’t the case! There are tons of other styles and colors that can be used to pull off a timeless look that you’ll love for years to come! 

Truth be told, I struggled greatly with this while designing my own kitchen! I almost opted for subway tile because I really wanted a timeless look! I absolutely love subway tile, because it truly is timeless, but it’s not the only option for your kitchen!

There are many timeless options for a kitchen backsplash such as hexagon tiles, picket tile, penny tile, and square format tile (just to name a few). 

Timeless Backsplash Tip: Opt for a natural stone like marble or slate for a more traditional and timeless look. For example, marble or slate mosaic tile!

4 timeless backsplashes that aren’t subway tile: 

White Stiletto Porcelain Mosaic

Carrara Marble Carrara Chateau Herringbone Honed Marble Mosaic

Carrara Marble Carrara Chateau 1 in. Hexagon Honed Marble Mosaic

Viviano Marmo Dolomite Premium Picket Polished Marble Mosaic

Don’t Break the Budget on Backsplash

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, the costs can add up, so it’s important to keep your budget balanced. While there are certainly areas to splurge and areas to save, I tend to be more conservative with the tile budget! 

With SO many amazing tile options available at great prices, it really doesn’t make sense to dedicate a large portion of the budget to backsplash. 

At Floor & Decor, there are hundreds of amazing backsplash options available at incredible prices. Even marble tile can be found for under $10/sf! Floor & Decor is definitely one of my favorites to find beautiful tile at a great price. 

4 of my favorite budget friendly backsplashes:

Maravilla Jet Black Basalt Limestone Tile

Casa Antica Ocean Honed Marble Mosaic

Adessi White Picket Ceramic Tile

Festival Glossy White Herringbone Porcelain Tile

Make it Unique with Layout & Grout

Choosing the tile is just one step of the process! After you’ve selected the tile you’d like to use, you’ll need to nail down the layout, grout joint size, and the grout color. 

The layout can be completely customized to make your space feel unique! You can add a border of another color or shape, mix and match colors of the same tile, or play with the off-set of the tiles. 

One you know the layout, you can select a grout color that reflects your personality. Do you want the grout to blend in? Match the grout to the tile color. If you want a more bold look, you can add a contrasting grout color. 

TIP: If you do select a contrasting grout, be sure that it will work with the tile you’ve selected.

Once, I tried to use a dark grey grout with a light colored cement tile and the grout bled into the tile and ruined it! Natural stone and cement grout may absorb a dark grout color, so do a little test prior to grouting the entire area.

You can also play with the grout joint size to add an even more unique look to your backsplash. The grout joint size is usually ⅛”, but can be up to ¼”. Consult with your tile professional about the size your tile requires. If there’s wiggle room, you can increase or decrease to make your tile feel unique. Personally, I like a very thin grout joint and always ask my tile layer to use the smallest joint possible. 

Design Around the Backsplash (it’s important!)

I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with a client and selected backsplash in the final hour. With the kitchen backsplash being such an important piece of the design, I suggest selecting it early on, and designing around it! 

This can help you determine the style of cabinet hardware, plumbing, lighting, and cabinet color! Backsplash is one of the most visually heavy elements of the room, so let the backsplash be the star of the show, and allow the other design elements to compliment it. 

Consider Scale

The scale of tile will be one of the determinant factors in the overall style of your kitchen. A larger scale backsplash will have a bit more contemporary look, and a smaller scale will have a more traditional feel. 

I tend to gravitate towards a smaller scale tile such as a mosaic because my style is a little more traditional. If you like a more modern look, try selecting a larger scale tile. 

What do I mean when I say “larger scale”? You can see these two different tiles are the same shape. One is larger though, that means the scale is larger. 

I also tend to pick a smaller scale tile because I feel that it compliments the naturally large scale of the countertop. I think this combination works well together. I try to do the same with bathroom tile selections (one tile with a larger scale and one with a smaller scale). 

Another option is to bring the countertop up the backsplash for a completely cohesive look. 

Bonus Tip: Caring for your Backsplash

Be sure to ask your tile installer to seal the tile as needed. Some tile will need to be sealed before and after install. Some tile will only need to be sealed after install, and some not at all! I also ask my tile installers to use a grout that is pre-sealed for durability! 

I hope this blog post is helpful to you as you design your kitchen! Thanks to Floor & Decor for sponsoring this post, I can’t recommend them enough! Please let me know if you have any other backsplash questions in the comments below! 

Read Next: How to Choose Light Fixtures

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  1. Please say something about what the backsplash needs to match! Is it more important to match the cabinets, the walls, the counters, what? In this amazing kitchen you’ve shown, it doesn’t match the counters so that is promising but it does match the pain exactly. Thanks for any tips!

    • Hi! There is no hard rule on what it should match. The most important thing is that it coordinates with the overall design.

  2. It sure was nice that you mentioned that a smaller scale tile compliments the large scale of the countertop, so you tend to choose it. My plan is to have our kitchen renovated next month because my son has been complaining about our kitchen’s outdated look. Since I want to have glass splashbacks installed for modern touches, I will remember all your tips.

  3. I love all the designs but I have a problem in my kitchen counters don’t go to the ceiling and I have an empty wall next to my cabinet and I don’t know how far up I should go should I go up around the window then on the other side of the window I have a full wall before the next window starts it’s so confusing

  4. We just finished remodel our kitchen with new off white raised panel cabinetswith Taj mahal quartzite as the countertop. A large island is alsio there with the same quartzite which shows very soothing and calm. Having hard time choosing backsplash. Thinking about crackled tiles but cant agree which pattern will look the best. Do not want Subway, it is over used and look like a boring wall. Also don’t want to take way the calm beige looks with a few veins of the countertop. That was the most expensive part of the kitchen

  5. Attractive backsplashes color and design you shared, Thank you for showing us. Every Tile have good design.

  6. I have chosen the same tile. Can you share what color grout you used? It is perfect and beautiful. Thanks.

  7. I would love to know the exact picket backsplash you used for this photo along with the grout color. It is beautiful.

  8. Hi Chloe, I absolutely love your home, simply beautiful!
    I am in the process of selecting our backsplash and I am deciding btw the white picket fence style, small or large. This project has been a long time coming! I am very excited to see the end result. Great tips! My question is do you think I can lay on top of our previous backsplash? Thank you again

  9. Wow, who knew it would look so good (you did:),Thank you Chloe for all the perfect picks, I really do love that back splash and the whole kitchen. You are the best.