Ah, the humble backsplash. For a long time, it’s been simply practical, protecting kitchen walls from splashes. But it’s humble no longer. The backsplash has shed its modest appearance to become an important part of kitchen interior design, combining functionality and a great look.
You now have so many choices when it comes to backsplashes. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and making the wrong decision or no decision at all, narrow down your options systematically with these tips.
You want an attractive, serviceable backsplash, but for most people, the sky’s not the limit. Start by considering backsplash materials that are within your budget and you’ll save time. You also won’t experience the sharp disappointment of staring longingly and unproductively at tiles that are out of reach financially. But, if you have a small area to cover, maybe you can go with a higher-end product.
Even if your funds are limited, you still have choices. Ceramic, porcelain, slate, chalkboard, pebble and natural stone materials tend to be the most affordable. Glass and stainless steel stretch the purse strings more. Also, consider installation method. Are you a DIYer? Naturally, that’s the least expensive option, but placing tile can be tedious and difficult. Do you fancy yourself a good grouter? You might need to hire a pro.
It’s also important to consider any long-term changes you may be thinking of when planning your backsplash. Many homeowners are considering switching to natural gas as it’s more affordable than oil right now. If you’re thinking of switching heat sources in the new future, your stove is going to need to be moved and it may require removing some of your hard work. It’s at least something to consider before getting started!
Select A Style
Once you’ve narrowed down options by price, it’s time to decide what part your backsplash will play in your kitchen design. What’s the focal point of the room? Do you have knockout cabinets or an impressive countertop? If so, your backsplash should be complementary without detracting from the showpiece. Choose a neutral tile that protects walls well from both water and grease.
For instance, subway tiles are sleek, unobtrusive and easy to clean. They’re one of the more economical backsplash options. Though originally 3” by 6” shiny white ceramic pieces, subway tiles now come in additional size, material, color and finish options. Want glass or porcelain? That’s doable. Prefer a matte or flat surface? You got it.
One the other hand, some folks like a backsplash that makes a strong statement. Choose from a variety of patterns, textures and shapes. Small pebbles are a variation of natural stone that have an impressive yet rustic three-dimensional appearance. Glass mosaics are colorful and reflective, brightening a kitchen and making it look larger.
Get the better of two worlds by combining materials. This is a fresh, modern look that stands out. Try using small, gray ceramic rectangles to accentuate large, shiny stainless steel tiles. And there’s no rule that says you have to lay tiles along the edges. Rotate them slightly for a more interesting effect.
Unless you’re passionate about keeping your kitchen sparkling clean, you’ll want an easy-care backsplash. If you prefer to wipe-and-forget, the material you choose makes a big difference. For instance, those versatile subway tiles are also an extremely sanitary choice. They’re not hospitable to mold, bacteria and viruses, so maintaining a hygienic backsplash requires little effort.
Chalkboard backsplashes are useful, versatile and just plain fun. They’re also easy to clean with a little water. However, if you use the board as intended, the chalk dust could be problematic for people with lung conditions. If health is an issue, consider glass tiles, which resist both stains and mildew.
A granite backsplash is naturally unique and beautiful. However, it’s also naturally porous. Bacteria easily hide in all the nooks and crannies. Food and grease stains also soak in. Sealing granite prevents germs from moving in, but you have to repeat the process on a regular basis to continue the protection. Are you willing to sacrifice convenience for beauty? If you’re hooked on any type of natural stone, that’s a question you need to consider.
Stainless steel has a lot of advantages. There’s no grout to clean or repair. Stainless lasts a long time and doesn’t corrode or stain. Its reflective properties open up a kitchen. But any food, grease or fingerprints that touch the metal might as well have a spotlight shining on them. To preserve the gleaming appearance of stainless steel, prepare to spend a fair amount of time wiping it down.
Lock In Location
Have you considered exactly where you want to place your backsplash? If not, it’s time! Traditionally, a backsplash protects the wall around the sink and stove. That’s its practical purpose, but it’s up to you! You can use a backsplash to add color and texture anywhere in the room.
A backsplash typically extends from the counter to cabinet bottoms. But if your wall has no cabinets, nothing prevents you from running the backsplash all the way to the ceiling. Or lay a strip around the entire room to make a cohesive pattern. If your kitchen already looks busy, you may want to limit the backsplash to high-need areas. With small sections, consider playing a little with color and pattern.
Kitchen décor has come a long way from old-fashioned tin tile backsplashes. You’ve got enough materials, styles, colors, textures and sizes to make your head spin. Rather than trying to decide among all options, narrow your focus. Your personal preferences for price, style, location and care are good places to start. Get busy. A backsplash doesn’t choose itself, you know.
Are you ready to give your kitchen a new look with a backsplash installation? Contact a pro today and get up to four free quotes.