4 Popular Kitchen Backsplash Ideas to Elevate Your Aesthetic

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated July 14, 2016
A modern kitchen with beautiful pattern tile as backsplash
Photo: Fotoluminate LLC / Adobe Stock

Kitchen backsplashes work double-duty to protect your walls and elevate your aesthetic

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Homeowners install kitchen backsplashes to protect the walls around the stove from cooking spatter, but they do a whole lot more than make messes easier to clean. This hardworking kitchen feature also plays a major role in the way your kitchen looks and feels. 

The right backsplash can help to solidify your overall kitchen style while making your space feel more dynamic and inviting. Plus, there are so many styles to choose from that you can personalize it with everything from a bold pattern to a quieter, pared-back look. Here are a few popular backsplash ideas that will add equal parts form and function to any kitchen.

1. Subway Tile

A kitchen with blue subway tiles for backsplash
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Subway tile backsplashes have been trendy for several years, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. This type of backsplash has a clean, stylish look that complements many kitchen designs, especially those that feature white cabinets

The most popular type of subway tile backsplash features three-by-six-inch tiles arranged in a  horizontal pattern. You can also incorporate bigger subway tiles, which offer a fun twist on the trend and aren't quite as busy as standard subway tile, making this design ideal for smaller kitchens. 

2. Natural Stone

Marble slab used as backsplash in a modern kitchen
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Tile isn't the only material that makes for a wow-worthy backsplash. Natural stone backsplashes, like marble, typically feature a single slab in lieu of lots of small tiles. Simple and elegant, natural stone backsplashes complement both minimal and glam kitchen designs. 

Plus, since the material isn’t divided by grout lines, it’s a great way to add continuity to a look, especially if the stone matches your countertops. In addition to creating cohesive designs, natural stone backsplashes are very low-maintenance. Since you don’t have any grout crevices to scrub, you can clean it with a quick wipe of a towel. 

3. Patterned Tile

A patterned white tile backsplash in front of the stove
Photo: EmilyKam / Adobe Stock

There are two primary ways to think about patterned tile backsplashes. The first is a ceramic tile backsplash that features playful patterns on each tile. These tiles come together to form a statement-making backsplash that livens up an otherwise minimal aesthetic. 

On the other hand, you can opt for solid tiles with a unique shape and stack them to form compelling arrangements, like a classic herringbone pattern. This approach is more subtle and versatile than the former, and it can add plenty of dynamic texture to virtually any kitchen. 

4. Mirrored and Metallic Finishes

A mirror backsplash used in a bright kitchen
Photo: Dariusz Jarzabek / Adobe Stock

Tiles with mirrored or metallic finishes make your kitchen feel lighter and brighter when used as a backsplash. Mirrored tiles feature high-gloss surfaces that reflect light, making them a focal point of the room. If you want a similar but more subtle light reflection, you can opt for tiles with a metallic finish, which still reflects plenty of light. 

Thanks to their reflective properties, these tiles can make your kitchen look and feel more expansive. And the more light you have in your space, the more the tiles can reflect, so you can incorporate additional light sources to maximize their effect. For instance, you could add under-cabinet lighting above the backsplash that will leverage its glossy finish, even at night.

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