A functional space like a kitchen may be a workhorse, but that doesn’t mean it has to look bland. That’s why brainstorming through backsplash ideas can add just the right amount of embellishment and pizzazz without overwhelming the room. “Kitchen backsplashes are a place where one is able to make a large impact visually,” says Lauren Martin-Moro, founder and creative director of LM Design Associates in Los Angeles. A kitchen backsplash is like jewelry, filled with options for every aesthetic. Go bold with colorful accents like a painted glass tile backsplash or stick to the eternally classic white subway tile for an understated look. Cover only the space behind the cooktop, or let the wall tile design stretch all the way to the ceiling for jaw-dropping impact.

Personal preference, however, is what matters when it comes to selecting your dream kitchen backsplash. “The most popular backsplash for any project will be the one that delights those who live in the space,” says Roy Marcus, brand ambassador at Artistic Tile.

Take a deep dive into all things backsplashes for traditional to ornate to modern kitchens. Here, 51 kitchen backsplash ideas that capture both the newest design trends and dig into AD archives to showcase the culinary gems in the homes of Gisel Bündchen, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, Nate Berkus, Yves Saint Laurent cofounder Pierre Bergé, as well as other celebrities. But first, FAQs about kitchen backsplashes to get you inspired for your next DIY project.

What is the most popular backsplash for 2023?

With so many kitchen backsplash ideas on the internet, it can be overwhelming to decide which style or color scheme will suit your remodel. Interior design experts have pegged a few au courant backsplash designs that are dominating the scene. “For 2023, we anticipate seeing a continued attraction to natural stones mixed with unusual cabinetry color pairings,” Martin-Moro says. “Bold stone striations and movement within a slab will take the center stage of kitchens.” Martin-Moro also predicts small, patterned tiles will be making a comeback, especially those that are handmade, have character, and add whimsy. The effortlessly eclectic design ideas seen in European kitchens are also picking up in popularity.

Meanwhile, Lesley Myrick, owner and principal interior designer based in Atlanta, is drawn to the “counter splash” trend, in which the backsplash is made from the same material as the countertops, often a quartz or natural stone with large-scale, dramatic veining. The designer embraces the luxe look, a welcome departure from small-scale backsplash tiles. 

Marcus adds, “The power of color to create a sense of wellbeing is undeniable; natural quartzite, marble and onyx slabs in a range of radiant and vibrant hues and shades has changed the way we look at kitchen design in general, and at splashes in particular.” Art glass, for example, he says of the in-vogue material, is saturated with color, cuttable into myriad mosaic designs, and is impervious to staining of any sort. These properties make it an exceptional choice for serious cooks with an eye for beauty.

What backsplashes are out of style? 

And is the trendy backsplash material replacing anything? Here’s Marcus’s take: “White subway tile will always be a ‘correct’ material, but backsplash design can and should be so much more rewarding.” Marcus is a proponent of natural and truly artisanal materials, especially in homes designed for inheritability.”

Should backsplash be lighter or darker than countertop? 

Ah, the weighty question. “Every space has different light: natural, ambient, tasks, and accent, which will provide direction,” says Marcus, conceding that there are few “rights or wrongs” at play. He does point out that the bigger focus should be on selecting the countertop material that works with the lifestyle of the cook, then deciding on the color scheme to suit the kitchen cabinets and the rest of the home decor. “Marble is not hard to care for, and the patina it acquires over the years can be very alluring.  Not all cooks will appreciate this, so for them a quartzite with low acid-sensitivity is a better choice,” he adds.

What is the best type of backsplash for a kitchen?

Myrick stresses that, since kitchen remodels are a large investment, she often hears hesitation from potential clients about introducing too much personality into the design. Still, refraining from embracing your personal style isn’t always the best move. “If you’re remodeling your kitchen with the intent to sell your home within a couple of years, then choosing a ‘safer’ backsplash option may help make the most of your investment,” she says. “However, if you’re designing a kitchen for your forever home, or even a home you plan to enjoy for the next 5 to 10 years, then I strongly recommend creating a statement backsplash. The beauty of a backsplash is that it’s not typically a lot of square footage, so it’s a worthy splurge, from a design perspective.”

What can I use instead of a backsplash?

“Many people are unaware that kitchen backsplashes perform a function other than just background material,” Janette Mallory, founder and principal designer Janette Mallory Interiors in Santa Monica. “As the name indicates, it has to catch the splash of water and grime that are an inevitable part of washing dishes and pots and pans. Therefore, you need to consider something that cleans easily and has durability.” When remodeling your kitchen, remember: The purpose of a backsplash is to protect the kitchen wall behind the countertops, stove, and sink. No one wants to repaint this space over and over. Keep in mind, the protective barrier comes in a variety of easy-to-wipe-down backsplash materials. If you’re not in the budget for a slab of natural stone or porcelain tile, consider installing a panel of stainless steel. Vintage tin tiles can also do the trick, though may be more challenging to clean if they are placed behind a stovetop. 

1. Perky chartreuse backsplash

Designer Leah Alexander does not shy away from vibrant hues when it comes to kitchen design.

Photo: Marc Mauldin

By OngkyF