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The Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Backsplash

cantor2If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions you
have to make. Should you add an island? How do you want to redo the cabinets? Do you need any new appliances,
and will they match your ideal décor? Do you want a brightly colored kitchen, or would you prefer more muted

Amid these larger-scale questions, it’s easy to forget about smaller details, like designing a backsplash.
But even though most backsplashes only take up a small portion of your kitchen, their design, color, and
placement can turn them into the kitchen’s focal point. In many cases, your backsplash can make or break your
new kitchen’s look.

Below, we’ve listed general tips that can help you narrow down your backsplash options. Once you have a
good idea of what you want, talk to your kitchen remodeling expert about bringing your ideal backsplash to

1. Match Your Backsplash to Your Countertops

Both your backsplash and your countertops draw attention and set the kitchen’s mood, style, and aesthetic.
Whether you choose your backsplash material or your countertop style first, bear in mind that the two need to
complement each other to create a holistic kitchen design.

Some designers state that countertops are more important than backsplashes-they take up more kitchen
space, and they’re harder to remove or replace than most backsplashes. On the other hand, the right
backsplash draws the eye much more than countertops. With your remodeling expert’s help, decide which element
matters the most to you, then match the second element to the first.

2. Decide on a Style

Maybe your old kitchen felt outdated, so you want your new kitchen to look sleek, open, and industrial.
Perhaps you want a chic, cheerful kitchen with plenty of bright yellows or pinks. Or maybe you want an
antique look, complete with brass fixtures.

No matter which style you want, there’s a backsplash to match. Just remember to discuss your style options
in-depth with your remodeling team long before you invest in any of the materials you need for your

3. Choose a Material6. Metcalf Kitchen 2 After

The type of material you choose depends on your goals for your kitchen’s design. Some of the most popular
backsplash materials include tile, brick, granite, and stainless steel. Each material has its pros and cons.


Tile is one of the most popular (and most practical) options. In general, tile is easy to clean, and it
comes in so many shapes, sizes and finishes that you’re sure to find something that matches your vision.
Usually, you can choose from porcelain, ceramic, or glass tiles, though glass is the most common material for
backsplash design.

Because they have so many tile options, some homeowners have a hard time choosing a design and pattern.
Talk to your remodeling team to learn about your options and ways you can use tile to set your kitchen apart.


If you want a rustic, country-home look for your backsplash, brick is your material of choice. Brick’s
texture complements the smooth surfaces in the rest of your kitchen, like the countertops and cabinets. Brick
comes in varying shades, from deep red to pale pink or white, so you can almost always find brick that
matches your kitchen’s look.

Since brick has such a unique look and texture, you’ll have to take extra care to match your features to
it carefully. And remember that because brick is more unique, it often draws the eye more than other
materials. If you’re not careful, it can overshadow the rest of your kitchen.


Depending on how it’s finished, granite can work for both rustic and contemporary styles. If you prefer an
antique look, choose polished granite. If you prefer a modern kitchen, choose honed granite, which looks more

Granite is easy to clean, but it’s often more expensive than other backsplash materials. And because
granite is porous, you’ll need to seal it to avoid stains.

Stainless Steel

Most people who want a stainless steel backsplash have a modern, industrial aesthetic in mind. Stainless
steel is durable, affordable, and easy to install. Although it’s fairly easy to clean with warm water and
soap, you have to rinse it off frequently to maintain its polished look. Stainless steel accumulates stains
and streaks quickly.

4. Consider Your Budget

Since your backsplash does so much to set your kitchen’s tone, you might want to channel slightly more of
your budget into the backsplash. If you want to create a customized kitchen, a unique, well-designed
backsplash is a must.

However, your backsplash might not be as important to you as elements like your island, countertops,
cabinets, or new appliances. If these items are more important for your kitchen’s overall look, opt for
simpler backsplash styles, or be flexible in your choices. Your second-favorite tile might be less expensive
than your first pick, and the compromise might be worth it in the long run.

Now that you know more about backsplashes, discuss your options with your designer. He or she can give
personalized suggestions based on your individual aims and unique kitchen. To learn more about remodeling,
browse through the rest of our blog.

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Gregg Cantor, a third generation contractor and owner of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel has successfully remodeled thousands of homes in San Diego County. Gregg's is experienced in all phases of construction and home remodeling including design development, project management, best building practices, code requirements, and contract law. He also writes articles for examiner.com and is co-host of The Home Pro Show Saturday's at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on A.M.600 KOGO San Diego. Follow Gregg's posts.

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