Installing a Kitchen Backsplash


Blue and brown ceramic backsplash
A blue ceramic countertop with a matching backsplash are clean and beautiful.

An easy-to-clean backsplash is a key element of an active kitchen. If a sauce splatters on to a rough, textured material, it can be extremely frustrating to scrub clean.


We do not recommend a splitface or ledgerstone, rough slate tiles that are not honed or polished, or unfilled travertine that you don't intend to fill with grout.


Mosaics, glass, ceramic, and tumbled travertine are among the most popular materials for backsplashes. Other options include marble, tumbled slate, porcelain, stainless steel, and custom murals. Some homeowners will also use the same granite or quartz on their backsplashes that they used on their countertops, creating a strong, unified look.


Two backsplashes, one with pebbles and one with a glass and stone mosaic
Modern or traditional? Cool or warm tones? Man-made or organic? Think about what you want for your backsplash.

The backsplash is often the heart of a kitchen's design. Since you have such a wide range of material, design, and pattern options, it's best to tie all elements of your kitchen together in your backsplash (echo paint and cabinet colors, incorporate countertop materials, etc.).


You'll want your countertop and your backsplash to work well with each other, as these are central focal points in your kitchen's design.


We often get asked, "Which should I choose first: my backsplash, or my countertop?" The answer depends on the selection and variety of the materials you want to choose. For example, if you want a solid surface granite countertop with a mosaic backsplash, there are several hundred granite options and several thousand mosaic options. Your selection of granite will be more limited than your selection of backsplash materials, and you should choose your granite first.


If, however, you want a specific mosaic or mural for your backsplash or are using tile on the countertop, your backsplash options will be more limited than your countertop options, and you should start planning the backsplash first.


Here's an article about bold backsplash designs that will become the focal point of your kitchen!


A key element of a strong design is contrast. If your cabinets, walls, floors, countertop, and backsplash are all the exact same color and pattern, you will have a boring installation. Contrast can be achieved by pairing lighter and darker colors (example: a light gray countertop with a white backsplash and charcoal cabinets), pairing different finishes or materials (example: a polished granite countertop with a tumbled travertine backsplash), or pairing different patterns (example: a tile countertop set in a square pattern with a brick pattern backsplash and a diagonal floor).

Subway Tile - An Enduring Favorite

Subway tiles have been around for over 100 years, and they're as popular as ever, available in hundreds of options.


Check out our Subway Tile Series:

Part 1 : Style

Part 2: Color

Part 3: Finish

Part 4: Size

Part 5: Layout 

Bonus: Edge Trim, Grout, & Beyond

Custom Murals

Travertine backsplash with a custom mural
A Stone Impressions mural sits within a tumbled travertine backsplash above a solid surface granite countertop.

Most people will take advantage of the larger backsplash area behind a stove or cooktop to create a stunning focal point for their kitchen. One of the most popular options for this area is a custom mural.


Visit our Murals page to see some of the many unique opportunities for making your backsplash a one-of-a-kind installation.

Cement Tiles - Popular and Stylish

We're seeing a resurgence in the popularity of encaustic tiles. Bold, graphic patterns and a timeless style that's been around for centuries in Europe create a dramatic backsplash that blends contemporary and traditional styles.


Visit our article on encaustic-look tiles to see more designs.


Edge Trim - Details Matter

Your backsplash edges are an important part of your design, not an afterthought. 


Do you want a metallic edge to match your faucets and hardware? Do you have a marble backsplash, and you want coordinating marble edges? Many edge options need to be installed at the same time as your backsplash tile, and should be considered.


Our subway tile series touches on edge details with plenty of visual examples.

Switchplates and Outlet Covers

Outlet cover on travertine backsplash.
This light travertine-colored outlet cover picks up on the cast stone border and complements the dark travertine backsplash.

If you're going to put all of this time and effort into installing a new backsplash, shouldn't the finishing touches be perfect?


The final detail of your project, your outlet covers can complement or clash with your tiles or mosaics.


We sell stone-looking outlet covers in two colors and several different configurations. These are great for travertine or tumbled marble backsplashes. Shop for travertine look-a-like switchplates now!


Also consider a metallic cover to match your fixtures or any metallic accents in your backsplash. We do not sell metallic switchplates at this time, but you can find them at many home improvement stores.

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