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How to Choose a Backsplash

Introduce style, color, pattern, and fresh dimension—not to mention easier maintenance—to your kitchen with a beautiful backsplash

By Jan Soults Walker

No matter your style—traditional, contemporary, cottage, or transitional—there's a backsplash material to complement the look of your kitchen while providing a surface that's more durable than ordinary painted drywall. Here are some backsplash options and ideas to consider.

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Adrienne Dorig

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

An endless array of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes make ceramic and porcelain tiles a playground of creative possibilities. Grout colors only add to the optional looks you can create. The hard, glazed surface is nonporous, making it nearly impervious to stains and moisture, and a breeze to clean with mild cleaning solutions.

To get a custom look using ceramic or porcelain tile, select a background of inexpensive field tiles and intersperse with a few pricey handmade or imported tiles.

Glass Mosaics

Stone & Pewter Accents
Glass tiles offer varying degrees of transparency and shimmer, bringing new dimension and richness to the backsplash. The nonporous glass resists stains and water splatters, and is easy to clean. Be careful to not use abrasive cleansers, however, as the glass surface can scratch.

If you suffer some sticker shock when pricing glass mosaic tiles, consider incorporating a band of these little beauties within a field of less expensive ceramic tiles.

Browse over 1,500 mosaic tile products.


Create the illusion of more space and light by surfacing your backsplash with mirror. Sleek standard mirror, mirrored mosaics or subway tile shapes, and antiqued mirror are some options.

The mirrored glass surface is easy to clean and is moisture and stain-proof. For consistency, fashion mirrored covers for electric outlets within the backsplash.


From antique, stamped tin to golden copper, metal brings shine and color to backsplashes. For sleek, clean restaurant styling, choose stainless steel sheets or tiles.

While polished metal offers a reflective finish to brighten and enhance space, it can also easily show fingerprints. If smudges are a concern, choose metal with a brushed finish. Regardless of the finish, metals are low-maintenance, impervious to moisture, and stain-resistant.

Search through our metal tile products and ideas.


The natural beauty of stone creates a rich look between upper and lower cabinets. If stone is on your wish list, remember that porous stones, such as marble, require sealing and can stain more easily. Granite wears better and requires less upkeep. You can also select tile that looks like stone for fewer maintenance concerns.

Solid surfacing

The durability of solid surfacing countertops translates effortlessly to the backsplash. Choose from patterns that mimic tiles, pebbles, or even beaded board as well as look-alike granite, quartz, and other stone.

Solid surfacing cleans easily with cleansers and water, repels water, and resists stains and scratches.

Beaded board

Rose Marie Carr
Give your kitchen country or cottage styling with an authentic wood, beaded board backsplash. Be sure the surface is sanded smooth and coated with quality paint in a semi-gloss or gloss sheen so it cleans up more readily and repels stains and water.

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