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Tile School: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing Backsplash Tile

By Kali

Tile School: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing Backsplash Tile

Remodeling a kitchen is hard, there are a ton of decisions to be made, and usually, not enough time to make them! Your kitchen backsplash is one of those design details you'll want to spend some time on. It may seem like a simple task, but choosing handmade backsplash tile can be complicated.

There are a variety of things to consider that will affect your overall kitchen design. To help you out and make sure you don't miss anything, we've put together a list of 6 things you should always consider when choosing a tile backsplash.

Of course, there are a variety of other things to keep in mind that aren't on our list, so always consult with your interior designer, contractor, or one of our talented design consultants before installing your handmade backsplash tile.

grey brick tile kitchen backsplash

Brick Shown: White Mountains // Design: Cameron Getter Design // Image: Kieran Reeves Photography

1. Color or Neutral

Your color scheme is usually one of the first decisions you'll make. You'll need to decide if you want your backsplash to be colorful, or if you want to remain in the neutral zone. Although a colorful backsplash tile creates an immediate impact, a neutral backsplash can add just as much character to your space.

pink tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: Scalene Triangles in Desert Bloom // Design: Eric Trine

It all comes down to the other colors and materials being used in your kitchen and how they will all work together. And of course, it's about your overall color preference. Some people are drawn to color, while others find a sense of calm in a neutral space.

Click here to sample our Favorite Neutrals!
green mosaic tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: 1x6 in Eucalyptus // Design: Annabode // Image: Brandon Lopez

2. Backsplash Height

Backsplash height is often a design detail homeowners overlook. The backsplash has to end somewhere, but where it ends is up to you, although cabinetry can often be the deciding factor.

If you just want a hint of tile, only bring your backsplash up to the bottom of your cabinet or first shelf in an open shelving design such as the one below.

neutral brick tile kitchen backsplash

Brick Shown: Elk // Design: Anne Sage // Image: Elizabeth Messina

If you want more wall tile, you can often extend your backsplash to the ceiling in areas where there are no cabinets, such as over the sink, or over a stove.

A counter-to-ceiling installation makes the tile a focal point in your kitchen, so if you choose to bring it to the ceiling, make sure you've chosen a color, size, and layout that you love.

beige ceramic tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Dust Storm // Design & Image: Anita Yokota

3. Material

The material you choose for your backsplash is just as important as the color. You'll need to figure out which tile type will work best in your overall design. Is it Ceramic Tile? Brick? Glass Tile? Handpainted? Maybe Mosaic Tile, marble tile, metal tile, or natural stone.

This decision should be based on personal preference but also on the overall design style you are trying to achieve. If your kitchen is rustic or industrial, Brick might work best.

See 30 of our Favorite Brick Backsplash Designs
green brick tile kitchen backsplash

Brick Shown: San Gabriel // Design: Jessica Davis // Image: Emily Followill Photography

If it is clean and contemporary, a crisp matte glaze from our ceramic Tile line will probably be your best bet.

Our online Design Consultants are always here to help you figure out which of our product lines will best match your kitchen design.
matte white kitchen backsplash tile

Tile Shown: 3x9 in Calcite // Design: Chango & co // Image: Judy Pak, Sarah Elliott

Your tile backsplash is always going to be right up against your countertops, so it is important to make sure the two materials and colors work well together. If your countertops are neutral, choose a tile that complements the texture and tone of the countertop material.

Discover 10 Glass Backsplash Tile Ideas
grey herringbone wet bar backsplash

Tile Shown: 2x6 tiles in Mist with Black Patine // Design: HIR A+D // Image: Willie Cole

If you choose a colorful countertop material such as in the kitchen below you could play it safe, or be playful and accentuate your bold style!

color block ceramic tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: 3x3 tiles in Mandarin, Milky Way, Tuolumne Meadows, and Sorbet // Design: Aker Interiors // Image: Jess Isaac Photography

4. Shape and Pattern

Do you prefer classic shapes or fun patterns? If you want your kitchen to remain timeless in design, we suggest sticking with a classic field tile size such as a 3 x 6 subway tile or a 4 x 4 in a straight-set pattern. Or add some design detail with a herringbone pattern.

Field tile will transcend trends, making your tile backsplash a sustainable design feature.

Get Inspired with 11 Ways to Design a Subway Tile Backsplash
grey ceramic tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: 3x6 French Linen // Design: Karen Tsay // Image: David Tsay

However, if you are drawn to patterns, specialty shapes can be just as timeless when done right. Our specialty tile shapes work well in colors and neutrals, but it is important to consider their impact on your overall design. You want to make sure the color and shape you are choosing fits well in not just your kitchen but your entire home.

Love Farmhouse Style? Try These Design Tips
green ceramic star and cross tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: Star and Cross in Evergreen // Design: Rebecca Gibbs Design, Gibbs Design Build // Image: No Bad Things

5. Lead Times

You'll need to make sure that the tile you love can be made for you in your project's timeline! Be sure to communicate your dates to your Design Consultant, so that they can let you know if the material can be made by your deadline. Need tile fast? Check out Quick Ship! This assortment ships in 5 days or less!

white herringbone ceramic kitchen backsplash tile

Tile Shown: 2x8 Tiles in White Wash // Design & Image: Zigzag Studio Design

While our handpainted and sheeted mosaics are absolutely worth the wait--if you're on a tighter timeline, you'll likely need a material that has a shorter lead time.

cuerda seca hand painted kitchen backsplash tile

Tile Shown: Lugo Neutral Motif // Design: JL Interior Design // Image: Thomas Kuoh

6. Budget

Last but not least, budget is one of the most important things to consider when choosing backsplash tile and turning your design ideas into reality. If your budget is tight, you'll want to lean toward standard field sizes or our Foundations Collection.

modern kitchen backsplash with grey ceramic tile

Tile Shown: 2x6 in French Linen // Design: Sanabria and Co., Old City Design Studio // Image: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

However, you can still add fun details the way the kitchen below has done with our Handpainted tile. Bordering a few Handpainted pieces with classic white field tile is a great budget-friendly way to add handmade, artistic appeal to your kitchen without breaking the bank.

hand painted tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: Fallow Cool Motif, White Wash 3x6 // Design: Fireclay Tile Design Assistance

Keep in mind that our specialty shapes and more intricate glazes do cost a bit more. The manufacturing process is more detailed, and we make everything by hand. Custom colors will also drive up your price.

So before choosing your dream tile, have a clear budget set, and as always, our online Design Consultants are here to help you get the most out of your budget.

h shaped ceramic tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme in Daisy // Design: Eric Rippin // Image: Caitlin McCarthy Designs

Trying to figure out how much tile you'll need for your new backsplash? Check out this helpful video with instructions for measuring your backsplash.

Ready to create a backsplash but need some help? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly to walk through all your backsplash ideas.

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