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Know Before You Buy

Tile School: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing Backsplash Tile

By Shannon Malone |

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Caribbean; Image: Eco + Historical Homes

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 tile for your backsplash 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 any thing, 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 designer, contractor, or one of our talented design consultants before installing your tile.

1.) Color or Neutrals?

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

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Kelp; Design; Eco + Historical Homes

It all comes down to the other colors and materials being used in your kitchen and how your tile will pair, and your overall color preference.  Some people are drawn to color, while others find a sense of calm in a neutral space.

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in Tusk

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.

Handpainted pattern shown: Kabuki Sphere in the Dark Motif

If you want more 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.

Tile shown: 4 x 4 in Blue Spruce; Image: Scott Davis Photography; Design: White + Gold Design

3.) Material

The material you choose for your backsplash is just as important as color.  You'll need to figure out which tile type will work best in your overall design.  Is it ceramic Tile?  Brick?  Handpainted?  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.  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.

4.) Consider Your Countertops

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 you choose a colorful countertop material such as in the kitchen below you'll want to choose a neutral tile color (but you can still go wild with pattern!).  If your countertops are neutral, choose tile that complements the texture and tone of the countertop material.

Tile shown: Cravat in Foggy Morning; Image: Kropat Interior Design

5.) Shape and Pattern

Do you prefer classic shapes, or fun patterns?–Another important decision to be made.  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 in a subway tile layout, or even a 4 x 4 in a straight set pattern.  Field tile will transcend trends, making your tile backsplash a sustainable design feature.

Tile shown: 2 x 8 in White Gloss

However if you are drawn to pattern, specialty shapes can be just as timeless when done right.  Our specialty tile shapes work well in both color and neutrals, but it is important to consider the impact they will have 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.  The kitchen below has a natural, mid-century inspired feel, and so does the rest of the house.  The owners chose our contemporary Moroccan-inspired shape, Paseo in an organic green hue to complement the overall design, while adding a little extra character.

Tile shown: Paseo in Spruce Gloss; Image: Twist Tours Photography

6.) Budget

Last but not least, budget is one of the most important things to consider when choosing backsplash tile.  If your budget is tight, you'll want to lean toward standard field sizes and our Express line glazes.  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.

Tile shown: 3 x 6 in White Wash, Handpainted pattern shown: Isosceles; Image: Jenny Nelson

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.

Tile shown: Ogee Drop in Tomato Red and Tangerine

Ready to get started on your kitchen 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.

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