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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Allen Design Team

Dear Josh: What Are the Key Factors to Consider When Choosing A Backsplash Material?

Updated: Apr 18

Dear Josh is our monthly interior design column driven by questions from our clients and followers! To submit your own question to us, click here.

A: Of course, choosing a backsplash can be tricky! It's a tough design element to select especially if you're adding to an existing space rather than starting from the ground up in a completely new design. Ultimately you want to make sure the new backsplash complements your existing design (and also meets your functional needs). Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Think about your overall kitchen design:

    • Consider the existing color scheme and style of your kitchen and ask yourself “how do I want the completed space to make me feel?". The backsplash should enhance and blend seamlessly with the overall design, pulling from tones, colors, and textures that are found elsewhere in your space.

  • Consider the material wisely:

    • The most important thing here is to find a material that is easily cleaned and durable. Common materials include porcelain tile, glass, stainless steel, and stone. Think carefully about how you use your space and which material will fit your needs best. For example, If you cook a good bit with grease or tomato sauce, it would be wise to stay clear of any marble tiles (they could stain easily) or small tiles that would create a lot of grout lines (more area for mess to get stuck in).

    • If ever in doubt, shoot for a slightly elongated and oversized subway tile with a little ripple detail and a light tone that matches nicely with your room's trim color and countertops.

  • Color Matters:

    • Stick to a color that complements your kitchen's existing palette. You can either choose a backsplash that matches the existing colors, or one that provides a subtle contrast. Consider any wood tones in the space as well.

  • Texture and pattern are important:

    • Consider the texture and pattern of the backsplash. Both elements, when done right, can add visual interest to the space. For example, a subway tile is classic and timeless, while mosaic or patterned tiles can provide a more intricate, sometimes modern look.

  • Budget, budget, budget:

    • Determine your budget for the backsplash, and stick to it. There are various options available at different price points, so you can choose one that fits your budget without compromising quality. Porcelain is typically a good option if you are looking for low maintenance and a decent price point.

  • Lighting can change everything:

    • Take into account the lighting in your kitchen. The backsplash should not only look good under your kitchen's lighting but also contribute to the overall brightness and value (color value, not price value, that is) of the space. If you have under-cabinet lighting we recommend that you select the tile you like and go with a tile one shade darker as the under-cabinet lights will brighten any tile selected.

  • Personal Style:

    • Consider your personal preferences. Whether you like a modern, sleek look or prefer a more traditional or rustic feel, your backsplash should reflect your taste. Use elements in your cabinetry and in the space to help determine the tile you select. For example, if your cabinets are shaker style and you have a square tile on the floor, use the square details of these elements to help select a backsplash with corresponding angles and shapes.

  • Sample Testing:

    • Before making a final decision, obtain samples of your preferred backsplash materials and patterns. Place them in your kitchen to see how they look under different lighting conditions and with your existing elements. Most tile shops and stores will provide free samples if requested so do not be afraid to ask for them. You can always also reach out to us at JAD and we would be happy to provide free samples too!

An array of samples paired together into mood boards by our design team.
Varied kitchen inspiration boards laid out by our design team.

By considering the above factors, you can narrow down your options and select a kitchen backsplash that not only enhances the look of your space but also aligns with your practical needs. If you feel like you need additional help, call on our team and we can help you make the selection!


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