An often overlooked part of the kitchen, the backsplash is actually just as vital as the rest of it.
As the name suggests, it provides both a practical easy-to-clean vertical surface but a key style area which needs to complement the counter, cabinets, and walls.
Tradition has it that ceramic tiles are used for the splashback. Usually plain or patterned in a similar colour/shade to the walls or the cabinet. However, there are a few other options out there which are worth exploring.
First decision is where do you want your tiles and how high do you want them to go. Tradition has it they fit along the counter up to the bottom of the wall cabinets and then further up above the oven. It is possible to change this; especially if you have high cabinets, no cabinets, or an oven on a kitchen island. You can go floor to ceiling with tiles or counter to ceiling or swap them out for a normal wall (painted or papered) as you see fit. Finally, one trend right now is for subway tiles where they graduate toward the top – however it depends on whether you like the aesthetic of underground stations or public toilets or not.
Glass Splashbacks: Now by far the most common splashbacks, and really quite versatile. They offer a large surface without Grout or small areas to collect grease and grime, and can be pretty much any colour you can image, or even include a family picture or landscape.
Ceramic Tiles: Traditional go-to tile. These are affordable, waterproof, easy to attach and seal, and come in many shapes and styles. The down side for many is that tiles seem like a lesser luxury compared to some materials. That being said, they are a timeless classic and if done right, won’t age a kitchen like some other options might.
Glass Tiles: Glass also comes in a wide range of materials, shapes and colours. They are known for their light reflection and for reflecting however you have your wall while providing an easy to clean surface. Furthermore, glass is an eco-friendly product though a tricky to install one.
Marble Tiles: Known as a means of providing a Mediterranean feel, marble is seen as a classy option. However, too much marble might not work, so must be done in balance. Be aware that marble is softer and more porous to water than other materials so while a luxury, it might be less practical.
Glass & Stone Blends: It is possible to overcome the negatives of both glass and stone, like marble, by combining the two. This will definitely cost more, but check out how it will look with some samples before you spend big.
Making a Choice
Of course the time comes when you need to choose between these options. The most important decision comes from a practical point of view and that’s effectiveness. There’s no good having a splashback which looks good for 5 minutes or until you cook the first meal but is easily broken, chipped, cracked, stained, or gets moldy quickly. Price is another key factor. But if those two criteria are met, then it all comes down to aesthetics. Bear in mind that while some materials like stone and glass are trendy now or recently, trends change quickly and it can soon look dated. Tiles are the classic go-to material for a reason. Clean and simple often wins the day in designer kitchens.