Backsplash Tile
Above: Backsplash tile with an intricate design set behind the range in a Portland area kitchen.


Choosing A Stunning Backsplash For Your Kitchen

Remodeling a kitchen is a complex process with many small decisions affecting the final outcome. Because it is such a central feature in the kitchen, a backsplash is among the most important design elements. Modern tile comes in many varieties – from natural stone to graphic designs – so it can be challenging to narrow down your selection.

“When selecting a backsplash consider three main questions: What’s the overall look you’d like to convey? What’s the style of your home? And do you want your kitchen to be dressed up or more casual?” asks design consultant Erika Altenhofen.

Backsplash Tile

Above: The matte finish on the backsplash tile contrasts with glossy, shiny, reflective surfaces visible elsewhere in this kitchen.

Matte Vs Glossy?

One question homeowners’ often struggle with is whether to use a glossy or matte tile backsplash.

Erika explains, “A glossy subway tile can look brighter and more polished, often lending to a more formal look. It also hides water spots and fingerprints better than its less shiny counterpart. While a matte finish can convey a softer, more casual look. It’s often used in contemporary settings in contrast with high gloss cabinets.”

Backsplash Tile

Above: Graphic tile adds style and color to this elegant kitchen.

Backsplash Tile

Above: This kitchen features ceramic backsplash tile with a glossy surface.

Additional design considerations:

• What is the overall look you’re trying to achieve in the kitchen?
• What role does the backsplash play in that look? Main or supporting?

• Bold or neutral?

Shape / Pattern
• Modern or classic?
• Square, rectangle, geometric or other?
• Graphic, textured or other?

• Stone, ceramic or other?

• No tile, a little tile, or a lot?
• Line up with cabinets or run tile all the way to the ceiling?

• Backsplash should complement counters

Wear and Tear
• How much abuse can it take?
• What maintenance is involved?

• Cost is always a factor; how important is it to overall design?
• Don’t skimp on grout!
• Working with a designer gives the homeowner added insight and buying power


Backsplash Tile

Above: Cloe handmade ceramic tile. Photo courtesy Bedrosians Tile & Stone.

Designer Pick

Tile: Bedrosians Cloe in White

“Something about a handmade ceramic tile makes me swoon,” confesses Erika. “The imperfect edges of each tile allow the grout to show off, and the subtle tone variations from tile to tile add character. This is a great option for someone who loves the simplicity of a white subway tile but wants to make it a little more special.”

How to Make a Statement

Selecting bold colors and patterns (aka “statement tile”) is a great way to add a personal touch to a kitchen. However, sometimes budget or fear of commitment can be limiting. Erika shares, “Making a feature piece in a niche or smaller portion of the wall allows the more special tile to shine without too much commitment. In this example kitchen on Houzz, I love how the grout color was selected to accent the gorgeous wood cabinets.”

Ready to create your own dream kitchen? Get in touch with Neil Kelly today.