Art Deco Backsplash Bring Some Vontage Flair with Stylish Tiles

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Art Deco backsplashes are making a stylish comeback, bringing vintage flair to modern kitchens with their striking geometric patterns and bold use of color and texture. This retro-chic tile style has its roots in the glamorous Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 30s, which embraced themes of travel, technology, and overall artistic exuberance. Now, after enjoying renewed popularity in home decor over the last couple decades, Art Deco backsplashes are poised to once again assert their timeless elegance and versatility in kitchen design.

With the right tile choices, an Art Deco backsplash can lend any kitchen, old or new, a vibrant, nostalgic style. Subway tiles, hexagons, glossy rectangular tiles, and intricate motifs are all on trend. Mixing and matching tile shapes and colors makes it easy to create captivating patterns. Neutral creams paired with bolder accent hues give the look palette options. And for extra allure, metallic tiles and handmade artisan options add depth and sheen.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, Art Deco backsplashes offer practical strengths like durability, ease of maintenance, and affordability. This win-win combination of form and function is fueling a revival of this retro style. Read on to explore why Art Deco backsplashes deserve serious consideration for your next kitchen project.

Characteristics of the Iconic Art Deco Style

To understand what makes Art Deco backsplashes special, it helps to look at the origins and hallmarks of Art Deco design in general. This visual arts movement grew out of early 20th century modernism and remains one of the most influential aesthetics of the era.

Though Art Deco initially blossomed in France in the 1920s, it quickly spread to encapsulate the sleek yet ornate qualities of life in the Machine Age. The style expressed modern ideals like speed, technology, and urbanism. Geometric shapes, rich materials, and exotic motifs conveyed notions of travel and faraway lands. Symmetry, repetition, and precise patterns created visual harmony.

In the US, Art Deco style took firm hold, its prominence spurred on by mass production and innovations in architecture. Americans fell for Deco’s glitz and glamour in the Roaring Twenties. Following the austerity of WWI, it offered an exciting new visual landscape. The style continued trending through the 1930s and 40s, leaving a legacy still treasured today.

Key facets that characterize Art Deco include:

  • Geometric shapes – squares, rectangles, triangles, trapezoids, zigzags
  • Symmetry and repetitive geometrical patterns
  • Rich, luxurious materials like lacquer, ebony, silver, ivory, and glass
  • Bold, contrasting colors like black and ivory or silver and gold
  • Intricate motifs inspired by nature, machinery, and global cultures
  • Sleek forms with clean lines and little ornamentation
  • Use of new industrial materials like chrome, steel, and plastic

This mix of sleekness and elaborate adornment came to symbolize modernity and sophistication. Applied to backsplashes today, the style maintains its Culture Age mystique.

The Allure of Art Deco in Contemporary Kitchens

Art Deco backsplashes may evoke images of stately old restaurants and theatres. But this style also feels right at home in 21st century kitchens where its striking geometry brings energy and allure. The eclectic look pairs nicely with both traditional and modern elements. And it works great in designs ranging from vintage to contemporary to industrial.

Here are some key reasons the Art Deco backsplash trend is heating up again:

Timeless aesthetic – The bold geometry and rich colors of Art Deco remain fresh, fun, and current. This vintage style avoids feeling dated.

Versatile designs – From subtle to flashy, black and white to multi-hued, Art Deco backsplash options suit personal tastes and kitchen schemes.

Texture and pattern play – Deco backsplashes keep walls interesting with glossy and matte finishes, metallic sheens, and eye-catching repetitive designs.

Practicality – Art Deco tiles tend to be budget-friendly and easy to install, clean, and maintain over time.

Customizable mixes – Blending tile materials, sizes, shapes, and colors lets you create unique Art Deco mosaics.

Feature wall impact – A Deco backsplash forms a stylish focal point and conversation starter without overpowering a space.

Beyond wall appeal, this aesthetic also appears in cabinetry, counter stools, appliances, lighting, and accessories for a fully unified vintage vibe.

Classic Elements for Composing an Art Deco Backsplash

The key to nailing an Art Deco backsplash design is thoughtfully combining tiles with characteristic geometric forms, rich textures, and era-evoking colors. Utilizing a mix of classic Deco elements will ensure your kitchen oozes vintage sophistication.

Stylized Geometric Shapes

The most central aspect of Art Deco is its precision geometry. Backsplashes in this style highlight clean lines and repetitive angular, zig-zagged, and floral patterns. Some classic shapes to incorporate include:

  • Octagons and hexagons
  • Rectangles and square tiles
  • Chevron and herringbone arrangements
  • Curvy flower and sunrise/sunburst motifs
  • Three-dimensional cube and cone tiles
  • Zigzag, starburst, and triangular designs
  • Horizontal, vertical, and wavy line patterns
  • Scalloped, crown molding, and fillet borders

Mixing and matching geometric tiles in glossy and matte finishes creates visual dynamism. Try combining differently sized square subway tiles with hexagonal penny rounds, for example. Frame linear mosaics with scalloped borders. The options are virtually endless.

Bold, Contrasting Color Schemes

While black and white or metallic monochromes suit Art Deco, the style is also characterized by striking color contrasts. Using a blend of light neutrals and one or more bold accent shades works beautifully. Some enticing combinations include:

  • Black, white, and gold
  • Soft gray and bright coral
  • Creamy ivory and ruby red
  • Silver and electric blue
  • Buttery yellow and emerald green

Don’t be afraid to get creative with unexpected or even clashing color duos. This boosts the vibrancy of the Deco vibe. Just ensure your cabinetry and countertops coordinate in a complementary scheme.

Glossy and Matte Finishes

Art Deco backsplashes showcase a mix of surface sheens – most classically, high-gloss next to matte. The interplay boosts visual dynamics. Glossy tile finishes reflect light and create patterned brilliance. Matte tiles lend subtle contrast. Some enticing sheen options include:

  • Glossy glass, ceramic, or porcelain
  • Metallic silver, gold, copper, or bronze
  • Matte stone like marble, travertine, or slate
  • Matte terra cotta, cement, or pebble tiles
  • Iridescent glass or mother of pearl tiles

Mattes soften and anchor glossier tiles. But you can also do gloss-on-gloss pairings for amped up reflectivity. Just beware overpowering shimmer.

Best Tiles for Achieving the Art Deco Look

From material to shape, color, size, and finish, your tile choices completely shape the Art Deco vibe. Using a blend of classic tile types makes nailing this retro style easy.

Subway Tiles

No backsplash better epitomizes Art Deco than crisp, white 3” x 6” glossy ceramic subway tiles. Their elongated rectangular shape and low cost suit kitchens both vintage and modern. Lay them in offset brick patterns, or alternate directions. Pair subways with mosaics or penny tiles to add polish.

Hexagonal Tiles

From tiny mosaic penny rounds to larger formats, hexagonal tiles exemplify Deco geometry. Their six-sided shape allows for mesmerizing symmetric patterns when laid in grids or rosettes. Offering tons of grout line pattern options, hex tiles create depth and visual motion. Mix glosses, sizes, and colors for endless variations.

Glass Tiles

Sleek, shiny glass tiles offer affordability along with brilliant luminosity. Their color clarity, easy maintenance, and resistance to moisture and heat make them perfect for kitchen backsplashes. Available in all sorts of colors and shapes like bricks, circles, and lines, glass tiles bring dazzling Deco personality.

Metallic Tiles

For serious Gatsby-era decadence, choose metallic backsplash tiles in shimmering finishes like antique bronze, brass, pewter, silver, or gold. Metal tiles lend amazing warmth, depth, and versatility. Beyond their sleek industrial vibe, they pair equally well with vintage, modern, or ultra-contemporary schemes.

Honed Stone Tiles

While glossy stone evokes elegance, honed marble, travertine, granite, and slate tiles have an appealing matte calm. Their neutral, earthy tones and subtle surface textures make them ideal for anchoring and balancing more vibrantly patterned Deco tiles.

Patterned & Handpainted Ceramic Tiles

For focal whimsy, add hand-painted, custom ceramic tiles featuring Art Deco motifs like geometric flowers, scenic patterns, or figurative line drawings. While pricier, these tiles pack serious decorative punch. Place selectively amongst more understated tiles.

Mosaic Tiles

Tiny, multi-shaped mosaic tiles have been used decoratively for millennia, and their eye-drawing intricacy suits Deco wonderfully. Cover full walls or use in medallions, borders, and accents. Opt for either uniform or randomly mixed mosaics to inject dazzling detail.

Creative Ways to Configure Your Dream Deco Backsplash

One of the big appeals of Art Deco backsplashes lies in the many imaginative ways to configure tiles. Follow general design principles while getting inventive.

Play with Geometric Patterns

The Art Deco look hinges on geo motifs so tessellate tiles into mesmerizing designs. Stack offset bricks. Create zigzag chevrons or tessellated multi-sided patterns. Frame zigzag strips with straight lines. Intersperse different sized tiles, bricks, and mosaics. Insert medallions or embellished listellos.

Contrast Matte with Glossy Finishes

Glossy subway or hex tiles pop when neighbored by honed marble or stone. Alternate matte and shiny tiles in framing borders. Try diamonds, stars or waves in glossy finishes against a soft honed field. The texture contrast adds great visual dynamism.

Accent with Metallic Tiles

While going all-metallic risks overpowering a space, selective use of shimmering tiles jazzes up Deco backsplashes. Outline patterns in bronze. Create inlaid medallions with gold mosaics. Use silver or antique mirrors to add isolated glitz.

Incorporate Handpainted Artisan Tiles

For unique focal points, decorative ceramic tiles hand-painted with Deco florals, geometrics, or figurines make artistic accents. Use sparingly due to cost, either alone or framed by plainer tiles.

Mix Color Palettes

Don’t be afraid to get creative combining colors like ivory, sea green, and navy blue or black, robin’s egg, and brick red. Contrast a neutral field with brighter accents. Just ensure adjacent hues complement and tiles coordinate with cabinetry.

Size and Shape Variety

Varying tile sizes, from tiny mosaics to overscaled rectangles, adds visual liveliness. Frame 6” squares with slim bricks. Surround hex penny tiles with longer subways. Contrast staggered bricks with directional rectangular tiles.

Focal Areas First

Plan special patterns, colors, or pricier tiles for focal zones like around windows or stoves. Then fill surrounding space economically. This concentrates impact.

By thoughtfully blending colors, sheens, materials, sizes, shapes, and patterns, your Art Deco backsplash will impress with its retro vibrance, creativity, and geometric harmony.

Art Deco Backsplash Design and Installation Tips

While Art Deco backsplashes offer plenty of room for creativity, some technical tips will ensure your project goes smoothly.

  • Choose durable, moisture-resistant materials like ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles. Avoid natural stones vulnerable to water damage.
  • Pick grout colors that complement both tiles and cabinetry so spacing doesn’t jump out. Consider epoxy grout for durability and ease of cleaning.
  • Incorporate clever niches for storing spices. And don’t forget about electrical outlet placement.
  • Arrange an asymmetrical layout for greater dynamism. Framing helps define sections.
  • Balance glossy tiles that magnify flaws with less reflective finishes.
  • Mix large scale and small tiles to maintain proper proportion versus cabinetry.
  • Prepare the backsplash area properly by cleaning, repairing drywall, and applying appropriate backerboard.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for setting materials like mortar, grout, and sealants.
  • Consider hiring professionals if tiling large areas or working with costly materials like hand-cut stone or glass.

With thoughtful planning and care, an Art Deco backsplash can lend any kitchen a healthy dose of vintage distinction and artistic flair.

6 Key Questions about Art Deco Backsplash Design

1. What eras pair well with Art Deco backsplash style?

The bold geometry and richness of Art Deco looks beautiful blended with decor elements from a range of eras including Mid-Century Modern, Industrial, Victorian, and even Contemporary or Modern Minimalism. The key is repeating shapes and finishes in adjacent cabinetry, counters, lighting, and accessories for a cohesive scheme.

2. Can I mix and match patterns or should tiles repeat?

It’s absolutely fine to mix varied Art Deco tile shapes and layouts. Combining brick subway tiles, glass penny rounds, and marble hexagons or zigzags, for instance, adds eclectic flair. Just ensure colors complement each other. Consistent framing also helps blend mismatched patterns.

3. Should I use black grout or matching colored grout?

For most white or light-hued Art Deco backsplashes, white grout blends in elegantly. But black grout boosts the graphic impact of geometric shapes without detracting. For multi-colored mosaics, match grout to the darkest tile or use a neutral shade like gray.

4. Can Art Deco tiles go floor to ceiling or look best as a shorter backsplash panel?

The great thing about Deco style is it adapts to suit your tastes and space. Both floor-to-ceiling and partial backsplash applications work beautifully. Full height tiles make a bold visual statement. Partial height retains more counter area and provides a more subtle retro touch.

5. How do I pick Art Deco backsplash tiles that work with my existing kitchen elements?

Coordinate your backsplash tiles with cabinet colors and finishes to achieve a unified Deco design. For example, pair glossy white subway tiles with white lacquered cabinetry or black and bronze mosaics with espresso stained cabinets. Just repeat several finishes.

6. Is an Art Deco backsplash achievable on a budget?

Absolutely! More affordable ceramic, glass, and porcelain subway tiles or mosaics offer tons of Art Deco panache. You can even incorporate pricier hand-painted or metal tiles sparingly as accents. Using tiles only on a contained backsplash area also helps limit cost.

Bring Art Deco Style and Elegance to Your Kitchen

With its bold geometrics, sleek lines, and striking eclecticism, an Art Deco backsplash can infuse any kitchen with nostalgic style and sophisticated glamour. This fresh revival of a beloved early 20th century aesthetic brings vintage flair to both period and contemporary homes.

From lustrous glass mosaics to linear subway tiles to hand-painted ceramics, Deco backsplashes make an artistic statement with their imaginative use of shape, texture, material, color, and pattern. And their durable, easy-to-maintain nature makes them a practical choice as well.

So for a room with time-capsule allure yet contemporary livability, consider the magic an Art Deco backsplash can work. Let this iconic style transform your cooking space into a showpiece that brilliantly blends yesterday’s glitz with today’s designs.