Backsplash for Espresso Cabinets Complete the Dramatic Appeal


A backsplash serves both aesthetic and functional purposes in a kitchen. Not only does it protect the walls from splashes and stains, but it also adds visual interest and brings all the elements together into a cohesive design. When it comes to backsplashes for espresso cabinets, the options are endless. With thoughtful planning and strategic material and color choices, the backsplash can take an espresso cabinet kitchen from drab to dramatic.

Espresso cabinetry has a bold, sophisticated style. The rich, dark color provides a striking focal point. While you could choose a backsplash that blends in, selecting one that pops against the espresso backdrop creates contrast and energy. The dark cabinets anchor the space while the backsplash illuminates it with its vibrant hue.

How to Choose a Backsplash for Espresso Cabinets

When selecting a backsplash to complement espresso cabinetry, consider materials, colors, and patterns that play up the moody sophistication. Keep the following guidelines in mind:


Tiles, stone, glass, metal, and high-end finishes like marble or granite all make excellent backsplash materials with espresso cabinets. Consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. For contemporary designs, sleek metallics or geometric glass tiles reinforce the modern vibe. Honed marble tiles or pebbles evoke an organic, earthy feel.


White, beige, gray, and black backsplashes blend in with espresso cabinets. Go for colors on the opposite side of the color wheel for maximum contrast. Pale blues and greens, bright reds and oranges, and deep violets electrify against the dark cabinet background. Neutrals like white with veining provide subtle contrast.


Espresso cabinets pair well with both busy patterns and solid backsplash designs. Choose mosaic tiles, creative shapes, or eye-catching medallions to add movement. Or opt for uninterrupted stone slabs or extra-large format tiles for a seamless look. Mixing patterns and solids can achieve visual balance.


Match the sheen of the backsplash to the finish of the cabinets. Espresso cabinets often have a polished or glossy finish. Select backsplash materials with a polished, reflective surface. However, a matte backsplash can create appealing juxtaposition against shiny cabinets.

Backsplash Design Ideas for Espresso Cabinets

Now let’s explore some backsplash possibilities that play up the bold elegance of espresso cabinets.

Go for Drama with Dark Colors

dark backsplash

Deeply-hued backsplashes intensify the high-contrast look of espresso cabinetry. Vivid greens, blues, and eggplants make the cabinets truly pop. Consider glossy green or navy glass subway tiles, inky marble mosaics, or genuine turquoise stone. Dark-stained wood also pairs nicely for an earthy feel.

These moody backsplashes create an exotic, luxurious ambiance when combined with rich espresso cabinets. The cabinetry provides the base while the backsplash contributes the pizazz.

Awaken with Bright Colors

bright backsplash

For a shot of color, opt for a vivid backsplash that energizes the space. Bright yellows, oranges, reds, or purples electrify against the deep espresso background. Glossy glass or ceramic tiles in these daring hues infuse excitement into the kitchen.

Consider cherry red brick tiles or flame-colored glass for a fiery style. Sunny citrus mosaic tiles or painted turquoise wood boards exude beach house chic. Let your backsplash choices reflect your personality. These vivid hues paired with moody cabinets create a stunning study in contrasts.

Contrast with Crisp White

white backsplash

You can never go wrong pairing espresso cabinets with classic white backsplashes. The crisp, clean white provides the perfect blank canvas that allows the rich cabinets to take center stage. Subway tiles, marble slabs, shiplap boards, and mosaic tiles all pop against the dark cabinetry.

Take this contrast up a design notch by selecting white backsplashes with veining, texture, or patterns. White marble with grey veining adds subtle depth. Frosted or etched glass tiles soften the contrast. Wavy white ceramic tiles, herringbone marble, or white penny tiles break up the surfaces beautifully.

Complement with Natural Wood

wood backsplash

Natural wood backsplashes bring warmth and texture to balance cool, sleek espresso cabinets. Weathered barn boards, oak planks, and mahogany tiles all impart rustic charm. Matte finishes allow the natural wood grains and knots to take center stage.

Mix wood and tile backsplashes to get the best of both worlds. Try tongue and groove boards stacked horizontally above a row of ceramic subway tiles. Or intersperse wooden accent tiles amidst a stone mosaic backsplash for an eclectic look. The natural wood softens the modern edge of the espresso cabinets.

Go Neutral with Greys and Beiges

grey backsplash

For a more subtle contrast, stick with backsplash colors in the neutral grey and beige families. These muted backsplashes support the cabinets as the main focal point instead of competing with them.

Light grey glass or ceramic metro tiles create a clean, elegant look. For more texture, install limestone or travertine tiles in earthy grey-brown hues. Granite slabs also come in stunning neutral shades that complement espresso cabinets gracefully.

Make a Statement with Metallic Tiles

metal backsplash

Metallic backsplashes are a gorgeous choice to glam up dark espresso cabinets. The sheen and reflective quality of metal tiles plays off the rich finish of the cabinetry.

Oil-rubbed bronze and antique brass tiles impart an elegant old-world feel. Modern zinc and copper penny tiles have an industrial edge. Use silver mosaic tiles, stainless steel, or chrome for contemporary style. Metallic backsplashes make a shiny statement against matte espresso cabinets.

Creative Examples of Backsplashes with Espresso Cabinets

Now that we’ve covered material, color, and pattern options, let’s look at some creative examples of stunning backsplashes paired with espresso cabinetry.

Modern Marble Herringbone

This sleek kitchen features elongated white marble herringbone backsplash tiles. The subtle grey veining matches the granite countertops for a cohesive upscale look. The crisp white marble pops against the dark espresso cabinets and drawer fronts for striking contrast.

Vintage Turquoise & Black

Charming vintage finds reinvent this kitchen backsplash. Random turquoise and black tiles create playful old-world charm against the deep espresso cabinets and island. The backsplash complements the classic subway floor tiles.

Rustic Wood Planks

Rough-hewn wood planks in varying natural hues clad this backsplash. The wood’s rustic texture softens the matching espresso cabinets for relaxed warmth. Open shelves continue the wood theme, while the marble countertops provide an elegant finish.

Sleek Modern Metallic

Large rectangular polished copper tiles make a metallic statement in this contemporary kitchen. The brilliant copper plays off the reflective finish of the dark espresso cabinetry and drawers. The dramatic backsplash transforms the space into a showstopper.

Vintage Mirror Tiles

A unique mirrored mosaic backsplash reflects light and color around this kitchen. The varied glass tile shapes, iridescent hues, and antiqued patina create artistic appeal against the espresso cabinetry. The eclectic vintage vibe injects the sleek space with personality.

Textural White Subway

Crisp white subway tiles create a textural backsplash in this transitional kitchen. Their staggered layout and varied surface finishes break up the smooth espresso cabinets. Open shelves continue the backsplash tile pattern, adding architectural interest.

Tips for Designing and Installing a Backsplash

Now that we’ve covered the myriad backsplash possibilities with espresso cabinets, let’s go over some tips for designing and installing your backsplash project.

  • Take accurate measurements of the backsplash area so you know precisely how many tile sheets or planks to purchase. Mapping it out will also help you determine the optimum tile layout.
  • Select tiles or planks that are appropriate for kitchen backsplash use. Porcelain, ceramic, marble, granite and glass tiles stand up to heat, grease, and moisture. Natural stone requires sealing.
  • For a unified finished look, match the countertop and backsplash edge profile. For example, both may have a bullnose edge.
  • Use tile spacers when installing to ensure even grout lines. Consistent spacing creates a clean, polished look.
  • Grout lines should match the tile style. Small mosaic tiles may have 1/16 inch grout lines while large format subway tiles can handle 1⁄4 inch grout lines.
  • Consider special finishing touches like decorative trim pieces, molded edges, or metallic inserts to take the backsplash design to the next level.
  • Sealing natural stone backsplashes prevents staining and reduces maintenance. Use a penetrating sealer formulated for stone.
  • Clean backsplash tiles regularly using the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner for the tile material. Avoid abrasive cleansers.

With some planning and creativity, you can design a showstopping backsplash that matches the dramatic appeal of your espresso cabinets. Use a combination of colors, patterns, textures and materials to achieve your ideal aesthetic. Soon your new backsplash will be the focal point that completes your dream kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions about Backsplashes for Espresso Cabinets

Many questions come up when designing a backsplash for espresso cabinetry. Here are some of the most common FAQs.

What color backsplash goes best with espresso cabinets?

Some popular backsplash colors that pop against espresso cabinets are white, blue, green, red, and orange. Neutrals like beige, gray and black also complement the cabinets nicely. Vibrant, saturated hues provide the most contrast.

Do you need to seal a backsplash?

Natural stone backsplashes like marble, travertine, and granite require sealing to prevent staining and wear. Ceramic, porcelain or glass tile backsplashes do not require sealing. Always check manufacturer recommendations for your specific backsplash materials.

What kind of backsplash is easiest to install?

Tile backsplashes offer the most DIY-friendly installation option. Peel and stick backsplash tiles make installation even easier. Sheet backsplashes like stainless steel, tin, or aluminum also have simple installation. Individual tiles require more precision and take longer to install.

Should cabinets and backsplash match?

It’s not essential for cabinets and backsplash to exactly match. Complementary colors and finishes can look more interesting. However, matching the backsplash and cabinetry finish (matte or glossy) helps them coordinate. Consistent materials in the cabinets, countertops and backsplash create a seamless look.

What backsplash goes with black granite countertops?

Black granite countertops pair beautifully with backsplashes in crisp white, light greys, beiges, silver, and glass. Contrasting bright hues like blue, green, yellow and red also complement black granite. Subway tiles, marble mosaics, and metal tiles all coordinate nicely.

Does a backsplash need to go all the way to the ceiling?

Usually backsplashes end about 4 inches from the underside of the upper cabinets. This protects the wall from splashes while cabinets can protect the remaining area. Full-height backsplashes can make a dramatic design statement but require more installation work.

Can you add a backsplash to existing countertops?

Yes, it is possible to add a backsplash to existing countertops. The installer must cut the backsplash material to fit neatly against the counters and walls. Extra care must be taken to properly seal around countertops. Existing backsplashes must be removed before installing a new one.


The backsplash presents a prime opportunity to infuse color, texture, and creativity into any kitchen featuring rich espresso cabinets. While the cabinetry makes a bold style statement, the backsplash introduces light, contrast and visual intrigue. By selecting materials and hues that play off the sophistication of espresso cabinets, you can design a backsplash that completes the dramatic kitchen aesthetic.

With an array of colors, patterns, textures and materials to choose from, the possibilities are truly endless. Whether you opt for glossy subway tiles, textured marble mosaics, rustic wood planks or sleek stainless steel, your new backsplash can transform the look of your espresso cabinet kitchen. With some thoughtful planning and strategic design choices, you’ll soon have a stunning, showstopping backsplash that finishes your kitchen with dramatic flair.