Backsplash for Shaker Cabinets Complete the Timeless Appeal


A shaker-style kitchen is a timeless choice that pairs simple lines and a minimalist aesthetic with versatility and durability. While the cabinets set the tone in this style of kitchen, the backsplash plays an integral role in bringing the whole design together and adding visual interest. Choosing the right backsplash to complement your shaker cabinets can enhance their timeless appeal while also injecting just the right amount of personality into the space.

In this article, we’ll explore how to select, design, and install a backsplash that seamlessly complements the clean simplicity of shaker cabinets. We’ll cover suitable materials, patterns, colors, and design elements to consider. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to choose a backsplash that completes the timeless shaker style with the perfect finishing touch.

Why Add a Backsplash in a Shaker Kitchen?

Before diving into specific backsplash options, let’s look at why a backsplash is an important design element in any shaker-style kitchen:

Protects Against Messes and Damage

The backsplash goes hand-in-hand with the countertops to form the hardworking surfaces in the kitchen. Positioned right behind the cooktop and sink, the backsplash takes the brunt of water splashes, grease spatters, sauce splatters, and more. A properly sealed and maintained backsplash prevents this mess from seeping into the vulnerable cabinetry and causing stains, delamination, and other damage.

Provides Visual Interest

Shaker cabinetry is defined by its simple lines, recessed panels, and lack of ornate hardware and carvings. The backsplash offers an opportunity to bring in color, texture, shape, and pattern to add the perfect amount of visual interest without detracting from the cabinets themselves.

Finishes the Design

A kitchen backsplash spans the space between the countertops and cabinets. Leaving this area bare results in an unfinished look. The right backsplash finishes the design and pulls the whole room together.

Offers Design Flexibility

One major perk of using a shaker backsplash is that it adapts well to many styles. While often paired with transitional spaces, shaker kitchens also suit traditional, rustic, farmhouse, cottage, industrial, and even contemporary environments. The backsplash is key for tweaking the overall style.

With the benefits covered, let’s explore how to select the perfect backsplash to complete your timeless shaker kitchen.

Backsplash Design Considerations for Shaker Kitchens

Several factors come into play when selecting a backsplash design that complements and completes your shaker-style space. Consider the ones below when planning:

The Cabinet Door Style

  • Recessed panel – The most common and traditional shaker style features a center recessed panel with a flat frame around the perimeter. The simple lines pair well with just about any backsplash design.
  • Slab – Slab shaker cabinets lack recessed panels for an even cleaner appearance. Stick to backsplash materials and patterns with minimal lines and fuss.
  • Louvre – Louvre shaker cabinets have a center panel consisting of horizontal slats rather than a solid center. Coordinate with a backsplash that has vertical interest.
  • Framed glass – Glass insert panels lend a lighter and more contemporary spin on shaker. Backsplashes with texture or pattern keep the kitchen grounded.

Cabinet Color

Look to your shaker cabinet color for backsplash inspiration.

  • White – A white shaker kitchen is a classic you can dress up or down with nearly any backsplash. Try pale neutrals, bold colors, or dynamic patterns.
  • Gray – From light driftwood to dark charcoal, gray shaker cabinets pair beautifully with polished stone or ceramic tile.
  • Wood tone – Natural wood shaker cabinets call for backsplash colors echoing the cabinets. Creamy whites, warm grays, and antique finishes are perfect.
  • Color – Vibrant shaker cabinets in colors like navy, green, yellow or red make the backsplash shine. Metal, glass and mosaic tiles pop.

Countertop Material

Your countertop material affects which backsplash colors and textures look cohesive.

  • Quartz – Manmade quartz counters resemble marble and granite but offer more durability. Try stone, metal, glass, and ceramic backsplash tiles.
  • Granite – With natural granite, select a backsplash tile containing colors pulled from the stone swirls.
  • Marble – Elegant marble counters look richest with marble, stone, glass, or metal backsplashes in soothing hues.
  • Butcher block – Warm wood countertops pair perfectly with soft beige, cream, or white backsplash tiles.
  • Laminate – For laminate countertops, contrast with a stone or ceramic backsplash tile for extra texture.

The Overall Design Style

Consider the style you want for your shaker kitchen before selecting a backsplash.

  • Traditional – For a classic style, try subway tile, carved stone, or patterned ceramic in soft colors.
  • Contemporary – Modern shaker kitchens shine with glass, metal, and mosaics in bold colors or neutrals.
  • Rustic – Backsplashes with stone, brick, or wood elements complete farmhouse chic shaker spaces.
  • Cottage – Vintage motifs like floral prints or penny tile give shaker a cozy, countryside vibe.
  • Industrial – Concrete, metal, or weathered wood backsplashes contrast beautifully with crisp shaker lines.

The Kitchen Layout

Layout impacts the visibility and function of your backsplash.

  • Galley kitchens – When the backsplash is a focal feature, opt for impactful materials like glass tile or stone slab.
  • Open kitchens – If the backsplash is highly visible, ensure it complements cabinets, counters and décor.
  • Islands – When the backsplash is only behind the cooktop, you can splurge on pricier materials.

Backsplash Materials for Shaker Kitchens

Now that we’ve covered the design basics, let’s get into the materials that work beautifully for a shaker kitchen backsplash:

Subway Tile

A white (or colored) subway tile backsplash is a quintessential match for shaker style. The simple rectangular shape calls back to early 20th century design and pairs perfectly with recessed panel doors. Stack the tile vertically or horizontally, or get creative with patterns. Glass, marble, granite, or ceramic subway tiles all complement shaker cabinets masterfully.

Carrara Marble

The whites and grays of Carrara marble add soft veining and polished elegance to a shaker kitchen. Set within the cabinets’ clean lines, marble backsplashes impart subtle style and an elevated yet welcoming feel. Carrara pairs especially nicely with white cabinets. Select polished, honed, or tumbled finishes.

Travertine Tile

Travertine brings a rustic, Tuscan charm to the shaker kitchen with its natural tan hues and varied veining. The rough-hewn stone used in a brick pattern or subway layout adds organic texture without overpowering recessed panel doors. For a softer look, fill travertine’s holes with grout or mortar.

Glass Tile

Sleek glass tile aligns with the streamlined sensibility of flat shaker doors and minimalist hardware. Use glass mosaic sheets to craft a backsplash with brilliant color or metallic shine without fussy lines. Clear glass subway tiles also complement shakers. Take care to seal and maintain glass properly.

Metal Tile

Metal backsplashes lend beautiful dimension and sheen in shaker kitchens with their glimmering surface. Ribbed and hammered nickel, copper, brass, and alloy metals add eye-catching light effects. Keep metal mostly neutral so it highlights rather than distracts from the cabinetry.

Brick & Faux Brick

Stacked square brick tiles make the perfect pairing for the right-angled shaker style. Genuine reclaimed brick brings an industrial vibe. Faux brick tile offers the visual in a lighter material that’s easier to cut and install. Lay brick vertically, horizontally, or in a lattice pattern. Grey, red, brown and white bricks suit shaker cabinets.


Classic tongue and groove beadboard beautifully matches detailed shaker doors. Use real wood planks for a rustic cottage charm or molded materials for easy maintenance. The deep grooves and vertical orientation of beadboard backsplashes complement most cabinet finishes. Limit upper decor accordingly.

Stone Slab

Stones like granite, limestone, and sandstone lend organic splendor to a shaker kitchen in the form of a full slab backsplash. Though expensive, large-scale stone backsplashes make a stunning statement, especially coupled with crisp white shaker cabinetry.

Classic Ceramic Tile

Traditional ceramic tiles in shapes like hexagons, scalloped squares, diamonds, and ovals provide delightful old-world ambiance to shaker kitchens. Use them to craft vintage patterns or borders. Stick to solid color glazes or simple accents so ornate ceramic tiles don’t clash with plain shakers.

Wood Plank

Wood backsplashes bring unmistakable warmth and texture to the shaker kitchen’s right angles and flat planes. Use real planks or faux versions made of porcelain or ceramic. Opt for wide planks with visible grain laid horizontally. Limit upper decor to keep the rich backsplash as the focus.

Backsplash Colors for Shaker Kitchens

Now let’s get into the specifics of which backsplash colors best match and accentuate classic shaker cabinetry:


A white backsplash is arguably the most versatile choice for pairing with any shaker style, cabinet finish, or décor scheme. Crisp white subway tiles, beadboard, or ceramic perfectly suit shaker lines in a refined way. Pair white backsplashes with shaker kitchens of any color palette.

Light Gray

From barely-there greige to a pale dove gray, light gray backsplashes promote tranquility in shaker kitchens. Gray marble, stone, concrete, ceramic, or glass tiles keep the aesthetic serene. Light grays work magic with white, gray, black, and blue color schemes.

Medium & Charcoal Gray

For more contrast, go bold with a dark charcoal or steel gray backsplash. Dramatic gray stone slabs, metallic tiles, or concrete make shaker cabinets truly pop. Use mid-tone grays to add sophistication to all-white or vibrant color schemes alike.

Cream & Beige

Warm cream and beige backsplashes give shaker cabinets a softened, welcoming feel. Try natural stone, ceramic, porcelain, or glass in creamy hues. Pair with light or dark wood shaker cabinets and earth tones throughout the kitchen.


A deep, dark black backsplash provides striking sophistication in a shaker kitchen. Dark-stained wood, black granite slabs and onyx tiles make shaker cabinets appear brighter and crisper. Use sparingly to allow the cabinets to still shine.

Navy & Blue

From pale sky blue to dramatic navy, blue backsplashes bring life to shaker kitchens. Subway tiles, mosaics, marble and glass in varying blue shades add vibrancy and contrast against shaker cabinets nicely.


Verdant green backsplashes complement shaker cabinets beautifully, especially those in wood stains. Try emerald, sage, or mint glass, ceramic, and stone backsplashes to infuse nature’s color into a shaker kitchen.

Yellows & Oranges

Cheery citrus backsplash colors like lemon, peach, and terra cotta glaze, enliven and energize all-white shaker kitchens. Glass, ceramic, and metal tiles in these fun colors make ideal accent backsplashes.


Metallic backsplashes add radiance and sheen to shaker kitchens. Polished metal, glass, and stone tiles in silver, gold, bronze, and more glimmer elegantly. Use metallics sparingly to highlight specific areas.

Backsplash Patterns & Designs for Shakers

Beyond color and material, the overall pattern and design you apply creatively completes the backsplash. Here are top options for shaker kitchens:


A single tile material, color, and orientation applied across the backsplash surface allows shaker cabinets to take center stage. Try large-scale solid stone slabs.

Subway Pattern

Stacking rectangular subway tiles vertically or horizontally delivers clean lines befitting shaker style. Adjust scale and grout color for added interest.

Horizontal Orientation

Laying rectangular, square, or plank tiles horizontally promotes a streamlined look aligned with flat shaker doors. Rows of wood or ceramic planks work well.

Stacked Pattern

Stacking offset rows of square tiles builds movement while maintaining simplicity. Try natural stone or glass stacked layouts. Repeat cabinet colors.

Brick Pattern

Brick patterns using actual or faux bricks lend an earthy, organic feel. Rows or cubes of bricks contrast beautifully with flat shakers.

Penny Rounds

Though ornate, classic penny or dot tiles lay precisely spaced to achieve harmony with shaker lines. Use sparingly or inborders.


Simple geometry using hexagons, chevrons, diamonds, or crisscrossing lines adds nuanced interest without complication. Classic motifs suit shakers.

Bands & Borders

Define backsplash areas with bands of accent tiles like penny rounds or penciling lines. Frame cooktops or mark transitions neatly.

Minimalist Mix

Pair two complementary tiles or materials, keeping patterns clean and intentional. Expose just enough contrast without clutter.

Best Practice Backsplash Installation Tips

Once you’ve selected the ideal backsplash for your shaker style kitchen, proper installation is key to achieving the flawless finished look you envisioned. Here are best practices to follow:

  • Prepare the surface thoroughly by cleaning and sanding until smooth. Fill any holes or problem areas.
  • Map out your pattern to avoid mismatched seams and edges. Balance cuts.
  • Clean tiles before applying adhesive for best adherence.
  • Spread adhesive evenly across the surface using the proper trowel.
  • Follow any specific instructions for the tile material, like sealing natural stone first.
  • Use plastic spacers between tiles for consistent grout lines. Remove once dried.
  • Clean excess adhesive immediately to prevent dried globs.
  • Allow adhesive to cure fully before grouting according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Apply grout with a rubber float, pressing into joints. Clean excess grout with a damp sponge.
  • Once grout has cured, buff surface with a soft cloth. Use grout sealer if needed.
  • Caulk edges with a matching colored caulk for a polished finish.

Taking a meticulous approach ensures your shaker backsplash installation looks seamless.

Maintaining Your Shaker Kitchen Backsplash

Putting preventative care measures into practice keeps your backsplash looking like new:

  • Use a mild cleaner suitable for the backsplash material and avoid abrasive products.
  • For grout, use a specially formulated grout cleaner and apply grout sealer periodically.
  • Rinse surfaces after cleaning and dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
  • Address any re-grouting or caulking needs immediately to prevent moisture damage.
  • Limit exposure to grease and acids that can etch surfaces like natural stone. Seal if needed.
  • Handle fragile materials with care when cleaning to avoid scratches and cracks.

With proper maintenance, your backsplash stays beautiful as part of your timeless shaker kitchen.


What is the most popular backsplash for shaker cabinets?

The quintessential backsplash for shaker style cabinets is white subway tile. The simple rectangular shape and clean white color matches seamlessly with recessed panel doors for a timeless look.

Do you need a backsplash with shaker cabinets?

While not mandatory, adding a backsplash is highly recommended with shaker cabinets. Backsplashes fill visual gaps, protect walls, and bring color, texture and personality to balance the cabinets’ simplicity.

What backsplash goes with espresso shaker cabinets?

Rich espresso shaker cabinets look best matched with backsplash tiles in lighter cream, white, or gray hues. Natural stone, ceramic, porcelain, and glass backsplashes prevent dark cabinets from feeling too heavy.

What kind of backsplash goes with gray shaker cabinets?

Cool-toned gray shaker cabinets pair beautifully with backsplashes in marble, polished stone, ceramic, porcelain, and glass. Try a Carrara marble herringbone pattern or navy blue glass subway tile.

What backsplash looks best with light wood shaker cabinets?

Natural light wood shaker cabinets are complemented best by backsplash tiles with some wood-inspired visual warmth. Opt for stone, brick, wood look porcelain tiles, beadboard, or ceramic in beiges and antique whites.

What backsplash goes well with black shaker cabinets?

Black shaker cabinets make a sophisticated statement contrasted with backsplashes in lighter materials like white marble, cream ceramic, silver or white glass tiles, or greige travertine.


The backsplash presents a prime opportunity to infuse personality into your enduring shaker kitchen. Following the design guidance provided, you can confidently select a backsplash in terms of color, material, style and pattern that completes your shaker cabinetry for a polished, timeless look.

Keep the backsplash cohesive with your cabinet door style, finish, countertops and overall aesthetic vision. Then choose materials from natural stone to glass to wood planking that accentuate the shakers. By applying backsplash patterns strategically from solid designs to geometric motifs, you achieve perfect balance.

Install and care for your shaker backsplash properly and it will uphold its beauty while protecting your cabinetry. With the right backsplash finishing off your shaker kitchen in elegant form and function, you’