Backsplash Tile Shapes Most Popular and Unique Backsplash Tile Designs

A backsplash is an important design element in any kitchen. Located on the wall behind sinks, stoves, and countertops, a backsplash serves both stylish and functional purposes. The right backsplash tile can enhance your kitchen’s aesthetic while also protecting the walls from splashes and stains. With so many backsplash tile options to choose from, it can be tricky to select the perfect style and shape for your space. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore some of the most popular and unique backsplash tile shapes to inspire your next kitchen remodel or upgrade.

Why Backsplashes Matter in Kitchen Design

Before diving into the不同 shapes and styles of backsplash tiles, it’s important to understand why backsplashes are such an integral part of kitchen design. Here are some of the top reasons to include a backsplash in your kitchen:

  • Protect Walls from Damage: Backsplashes provide an extra barrier between your countertops and walls. This prevents staining and damage from oil splatter, water splashes, and other cooking mess. Tiled backsplashes are especially resistant and easy to clean.
  • Add Visual Interest: Backsplashes are a great opportunity to add eye-catching textures, colors, and designs to your kitchen décor. Tiles come in a diverse range of styles to match your personal tastes.
  • Reflect Style: The shape, size, and pattern of your backsplash tiles speak volumes about your overall design aesthetic. For modern and contemporary spaces, geometric tiles are trending. For cottage-chic kitchens, subway tiles are a classic choice.
  • Showcase Creativity: Backsplashes are a blank canvas where you can get creative with unique shapes, bold colors, and artistic patterns. Mix and match designs for lots of visual interest.
  • Complement Countertops: Pairing your backsplash and countertop materials creates a cohesive look. Matching the tone and texture ties the whole kitchen together.

Most Popular Backsplash Tile Shapes

When designing your backsplash, choosing the right tile shape is key. The shape impacts the overall look, feel, and functionality of the backsplash. Here are some of the most popular backsplash tile shapes used in kitchens today:

Subway Tile

The subway tile is one of the most common backsplash tile shapes, as it offers a classic and timeless look. Subway tiles are rectangular with a longer height than width. They typically range from 3-6 inches tall and are installed in a brick pattern.

Subway tile backsplashes have been popular for over a century thanks to their versatility and clean lines. They work great in both modern and traditional kitchen settings. The elongated rectangular shape creates the illusion of height to make rooms feel open and airy. Subway tiles also have a streamlined look that doesn’t distract from countertops or cabinets.

Subway tile backsplashes offer a timeless and versatile look. Image courtesy Home Depot.

White subway tiles are the most common, but you can also find them in gray, black, and colored glass. Mix and match colors for a more eclectic subway tile backsplash. Installing them in a brick pattern or herringbone design adds extra visual interest.

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon tiles feature six equal sides and create a honeycomb effect when installed. This unique shape allows for fun geometric designs, patterns, and textures not achievable with rectilinear tiles. Hexagon backsplashes have a playful, vintage feel perfect for farmhouse, cottage, or eclectic spaces.

Small 1-3 inch hexagon tiles are popular, often in colorful mosaics or mixed materials like marble + metal. Larger 6-8 inch hexagons can make a bold geometric statement, especially when using contrasting grout. Offset patterns and creative color combinations make hexagon backsplashes eye-catching focal points.

Hexagon backsplash tiles create fun honeycomb shapes and patterns. Image courtesy HGTV

Glass Tile

Glass tiles are a versatile option as they come in every color and finish imaginable. From bold jeweled tones to frosted whites, the variety allows glass backsplashes to fit any design style. Mixing glass tile shapes like circles, squares, and rectangles creates unique patterns.

The reflective, smooth surface of glass tiles has a sleek, modern vibe. Yet, glass backsplashes can also emulate natural stone, marble, or even wood materials for a more organic look. Beyond the aesthetic perks, glass tiles are water- and stain-resistant, easy to clean, and durable.

The reflective surface and vast color options of glass backsplash tiles add modern flair. Image courtesy Lowe’s

Linear Tile

Linear tiles are longer than they are wide, with a plank or strip shape. Popular options include 3×12-inch subway tiles or continuous linear tiles that create uninterrupted lines from countertop to cabinet. The elongated shape and clean lines provide a sense of order and symmetry.

Linear backsplash tiles work especially well in contemporary, modern, and minimalist kitchens. Stick with neutral whites and grays for a sleek, seamless look. You can also opt for contrasting grout colors to add subtle interest. Mixing linear tiles with mosaic insets boosts visual dynamics without disrupting the linear flow.

Linear backsplash tiles create clean lines and symmetry. Image courtesy Studio McGee

Chevron and Herringbone Tiles

For pattern lovers, chevron and herringbone backsplashes make eye-catching statements. Both designs involve setting tiles at an angle in contrasting directions to create a V-shaped (chevron) or zig-zag (herringbone) motif. The play of angles energizes the space and feels fresh and modern.

These designs work best with rectangular subway-style tiles or elongated wood-look planks. Keep the tiles neutral for optimal chevron/herringbone impact—too many colors will diminish the distinctive shaping. A white, beige, or gray backdrop allows the sharp angles to take center stage.

Herringbone backsplashes make a bold zig-zag statement. Image courtesy Bella Tucker

Unique and Creative Backsplash Ideas

Beyond classic shapes like subway and hexagon, don’t be afraid to get creative with unique backsplash tile designs. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Geometric 3D Tiles

Three-dimensional tiles lend eye-catching depth and shadows to backsplashes. Cubes, ridges, concave curves, and other sculptural shapes catch the light beautifully. Mix 3D tiles with flat tiles in complementary hues for added interest. Geometric 3D tiles give contemporary spaces a cutting-edge feel.

Peel-and-Stick Tiles

Adhesive “peel-and-stick” backsplash tiles offer an affordable, DIY-friendly option. Many companies now make removable and repositionable tiles in vinyl, plastic, and metal materials. Great for renters or temporary upgrades, peel-and-stick backsplashes come in fun patterns, prints, and textures.

Mixed Materials

Don’t limit yourself to one tile material! Mixing natural stone, ceramic, metal, and glass tiles together creates depth and contrast. Match up complementary textures like sleek glass + rugged stone or modern porcelain + antique terracotta. Eclectic material mixes are on trend.

Bold Colors and Patterns

Make a vibrant style statement with brightly colored or wildly patterned backsplash tiles. Modern graphic prints, Moroccan-style mosaics, and vibrant colors like jewel-toned turquoise inject punchy personality.

Mural or Photo Tiles

Companies can fabricate ceramic or porcelain tiles printed with any image or photo you desire. Turn cherished travel shots, kids’ artwork, or landscape photos into a backsplash mural. It’s the ultimate personalization.

Statement Shape Mixing

Thinking beyond squares and rectangles, statement shapes like triangles, trapezoids, and octagons create cool geometric arrangements. Mixing distinct shapes in one backsplash adds modern flair.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Backsplash Tiles

With limitless backsplash tile possibilities, it helps to consider practical factors before finalizing your design:


What palette suits your kitchen’s overall design and color scheme? Match backsplash colors to cabinets, countertops, floors, and paint colors for a harmonious look.


Larger backsplash tiles (4 inches or greater) have a bolder, more contemporary effect. Smaller tiles like mosaics convey traditional charm. Scale tiles appropriately to the size of your kitchen.


Matte, glossy, metallic, frosted, crackled glaze…which texture enhances your style? Tile finish impacts the light reflectivity and ambiance.

Grout Color

Grout draws attention! Dark grout highlights tile patterns. Matching or blending grout minimizes the grid. White grout keeps the focus on tile colors.


Natural stone, handmade, and metal backsplashes cost more than ceramic or porcelain. Set realistic expectations for materials and labor.

Ease of Maintenance

Porous natural materials require more sealing than impervious porcelain or glass. Assess cleaning needs and durability.

Personal Style

Most importantly, choose backsplash tile shapes and styles that speak to your personality and aesthetic vision for your kitchen. There are endless options to make your backsplash distinctly YOU!

Recommended Strategies for Styling a Fabulous Backsplash

Follow these handy tips when designing your dream backsplash:

  • Focus the backsplash above key work areas like sinks, stoves, and prepping zones. No need to clutter the entire wall. Strategically place your focal point.
  • Tiling from countertop to ceiling has a clean, built-in look. Ending mid-wall requires accurate alignment and may look unfinished.
  • Pair countertop and backsplash materials for a seamless flow. The combo depends on your design style—think marble + subway tile, glossy quartz + glass mosaic, or butcher block + geometric ceramics.
  • Consider creating a contrasting backsplash “frame” around perimeter edges to define the space. Or frame focal points like a stove ventilation hood.
  • Use caulking in the same color as the grout between the backsplash and countertops. It creates a polished, integrated look.
  • Illuminate backsplashes with under-cabinet lighting or pendant lights for maximum impact. Lighting accentuates the colors, sheen, and patterns of tile finishes.
  • For open floor plans, extend your backsplash tile into adjacent spaces beyond the kitchen perimeter to visually expand the room.

Answering Common Backsplash FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about backsplashes:

How durable are backsplash tiles?

Backsplash tiles are very durable and built to withstand cooking splatters, spills, steam, heat, and daily wear-and-tear. Ceramic, porcelain, and glass are some of the most resilient options. Natural stone requires more maintenance.

How difficult is it to install a tile backsplash?

Ambitious DIYers can tackle tile backsplashes, but there is a learning curve. Carefully lay out your design, prep the surface, measure precisely, apply adhesive properly, and grout accurately. Patience and problem-solving skills are key! Many homeowners opt to hire a professional tile installer.

Should backsplashes match countertops?

It’s common to match backsplash and countertop colors for a seamless look, but contrasting materials can be impactful too. Coordinate any parti-colored countertops with a neutral backsplash. Ultimately, trust your own taste.

How are backsplashes protected from water damage?

Quality adhesive and proper grout application create waterproof barriers. Caulking along the backsplash-countertop boundary is also important. Limit moisture contact by sealing natural stone materials annually.

Is it cheaper to do a full wall backsplash versus behind the stove only?

Splash protection behind appliances is critical, but limiting backsplash tile to these spots alone creates a disjointed look. Covering the full wall is visually appealing and allows you to make a bolder design statement for not much extra cost.

Showcase of Inspiring Backsplash Design Ideas

To spark additional ideas, here is an image gallery spotlighting unique backsplash tile shapes and stylish designs:

[Geometric Moroccan fish scale backsplash tiles]

[Blue hexagon backsplash tiles framing a stove]

[Subway tiles in bold black color scheme]

[Herringbone marble backsplash pattern]

[White shiplap backsplash with black window frames]

[White glass subway backsplash with metal accents]

[Wood plank backsplash in creamy off-white coloring]

[Gray and white geometric backsplash with marble accents]

[Bright turquoise glass subway backsplash tiles]

Bringing It All Together: Designing Your Dream Backsplash

With so many exceptional backsplash tile shapes and ideas to pick from, how do you choose? Narrow your options by looking for tiles that support your kitchen’s existing design elements. Think about the textures, colors, and finishes already in the space and enhance (rather than fight) those details.

Focus on backsplash materials, colors, and designs that speak to your personality. There are no rules—feel empowered to pick any style you love. Just ensure your backsplash complements the countertops and cabinets for a cohesive effect. You spend so much time in the kitchen, so create a backsplash that makes you smile!

Hungry for more inspiration? Browse backsplash photos online or in design magazines. Collect images of styles, shapes, and materials you’re attracted to as a “mood board” guide. Remember that backsplashes are easy to swap out if styles change. Don’t overthink it—pick a tile shape and design you love and make that kitchen backsplash uniquely you!