Kitchen Sink Backsplash – Stylish & Durable Backsplashes Behind Sink

A kitchen sink backsplash is an important design element that serves both form and function. Located on the wall behind a kitchen sink, the backsplash protects the wall from water damage while also providing an opportunity to add visual interest and personality. With so many backsplash design options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what will look best in your kitchen. This article will explore popular backsplash materials, things to consider when selecting a backsplash, and stylish backsplash design ideas to inspire your kitchen remodel.

What is a Kitchen Backsplash?

A backsplash is a protective wall covering installed behind sinks, stoves, ranges, and other areas prone to splashes and spills. In the kitchen, the backsplash goes on the wall behind the kitchen sink and countertops. It serves several important purposes:

  • Protects the wall from water damage, stains, and splashes from the sink and countertops
  • Creates a stylish focal point and adds visual interest to the kitchen
  • Ties together the countertops and wall color scheme
  • Makes it easy to wipe away messes and keep the kitchen clean
  • Allows you to customize your design with different materials, patterns, and colors

Backsplashes are typically made from tile, metal, glass, stone, or other water-resistant materials. The area a backsplash covers depends on your kitchen layout, but it typically extends 4-6 inches vertically from the countertop surface up the wall. Standard backsplash height is 18-24 inches, but you can customize it to fit your space.

Choosing the right kitchen backsplash tile or material is an important decision. The backsplash should complement your cabinetry, counters, appliances, and overall kitchen decor. It’s also crucial that the backsplash stands up to water, stains, heat, and daily wear-and-tear.

Popular Kitchen Backsplash Materials

There are many types of materials to choose from for kitchen backsplashes. Consider the pros, cons, and costs of each option:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles are one of the most commonly used backsplash materials. They come in a huge range of styles, textures, patterns, and colors.

Pros: Durable, water-resistant, easy to clean, affordable, stain resistant, available in many styles

Cons: Grout lines can get dirty but are easy to clean, tiles can chip if hit

Cost: $5-50 per sq. ft. installed

Popular types of ceramic/porcelain tile backsplashes include:

  • Subway tile – classic 3×6 inch rectangular tiles in white or solid colors
  • Mosaic tile – small tiles mounted in sheets, often with decorative patterns
  • Metallic tile – glossy tiles that add shine and sparkle
  • Patterned tile – decorative prints, shapes, floral designs
  • Hand-painted tile – tiles with custom hand-painted designs

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes have a shiny, sleek, modern look. The glass material is resistant to moisture, stains, and heat. Glass tile comes in an endless array of colors, finishes, and textures.

Pros: Water-resistant, easily cleaned, durable, heat-resistant, sleek modern look

Cons: More expensive than ceramic or porcelain, tiles can chip or crack

Cost: $10-50 per sq. ft. installed

Metal Backsplashes

Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper, brass, or aluminum provide a high-end, contemporary look. Metals are water-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. Popular metal backsplash finishes include:

  • Brushed metal – satin matte finish, hides fingerprints
  • Hammered metal – textured wavy finish
  • Mosaic metal – small penny-sized tiles in grids
  • Metal sheets – cut to size and installed as a full backsplash

Pros: Durable, heat-resistant, water-resistant, modern look, easy to clean

Cons: Susceptible to scratches, fingerprints, and dents; higher cost

Cost: $50-100 per sq. ft. installed

Stone Tile

Backsplashes made of stone tiles provide natural beauty and texture. Popular stones include marble, granite, slate, limestone, and travertine. Stone has a timeless, classic look.

Pros: Beautiful natural material, variety of colors/patterns, durable

Cons: Expensive, porous and requires sealing, can stain, heavy

Cost: $50-150 per sq. ft. installed

Stone backsplashes work best when paired with countertops made of the same stone. This creates a seamless look.

Brick or Stacked Stone

For a rustic, natural vibe, brick or stacked stone tiles make an attractive backsplash option. Real brick can be sealed and installed just like tile. Faux bricks or faux stacked stones offer realistic looks without the weight.

Pros: Natural, textured look; durable

Cons: Real brick requires sealing; faux brick lacks authenticity

Cost: $10-25 per sq. ft. installed

Wood Backsplashes

Wood adds warmth and natural texture. Use water-resistant woods like teak or bamboo. Wood backsplashes should be thoroughly sealed to resist moisture.

Pros: Warm, natural look; eco-friendly

Cons: Requires sealing; prone to warping from moisture

Cost: $30-60 per sq. ft. installed

Popular types of wood backsplashes include:

  • Bamboo – made from fast-growing grasses, sustainable
  • Reclaimed wood – salvaged barnwood, fence boards, etc.
  • Teak – moisture-resistant tropical hardwood
  • Wood mosaic – small square wood tiles in patterns

Unusual Materials

For a unique backsplash, consider using unexpected materials like pennies, wine corks, fabric, recycled glass, or pebbles. These creative backsplashes make a statement!

Pennies: Flatten and coat pennies in polyurethane and apply in sheets like tile

Wine corks: Seal and adhere corks into tile patterns

Fabric: Use moisture-resistant fabrics like vinyl

Recycled glass: Crush glass and apply in a concrete mixture

Pebbles: Adhere natural pebbles to a fiberglass backing

The possibilities are endless! Apply any moisture-safe material in a creative way for added personality.

How to Choose a Backsplash – Tips and Ideas

Selecting a kitchen backsplash involves both practical and aesthetic considerations. Follow these tips to choose the perfect backsplash tile or material for your space:

  • Consider the pros and cons of each material – Durability, ease of cleaning, moisture-resistance, and cost are practical factors to weigh.
  • Complement other materials – Match or coordinate with countertops, cabinets, appliances.
  • Align with your design style – Choose a backsplash that fits your desired look – modern, rustic, minimalist, etc.
  • Evaluate patterns and textures – Busy patterns can be overwhelming in small kitchens. Opt for solid colors or simple designs.
  • Assess color options – Contrasting grout helps define tile patterns. Dark grout highlights light tiles.
  • ** Account for ease of installation** – Large format tiles or sheets minimize grout lines. Small mosaics take more time and skill.
  • Consider the labor costs – Complex materials and installation processes increase the cost.
  • Inspect samples in person – View tiles, metals, stones, and glass in different lighting. Colors, shimmer, and finishes vary.
  • Visualize the finished look – Lay out tile patterns, play with grout colors, and picture the whole space before installing.
  • Include an accent strip – A contrasting row of mosaic or border tiles framing the backsplash adds interest.
  • Tie into other details – Echo backsplash colors/textures in window treatments, artwork, appliances, or cabinets for a pulled-together look.

By carefully evaluating both the practical needs of your kitchen and your interior design preferences, you can select the perfect backsplash. This stylish focal point both protects your walls and showcases your decor tastes.

Stylish Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

From sleek and modern to warm and rustic, backsplashes provide the perfect canvas to add style to your kitchen. Consider these on-trend backsplash design ideas to dress up your space:

Dramatic Dark hues

Dark backsplashes make a sophisticated style statement. Pair rich navy, black, or charcoal backsplashes with bright white cabinets and counters for contrast. Use dark grout with black, gray, or dark blue tiles to create a seamless look.

Vintage-Inspired Patterns

Retro-inspired backsplashes lend charm and personality. Opt for vintage styled tiles featuring 50s-inspired poodles, 40s-style pin-up girls, or art deco geometrics.

Moroccan-Inspired Tile

Hand-painted and handmade encaustic cement tiles in intricate Moroccan-inspired patterns, exported from Morocco, lend exotic flair. Their designs and colors make a stunning backsplash focal point.

Intricate Mosaics

Tiny glass, stone, or ceramic mosaics arranged in eye-catching geometric or floral designs add visual depth and interest. Use mosaic sheets for easier installation.

Natural Stone Cascades

Create a natural stone waterfall effect by stacking irregular stone pieces. Let the stone cascade gently down the wall above the stove or sink in organic lines.

Modern Metallics

Sleek metal backsplashes in stainless steel, copper, or aluminum provide an ultra-modern vibe. Metals create a clean, smooth, contemporary look.

Rustic Brick

Both real and faux brick backsplashes infuse organic, earthy charm. Faux brick peel-and-stick tiles look authentic but are much lighter. Whitewash bricks for a modern twist.

Wooden Whimsy

Cozy, textural wood planks or mosaic wood tile lend a nature-inspired warmth. Use real wood sealed with polyurethane or porcelain wood-look tiles.

Marble Magnificence

Elegant marble, especially dramatic veining like Carrara marble, makes a glamorous statement. Pair with brass fixtures for ultra-luxe style.

Subway Tile Patterns

Classic white 3×6 inch subway tiles serve as a versatile neutral backdrop. Layer patterns or add interest with herringbone layouts, stacked designs, or contrasting grout.

Contrasting Colors

Set plain white or neutral tiles against a bold painted wall. Bright teal, yellow, or green walls make tile designs pop. Use paint for patterning to save on tiling costs.

With these stylish and clever backsplash design tricks, your kitchen is sure to impress! Express your personal style while protecting the walls with a fashionable, functional focal point. A trendy new backsplash can entirely transform the look of your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Backsplashes

What is the most popular backsplash for kitchens?

The most popular kitchen backsplash design is classic white subway tile. The simple rectangular shape and clean white color works with both traditional and modern styles. White subway tiles have timeless appeal.

How do I choose a backsplash color?

When selecting a backsplash color, consider the existing elements like cabinetry, countertops, and flooring. Contrasting colors help the backsplash stand out. Neutral colors like white or beige blend in seamlessly. Complementary hues are harmonious.

Pick a backsplash in colors pulled from surrounding details for a unified look. If your cabinets or countertops have blue, green, red, or yellow undertones, match or echo those shades.

What backsplash goes with white cabinets?

With white cabinets, nearly any backsplash color works beautifully. White cabinets serve as a neutral backdrop that allows the backsplash tile to take center stage.

Some top choices include:

  • White subway tile backsplash – timeless classic
  • Gray stone or ceramic tile – elegant and neutral
  • Carrara marble tile – veined white stone is luxurious
  • Navy, black, or charcoal tile – high contrast pops
  • Natural wood planks – cozy contrast
  • Stainless steel tile – sleek and modern

Match the grout color to the backsplash hue or choose white grout with dark tiles for contrast.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It’s common to match backsplash and countertop colors for a seamless look, but it’s not essential. Contrasting backsplashes can look equally striking. However, it’s smart to coordinate the two.

For example, both marble backsplashes and marble countertops will have similar veining. Pairing them creates flow. If your counters have flecks of blue and gray, select a backsplash containing those hues.

If countertops and backsplash aren’t the same material, make sure they have compatible stylings, like modern with modern or rustic with rustic.

How do I decorate behind a kitchen sink?

To decorate behind the kitchen sink:

  • Install an eye-catching backsplash – tile, metal, stone, etc.
  • Paint the wall an accent color that contrasts or complements the backsplash.
  • Add art, floating shelves, pendant lights, or a vertical garden above the backsplash area.
  • Arrange colorful dishware or fresh flowers in front of the backsplash by the sink.
  • Hang a mirror behind the sink to visually expand the space.
  • Use ceramic vessel sinks, trendy faucets, and hardware to dress up the sink area.

A well-decorated sink area helps make washing dishes more enjoyable!

What height should a kitchen backsplash be?

The typical backsplash height is 18-24 inches, measured from the countertop surface to the ceiling. This protects the wall from splashes while allowing room for decorative items above.

For a full wall-length backsplash, extend tile from countertop to ceiling. Full backsplashes create a seamless look and work well with stone or metal sheets.

Smaller backsplashes around 4-6 inches high are also an option if you want to highlight wall paint or wallpaper. Coordinate a short backsplash with the countertop material.

Can you put backsplash in just one part of kitchen?

Definitely! While backsplashes typically stretch behind the sink, stove, and counters, it’s fine to install tile in just one section if desired. Common choices for a single backsplash area include:

  • Just behind the kitchen sink – protects the wall from water splashes.
  • Behind the stove – shields from cooking spatters.
  • On the wall behind an Island/eating bar – adds interest.
  • Along one wall as an accent – creates a focal point.

Smaller backsplash sections allow you to add pops of color, patterns, or textures exactly where needed most.

What is cheaper – backsplash or painted wall?

Generally, a painted wall is cheaper than installing a backsplash. Backsplashes require tile, stone, metal or glass materials, adhesive, grout, sealant, and professional installation. The labor and materials involved increase costs.

Painting a wall only requires primer, paint, brushes, rollers, and drop cloths. You can easily paint walls yourself without professional help.

However, a quality backsplash better protects the walls from moisture, stains, and damage while adding decorative appeal. The added benefits can justify the higher cost for many homeowners.

What should you avoid with a backsplash?

Certain backsplash design choices are best avoided:

  • Busy patterns in small kitchens – can overwhelm the space.
  • Large tiles with very wide grout lines – grout is harder to keep clean.
  • Light colored grout with light tiles – doesn’t provide enough contrast.
  • Flimsy materials like paper or plastic – won’t withstand splashes.
  • Porous, untreated materials – can stain easily or warp.
  • Disjointed or clashing materials – countertops, cabinets, backsplash should coordinate.
  • Trendy looks – some fads like 70s goldenrod can quickly date themselves.

Stick with classics, minimizing grout lines, durable materials, and timeless styles for a long-lasting backsplash you’ll enjoy for years.

How do I cut glass tile around outlets?

Cutting glass tile around outlets and other obstacles requires precision. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn off power to the outlet.
  2. Measure and mark the area that needs cutting. Include the hole size plus a 1/8″ gap.
  3. Use a glass cutting tool or carbide wheel cutter to score the tile.
  4. Tap the tile along the scored line to break the glass cleanly.
  5. Use a grinder to smooth the rough tile edges.
  6. Dry fit the cut tile to test the fit before gluing.
  7. Switch outlet plates and covers to match the new backsplash.

Go slowly and double check measurements for a perfect cutout around outlets, faucets, pipes, and switches.

Can you put tile backsplash in bathroom?

Tile backsplashes aren’t just for kitchens – they also work beautifully in bathrooms above sinks and bathtubs. Bathroom backsplashes serve the same durability and style purposes.

Use moisture-resistant materials like ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles. Glass tile works for low-splash areas, not shower walls. Coordinate with tub, sink, flooring, and decor.

A tile backsplash adds a designer touch to any bathroom remodel while protecting walls from splatters and humidity. Make sure your material can withstand the steam.


The kitchen backsplash makes a significant visual impact, while also saving walls from damage. Carefully select backsplash materials and designs that complement your larger kitchen decor, account for budget, and match your style preferences.

With the myriad backsplash options available, you can find the perfect look, whether