Red Brick Backsplash Natural Texture with Characteristic Look

Red brick backsplashes bring a timeless, classic look to any kitchen. The natural texture and earthy tones of red brick create a warm, inviting backdrop for food prep and cooking. Unlike polished stone or ceramic tile, the handmade quality of brick delivers an organic, Old World charm. From cozy cottage kitchens to sleek modern spaces, a red brick backsplash lends natural texture with rustic character.

The Timeless Appeal of Red Brick

Red brick delivers an authentic look and feel. Unlike engineered materials created to mimic brick, real brick brings the aesthetic qualities of a handmade building material. The small imperfections in shape, color variation, and texture reflect the character of individual bricks formed by hand or machine press. This gives red brick backsplashes a depth and nuance difficult to replicate in factory-produced tile.

The mellow, subdued red tones blend well with both light and dark cabinetry. Red brick looks complementary against stainless steel, black, white, or wooden cabinets. For a more vibrant accent wall, mix red brick with lighter bricks in buff, orange, yellow, or gray. The red bricks will stand out more against the paler bricks.

Because of its versatility, a red brick backsplash works with many kitchen design aesthetics. Here are some style approaches to consider:

Rustic Farmhouse

A red brick backsplash has a natural affinity with rustic decor. Play up the handmade artisan character of the brick with exposed wood beams, antique accents, and handcrafted pottery. Unfinished ceiling boards and open shelving also enhance the laidback farmhouse vibe.

Bring in touches of nature with plants, herbs in pots, baskets, and arrangements of dried flowers or greenery. Paint or stain the cabinets in warm hues like sage green, buttercream, or cloudy sky blue. An apron-front farmhouse sink and vintage-style hardware complete the pastoral theme.

Urban Industrial

With its history as an architectural building block, red brick easily adapts to utilitarian industrial decor. Paint the walls and cabinets matte black or charcoal for dramatic contrast with the fiery brick.

Define work areas with galvanized metal shelving. Leave ductwork and piping exposed for an unfinished look. Install industrial-style pendant lights over the central food prep zone.

Add personality with collectible artifacts in metal, glass, and stone. Vintage science charts or architectural drawings displayed in simple black frames reinforce the warehouse aesthetic.

Modern Minimalist

A red brick backsplash brings warmth and texture to the clean lines of minimalism. Keep the room light and bright with crisp white cabinetry, walls, and ceilings. The red brick will really stand out against the neutral background.

Focus on sleek silhouettes and hidden storage to maintain the pared-down aesthetic. Opt for handleless cabinets and drawers with touch latches. Install floating open shelving to break up the cabinetry.

Echo the straight lines with linear subway tile as an accent behind the range. Keep countertops streamlined in white quartz, marble, or concrete. Use recessed lighting and undercabinet fixtures for task lighting over prep areas.

Traditional Kitchen

For formal decorative appeal, red brick has a natural home in traditional kitchens. Play up its elegance and pedigree by pairing with detailed carved wood cabinetry and molding. Brass hardware and lighting fixtures will coordinate well with the warm tones of the brick.

Design a focal point brick arch over the range or behind it as a chimney-style feature wall. Carry brick to the ceiling to accentuate the arch. For more brick detail, add a brick border along the tops of the walls.

Bring in classic charm with glass-front cabinets to display collectibles. Persian rugs on the floor provide an ornate contrast to the brick. Crystal chandeliers sparkle elegantly above the central work zone.

Natural Variations in Color and Texture

Unlike man-made building materials, the handcrafted essence of brick produces small variations that give it more authenticity. Subtle differences in color and texture add antiqued character that machine-made tile lacks.


Traditional red brick backsplashes encompass a range of earthy red-orange hues. While some bricks will be a true red, most bricks blend tints of red-brown, orange, pink, and yellow. This reflects clay composition and firing methods.

Modern extruded bricks achieve more consistency in color, but handmade and hand-molded bricks will vary more. Some may be darker near the outer surface or develop black charring marks during wood-fired kilning. Expect a nuanced blend rather than a uniform solid color.

A single kiln-load will produce bricks in an array of warm, russet tones. Batch mixing from multiple kilns adds more color complexity. This gives brickwork an organic, multi-dimensional look compared to tile with identical coloring.


Look closely at a red brick wall, and you’ll notice slight variations in surface texture and finish. Some bricks will be rougher and more porous. Others may have denser, tighter grain. Molded textures like ridges, scoring, or divots give the bricks more individuality.

Weathering and age add more character through pitting, etching, spalling, and deposits left behind by water. Older salvaged bricks show more wear, with rounded edges and faded surfaces. New bricks still retain their sharper formation details.

Along with tactile surface qualities, examine the sides and ends of bricks. Subtle gaps, chips, scrapes, and nicks reflect handcrafted imperfections. Each brick has its own story to tell based on how it was made and handled over time.

Get creative with the brick bond pattern to highlight size variations and irregular shapes. Mix standard bricks with custom sizes and specialty pieces to enhance the collage effect.

Achieving a Natural Brick Look

To get an authentic brick wall effect in your kitchen, follow these tips:

Opt for Individual Bricks Over Brick Veneer Panels

Sheet panels of adhered brick veneer give the look of brick from a distance but lack an authentic brick-by-brick appearance up close. Individual bricks mortared in place have more natural irregularities and form a more dimensional wall.

Salvaged bricks have the most character, but you can also purchase new bricks made to appear aged and weathered. Start with a red brick blend to coordinate with your cabinetry and counters.

Use Traditional Mortar Joints

Mortar plays an important role, both visually and functionally. Traditional mortar joints are raked slightly back for a distinctive recessed profile when the mortar is still damp. This creates shadow lines that accentuate each brick.

Aim for mortar joint widths of 1/2 inch or less. Wider joints tend to look fake. Natural lime mortar gives a more authentic, porous surface than modern Portland cement mixes. Leave the mortar slightly imperfect too.

Vary Your Brick Pattern

The pattern placement of bricks, known as the bond, impacts the look. Stacked or running bonds lack interest. For more organic appeal, combine these approaches:

  • English bond – Alternating rows of stretcher (lengthwise) and header (widthwise) bricks
  • Flemish bond – Alternating stretcher then header bricks in each row
  • Herringbone – Stretcher bricks set diagonally in zigzag rows

Modify the pattern further by substituting different brick shapes. Use square, rectangular, arched, and odd-sized bricks from old structures, or cut new bricks to create variations.

Add Architectural Details

Enhance the aged ambiance with traditional bricklaying details:

  • Arched openings over range or windows
  • Bullnose bricks on outside corners
  • Lintels over openings made of contrasting materials
  • Decorative corbelling along the tops of walls
  • Sloped sills below windows
  • Stone accent strips at transitions or edges

These finishing touches lend nuance while highlighting the craftsmanship involved. Architectural embellishments link old-world masonry style with contemporary kitchen spaces.

Pairing Brick Backsplashes with Cabinetry and Counters

To let your red brick backsplash shine, select cabinetry and countertops that complement its ruddy tones and natural texture.

Cabinet Considerations

Red brick backsplashes pair well with a range of cabinet styles and finishes:

  • White cabinets create bold contrast and illuminate interiors
  • Black cabinets frame the brick dramatically while hiding kitchen clutter
  • Wood cabinets in oak, maple, and hickory match brick’s warmth
  • Painted cabinets in sage green, denim blue, brick red, or mustard yellow provide colorful coordination
  • Stainless steel cabinets have an industrial vibe that bricks can soften

Aim for matte finishes rather than high-gloss. Distressed, aged, or wire-brushed wood finishes blend especially well with brick’s weathered allure.

For cabinet hardware, select oil-rubbed bronze, wrought iron, or unlacquered brass knobs and pulls. Avoid polished chrome or nickel that clashes with brick’s satiny luster.

Countertop Contrasts

Countertop materials should complement the brick backsplash while providing practical work surfaces:

  • Butcher block offers natural harmony with its organic grain patterns
  • Concrete achieves an industrial modern partnership in gray tones
  • Soapstone shares brick’s porous functionality in darker grays with greenish undertones
  • Marble delivers classic elegance with white Carrara or light gray veining
  • Granite chooses darker flecks and movement to match brick’s visual energy
  • Quartz focuses on low maintenance and durability with muted solid hues

Steer clear of countertops that are too similar. Brick-patterned tile or faux terra cotta veneers will compete rather than coordinate. Select counters that highlight the authentic brick backsplash while fulfilling your workspace needs.

Caring for a Brick Backsplash

The maintenance needs of a red brick backsplash are minimal, but be aware of a few care considerations:

  • Wipe up spills promptly to prevent staining of the porous brick surface.
  • Use gentle cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals that could discolor bricks or degrade the mortar.
  • Re-seal mortar joints occasionally with a penetrating sealer to prevent moisture damage.
  • Limit direct sun exposure that could cause some bricks to fade more than others.
  • Consider surface treatments like penetrating sealers to repel stains while preserving the natural matte look.
  • For seriously soiled or damaged bricks, professional cleaning and restoration services may be needed.

The worn, aged quality of salvaged bricks adds more character but makes them a bit more delicate. Take extra care to avoid chipping the edges or rounding off the corners.

With basic ongoing care, a red brick backsplash will provide decades of handsome warmth. The natural patina will only get better with time.

Sourcing Red Brick for an Authentic Backsplash

Seeking the perfect red bricks for your dream backsplash? Here are some brick buying tips:

Check Architectural Salvage Yards

Vintage bricks reclaimed from old buildings, chimneys, sidewalks, and streets offer the most aged appeal. Visit architectural salvage stores to inspect their brick selection. You may find well-weathered bricks packed with nostalgic charm.

Bring home an assortment of colors, sizes, and shapes to create a collage effect. Expect to pay $2 to $5 per brick. Measure your backsplash area and buy 10-20% more than you need to allow for breakage and cutting.

Order New Custom Bricks

For more control over size, color, and finish, order new bricks custom made via spec. Replica bricks aim to mimic the look of historic bricks. Used brick suppliers may also sell new bricks in classic styles.

Specify the brick size, shape, color range, texture, and markings you prefer. Most suppliers charge $200-500 per 1,000 bricks depending on your customization requests. Lead times range from 4-12 weeks.

Buying in bulk this way allows you to hand pick the perfect bricks for your backsplash design. Lay them out before installation to blend the colors.

Buy Stock Bricks from a Brick Supplier

For convenience and affordability, brick dealers sell new machine-molded bricks ready for pickup or delivery. Stock bricks lack the quirks of antique bricks, but offer more consistent sizing and color.

Expect to pay around $250-400 per 1,000 bricks. Limit your search to brands rated for interior use. Browse the yard to choose from available stocks. Load your own materials or pay a small fee for assistance loading.

With stock bricks, you’ll need to be flexible in matching what’s available to your vision. But you can still inspect them to hand-select a blend of colors and textures.

Consider Brick Veneer Panels for Ease

Brick veneer sheets adhere to backsplashes for quick DIY installation. The composite panels have a flat back side. Just cut them to fit and stick on. Starting around $10 per square foot, brick veneer is affordable but trades character for convenience.

The bricks are molded from molds and fired. The uniformity and smooth surface betray the manufactured mass-production. For authenticity, go for individual salvaged or new bricks. But if ease is your priority, brick panels offer an option.

Installing a Brick Backsplash – DIY or Pro?

Installing an authentic brick backsplash requires time, skill, and effort. Decide whether your project is DIY or better left to the pros.

DIY Installation

With patience and care, you can lay brick backsplash yourself:

  • Chisel out the drywall down to bare studs to start fresh.
  • Build out the wall surface with backerboard secured to studs.
  • Spread a 1/4 inch scratch coat of mortar on the backerboard.
  • Butter the back of each brick with mortar and press into place.
  • Use spacers between bricks to maintain even joint widths.
  • Strike flush joints and then rake them back gently for shadow lines when damp.
  • Allow the mortar to fully cure before grouting joints.

This is rewarding hands-on work, but challenging to master. Mistakes are difficult to undo once bricks set in mortar.

Hiring a Pro Mason

For best results, have an experience brick mason install your backsplash:

  • A quality job requires careful technique, patience, and specialized tools.
  • Masons know all the tricks for efficient mixing and application of mortar.
  • They have an artist’s eye for blending colors, shapes, and textures.
  • Professionals complete the fussy cuts around sinks, outlets, and switches.
  • Skilled masons properly rake joints, grout, seal, and clean the finished brickwork.

With a pro handling your new backsplash, you’ll get beautiful results and peace of mind. Expect to pay $25-$50 per square foot for materials and labor. For a top-quality custom look, the investment is worthwhile.

Design Inspiration – Elevating Your Kitchen with Brick

Looking for inspiration on how to elegantly incorporate brick into your kitchen design? Consider these creative ideas:

Frame the Range

Define the cooking zone with a brick feature wall behind the range. Extend from counter height to the ceiling. The brick frames the range beautifully while providing a classic backsplash surface.

Open Shelving Niche

Carve out a niche in the brick for open corner shelves. This unique space provides a home for frequently used cooking items. Enhance with a decorative keystone arch at the top and corbelled brick edges.

Exposed Chimney Vent

Turn a necessary hood vent into a focal point by covering the ductwork in brick. This mimics an old brick chimney with the vent emerging at the top. Add a custom extracted wood cover for a finishing touch.

Window Sills

Dress up a kitchen window with a sloped brick sill. Extend the sill an inch or two beyond the window trim for dimension. Coordinate with a flat brick edging bordering the window.

Rustic Archway

Transform an open doorway into an arched rustic opening. Use clinker bricks salvaged from old chimneys to frame the hand-hewn look. A bullnose brick threshold completes this farmhouse accent.

Textural Transition

Transition from the brick backsplash to drywall using a handmade ceramic tile strip. The row of textured tiles forms an organic dividing line between wall surfaces. Choose tiles with crackle glazing or hand-carved shapes.

With creative planning, a red brick backsplash can transform from a basic backsplash into a stunning centerpiece feature for your kitchen. Let the classic brickwork span across larger expanses to make a bold statement.

FAQs About Red Brick Backsplashes

Still have questions about installing a red brick backsplash? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is a brick backsplash hard to install?

Laying individual bricks in mortar takes skill and practice. Novices will likely have slow, uneven progress with subpar joints. Hiring an experienced mason is recommended for quality results.

What type of mortar should be used?

Type N mortar provides the right bond strength and flexibility for interior use. Premixed mortar simplifies preparation. Tint the mortar slightly red or brown to complement the bricks.

How are bricks cut to fit?

Cutting bricks requires a power tool like an angle grinder with a diamond blade or manual brick chisels. Tap a chisel along scored cut lines on new bricks. Cut salvaged bricks as needed to fit irregular spaces.

Should the bricks be sealed?

Penetrating brick sealers are optional to help resist staining and moisture damage. Look for breathable sealers that won’t alter the natural matte finish. Reapply sealers every few years.

How do you clean a brick backsplash?

Use pH-neutral gentle cleaners formulated for natural stone. Avoid acidic or alkaline cleaners that degrade mortar over time. Seal bricks first for easier cleaning. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Can you mount things on a brick backsplash?

Drilling into brick requires special masonry drill bits. Anchor lighter items like