Stainless Steel Backsplash: Cool and Modern Appeal with Metallic Backsplash


A kitchen backsplash serves both form and function – it protects the walls from splashes and stains while providing a decorative focal point. Stainless steel is one of the most popular backsplash materials for contemporary, modern kitchens. With its sleek metallic look, stainless steel backsplashes offer a high-tech vibe along with durability, ease of cleaning, and visual depth.

Stainless steel backsplashes make a bold statement, adding rich texture and shine to kitchens. The material comes in various finishes like brushed, polished, satin etc. which allows homeowners to customize the look as per their taste. Compared to tile backsplashes, stainless steel offers a seamless appearance since there are no grout lines. This helps create a more streamlined, upscale aesthetic.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the cool, modern appeal of stainless steel backsplashes. We’ll cover the pros and cons, different finishes and effects that can be achieved, cost factors, maintenance tips, and stunning design ideas to inspire your next kitchen project. Let’s get started!

What Makes Stainless Steel Backsplashes Appealing for Contemporary Kitchens?

Here are some of the main reasons stainless steel backsplashes are a top choice for modern and contemporary kitchen designs:

Sleek, High-Tech Look

The metallic sheen of stainless steel evokes images of skyscrapers, luxury cars, and high-end professional kitchens. It lends a contemporary, cutting-edge look that fits right in with modern aesthetics. The material looks especially striking against darker cabinetry and countertops.

Versatile, Tailored Finishes

Stainless steel backsplashes come in various finishes like brushed, satin, mirror-polish etc. Brushed finishes have fine linear abrasions that catch and reflect light in an appealing manner. Satin or matte finishes have a low-gloss, smooth surface. Mirror polished stainless has the most reflective, chrome-like appearance. The range of finishes allows homeowners to customize the look from refined and understated to bold and highly polished.

Seamless, Sleek Look

Unlike tile backsplashes, stainless steel backsplashes don’t have grout lines. This creates a seamless, streamlined appearance that looks clean, minimalist, and modern. It allows the kitchen’s style to take centerstage without visual distractions.

Durability and Easy Maintenance

Stainless steel offers excellent durability and stain resistance. It is easy to keep clean by just using mild detergents and water. You can simply wipe down any oil splatters or water spots. Stainless steel backsplashes retain their pristine appearance for years with minimal care.

Visual Depth and Interest

The gleaming, reflective surface of stainless steel backsplashes adds depth and visual interest to kitchen walls. Light bounces off the metallic surface in an attractive manner. Stainless steel has more character than typical backsplash materials like ceramic tile or painted drywall.

Design Flexibility

Stainless steel backsplashes can be installed as full backsplashes or as an accent behind ranges or sinks. Creative patterns like herringbone and checkerboard can be created through careful grooving. Stainless steel harmonizes with a wide range of design styles from modern to industrial to retro.

Different Finishes and Effects for Stainless Steel Backsplashes

One of the great things about stainless steel backsplashes is the range of finishes and effects possible to complement your kitchen’s overall aesthetic. Let’s look at some of the most popular options:

1. Brushed Finish

Brushed finish is created by scrubbing the stainless steel with an abrasive pad in linear strokes. This results in subtle scratch marks running in one direction. It gives the metal a matte look with a gradation of shiny and dull areas that reflect light beautifully. Brushed stainless has an appealing, sophisticated sheen.

2. Polished Finish

A polished finish is achieved by mechanically buffing the steel to a smooth, mirror-like surface. It offers crisp reflections and a bright, chrome-like look. Polished stainless steel backsplashes have the most shine and reflectivity. The high-gloss finish makes for a bold, eye-catching statement.

3. Satin Finish

Satin finish has a low-luster smoothness with less reflectivity than polished stainless steel. The soft, glowing sheen has a very refined and minimalist effect. Satin stainless is less stark than the high gloss of polished finishes.

4. Non-directional Finish

Non-directional finishes lack the linear brush strokes of standard brushed stainless steel. Instead, the finishing process creates randomized indentations and scratches that scatter light reflections. This results in a soft, diffused surface shine.

5. Embossed or Textured

Embossing or applying texture creates interesting visual and tactile dimension. Patterned rollers can imprint stainless steel backsplashes with three-dimensional motifs like diamonds, waves, cubes etc. Textures like woven, pebbled and basketweave are also possible.

6. Colored and Patina Finishes

Specialty finishes can add bold drama and color. Blues, bronzes, golds, and rainbow patinas create an eye-catching look. Heat-treatment and chemicals produce rich patinas in shades like chocolate, rust, slate gray, and amber. Vibrant color backsplashes act as a kitchen focal point.

7. Etched and Engraved Patterns

For artistic flair, stainless steel backsplashes can be etched or engraved with decorative patterns. Contemporary linear designs, nature motifs, geometric shapes, brand logos, monograms etc. can be carved into the metal surface. This allows for personalized, bespoke kitchen backsplashes.

Cost of Stainless Steel Backsplashes

Stainless steel backsplashes are considered a high-end, designer option and thus cost more than basic backsplash tiles. Here are some factors affecting the total installation cost:

  • Material grade – Type 304 stainless is ideal for backsplashes. More expensive 316 grade is also available but not essential.
  • Backsplash size/coverage area – Cost increases for larger backsplashes. Partial backsplashes over cooking zones are more affordable.
  • Gauge/thickness – Thicker 18-20 gauge stainless costs more than thinner 22-24 gauge. But thinner gauges are prone to warping and denting.
  • Finish – Mirror polished and specialty finishes are generally more expensive.
  • Fabrication – Intricate patterns, etching, embossing etc. increases fabrication costs.
  • Installation – Intricate, tricky installations cost more. DIY is possible for simple designs.
  • Other costs – These include transportation, delivery, design fees, and project management costs.

On average, expect to pay $50 – $125 per sq.ft installed for stainless steel backsplashes. High-end designer finishes can cost over $200 per sq.ft. Smaller or partial backsplashes help lower the total expenditure.

Maintenance Tips for Stainless Steel Backsplashes

Stainless steel backsplashes just need some simple care to maintain their pristine, lustrous finish for years:

  • Use a microfiber cloth or soft sponge with mild soap and water to clean. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water spots. You can also use a squeegee to wipe off water.
  • For grease and oil splatters, use a degreasing product made specifically for stainless steel.
  • Use stainless steel polishes and cleaners to remove stubborn dirt and stains. Apply rubbing in the direction of the grain.
  • Prevent hard water stains by using a water softener if you have hard water supply.
  • Use a corrosion-resistant touch-up pen to fix light scratches. Contact a pro for resurfacing with abrasives for deeper scratches.
  • Consider taping off the backsplash area when doing projects to avoid paint splatters, plaster etc.

With minimal care, stainless steel backsplashes retain their original appearance for decades, saving homeowners the hassle of re-doing the backsplash. Their durability and longevity make them a sound investment.

Design Inspiration – Creative Ways to Use Stainless Steel Backsplashes

Here are some eye-catching examples of stainless steel backsplashes showcasing creative patterns, cool finishes and innovative applications:


The chevron motif created by alternating polished and brushed stainless steel strips has a chic, tailored look. This geometric design works with modern, transitional and farmhouse styles.

Mirror Polished

As seen in this contemporary kitchen, a full height mirror polished backsplash acts like a flashy metallic wallpaper taking centerstage. It reflects light beautifully.

Etched Copper and Brass

This nature-inspired stainless steel backsplash has been etched with copper and brass accents. The earthy metal tones and organic foliage motif create a chic focal point.

Vintage Chic

A backsplash mixing brushed steel and antiquemirror inserts exudes industrial glamour. The contrast pops against crisp white cabinetry in this vintage chic kitchen.


The undulating wavelike form of this stainless steel backsplash injects artful dimension. The fluid, rippling effect has a serene, organic vibe.


The triangular geometric tile design of this backsplash catch and reflect light in an interesting manner, adding depth to the contemporary kitchen.


Running stainless steel sheets horizontally creates a brickwork pattern. Great for industrial modern spaces, it adds gritty texture.


A heavily textured stainless backsplash like this one with deep embossing creates visual drama. The play of light and shadow animates the wall.


Using stainless steel sheets of varying heights adds architectural interest in this modern kitchen. The asymmetrical look has a dynamic, sculptural vibe.

Pattern Mixing

Mixing mirrored tiles and textured tiles creates appealing visual layers, as seen in this transitional kitchen backsplash. Contrasting textures complement each other nicely.

FAQs about Stainless Steel Backsplashes

How durable are stainless steel backsplashes?

Made from a tough metal alloy, stainless steel backsplashes are highly durable and resistant to dents, impacts, and scratches. Their resilience makes them last for decades with proper care.

Do stainless steel backsplashes stain easily?

Quality stainless steel has a non-porous surface that prevents staining and is easy to clean. Liquids and grease roll right off stainless steel backsplashes, keeping them looking pristine for long.

What thickness of stainless steel works best for backsplashes?

18 to 20 gauge stainless steel with a thickness of 0.04-0.05 inches is ideal for backsplashes. Avoid thinner 22-24 gauge steel prone to warping. Go for 304 grade steel for the optimal balance of durability and value.

Should stainless steel backsplashes be installed over or under backsplash tiles?

For best results, stainless steel backsplashes should be installed directly onto the wall surface without any layer of tiles underneath. This provides proper support and prevents bowing or sagging.

Can stainless steel backsplash sheets be cut to size?

Yes, stainless steel backsplash sheets from a material supplier can be cut down using shears or a metal cutting tool. This allows custom sizing to fit your backsplash area requirements. Use work gloves for safety.

How are stainless steel backsplash panels typically attached to the wall?

Professional installers use adhesives like construction adhesive combined with screws into studs to securely fix stainless steel backsplash panels to walls. Precision cutting and proper support is vital.

Should cleaners specifically made for stainless steel be used?

Yes, formulated stainless steel cleaners contain agents like citric acid to dissolve hard water deposits and grease. They help maintain the corrosion-resistant protective layer of stainless steel backsplashes.

Can you get creative effects like patina finishes and etchings on stainless steel?

Yes, specialty finishes like patinas and etchings can be factory-applied to stainless steel sheets to create custom backsplash designs. This allows for truly unique, artisanal metal backsplashes.


With their alluring metallic sheen and sleek, ultra-modern look, stainless steel backsplashes infuse contemporary kitchens with an eye-catching industrial flair. The material offers unmatched durability and stain resistance that maintains its pristine polished or brushed finish for years. Stainless steel backsplashes allow innovative designs not possible with ceramic tiles. From textured 3D effects to intricate patterns achieved through etching and grooving, stainless steel can be tailored to match specific tastes. With proper care, a quality stainless steel backsplash will retain its luminous, trendy appearance for the long run. For a backsplash that makes a polished, cutting-edge design statement, stainless steel is hard to beat!