Vertical Tile Backsplash Bring Bold and Modern Look with Vertical Tiles


A backsplash is an integral part of any kitchen design. Not only does it serve a functional purpose by protecting the walls from splashes and spills, but it also acts as a stylistic focal point that can dramatically transform the look and feel of the space. For many years, horizontal subway tile was the default backsplash choice, but vertical tile installations have been growing in popularity for their modern, sleek aesthetic.

Vertical tile backsplashes make a bold statement and bring a contemporary edge to any kitchen. The elongated lines draw the eyes up and make spaces appear taller and more expansive. While this directional design is a current trend, it’s not just a fleeting fad. Vertical backsplashes offer versatility in the design, allowing you to customize the look through creative tile patterns, alternating colors, and varied materials. Choosing vertical tiles for your backsplash is an easy and affordable way to add a dramatic punch of style that won’t soon look outdated.

Below we’ll explore why vertical tile is having a moment right now, the many benefits it offers for your kitchen design, and tips for selecting, installing, and styling vertical tile backsplashes so you can feel confident embracing this cutting-edge trend in your home.

Why Vertical Tile Backsplashes Are Trending

Vertical tile backsplashes are rising in popularity for several reasons:

It’s a Contemporary Look

The vertically oriented tiles lend a sleek, modern edge to kitchen spaces. As an alternative to classic horizontal tile, it has an unconventional appeal that feels current and captures the contemporary style that’s in vogue right now. The elongated lines give off a refined, minimalist aesthetic.

It Makes Rooms Appear Larger

Arranging tile in vertical columns elicits an elongating effect, drawing the eye upward, which makes rooms feel more open and airy. The vertical lines are especially helpful for small kitchens, creating the illusion of higher ceilings and a larger footprint.

Greater Customization Options

Switching the tile direction opens up more possibilities for creating customized patterns. Vertical installations allow for experimenting with alternating colors, zig-zag and diagonal designs, penny tile accents, and varied sizes like subway and mosaic tile.

Provides a Focal Point

The vertical tile itself makes a bold statement and becomes a dramatic focal feature in the kitchen. Contrasting vertical against horizontal countertops and cabinetry makes it stand out even more.

On-Trend Neutral Backdrop

While vibrant tile colors are an option, neutral white, beige, or gray vertically oriented tiles are extremely popular. They serve as a contemporary-chic backdrop that allows other accessories and finishes to shine.

Benefits of Choosing Vertical Backsplash Tile

Beyond just looking stylish, transitioning from horizontal to vertical tile backsplashes provides several advantages.

Draws the Eye Upward

The vertical columns elongate the look of the wall, creating an illusion of height that most kitchens can benefit from. Even in single-story homes with standard 8-foot ceilings, going vertical expands the perspective.

Sleek and Streamlined

The clean lines of vertical tiles align in harmony for a unified look. The result is a sleek, streamlined aesthetic that feels orderly and refined.

Modern Design Statement

Choosing a vertical backsplash over classic horizontal makes a bold, modern design declaration. While horizontal tiles have traditional appeal, vertical has an edgy, contemporary vibe.

Seamless Match to Vertical Features

If there are other existing vertical elements in the kitchen, such as handle-less cabinetry or floor-to-ceiling windows, vertical tile aligns seamlessly for a harmonious look.

Easier Maintenance

Compared to small individual horizontal tiles, fewer vertical grout lines mean slightly easier maintenance. There are simply fewer grout lines to clean.

Greater Impact in Small Doses

You can garner big visual impact covering just a small section of wall behind the stove or sink. Vertical tile doesn’t need expansive square footage to make a statement.

Focal Point Against Horizontal Lines

The dynamic contrast of vertical tile against horizontal countertops and cabinets makes it a focal feature. The unique directionality stands out.

Tips for Selecting Vertical Backsplash Tile

If you’re ready to move forward with a dramatic vertical tile backsplash, here are some helpful tips for selecting the right tile:


   – Porcelain or ceramic tile is a classic choice that offers sheen, color options, and easy maintenance.  
    – Natural stone like marble, travertine, or granite provide texture and timeless elegance.
   – Colorful glass or acrylic tile lends modern flair.
   – Metallics like tin, copper, or penny tile add brightness and shine.

Size and Shape

   – Narrow rectangular subway tile is popular for vertical installations because the height elongates the look.
   – Smaller mosaic tiles, grouped tightly together, create beautiful patterns.
   – Larger format tiles like 12×24” make a bolder statement.
   – Stacked tiles with an offset brickwork pattern add visual interest.


   – White or neutral tiles are classic choices that work in any kitchen.
   – Go bold with bright glossy solids or dynamic patterns and textures.
   – Contrasting grout color can accentuate individual tiles.


   – Match cabinet hardware finishes for a cohesive look.
   – Contrast vertical against horizontal surfaces.
   – Echo backsplash tones in window treatments, appliances, or accessories.

Tips for Installing Vertical Tile Backsplash

Proper prep and strategic installation techniques are key to perfectly executing a vertical tile backsplash:


   – Map out full tile layout to determine exact number of tiles needed.
   – Decide if you’ll run tile floor-to-ceiling or stop at standard backsplash height.
   – Have extra tiles on hand in case of breakage during installation.

Prep the Surface

   – Walls must be smooth, clean, and dry before tiling.
   – Paint walls with primer and skim coat with plaster to create an even finish.

Use Level Lines

   – Mark perfectly level horizontal lines on the wall to align first row of tile.
   – Use a level tool, chalk lines, a laser level, and/or spacers for precision.

Cut Circular Holes

   – Use hole saw drill attachment for outlets, switches, and fixtures.
   – Place tape over holes when tiling to prevent debris falling in.

Mind the Pattern

   – Dry lay tiles on floor first to map out desired pattern and size variations.
   – Plan your grout lines so spacing between tiles remains consistent.

Consider Accents

   – Accent with trim, borders, or medallions at top and bottom of installation.
   – Use caulk instead of grout at perimeter and transition areas for clean finish.

Styling Your Vertical Backsplash

The choices made in finishes, textures, and styling accessories impact the overall look and feel of your vertical tile backsplash. Keep these tips in mind:


   – Matte tiles allow more of a utilitarian, industrial aesthetic.
   – Glossy or polished tiles amp up shine and brightness.

Grout Color

   – White or light gray grout maintains a clean, modern look.
   – Dark grout makes the tile color pop and defines each one.


   – Bullnose tiles finish edges smoothly without sharp corners.
   – Match trim color to the grout for a clean, minimalist design.


   – Incorporate kitchenware into backsplash vignettes.
   – Suspend pendant lights over sink area to highlight vertical design.
   – Layer in textiles like dishtowels to complement tile colors.


   – Stainless appliances allow tile to take the spotlight.
   – White cabinetry plays up dramatic dark vertical tiles.
   – Warm wood countertops soften the sleek lines.

Alternate Direction and Size

   – Vary direction and scale to add architectural interest.
   – Try large vertical tiles alone or framed within smaller mosaic tiles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vertical Tile Backsplashes

What are the most popular styles of vertical backsplash tile?

Some of today’s most popular vertical backsplash tile styles include white, beige, or gray subway tile, stacked natural stone like travertine or marble, terra cotta, and elongated rectangular porcelain or ceramic tiles ranging from 4×12 to 12×24 inches.

What’s the best vertical tile layout?

The most common vertical tile layouts are brick pattern, which staggers vertical columns; stacked, with tile lined up evenly in columns; and pyramid, which has tiles centered under the seams of the tiles above. Herringbone patterns mixed with vertical tile are also trending.

How high should a vertical backsplash be?

Traditionally backsplashes extend 4 to 6 inches above countertops, but vertical installations can extend all the way up to the ceiling for a dramatic look. Another option is a full height backsplash behind the range topped with floating shelves.

Can you mix vertical and horizontal tile?

Yes, it’s possible to mix horizontal and vertical tile orientations creatively. For example, do a full height vertical backsplash with a horizontal tile border or pair vertical behind the stove with a horizontal subway tile backsplash on surrounding walls.

Should vertical backsplash tile match my countertops?

Coordinate backsplash tile with countertops by matching or complementing the edge trim color. However, contrasting your vertical tile backsplash against horizontal countertops can make for an eye-catching dynamic.

Does vertical backsplash tile work with any kitchen style?

While vertical backsplashes pair beautifully with contemporary kitchens, they can also accentuate traditional style by breaking up all the horizontal lines. Simple white vertical subway tile adds a touch of modern flair.


Vertical tile backsplashes make a dramatic style statement. Their strong vertical lines instantly draw the eye upward, opening up kitchen spaces and presenting creative possibilities for patterns, textures, and colors. Installing elongated tile breaks design conventions with its bold contemporary aesthetic that feels fresh and current.

Beyond just aesthetics, vertical tile backsplashes offer smart functionality. Fewer grout lines make maintenance simpler. They easily highlight focal areas like behind sinks and stoves without requiring extensive square footage. When thoughtfully coordinated, this on-trend backsplash design can complement any kitchen style from sleek modern spaces to classically elegant traditional rooms.

If you’re seeking inspiration to revitalize your kitchen, look no further than vertical tile backsplashes. Their beautifully bold impact will bring modern flair along with a dose of design daring.