Nothing says “it’s my kitchen” more than the choice of a tile backsplash. And no aspect of kitchen design is more difficult for most people to choose. That’s why backsplashes are often left for last when the budget is nearly gone and renovationm fatigue has set in. At that point, too many people can’t make up their minds and settle for the most generic, least expensive option which leads to the backsplash blahs. We’ve all seen them in endless numbers of kitchens: the same monotone white subway tiles, small glass mosaics, stacked rectangles, and the same boring neutrals.
That’s why I went looking for different, straightforward ways to amp up and customize backsplashes. The four approaches I’m discussing here offer ways to find a look you love and create a unique ‘splash based on color, shape or pattern at a variety of price points.
Create a Different Subways Pattern [top]
We’ve all seen subways set in the classic staggered pattern, or stacked for a more contemporary style. I’ve explored chevron and herringbone backsplashes, too. Another approach to standard 3 x 6-inch subways is the contrasting staggered diagonal pattern [above]. Designer Tiffany Brooks used big box white tile with a taxi yellow glazed subways from Mission Stone+Tile. There are many subway colors out there and it’s a no-brainer to say that this pattern would be equally stunning in black and white, gray and white, or even plain and texture. In this case, the pattern’s the thing. Make it your own!
Consider Colored Grout
By far the least expensive way to get color on any backsplash is colored grout. These days that can be matched to major brand paint color or customized. Grout Shield products include DIY sealers and colorings. I showed really meh white square tiles dressed up with yellow grout in the Swedish Yellow Grout Bathroom and peppery red grout with lantern tiles in the Lantern Love pos. Here, designer Sabrina Soto used Hydroment sedona grout tint to make standard white lanterns stand out. Grout Shield is a great resource that deserves to be better known — despite the super annoying video that plays automatically on their site.
Use Shaped Tiles
In addition to lanterns or arabesques, pennyrounds are alternatives to subways. A lively green, white and aqua pattern was created by designer David Bromstad, who cut up mesh-backed sheets of ModDotz porcelain pennyrounds from Modwalls. I love the ‘60s colors and the fresh look, especially with white cabinets in a contemporary kitchen.
Equally great looking, and perhaps more unique, would be other shapes from Modwalls. “Plus” tiles in blue are a vibrant option that looks good with almost any kitchen style.
Then there are sheets of whimsical Rex Ray Studio ceramic rox tiles — a play on contemporary pebbles — in solar yellow. Other terrific shapes include scales, which may be familiar from my Scallop Tile Bathrooms post.
I also found a mini Star Cross mosaic design at Granada Tiles. In gray and white it’s so compatible with stainless appliances and more subtle and backsplash-y, than the larger scale Moroccan pattern used by designer Cathy Kincaid in the Star and Triangle Tile Baths.
Customize Colors of an Integral Pattern
Integral, or built-in, pattern is a fancy way of describing tiles which have been printed or hand painted with some type of repeated design. Cement tiles immediately come to mind and the intricate geometic pattern, which hangs together on blue Grandatiles Fez 8 x8-inch tiles, is an instant favorite.
If blue and white is not your thing, it’s often possible to preview other colorways and custom combinations such as the softer pine, cream and white pattern I put together in five minutes — this is the same pattern as the blue one, above.
Another beauty, Pattern 18 from Villa Lagoon Tile,has the perfect pitch for a cottage kitchen. Like all integral patterns, grout lines should be minimal and the look is complete once the tiles go up. Any, or all of these backsplash ideas marry well with various cabinet styles — from modern to traditional — and won’t create a kitchen that looks like the one true clone.
(Source: hgtv, modwalls, granadatile, villa lagoon tiles)
You might also like Geometric Tile Kitchen Backsplash and Artistic Sustainable Tiles and Dimensional Tile Kitchen
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