Essential for preventing stains in the kitchen, backsplashes are also a key decorative feature, often setting the tone of a kitchen or breathing new life into a tired one.
From glossy glass panels to patterned or painted tiles, the choice and style of backsplash materials is vast. Let’s look at the main options:CERAMIC TILE
The sky’s the limit in terms of looks with ceramic tile. Thanks to constant innovation, ceramic tiles are available in multiple colours and patterns and varying textures, shapes and sizes. From wood or glass-effect to hand-painted or antique style, ceramic tiles are an easy way to inject colour and character into any kitchen. Tile is also durable and easy to clean – but it can crack or stain. Price points vary widely but don’t forget to factor in installation costs even with the economical versions.
A bold option for contemporary kitchens, sheet glass backsplashes are a great fit when you want visually and physically clean results.
Easy to wipe down and with no grouting involved, a glass backsplash is sophisticated and customisable. Choose the size, thickness, texturing and any colour you want to be painted on the back but be aware that a single slab can be hefty, making hanging it tricky.
Alternatively, glass tiles, which have a thin layer of glaze fired onto the backside, are easier to install and have enough reflectivity to brighten up small, dark kitchens. Walls do need to be in mint condition to carry off a glass backsplash.
For aficionados of the industrial urban aesthetic, it doesn’t get much more frills-free than a clean sheet of stainless steel. Long-lasting and requiring no maintenance other than wiping down with a damp cloth, it’s a practical and relatively inexpensive option that is resistant to
stains, mould and bacteria – hence its common use in commercial kitchens. If you prefer a more embellished look, sheets of stainless steel can be patterned and textured for added visual interest, and the reflective nature ensures it blends well with any colour scheme.
When you have a beautiful natural stone countertop – be it marble, granite, slate or travertine – rather than opting for a contrasting backsplash, continuing the same material up to the cabinets ensures an elegant, seamless aesthetic. An ideal choice for luxury homes, natural stone is prized for its distinctive colours, veining and markings, adding that ‘wow’ factor to a dream kitchen. That beauty doesn’t come cheap, of course, nor is it maintenance-free: natural stone requires regular resealing and doesn’t tolerate acidic foods well. But look after it, and it can easily add to the resale value of a home.
______________________QUICK & EASY OPTIONS
If you want to ring the changes in the kitchen quickly and economically, there are other
backsplash options. For renters or those wanting to try a different look without committing to something costly and permanent, adhesive tiles are a fun DIY alternative: cutting and sticking on the vinyl tiles requires no previous knowledge or skill. Laminate, available in every look from marble to mosaic, is another inexpensive option that is waterproof and easy to clean – but not heat resistant. Finally, chalkboard paint is an affordable and informal option for family kitchens: cover that awkward strip between countertops and cabinet bottoms in black paint and use it as a shared sketchpad, shopping list or games board.
Need help finding the right backsplash for your kitchen? Talk to the professionals at A.L. Thompson’s
, Bon Vivant
, Iberica Materials
, ITC Tile
and Pooley Cabinets