Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

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When searching for inspiration, it’s always fun to have a few design ideas at the ready.

Story by Ann Butenas

If it is time to update or redesign your kitchen, it’s important to choose the right appliances, cabinetry and colors to complement how you want the space to perform. The aesthetics are equally important, as this element gives you the opportunity to showcase your own unique style. Choosing the perfect backsplash tile for your kitchen is a highly integral part of the design scheme. However, we also know making such selections can be overwhelming. We spoke with Sheryl Calvin, Showroom manager at Central States Tile in Overland Park, Kansas, who filled us in on what is trending in backsplash tile pieces for the kitchen and how you can make the right selections to fit your needs and how you intend to use your kitchen. Get ready to become inspired by what’s trending in this arena.

KCH&S: What types of tile are people currently leaning towards for kitchen backsplashes?

CALVIN: By far, subway tiles are the leading contender in design. I never get tired of this classic look. Is it a trend? Yes, but it’s been around a long, long time. I like it because it is timeless. Shaped tiles are also popular. These include hexagons, geometric shapes and patterns. When you want something different, these work well. Pickets printed and Arabic tiles are also popular now. However, it all boils down to personal preference.

KCH&S: What type of materials are best when choosing tile pieces?

CALVIN: Ceramic tiles or any kind of marble is fine for a backsplash. Some porcelains work but are rarely used. Some people also choose a slab backsplash, which is also a trend but is your most expensive option. It provides a clean, streamlined look. I’ve even seen scalloped detail in slabs. It all comes down to personal preference.

KCH&S: Do the countertops and the backsplash have to match?

CALVIN: I suggest they coordinate and complement each other. It is difficult to match white to white, but they do not have to be exact. Because they are on a different plane, it can work. Be sure to take samples home and put them in the kitchen. It depends on the light and the scenario in your kitchen. Because countertops tend to be less busy, this allows you to do a marble mosaic or geometric pattern or even use cement tiles, which are printed tiles. You don’t see them as often but some people do use them.

KCH&S: How easy are backsplash tile pieces to clean and maintain?

CALVIN: Marble should be sealed when installed, as it is a higher maintenance material. Sealers buy you time, so if you spill spaghetti sauce on the marble, clean it up quickly.  Don’t let it set there. Other types of tile can typically be cleaned with soap and water, if you clean up in a timely fashion. You will have your biggest issue with cleaning if your range is next to the backsplash.

KCH&S: What should I look for when buying tile?

CALVIN: The top two things to consider are price and aesthetics. Aesthetics, however, is most of it. A standard backsplash is typically 30-50 square feet. It’s not a huge amount of square footage so some people spend more money on this part. The kitchen is an important area of the home. It is what you see every day. It should be pleasing to you aesthetically and should also fit into your budget and price point.

KCH&S: What is the best way to begin making selections for kitchen backsplash tile?

CALVIN:  It is best to make an appointment with a designer to help with selections as there are so many of them and it can be overwhelming. Use inspiration photos to get started. These are key. Bring in one for an idea of what you like so that can give both you and the designer some direction.

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