Designing a Kitchen Backsplash

backsplash Ideas

Designing a kitchen backsplash can sound tricky and intimidating. Many of my customers call me and just don’t know where to start.

So, here are a few tips to get you on your way.

1. Decide the objective of your backsplash – Do you want it to be a focal point or just to blend in? This will determine how you go about it (i.e. how fancy, now intricate). If you have new granite countertops and beautiful new cabinets, you might prefer for one of those to be focal point. What trips people up is that they start looking at each section of the kitchen separately and you can’t do it. It’s one room and it needs to work holistically together. If everything fights for your attention, it’s distracting. More often than not, the backsplash is usually meant to blend in and help unify the other elements of the kitchen. It’s usually a small space, so often less is more.

2. Decide what style you want – Do you want a more modern looking design, more classical or trendy? Do you like backsplashes that look more like natural stone (with some texture and color variation) or do you prefer a shiny glossy look and one with less color variation? Consider looking in a few home or kitchen magazines to see what you prefer.

3. Choose the other main elements first – Usually, it’s best to pick out cabinets, countertop and floors first. From there, it’s usually pretty simple (if working with an expert) to find a backsplash tile that will work. Make sure you have samples of each of these items so you can color coordinate color and texture for your tile. Personally, I find it easier to find a base tile and then if you want to get fancier with an accent tile (e.g. another color or matching granite, or metal or glass) you work that in as step 2.

4. If you are having challenges visualizing, WAIT to pick out the colors of your backsplash. I have so many customers that just can’t visualize how everything will look when it’s all finished. And, it’s no wonder because when you are redoing your whole kitchen, virtually every element is changing. How often do you redo your kitchen? I’m guessing not often. Of course for someone like me who does this all the time, it comes more naturally, but for a regular customer, most of them need some assistance. From a sequencing standpoint, you’ll want to get floors, cabinets and countertops done all sequentially. And, while your kitchen is out of commission at this point, once those countertops are installed and sinks/appliances reconnected to water and/or gas lines, your kitchen is operational again. If you need to, you can delay a bit before picking finalizing the backsplash, especially if this makes you feel more comfortable in your decision. I have many customers that opt for this solution. It just gives them piece of mind and more confidence in their choices.

5. Determine budget – or at least determine is this something you want to go on the high end, low end or somewhere in between? This may narrow down your choices quickly (e.g. can you afford natural stone or glass, or do we need to stick to a ceramic or porcelain?). Backsplashes usually cost more than most customers are expecting due to the labor and attention to detail needed (e.g centering around each section and working around electrical outlets).

Once you have decided on these questions, the backsplash usually just falls into place. You can pick tile, shape/layout and whether and other fancy elements. I love to go to my customer’s homes to help them pick out the right colors, styles and layouts. It doesn’t usually cost more for these services – it has to be done anyway because someone has to come and measure. You might as well pick some who can measure and provide design advice.

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