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Choosing a Backsplash: Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

Many kitchens have limited wall space where you can add color and decorator touches; backsplashes are one of the most popular places to do that. The backsplash is the space between the upper and lower cabinets and behind the countertop. The back splash provides the practical benefit of protecting the wall from spills and stains that result from cooking, prepping food and washing dishes in the sink. Aside from the practical aspect, it provides a perfect palette to add flair to a kitchen.

When planning a kitchen remodel, people often overlook the backsplash until the last minute. In the press to make decisions on cabinets, counters and appliances, the backsplash is sometimes chosen with minimal consideration. People often choose to use the countertop material as a backsplash, but don't let this be your only option. The backsplash provides a fantastic opportunity for adding color and drama; a chance to set the tone or theme of a kitchen.

Whether you are remodelling a kitchen or looking for a way to perk up a kitchen without doing a full remodel, changing a backsplash is easy to do, not terribly expensive and can be done at any time because it doesn't cause a major disruption to kitchen use.

Popular Backsplash Choices:

Match the Countertop - Once you choose a countertop material, it is a simple choice to also use the same material as the backsplash. Two options are to use a piece of material about four inches tall, butted against the countertop, or to cover the entire space between the upper cabinet and the countertop. When covering only a few inches up the wall, the space above that is traditionally textured drywall, like the other kitchen walls. Even with the small backsplash you could still consider tile or one of the other options for the area above it.

Tile - Tile can be combined with any countertop choice. If you choose a tile countertop, a tile backsplash is a natural choice. If you do choose a tile backsplash, consider adding some sort of accent detail or patterned tile. An economical trick is to use mostly inexpensive tiles with only a few expensive accents, such as hand-painted tile, intricately molded tiles or small metal tiles or friezes. Another possibility is to go with a completely different style of tile, such as the popular one inch square glass tiles in a vast array of colors.

Beadboard - For an older style look or to add a casual element, beadboard is a very attractive and economical choice. Beadboard looks good against any countertop material. The vertical lines help to increase the feeling of space on the counter and can be painted or stained a myriad of colors for a variety of looks. It is easy to install and makes an ideal DIYer project.

Texture over Drywall - Most exposed walls in a kitchen are typically drywall with decorative texture. This is the most basic choice for a backsplash, although inexpensive, it also lacks interest. A bright color or even better, hand-painted stencils or mural can add interest.

Stainless Steel - Stainless steel panels, either with a embossed texture or not, are a choice for a particular look. It can help to unify a kitchen which includes stainless appliances. It is also reflective and helps to brighten under-cabinet lighting.

Wallpaper - The sheer variety of wallpaper patterns available open up huge potential for the backsplash. Styles and patterns that might overpower a room if used from floor to ceiling can be perfect in a backsplash. The backsplash scale makes vivid or dramatic patterns a perfect choice. That is not to say that a simple or subtle pattern wouldn't be a good choice too. That fact is, anything you choose can be a great choice. Also, because the area is small, installation can be pretty easy. Plus, if you don't like your choice or feel like a change, it is inexpensive and easy to replace.

Another Consideration: Behind the Stove

The space behind the stove is unique because it is taller than the other backsplashes. This extra space provides an opportunity for something more elaborate. Furthermore, the stove is often a prominent feature in the kitchen and a dramatic backsplash capitalizes on this.

If you have chosen a tile backsplash, a tile splash behind the stove can become more dramatic, by introducing a pattern, a new color, a hand-painted scene spanning multiple tiles and many more possibilities.

No matter what choice you made for the counter backsplash, you don't have to use the same thing behind the stove. In the picture above, you see a dramatic departure from the beadboard splash with glossy brick-red tiles and hand-fired accent tiles. Aside from the stove backsplash and hood, no other tile is used in the kitchen, it blends beautifully in this example and adds a very dramatic focal point.


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