Truly Lovely Kitchens

Kitchen Backsplash Ideas: The Easiest, Fastest Way To Giving Your Kitchen A New Look

Why bother about generating ideas for your kitchen’s backsplash? Well, most kitchens look so very similar … and if you want to make your home reflect your distinct and refined tastes, then one of the easiest things to do would be to design your kitchen so that it reflects your tastes.

And one very effective way to make your kitchen look very distinctive would be to have a backsplash design that is distinctive yet appealing. But that is easier said than done because you would need a way to generate lots of good ideas and then select one you feel would be most appropriate for your tastes …

So to zero in on a very appealing design, what you need would be …

A way to generate 100′s of design ideas for your kitchen – fast !

Now, if you can generate 100′s of ideas then you will be able to sort through them all and select one or two that really appeal to you. Here’s how you may want to start the idea generation process …

To start with, you may want to take a look at the ideas in the following books :

Turn of the Century Tile Designs in Full Color ( Dover Pictorial Archive Series ) . Check this out on Amazon.com ( ISBN-10: 0486415252 )

400 Traditional Tile Designs in Full Color ( Dover Pictorial Archive Series ). ( ISBN-10: 0486269523 ).

These two books may just be able to get your little gray cells working to create an ideal design … they give lots of designs that can be created with ceramic tiles.

But there may be more to creating a great looking design for there are so many kinds of tiles available – stainless steel, stone, composites and many, many more. You may want to select a tile suits the surrounding ambience well. But just how do you get ideas for tiles that “blend with the ambience of the kitchen” ?

Here’s one other book you may want to take a look at – Tile Idea Book ( ISBN-10: 9781561587094 ). What’s great about this book is that it presents hundreds of photos that show the effects created by most of the different types of tiles available today when used in different settings. And if you are considering remodeling your home, this is one book you may want to have in your library.

Ideas on the web

http://armenianceramics.com is a great website you may want to check out. It has lots of pictures that can help you generate pretty good ideas. Maintained by the Balian Family of Jerusalem who have been producing hand painted pottery and ceramic tiles since the 1920′s, this would be one website to go if you like more traditional tile designs.

Hopefully, with these resources you should be able to generate design ideas that will help you create a distinctive and attractive design :-)

Selecting The Right Material …

The material you choose has a very high impact on your final design.  Choose a material or combination of materials that best suit the overall theme of your kitchen.  In addition to being pretty, your kitchen also needs to be functional. It must adhere to the principles of kitchen design.

That said, here’s a list of just about every material that can be used. This is sure to get your grey cells working overtime!

Glass tile designs

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

The image of glass always conjures up something attractive and magical. So glass tiles can give the extra edge in your kitchen by adding that magical glowing touch. That said you have plenty of options with glass tiles.
You can choose to go with stained glass tile variety or glass sheets. Or you can go green with the recycled glass option. Stained glass comes in pieces or tiles and they need to be installed tile by tile. They do not have mesh backing and so take a lot of time to install. If you wish for a quick glass tile design then you can go for glass sheets which come with mesh backing. As these are mounted on mesh they can be installed quickly. With glass you can add color to your kitchen as you can choose between solid, artistic and custom colors and patterns in glass tiles. Having said that let us take a brief look at its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • In glass you have plenty of options. You can choose solid colors if you wish for a simple look or an attractive design by going for artistic colors and patterns. Recycled glass can add a rustic touch while giving an eco friendly feel in your kitchen.
  • You can choose to make a kitchen seem bigger by going for light colored glass tiles. These create the illusion of a brighter and bigger kitchen. If you choose darker tones then you can attract attention to the design making it the focal point in your room.
  • Glass is low maintenance as it is easy to clean and does not stain easily.
  • Glass is also ideally suited for use near the cooking area as it is impervious to moisture.

Cons:

  • Glass can be a bit expensive as a single tile comes to around $3-$10 depending on the color and pattern you choose. The solid glass tiles are least expensive while the artistic ones cost more.
  • The tile installation is expensive as well. It is important to go for good glass material, right tools and an experienced tile setter when installing it. Inexperienced grouting will be visible clearly and is definitely something you would want to avoid.
  • Glass tiles are fragile as they can get scratched and cracked easily. So you should use a lot of caution when you have a glass in the kitchen.
  • The glass tiling can retain bacteria. So grout maintenance can be a bit of headache and keeping the tile free of bacteria is a regular maintenance problem.
  • If the glass tile breaks then you will have to replace the tile and if it is an artistic or custom tile then you have to replace it with the right tile which can be quite tough.

Subway tiles

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Subway tiles can add an elegant, timeless appeal to your kitchen. These are age old tiles which can lend a rustic touch or a modern touch to your kitchen.
The subway tiles can be both modern and traditional. In traditional designs, porcelain and ceramic are used in staggered or random pattern for a unique look. In modern look glass is used quite often to lend an attractive and clean look to your kitchen.

The subway tiles can be installed with wide or narrow grouts. Wide grouts can give a classy look to your kitchen. On the other hand narrow grouts can give a seamless uniform look to your tiles with the grout edges being barely visible. The pros and cons of going for subway tiles are

Pros:

  • Subway tiles can add a unique look to your kitchen. With plenty of options like raised designs, graphic designs etc the tiles can add a classy look to your kitchen.
  • You can get different looks by positioning the tiles differently. For example you can install them in a brickwork fashion or lay them so that wide joints are seen. Or you can lay them side by side so that joints are only seen in the end. They can be laid out in staggered fashion to create a unique looking design.
  • You can mix and match tiles easily and get an affordable subway tile for your kitchen. With plenty of finishing options you are sure to get the perfect look on a shoe string budget.
  • You can choose to go retro or contemporary by mixing tiles well. For example going for glass or polished stone will make a country looking kitchen more modern etc.
  • Subway tiles are also economical and durable making them a very strong contender.

Cons:

  • Subway tiles are a bit traditional. So you cannot fit them in a ultra-modern kitchen as the age old look may not suit a contemporary sleek kitchen.
  • If you go for subway tiles with wide grout lines then maintenance becomes a problem. This is because dirt and grease can easily stick in the grout lines making it difficult to clean.
  • The installation can be an expensive affair. A basic subway tile costs around $300-$600 and the installation can come to another $600 for about every 50 square feet.

Mosaic tiles

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you wish to infuse a classy look in to your kitchen which looks rustic as well as rich then mosaic tiles would be something to take a look at. With a plethora of options in mosaic you can get an attractive design for your kitchen.
There are plenty of materials which can be used in creating a mosaic. Glass, stone, broken tiles, metal and more can be used. You can also create your own unique looking designs with colorful glass, tiles, chips mixed together.

The installation of mosaic tiles is not very hard. You can buy mosaic sheets which are easy to install. Or go for tile by tile installation by a professional. You can also opt for custom designs or your own stenciled designs on these tiles. Going for rich borders like gold or silver tiles is also possible making your design a focal point in your kitchen. Accent tiles placed randomly can also give your tile backsplash an exotic look.
The pros and cons of going for mosaic tiles are:

Pros:

  • With beautiful designs and colors mosaic is a very good choice for your kitchen if you wish to get an elegant and classy look.
  • They are durable and resistant to heat and moisture.
  • They are easy to clean as they are resistant to mold and mildew.
  • It can be an eco friendly option if recycled materials are used like broken tiles or recycled glass.
  • Installation is simple if you go for mosaic sheets. These can be installed in a jiffy with the right tools.

Cons:

  • The installation should be done the right way. Otherwise you will end up with show through grout lines and also maintenance issues. So get the tiles installed by an expert – in case you aren’t one yourself.
  • If you use glass tiles then you will have to take care to see that they do not chip or crack.
  • Their cost is one factor that needs to be considered when going for mosaic tiles. If you choose glass or stone that could turn out to be fairly expensive.

Copper

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you love the feel of metal then you can go for copper. Copper gives an antique rustic feel to your kitchen and creates a sleek look that goes well with stainless steel kitchens as well. What’s more – installing copper backsplashes can also be taken up as a DIY project and you can install it yourself with the right tools.

Copper can create a shiny look in your kitchen. Thus small kitchens can benefit from copper as it can make the room brighter and create the illusion of a bigger kitchen.
Copper is available as both sheets and tiles. The sheets can be purchased at any hardware store and can be hammered and trimmed. Various effects and finishes can be incorporated by using a ball peen hammer. Hitting with the hammer at different intensities creates different textures in the copper sheet. When using sheets remember to get a thinner gauge copper sheet which is easier to work with.

Pros:

  • The shiny metallic surface blends well with traditional as well as contemporary homes. The rustic metallic feel goes well with country homes and the metallic texture blends well with those new sleek and trendy stainless steel kitchens as well.
  • The shiny surface is also advantageous in small kitchens as they reflect light and create the illusion of a bigger kitchen.
  • The copper sheets can be easily taken up as a DIY project and you can install it yourself which can save installation costs. Thin gauge copper sheets are readily available at hardware stores. Just attach them to plywood and use a hammer to modify them and use adhesive caulk to attach copper sheet and you are done.

Cons:

  • Copper gets oxidized easily. This means it reacts with air and moisture and develops a green patina. To avoid this you will have to apply lacquer.
  • Copper can also smudge easily with fingerprints. So you will have to wipe clean frequently to retain the clean look. Applying multiple coats of lacquer also helps avoid finger prints and smudges.
  • Copper can also get easily discolored if acids like vinegar fall on it. So if you are okay with the resulting patina then you can choose copper for your kitchen. Also copper is prone to dents and nicks. And the discoloration of copper surface will not be uniform if the spills are only on side of the copper sheet.
  • Copper is a soft metal and scrub brushes and the like cannot be used on the surface.

Zinc

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Zinc is one of the safest and hygienic option for use in any kitchen. It is a non porous metal and hence resistant to molds and bacteria. Plus the blue grey look of zinc adds a warm ambience in to any kitchen.
Zinc comes in different finishes and patterns like solid, distressed and matte looks.
You can also make beautiful designs by purchasing zinc sheets and attaching them to particle boards. The zinc sheets can then be attached with contact cement.
Zinc is a soft metal which gets easily discolored. But cleaning zinc surfaces is very easy with mild detergent and baking soda.

Pros:

  • There are many different types of finishes in zinc. You get polished, distressed and matte finishes. So you can mix and match these finishes to create a unique looking patterns and designs.
  • Zinc sheets are easy to clean. Use hot water and soap to clean the surface and you will have a clean look every time.
  • Zinc has got a modern look and hence it can blend well with modern kitchens having stainless steel appliances.
  • Zinc is very well suited for kitchens as it is heat resistant and water proof. Also it is non porous which makes it hygienic in kitchen.

Cons:

  • Zinc is soft compared to steel. So acids can corrode the surface easily. So all spills and stains should be wiped immediately.
  • Zinc will easily discolor with time due to exposure to air and moisture. So you will have to use a protective finish or you will have to polish them from time to time to retain the look.
  • Zinc being soft can easily dent. So you need to be careful if you are using zinc in high traffic use kitchen as scratches can easily be seen in zinc.
  • Zinc can turn out to be expensive with each tile going to about $20 per square foot. The installation and backing can also cost you more.

Brass

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

You will love brass if you love the orange rust color patina of this metal. Brass can be a striking choice for your kitchen as it is brilliant in its appearance. The metal is also long-lasting and durable.
Brass can be used in traditional kitchens or in a contemporary kitchen depending on your preferences. Brass finishes come in various hues like orange, glossy and brown or green like a penny. You can also retain the green patina look of the brass which develops over time due to exposure to air.
Brass is easy to clean as it only requires mild soap and water. And when maintained well can retain its look for years to come. What’s more you can opt for recycled brass tiles and go for an eco friendly kitchen as well.

Pros:

  • The metal is easy to clean and only requires dish soap and water. You can also use a scouring pad which is not harsh on the brass surface. There is no need to seal or wax it like granite or wood.
  • Metals are heat resistant. This makes brass ideal for use near cooking areas.
  • You have plenty of options in brass. You can order ribbed, hammered or quilted brass textures or mix and match them for your kitchen. Or you can mix them with stone or glass to create an attractive backsplash.
  • If you are handy with installation then you can do the installation yourself with mortar, grout and metal cutting blade.

brass

Cons:

  • To prevent oxidation of the metal you will have to polish it regularly. Polishing can help it retain its shine.
  • Metal is usually an expensive option. Brass can require you to invest a significant amount of money.
  • Oxidation can occur frequently which means frequent polishing is required.
  • You should be careful with corrosive acids as it can damage brass. So you would want to exercise some care while using citric substances.

Stainless steel

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Looking for a sophisticated design material for your ultra-modern, trendy kitchen? Then you might want to try stainless steel
It is sleek and clean and can blend with modern contemporary kitchens very well. Stainless is heat and water resistant and also less prone to scratches. This makes it less maintenance too. You just require a simple sponge and soap solution to make it look good.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel has a reflective surface which makes it an ideal for small kitchens. Reflective and luminous materials can make a kitchen appear bigger and brighter.
  • Plenty of designs exist in stainless. Scratched stainless goes well with plain stainless steel appliances, ribbed ones with granite counter tops or a ridged pattern variety looks great in contemporary kitchens.
  • Stainless steel has very good heat and water resistance.
  • It is a durable and practical solution for any kitchen. It can withstand heavy loads easily and does not dent as easily as wood or tile.
  • It also does not require sealing or polishing like wood or metal.

Cons:

  • Compared to ceramic or marble stainless steel is expensive. The installation also needs to be done by a professional. So using stainless steel can turn out to be quite expensive.
  • Compared to metal stainless steel does not offer many design options. Colors do not vary much. So you cannot go for a bright colorful kitchen with stainless steel.
  • If the stainless steel surface gets scratched then due to its transparent look, the scratches will easily be noticed.

Metal laminates

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Are you interested in using metals but find them to be expensive? Then go for metal laminates. These are sheets coated with a metallic finish. In other words they are similar to plastic laminates with coating of copper, brass, aluminum or stainless steel.
Metal laminates have unlimited finishes and texture and come in stain, striped, glossy looks. These come in sheets and can be easily installed at home using adhesive tape.

The pros of going for this option are

  • Metal laminates are easy to maintain. They need to be cleaned only with mild soap and water.
  • These are inexpensive options. They give you the look of metal at a very low price. These can easily be installed at $6-$8 per square foot.
  • You have plenty of options in metal laminates. These come in variety of finishes like aluminum, steel, copper, brass etc. The metal laminates also come in different colors like red, green etc and can be used to match all kitchen themes. You also get different textures like dotted, hammered, ribbed, shiny etc to blend with your kitchen theme.
  • The metal sheets are easy to install and the peel and stick versions can be installed yourself.

The cons:

  • These are not heat resistant and so will not last long.
  • These are also not scratch proof which makes them less practical for kitchens. The scratch marks are easily visible and are permanent.

Nickel

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you are interested in unique design options then go for nickel. Nickel stands out and easily attracts attention in a kitchen – no matter what the decor is. So going for brushed nickel or satin nickel, you can have attractive designs in your kitchen.

Pros:

  • Nickel is quite attractive in appearance and will create a striking effect. Antique nickel, satin nickel, nickel silver, polished silver etc can be used to create attractive designs. Nickel can also be combined with glass or ceramic if you wish for a more seamless look in your kitchen.
  • Nickel tiles are easy to install. You just require an adhesive, tile spacers and circular saw to glue the tile in place and to trim it down to size.
  • Nickel is a durable material. Nickel is also corrosion resistant which makes it a functional and practical choice for your kitchen.
  • Nickel is easy to clean. You require a simple soap and a clean rag to keep it clean.

Cons:

  • Nickel can smudge easily. So finger prints are easily seen on nickel. But you can easily wipe it clean with a clean cloth. You cannot use steel wool on nickel because it can scratch and peel the nickel off.
  • Maintenance can be a bit of problem. Finger print oils can accumulate dirt and it can get dirty soon. So stains and spills should be wiped immediately. Strong cleaners, scented soaps cannot be used on nickel surface and the common vinegar solution can also turn out to be strong. So use only those cleaners as mentioned in the instruction sheet or stick with dish soap and water.

Natural stone

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Stone has a natural beauty of its own and is quite popular in kitchen design. Natural stone consists of granite, marble and slate – all of which make for attractive designs.
Marble for instance is available in different shades and can make a kitchen shine. Granite and marble can be used in small kitchen very well as they have an illuminative surface and reflect light very well. Slate has a natural beauty of its own and is quite an affordable solution.

Pros:

  • Stone makes an attractive option as it retains its look with proper maintenance. Natural stone like granite and marble have an elegant look which can add a classic ambience in your kitchen.
  • Stone – in addition to being attractive – is also functional as it is heat resistant and also impervious to acids and abrasions when sealed properly.
  • Stone is easy to clean and when cleaned periodically can retain its shine and new look. In fact stones like granite and marble shine and sparkle more when they are cleaned.

 

Cons:

  • The grout lines can catch dirt easily. So they need to be cleaned often to retain the beauty of natural stone.
  • Stone is a porous material which can easily absorb stains and spills. That is why natural stone needs to be sealed often. Sealing is required to make stone a non porous material.
  • Stone is brittle and so care should be taken. Once chipped it becomes necessary to replace the slab.
  • Stones like slate and granite are heavier and so require special handling during installation.
  • Stone is expensive and these can only be installed by a pro which makes them an expensive option. Tile is a cheaper option than stone.

Slate

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Slate can be used to create decorative and functional backsplashes for your kitchen. Slate is a very well suited material and its natural stone look adds a classic ambience to any kitchen.
Slate is a metamorphosed rock which is quite rustic in appearance. The strip, color, pattern makes each slate slabs a unique in appearance. To maintain its look do not use harsh cleaners. Just using dish soap and water is sufficient for keeping the slab clean.

Pros:

  • Slate is quite contemporary in its look and comes in different colors to match all kitchen themes. Slate can be found in neutral colors such as beige, brown or grey or colorful shades like red, purple or green. You could also go for different finishes like honed, tumbled or polished to make your kitchen look quite unique and elegant.
  • Slate is low maintenance and easy to clean. Any grease and stains can be easily wiped off.
  • Slate is water proof which makes it very well suited for use in kitchens. Slate is also heat resistant and durable.
  • Slate is an affordable option for any kitchen. Each tile depending on its pattern, color and thickness can cost around $2-$3 which makes it quite an inexpensive option.

Cons:

  • Slate requires annual sealing. Though slate is water proof nevertheless sealing is required on an annual basis to retain the look of slate. Sealing also makes it impervious to spills and stains.
  • Slate is also a brittle material. This means it can chip easily. And chipping means you will have to replace the tile.
  • As it is a stone it is a bit heavy and the installation is a professional’s job which requires special tools and materials.

Ceramic tile

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you are looking for a durable material which is functional and inexpensive as well then consider ceramic tiles for your home. These are not only tough but quite elegant as well.
Ceramic tile is quite versatile as it is available in different textures and colors. Glazed ceramic tiles are non porous making them impervious to stains and spills.

Pros:

  • These are affordable solution for penny pinched home owners.
  • These are tough and can easily withstand the wear and tear of kitchens.
  • Ceramic is an ideally suited material for the kitchen as it is water proof and heat resistant as well. So it can easily be installed behind the stove without any fear of the surface becoming hot.
  • Ceramic tiles can also be installed by yourself and can be taken up as DIY project. So you save costs on the installation front too.
  • Ceramic tiles blend well with any kitchen theme. These are available in different colors and patterns making them quite flexible options.
  • They can be used in any kitchen theme. You could choose to go with bold colors or stick to neutral colors like cream, white or tan. You could opt for hand painted tiles. You can also mix and match ceramic with glass, marble or wood to create interesting designs.

Cons:

  • Ceramic tiles can catch dirt and grout easily as there are a number of joints and grout lines in the tiles. So regular cleaning is a must with these tiles.
  • These are brittle – like all stone. So impact from sharp or heavy objects can cause chipping.

Porcelain

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Porcelain is a hard material which is long lasting and durable. It is a man made material which is created by compressing dust at high pressure. As it is durable and hard it is widely used in designing kitchens. It comes in wide range of colors and is available in glazed and unglazed versions. Porcelain is a low maintenance material which is easy to clean and does not require annual sealing either. Do not use harsh cleaners on the surface as it can scratch the surface.

Pros:

  • Porcelain is water proof. Unlike other stones it need not be sealed to be water proof. It is also bacteria resistant making it a hygienic choice.
  • It is frost proof and resistant to stains and scratches.
  • Porcelain tiles are very durable and last for a long time. When properly installed these tiles will last a lifetime.
  • Porcelain is also easy to keep clean as it has a smooth surface. Cleaning with wet rag and dish soap is suffice to keep the surface clean.
  • It can be taken up as a DIY project. The tiles come in large sizes and so with little DIY skills it can be
    installed easily.
  • It is also low maintenance as it does not require annual sealing as other stones like granite. There is no need to wax or polish it either.

Cons:

  • Porcelain tiles can be very expensive. This is because they are very durable, elegant and easy to maintain.
  • The tiles are heavy and while installing if the tiles are dropped then they can break. So while installing you need to be careful and if you find it difficult to install the large tiles then it is best to contact a professional.

Marble

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Marble is derived from limestone under high pressure and temperature. This metamorphic rock is quite beautiful. Though marble is expensive it is very durable and will last you a life time when maintained well. Unlike slate or porcelain, marble needs to be polished and sealed regularly to help it keep the shine.

Pros:

  • Marble tiles can be really beautiful. It comes in a wide range of colors like pink, green, black and can match old style kitchens to contemporary ones. And marble brings a classic elegance in to any kitchen. The distinct vein pattern can create a rich unique looking piece of kitchen art.
  • Marble is durable. It does not dent easily like other materials.
  • Marble can be paired with other materials like wood to create unique patterns and designs;Marble slabs, marble subway tiles, Carrara marble are some varieties that are popular.

Cons:

  • Marble is high maintenance. The surface is porous and so you will have to wipe all spills immediately. Also marble has to be sealed annually. This makes it stain resistant. Marble also needs to be polished regularly to keep it shiny.
  • Marble can also crack easily.
  • Marble is also expensive. It can cost $5-$15 per square foot. Also some types of marble require special installation like dark colored marble varieties.

Wood

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

How about using wood? From time immemorial wood has often been used in kitchen floors, cabinets and counter tops. But as backsplash? Hardly. But if you consider, wood is actually a beautiful material that can make your kitchen ooze with attractiveness – when used the right way. When mounted well they are chic and really pretty.

What’s more if you are a skilled DIY worker then wood can be taken up as a weekend project as well. Make sure you seal it well and maintain the wood surface properly for increased durability. What are the pros and cons of using this material? Take a look.

Pros:

  • Wood can provide a clean, continuous look in kitchen with wooden counter top or cabinets.
  • They blend well in wooden kitchens providing a unified look. Also different species of wood and its grain structure can make for some very attractive designs.
  • With wood you can have plenty of design choices like bead board, hand painted wood showing off your creativity. You can also mix and match wood in combination with tile or go for faux wood if you feel wood is a bit unsuitable.

Cons:

  • They are not fire resistant and so using wood behind stoves might not be the brightest of ideas. You may also have to check the local building codes before installing the panels.
  • Wood can also warp, stain and mold. So you will have to regularly paint and seal it to ensure that it retains its good look. Water and moisture can crack wood and this can damage wood very easily.
  • Cleaning wood can also be a bit of headache as oil stains and splatters need to be wiped clean immediately. Spills can also damage wooden boards easily.
  • Wood will also chip easily when compared to stone or tile. So you will have to be careful when using wood in high traffic kitchens.

Granite

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Granite is the perfect choice for a kitchen. It is easy to install, chic and striking. Granite goes well with most of the materials used in almost any kind of kitchen and is very durable. Granite comes in sheets and tiles. Sheet is more expensive than tile but easier to install. Tile is a bit time consuming but cheaper and also lighter. Take a look at its pros and cons before opting for granite.

Pros:

  • It is the perfect material that is extremely well suited for kitchen design. The stone is heat resistant and scratch proof which makes it the ideal material to protect your kitchen walls.
  • Granite comes in different colors and patterns making it one of the popular materials used to design kitchens. Granite comes in brown, beige, green, yellow, black etc.
  • Granite blends well with other materials like metal, ceramic and more.
  • The different textures and patterns can help in creating unique designs in your kitchen.
  • Granite is easy to install. Granite is available in sheet and tile versions. Setting and grouting of tile can be easily done over a weekend thus saving installation costs.
  • Granite is a very durable material. It can handle the every day wear and tear and can last for a life time if maintained well.

Cons:

  • To retain the new look and shine of granite the stone requires annual sealing. Without proper sealing the granite surface can get marred with oil stains and splashes.
  • Granite is expensive. The granite will cost you more than wood or metal tiles.

Wall paper

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Wall paper; a durable and economical option for your kitchen. These are colorful, trendy and economical making them an attractive budget friendly option for many homes. Read further to know about their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It is one of the cheapest options out there. It can be changed often to create new looks in your kitchen.
  • There are many stylish options to choose from. For example you can go for floral wall papers for country kitchens, graphic wall papers for modern kitchens or stick with white and black wall papers for a neutral kitchen. If you don’t like it you can change it at your whim.
  • Going for good quality wall papers such as vinyl wall paper can actually get you a near perfect looking design. What’s more – such wall papers are stain resistant and scratch proof.
  • These are easy to clean. Just wash them in warm soapy water and they will look good as new.
  • These are low maintenance as well. There is no need to seal, polish and paint like wood and metal.
  • It is easy to install wall paper. These come with self adhesive and can be easily installed over the weekend.

Cons:

  • These are poor quality when compared to stone, metal and wood. They are not durable and you may have to replace them often to retain the fresh look.
  • Though wall papers are washable, repeated cleaning can cause wall papers to peel. So faded wall papers will have to be frequently replaced.

Faux paint

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

What do you do when you cannot afford wood or stone for your kitchen? Go for a faux painted backsplash, of course.  Faux finish easily mimics wood, stone or ceramic at a fraction of a cost giving you the look you so desire.

Pros:

  • As it mimics the look of natural materials you can, at less expense get the look of your favorite material in the kitchen.
  • It is easy to paint any material using faux paint technique. Any surface be it dry walls, wall board, glass etc can be painted. The only requirement before painting is that the wall is sealed.
  • The paint does not peel off easily. And if it does get damaged it can easily be repainted. This advantage does not exist even in cheap wallpapers wherein you will have to replace the entire wall paper.
  • It can easily hide imperfections like cracks and holes in the walls. So you renovate your kitchen at a lower price.
  • It can change the dimensions of the room easily. Bright colored faux paint can make a room appear bigger and darker colors can make a room look informal.

Cons:

  • Patching up paint on an existing backsplash or faux painting on a bad faux paint job is not easy. You must know what type of base color has been used, what type of color whether oil or water based paint has been used. If the paint has peeled off then you may also find it difficult to get the exact paint to patch up the job.
  • Faux paint is not durable unlike wood or stone. It will eventually peel off and you will have to repaint it all over again.

Aluminum

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Looking for a beautiful and affordable design option for your kitchen? Then try aluminum which is cheaper and lighter than steel and makes a perfect choice for your kitchen.

Pros:

  • These are easy to install. They do not require grout, drying time etc and you also have no fear of the dirt getting visible in the cracks.
  • Aluminum can also be installed quickly over a wall surface. Aluminum is light weight and can be very easily installed with no headache.
  • Aluminum comes in variety of finishes like bronzed, polished, anodized and so on. So these blend well both in traditional as well as contemporary kitchens.
  • Aluminum is also cheaper than other metals like copper. And you save installation costs as well if you do it yourself.
  • Aluminum can also be made water resistant and scratch proof by anodizing it. The anodizing is inexpensive way of protecting the metal.

Cons:

  • Aluminum can react with food easily. So it can get discolored fast by reacting with acids, citrus fruits and juices.
  • Aluminum is also not hygienic. Bacteria can collect and breed here.
  • Aluminum is also not durable. It is a soft metal and hence it can warp over high heat. It can also chip over time.

Corkboard

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you are short on funds then go for corkboard. It is available in various sizes like 12*12, 6*6 etc and is relatively very cheap. Corkboards are easy to install and a joy to use in the kitchen. This is because you can make a very nice message board using corkboard. Just hang in your post-it notes, photos, poetry, inspirational quotes and lo you have a very pretty and likeable kitchen. Take a look at its pros and cons if you are planning to install one.

Pros:

  • These are cheap. A 4 pack cork tile can cost you about $8 or so.
  • It is easy to install with self adhesive pads on them. So you can install it yourself with not many tools.
  • Corkboard is functional and attractive. It serves as a bulletin board and protects the tiles behind the stove from grease and stains.
  • Maintaining it is easy. Simply wipe the board with a damp cloth regularly to keep it clean.
  • Cork can give a natural look for your kitchen. It can be combined with painted floor tiles to get a trendy look.

Cons:

  • The self adhesive pads are quite often not up to the mark. So you may have to use water based polyurethane coating to seal the tiles and use spray adhesive to install it.
  • Cork is water absorbent. So any spills need to be wiped immediately.
  • Dirt can get trapped easily inside corkboard. So you must clean regularly.

Tin

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

For an unusual – yet pretty – looking design try tin. Tin is available in various patterns and makes for a unique designs. Tin has an antique look and works best in both old and new homes. Tin also comes in various colors like red, green etc if you choose to go for powdered tin. Come take a look at its pros and cons before deciding on tin.

Pros:

  • You can create unique designs with tin. Tin is available in square, diamond, star, floral patters and can give a retro as well as contemporary look depending on its placement. Tin is also available in metallic colors and can come in brushed, shiny, antique looks.
  • Tin is low maintenance. Usually tin sheets used in kitchens are treated for stains. So cleaning tin with a mild soap and water will suffice. Acidic foods and spills need to be wiped immediately.
  • Tin is heat resistant. So it can be placed behind stoves without fear of warping or any other damage.
  • Tin is shiny. Many design patterns can be etched on them to get a custom design. Going for plain silver tin can make a kitchen appear large too owning to its reflective nature.

Cons:

  • Tin is not suitable for high traffic kitchens. This is because tin is a soft metal and as such it is prone to dents and scratches.
  • Tin is an expensive solution. Depending on the intricate patterns cost of tin varies. Also as tin is durable and treated with against rust it costs more. Each tile may cost you between $10-$50. If you wish for a cheaper version than you can go for faux tin.
  • Tin also oxidizes rapidly. So smudges and finger prints are easily seen on tin surface. So tin should be treated against rust.

Peel and stick tiles

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

If you are looking for a durable and economical solution for your kitchen then go for peel and stick backsplash. Peel and stick tiles come in different finishes, patterns and colors and are a cost effective way of updating your kitchen. Here is a brief look at their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It is an inexpensive solution to get a new look for your kitchen. Whether it is the look of wood or metal you crave, peel and stick tiles are available in different finishes like stainless steel, vinyl, brushed aluminum, copper etc. So it is an ideal solution for budget tight home owners.
  • It can be easily installed. Just cut to fit with scissors and apply. As it is peel and stick you do not require grout and other cumbersome installation procedures. You can use construction adhesive if you fear that the stickers will fall off.
  • The material is also durable. It does not stain, chip or crack like wood or other metals.
  • Cleaning the tile is super easy. Just use soapy cloth to wipe clean.
  • If you wish to hide broken backsplashes or old wall papers then this is the best suitable method of renovating your kitchen. With the right sized square and triangle tiles you can cover the entire area very well.

Cons:

  • Over time the peel and stick variety may not stick to wall. Even the adhesive is not a permanent solution for these tiles.
  • These cannot compare to the natural look of metals and wood materials. Overtime the metals outlast the peel and stick variety.

Travertine tile

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Travertine is a popular material which widely used in kitchens of every size. It is a beautiful upgrade for your kitchen and comes in variety of patterns and finishes for a unique looking kitchen. The natural limestone look of travertine creates a beautiful and natural feel in your kitchen. Travertine can be used as unfilled with pitted holes in its surface or used as filled, polished and honed to get a more sophisticated appearance.

Pros:

  • The natural look of travertine creates a classic look in your kitchen. The weathered look creates a timeless appeal in your kitchen.
  • It can withstand high temperatures easily. So it can be installed behind the cooking area.
  • Travertine is cheaper than marble. But its appearance is similar to marble lending a warm appeal to your kitchen.

Cons:

  • Travertine is expensive when compared to stone. But the look created is awesome.
  • Unfilled travertine is not hygienic. This is because food particles may get lodged in the holes.
  • Travertine can get damaged by acids like orange juice, vinegar etc. To protect it from reacting with these acids it needs to be sealed regularly.
  • Each travertine tile is unique which means the patterns and imperfections of the tile will not give a uniform appearance. This may work to your advantage also.

Bead board

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

This is a simple and practical choice for your kitchen. Bead board comes in sheets and strips and are easy to install over a weekend. Its low cost makes it especially appealing when you are remodeling your kitchen.

Pros:

  • It is a perfect option for your kitchen. It can provide a traditional and classy look and pair off well with wood and marble or granite countertops. These can also be painted in different colors to suit any kitchen theme.
  • It is easy to install. The only skill you require is using a chop saw and installing it with liquid nails. If you are using sheets the installation becomes simpler still.
  • It is easy to clean. Liquid spills in the bead board run down the grooves and can be wiped off quickly. Spray it with cleaner or use a damp sponge regularly to keep it clean.
  • Eco friendly bead board panels are also available. One of the popular panels out there is MDF which is made of wood waste fibers.
  • Bead board is cheap. Each strip may cost you $1-$2 per square foot.

Cons:

  • Bead board can warp when subjected to heat. So they need to be given a finishing of wood sealer.
  • Water can damage bead boards. So in places of high moisture the bead board panel is not recommended. If you use them in high moisture places then you will have to paint them in high gloss finish.

Concrete

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

Concrete can also be a very good choice. It has an ageless appearance as it develops a warm patina. Concrete can be cast in any shape and glass, pebbles etc can be embedded in it to make custom designs. Take a look at their pros and cons before buying.

Pros:

  • These make for an attractive options for most kitchens. Concrete can be dyed to any color and can be stained to look like any material. Decorative inlays can be embedded to suit traditional theme kitchens. So they can blend well in traditional as well as modern kitchens.
  • It is a durable material which will last you a lifetime when maintained properly.
  • Concrete is easy to clean. It can be wiped clean with a dish soap and water.
  • Concrete can be shaped and sculptured easily. So you can have unique and very attractive looking designs.

Cons:

  • These are difficult to install yourself. Concrete is also heavy. So it can turn out to be as expensive as any other material like granite. But the cost of concrete depends on the molding and the finish you wish for on the surface. The average cost per square foot for concrete comes around $65-$135.
  • Over time it may stain and change color when cured. Also concrete may develop hairline cracks after drying.
  • Concrete will stain over time. So you will have to seal it regularly to retain its look and make it non porous.
  • It can chip over time when the sealer is damaged. So you must take care not to subject it to extreme heat as heat can remove the wax.

Stone veneer

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

For an incredible looking kitchen design consider using stone veneer. Stone veneer is a great option which can become the focal point of your kitchen with its gorgeous looks. The elegant look that it ushers in can turn everybody’s heads.
Stone veneer comes in two varieties – natural and manufactured. Manufactured veneer is light weight compared to natural stone veneer and easy to install.
Pros:

  • It is easy to clean thin stone veneer. You just require normal soap solution and water to keep the surface clean.
  • They make for attractive designs. They come in a variety of finishes like slate or granite and can be combined with wood, brick or glass.

Cons:

  • The natural stone veneer is difficult to install. The stacked stones are heavy and require special installation procedures such as footings, wall ties etc. But manufactured stone veneer panels are easy to install.
  • Over time they may break off. They are not durable as natural stone.

Mirrored tiles

Design
Maintenance
Durability
Cost

To add a bit of glamor in to your kitchen space, opt for mirrored tiles. Mirrors reflect light and add the special effect required in kitchens. These are easy to clean and also add the required shine in to your kitchen. There are plenty of finishes in mirrors too like antique glass mirrors, back painted glass etc. cost wise you can go for low cost mirrors or high quality mirrors .

Pros:

  • It is easy to keep mirrored tiles clean. A warm soap solution and a rinse in cold water after that would keep it as good as new.
  • As mirrors reflect light they can also make a small kitchen look bigger. Mirrors open up the kitchen space.
  • With mirrors you can be very creative. You can add colorful mirror tiles in random or completely cover the backsplash with mirrors. Or you can paint, stencil your own design and create your own signature design.
  • Mirrors can be installed easily with the help of commercial grade adhesive. This will prevent the tile from falling due to water.

Cons:

  • It can get broken easily. So care should be taken while cooking in the kitchen.
  • You have to keep the mirror clean frequently as stains, spills, finger smudges are easily seen in mirrors.
  • Cheap mirrors also get dirty easily and need to be frequently wiped clean. No amount of polish can bring back its original shine. So you will have to go for good quality mirrors only.

Designing Your Kitchen’s Backsplash: The Basics

To start off you must first have an idea about what your kitchen should look like.
You can get these ideas from pictures magazines, design books and even
from kitchens that you have seen in the homes of others or in showrooms.
An idea is necessary to avoid making a mess of your design.

There are many basic styles to choose from. There is the vintage /  country style where the
kitchen is given a cozy comfortable look by using mainly aged, broken or
earthy materials like tumbled marble, broken or chipped tiles or cobble stones. Painting using earthier colors like beige, gold or copper will add to the old world charm.

You can give your kitchen a fresh, vibrant and at the same time a cozy look by using
Mediterranean colors like sea-blue or sea-green. Tiles in these bold
colors can be used as accents or as a design for part of the backsplash.
These colors look best when contrasted with lighter toned earthy colors
of the countertop.

To give your kitchen a more contemporary and modern look, you might want to use smooth, clean, and sleek surfaces. Many colored glass tiled designs are a great idea for
such kitchens. So also is using stainless steel for an ultra modern kitchen

If your kitchen is small you could make it look bigger by using either
mirrored tiles or by opting for a large design. You can also make your
kitchen look large by using a simple design where small tiles are
combined with large tiles. The lighting in your kitchen can be improved
by lighter toned or shiny surfaces that reflect more light.

Since you must be having a budget for your remodeling project keep in mind the three things that decide your cost. These are area of the backsplash, the material used and the design used.

A design made of standard porcelain or ceramic tiles will be cheap compared to one made with custom made tiles.

Just keep in mind that the best way to keep costs down is by doing it yourself
wherever possible because hiring professionals can be very expensive. With a little effort you should be able to create your own designs that are really good.

 

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