Wow, don't you just love the options for amazing kitchen backsplashes these days? All manner of materials, colours and patterns are accessible and pretty easy to install as well. So, with such a wide array of choice, how do you select the best one for your kitchen?
1. Complement your countertop and cabinets. It's highly debated whether to choose backsplash or countertop first, but for sustainability reasons, I always say choose neutral, classic, hard working and long last countertops and cabinets first, then select a backsplash that will augment them. A backsplash can always be changed out when you want a refresh - but the countertop and cabinets should last forever. And if your kitchen cabinets and countertops are neutral, whether light or dark, you can have a little more fun with the backsplash.
2. Decide on the tone. Do you want to have a little fun and add some colour or a dramatic pattern? Or, if you have a traditional or minimal home, perhaps you want to make sure the kitchen reflects this for continuity? That will drive a decision on colour and pattern such as classic white subway tile vs. colour Moroccan cement tiles.
3. Decide on material. If you own your home and know that you will likely always have some sort of tile backsplash (even if you change it down the road), then I recommend tile or stone. It's fairly easy to install and affords a high-end look to the space relatively inexpensively. But if you rent, you'll want something that won't damage the walls. You could consider cutting wainscoting to size and fitting it in snugly. Or using removable wallpaper and coating it with a high-gloss durable finish.
Also, your material will determine how much upkeep you need to do. Remember that ceramic or glass tiles don't generally need to be sealed (seal the grout when first installing), but ceramic tile are porous and will need to be sealed from time to time. White beadboard or plank boards could also stain if not taken care of.
4. Determine where your backsplash will go. Generally it runs from countertop to the bottom of cabinets, but with the trend now for open shelving or bare upper walls, often running the bacskplash from counter right up to ceiling makes sense. You could run it up to the ceiling only on the range wall for a beautiful and functional focal point. If you plan having a large area backsplash, that will obviously affect your budget so plan accordingly.