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I need help choosing a backsplash

last month
last modified: last month

We are finally to the point where we are choosing our backsplash and we have it narrowed down to 4.

Our lower cabinets are Kraftmaid ”Harbor” and the uppers are Kraftmaid ”Moonshine” which sometimes look very light grey and other times a soft white. Our countertops are Silestone ”Stellar Snow” quartz. The walls in the kitchen and dining area are painted white. Our floors are brown.

Photos don’t show it but our countertops are shiny with a lot of glimmers. Please let me know your thoughts on backsplash ideas. Thank you!!























Comments (64)

  • last month

    Personally I don't like any of them. The patterns are all very busy with the small tiles and multiple grout lines. I would choose a much larger glass subway tile in a color perhaps a little lighter than what you have.

    Ashley Brant thanked susan49417
  • last month

    Ashley - what @susan49417 says about a larger glass subway in lighter color is a point to consider. You’ve narrowed your choices to that style. It would be a good idea to do just a bit more thinking with that style in mind. Bring home another glass subway style that’s next size up & a bit lighter for comparison. @deegw has a point too. Many companies have visuaizers for uploading your own photos & adding their tiles. Bear in mind that colors shown on visualizers can look much different than IRL - I saw that when choosing new flooring. But, the visualizer does give a pretty good idea of the overall effect. It’s worth taking the time to do the extra bit of confirmation of color once you’ve made the design decision!

    Ashley Brant thanked KW PNW Z8
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    Need help choosing backsplash, pic included

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    I have the exact same color thing going on in my kitchen. I am also a person who loves color. My plan is to use the backsplash tile to visually link the kitchen to the LR beyond and the attached dining room. LR is a warm sand color and the dining room will be turquoise. Tile will be a mix of the two, some bend of blue and amber glass. I think your most important decision is whether or not you want the backsplash to stand out as the focal point in the kitchen or if you want it to just be a part of the whole. For me, the splash is what brings my kitchen splash! I need it to be fun and interesting and more than a little blingy. You have to figure out where you are on that spectrum and choose the medium/style accordingly. Similarly, you have to decide how much color you want/need. For me, the stark white is just too sterile. There are some really nice "clear" glass tiles that throw a bit of green or blue or gray. Or, if you're drawn to the ceramic, you could get a soft gray or taupe like you mentioned. Ann Sacks Ceramic Basics has a number of really lovely, soft-but-not-pastel colors in the field tile. Sees like everyone who was still looking for a backsplash over on the kitchens board made a New Year's resolution to get it done, so there are a lot of threads right now. You might take a peek over there and see what people are looking at...whether any of it appeals. I assume you have already looked at the FKB and Inspirational Backsplashes slideshow? Here is a link that might be useful: Ann Sacks Ceramic Basics
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    That's what I thought I was going to get for years - white cabs and blue pearl - can't wait to see your pics! Folks say repeatedly not to actually order backsplash until the actual cabs and counter are in your kitchen. Then bring home actual samples of the backsplash material you are considering and see how it looks in your kitchen with your lighting at diff times during the day. What you thought you might love, you might hate, and the other way around. Dh might agree his suggestion does look too busy for the entire backsplash, you might agree to use the glass tiles as an accent in some way instead. Even the marble, you would actually have to see, as some samples may introduce way more or less grey than the look you are going for. I was just at a tile store yesterday looking at carrara marble subway tiles since I think that's what I want, but there was such tremendous variation of the tiles reading "white" or "grey" or other variations, from just a few feet away, that I know I can't make any further decisions until I can see it in my new kitchen (whenever that will finally be!)
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    I would connect the bs to the counter, offseting the pretty cream cabinets with some contrast. That's the more natural relationship. So if the white is good with the counter, that's my vote. You need more of the white for a sparkling white kitchen. The other looks mellow. Pretty together!
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  • last month

    This shows how much I don’t know about options but where is a good place to order from? I just went to Home Depot and Lowes and bought one of each one then brought them home and narrowed them down one by one. I do like the idea of a glass subway tile but that was all I could find in that size.

  • last month

    You want to go to an actual tile store not a big box store. You can also order samples on line from Tile Bar to see how they look in your space.

    Ashley Brant thanked susan49417
  • last month

    Ashley:


    Here are 2 examples of what I was thinking of for your space


    https://www.tilebar.com/santa-monica-gray-4x12-tile.html


    https://www.tilebar.com/seaport-chameleon-2x10-polished-ceramic-tile.html


    I like the 2nd one the best. I think it would look stunning as either herringbone pattern or subway. You will want to be careful about the color. You have dark floor and lower cabinets (at least on my monitor) and I can't see how much natural light is in the room so you don't want it to look like a tomb. Good luck and keep us posted!

    Ashley Brant thanked susan49417
  • last month

    Ashley - I just looked at Tilebar.com site - scroll down to bottom of page & they do have a visualizer to upload pics of your space & add tile samples. I’d suggest spending some time doing that - it really does help the decision process! Try glass subway that’s just a bit larger than the one you now like.

    Ashley Brant thanked KW PNW Z8
  • last month

    Thank you so much for all of your help. I appreciate this so much.

  • last month

    now that the whole space is revealed much prefer the warmer toned subway tile w the beautiful floor. You have enough white and blue. No cold glass ...or any added grays or blues in anything . Good Luck.

  • last month

    Is this an accurate representation of what your countertop looks like up close?


    Trying to understand what the specks look like - are they gray or do they have a green cast to the gray (I think I’ve seen this countertop - and the specks had a bit of green to them)?


    Also - how warm is the background color?




  • last month

    If the tile you picked at Home Depot is online, they also have a "See this in my room" option if you scroll down the product page.

  • last month

    For me it's hands down far right.

  • last month

    I agree with votes for the herringbone. It does a nice job of marrying both cool and warm tones.

  • last month

    oooohhh that Seaport Chameleon that @susan49417 showed in her link is gorgeous. I officially change my vote to that one. Especially if it goes with your countertops.




  • last month

    I did this simple white tile, but it comes in may colors. Like a subway but with a twist....love it and would look great in your space.


    Manchester Hexagon Vanilla 4x8 Polished Ceramic Tile | TileBar.com



  • last month

    The first thing I thought was Aparici Carpet Vestige. This is not one of your choices, but might be worth looking into.

  • PRO
    last month

    Plain white rectangular splash allows the blue to predominate:

    Denver Kitchen Design · More Info

    Larger white rectangular tile with a more undulating surface and slightly gray grout:

    Rustic Modern Kitchen · More Info

    However, you don't have to stick with a white or neutral tile. Don't be afraid to go bolder with a backsplash--try a pattern, a color, or a handpainted tile. Stay away from the big box stores and go to a dedicated tile store. You'll find a lot more interesting products.

    Here's a tile with a subtle pattern:

    Brookside Project · More Info

    Closeup of the tile:


    Brookside Project · More Info

    Gorgeous blue tile backsplash!

    Floor tile: Vein cut Espresso Travertine. Backsplash tile:Sonoma Tilemakers Stel · More Info


    Backsplash tile:Sonoma Tilemakers Stellar Collection, the color is Stone Blue. · More Info


    Clairmont, Home Remodel · More Info

    Another patterned b/s:

    Kitchen · More Info

    Here's a blue hexagon:

    Hex Tile Backsplash in Glossy Navy Blue · More Info


    Hexagon Tile Backsplash in Navy Blue · More Info

    These hand-made, hand-painted tiles are wonderful!

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    Spanish Kitchen in South Pasadena · More Info


  • last month

    I like the one on the far right. Your choices are great, don’t get confused by more suggestions.

  • last month

    Your tile option on the far right does the best job in tying in the color of the bottom cabinets. The second option would be to use the countertop material in a thinner version as a backsplash if that is available to you.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Big No to all of the choices except the gray-glass subway. It doesn't *fight* the countertop (or anything else). It's also a happy medium between wall and base cab colors. If the subway is chosen, do Not use white or light grout; use medium-dark gray grout.

  • last month

    Look at Fireclay Tiles. You can get any color subway tile in any size with subtle color variations that will give you backsplash some depth. They send free samples of any interested colors. I used them. Fabulous customer service and the tile cleans up so well. I also did two tone cabinets but pulled the bs color from my granite.

  • last month

    You say your uppers read gray sometimes and white others. That's why far right is your best bet. They have a bit of each. Two of the others look beige and one looks completely gray.

  • last month

    I would suggest going with the one on the far right - it has all your colors and will be easy to clean, plus it will give a LOT of of personality for less investment than some other things you could do.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Taken together, they look busy, but visualizing each separately, they're fine.

    However, the first two stand out as the best at marrying the colors of the room together (which is needed with the diversity here). The two on the right come down on the side of the gray in the room, whereas the two on the left utilize more of the colors in the room, creating a cohesive look. The lower cabinets read as almost cool (on my screen, anyway), while everything else in the room leans warm. The left two choices pull it all together. Up close, both look beautiful, with the 1st one edging out the win for me. In the wide angle shots, the herringbone looks best to me.

    Which makes *your* heart smile?

  • last month

    Honestly, I think they are all too busy for the counter. I’d go with a white tile without a busy pattern.

  • last month

    Agree w Mar. The two left tile choices are warmer and tie the browns in your floor/ dining room table into the cabinet and counter tops. The two right choices are cold grey, which is going out of style.

  • last month

    Depends. Is this your forever home and you have no intention of selling it then do what you want. But... if you plan to downsize or move later, use something that's generic enough that you don't have to replace it before you move but still something you can live with. The choice is yours, you probably already have a favorite :) I've never been a big fan of "in looks" I like a timeless look, especially in the kitchen. We just moved into our "last" home (fingers crossed) and after five years I finally picked out my backsplash tile! Your house, your choice! :)

  • last month

    I don’t know where you live, but there are stores like The Tile Store which is a chain that offers a decent selection of tiles at varying price points.You may want to google tile stores in your area and visit them so you can physically see what they look like so you will feel more comfortable if you decide to go with an online option.

  • last month

    My eye is drawn to the "gray" subway tile (3rd from left in the first pic). The herringbone and hexagon seem too busy. The white/cream subway has all the right colors but just doesn't speak to me personally. However, the comment with all those blue ideas was fabulous. The 2nd pic in that comment with the little blue diamonds made me say "ooh".

  • last month

    You have a beautiful kitchen and I like the colors. Of these tiles I like the grey subway tiles the best. However, before even seeing the choices, my mind immediately thought of gold or copper colored metal tile for the backsplash. In my opion that would look so nice. But again, any of these would would work and you have lots of input here already. Good luck!

  • last month

    Have your electrician to run a plug strip immediately under the cabinet edge so you won't have whatever tile you choose interrupted by so many outlets with contactor grade plastic trim. We did it 20 years ago, and it makes a huge difference! it is surprising how many very, very expensive homes feature backsplashes with outlets all over them, when they can be all but invisible.

  • last month

    Ditto above but if you plan to have something plugged in all the time (coffee maker, toaster, etc) put a very low outlet right there and the cord and outlet can hide behind the appliance.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cabinet colors and the countertop. You have two different styles though between the cabinets & countertops and the flooring & door/drawer handles. These styles are fighting against each other. The cabinets, especially with the two-tone colors,would really look great with a white tile floor, either a 12x24 or 18x18 or 24x24. Then a glazed white smooth ceramic tile backsplash in a small format--like a button tile or penny tile or the "mini subway" tile style that come in 12x12 sheets. But your wood floor is down, so all the backsplashes you chose are going to fight against the flooring... well, some are fighting against the flooring, others are fighting against the cabinets. You might want to just hold off on putting up a backsplash until you decide which style you want to evoke. LOVE the black wrought iron cabinet handles, they REALLY go nicely with the flooring, but not the painted cabinets. You have fabulous 42" upper cabinets (envious!) and they can stand to have larger door handles--try something 2x the size, you'll be surprised at how they draw your eye up to notice the larger cabinets. This might sound crazy, but changing the flooring to match the cabinet & countertop style would be the easiest thing to do. Yeah, time consuming, ugh. The big box store that starts with "L" has a 12x24 white rigid vinyl tile that looks like marble (sort of--the gray is very light) that can be laid down either butted up against each other, or with a grout line, and they have a special grout to use with that specific tile. Then, you could do a white smooth/glossy small format tile as a backsplash. If you find the "min-subway" tile that comes in a 12x12 sheet, and it has some of the colors of the countertop sparkly flecks, that would look great. Swap out the black door & drawer handles for the larger sized ones in a brushed nickel. If you absolutely can't change the flooring, then see if the countertop manufacturer can cut you a thin piece of the same countertop to make a backsplash. Edit to add: OK that shade/hue of blue is fighting the floor. Yes, blue and wood go together, but it has to be the right shade of blue and the right stain on wood. Instead of putting different flooring down, you could paint the lower cabinets the proper blue for that particular stain of wood floor. Diana Bier Interiors LLC, above, has posted several photos that you should refer to. Check out how she chose a specific shade of blue depending on the color/stain of wood floor. Also, your artificial lighting is causing your upper cabinets to look like a different color at times. If you replace the lights with a warm white bulb, it will "warm up" the colors in the room.

  • last month

    You have a lot going on already. Don’t be trendy. Think long term, what will you still be happy with in ten years? I’d choose to go simple, not Wow, and add more interest with decor that can change easily. But its your house…

  • last month

    I vote for the far left sample. The tile pattern is classic, and it mimics the pattern of the floorboards. The color scheme coordinates with your pretty, new cabinets yet is neutral enough to accommodate any number of color changes that might be visited upon the cabinets in future. Your kitchen looks really nice. Good luck with the backsplash.

  • last month

    The suggestion of Emporio white onyx would also be a good choice for pulling together the warm & cool, and diversity in styles of this kitchen. While the two grays on the right may appeal up close, in the wide view, they completely leave the floor out of the conversation... making it feel like "something isn't right" in this kitchen, an unsettled feeling several have referred to as a "fight" (I thought the word "warring" when I first viewed the pics). But the floor is wood (or wood-look), which can be brought in with the right backsplash (and perhaps echoed in a subtle area rug). The gray tiles on the right only go well if you keep your eyes up, from the lower cabinets on up. The floor is not connected to this look (both rustic and warm, vs more contemporary and neutral/cool-neutral--can't tell online) but could be with the right tile backsplash. Both the left two and the suggested two-tone "white onyx" one would make that connection and make it all make sense, settling into style, rather than a feeling that it's conflicting.


    It appears to be a basement kitchen...? I didn't see any windows. If that's the case, the white onyx bs could help lighten the space, as could under-cabinet lighting. :) Wishing you the best! As long as you make the look cohesive, it will be beautiful.

  • last month

    I can’t tell the sheen of these. The only one I am instantly against is the gray glass subway. When I picture the others as matte I like them, whereas if they’re opalescent, they seem a bit much. The variegated colors help ties things together. I would add though that you should consider what grout at the same time. There are many colors now, and can be done with or without a little glitter. I don’t really know how you feel about sparkle in general, but in your kitchen, I think sparkly tile would be too much, whereas a light gray blue grout with a little sparkle would pair well with a plain matte subway tile, as would a light gray blue grout without sparkle. Non sparkly blue grout would also look nice with the less blue/not blue tile choices shown, and I do think the left 2 tie in the floors and balance the look the best. But many don’t appreciate the role that grout plays (especially if you choose a contrasting color). The thought is to either blend perfectly or choose an intentional contrast. Intentional contrasts bring attention to the tile pattern also. It is a sophisticated way to up- or downplay the contribution of the backsplash to the whole. I favor a simpler tile with a simple but not invisible statement from the grout. Rather than forcing yourself to pick a splash that contains blue (which you can still do if you like), you might consider an uber plain tile with blue in the grout. Your countertops are interesting but not busy. If you want them to be the star, less to look at in the splash. If they are to play plain (with sparkle as “texture”) then place more focus on the splash as painted cabinets are rarely designed to be the eye catcher. And consider how much splash you will or won’t see once you put your countertop back to usual. I have a different color palette than you, but I love how my splash came out because I needed a “little black dress” because my counters are the show stopper here. It’s a plain matte neutral subway tile with no texture, but the grout is brown with a bit of maroon/purple to it and that ties well with the richness of my cabinets.

  • last month

    Herringbone. it gives nice texture, like the look with both the close up and far photo. Also like it best with your floors.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    i feel like the patterned tiles are too busy and the solid subway is too cool. is there a warm tone in your countertop? if so, I’d grab it with a solid subway tile. if not, do a solid subway tile in the same white thats in the countertop. If you really want to use one of the four shown, I’d do the far left but ultimately, you should choose whatever makes you smile.

  • last month

    None of them. It is way too busy. Already 3 différents type of finish for your kitchen. 2 coloris of the cupboard and the countertop. I would go with something simple.

  • last month

    None of these options. They are too busy and you might get tired of the pattern. You want borning becuase it is timeless. Keep your backsplash simple so your decor stands out against it. I would choose a true bright white subway tile with white grout.

  • last month

    Picking a Backsplash is always tough. I like the herringbone, but maybe choose that pattern in a solid white or cream color, rather than the one you are showing. I feel the herringbone sample you’re showing would work better with a quartz that has veining, rather than sparkles. Floor and Decor has several solid white porcelain herringbone styles. Also they have several white tiles that have texture to them. You could do a running bond with these texture tiles. Because there is texture, it does not look like subway tile. Keep it simple and classy. Go with a solid white or cream. Good luck!

  • last month

    Take the first one on the left, and lay the tile so that it is stacked vertically, not horizontally. It will be more interesting that way.

  • last month

    The darker glass rectangle one

  • last month

    Here is mine. same color scheme. we love it!


  • last month



  • last month

    I wrote above that of your choices, the gray glass subway was the best.


    Crazy, isn't it? So many choices to begin with, it's finally narrowed down to four, and then here come dozens more...choices. All good, earnest and helpful ideas, to be sure.

    Keep it simple; back to your four.


    You've got dark base cabs, light wall cabs, a white/bright counter, and warm wood floors.. That design needs your third choice, the gray-glass subway tiles. They produce a blend-in/non-competitive pattern (unlike the hexagon, e.g.). And they're darker, which is needed; the depth will pull everything together.


    Have Fun - Good Luck


  • last month

    Ashley - I so totally agree with @lazidazi !! All the choices being thrown around were making me crazy & I was feeling bad for you! 😁 The lesson is I think that there are so many choices & people have so many different styles & preferences that it’s very important that a person focuses on what they like & want to see everyday in their space. It’s good to have all this input as it makes one consider other choices & the input also should help each of us understand what our personal style is. So, you pick & please don’t be afraid to come back & tell us what you did pick. I’d like to know!

  • last month

    The herringbone pattern

  • last month

    The herringbone pattern

  • last month

    I like the second one from the right. It's all one color so it won't be too busy.