Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom is fun and exciting, but it can be a daunting task to coordinate all the materials, color and patterns involved in the makeover. After watching thousands of shows on HGTV and pinning everything that grabs your attention on Pinterest, you’re finally set on a style for your dream kitchen or bath. You spend weeks selecting and collecting samples for your surfaces, only to realize that you like them all but they don’t look well together. How do you make sure that your design elements coordinate with each other?
This coastal kitchen design brings together soothing shades of white and blue with our Waterfall Azul Cielo & Thassos Marble Mosaic Tile Polished backsplash and shimmering quartz countertops!
Whether you’re remodeling from scratch or just doing a quick touch up of your existing space, creating cohesive kitchen or bathroom décor depends on the coordination of your materials. When your new space is coming together, coordinating your two main surfaces - countertops and backsplash tile – can present a challenge! Finding the perfect balance between these two elements can be the key to creating a stunning designer-look interior!
Should the countertops or the backsplash be the focal point? Do they really need to match in color or pattern? What if you find materials that look great independently, but don’t go well together?
If you’re wondering those things, have no fear. We’re about to give you all the tips to pair your countertops and backsplash tiles and help you create an appealing and cohesive aesthetic for your dream kitchen or bath!
Before You Start Picking Materials for your Counters and Backsplash
Have you ever watched HGTV shows and wondered how they always chose materials that coordinated so well? Before we move on to the combination of countertops and tiles, there are a few design rules to consider beforehand. These rules need to be applied in order to see ‘the big picture’ for your overall design kitchen or bathroom before you dive into the details!
From marble to granite to butcher block to concrete - there’s dozens of options for countertops. Since there are thousands of gorgeous tile backsplash options, finding the perfect combination can feel like a daunting task! We love this white ceramic subway tile backsplash with a rustic wood countertop!
First, no matter what style or design you’re planning for your kitchen or bathroom remodel, pick your color palette! When using several colors in a design, the general rule of thumb is to choose two dominant colors and one accent shade. Your color palette will guide you through the whole material selection process for your kitchen or bath, as well as help you coordinate countertops and backsplash tile in that color scheme. You can find more about the color rule in décor here!
Next, make sure you’re set on the style you want your space to reflect, so that there is a décor theme to guide you when picking each individual material. The coordination of your countertops and backsplash tile can make or break your overall style– we want them to pair well in relevance to the overall feeling of the space! Whether you’re thinking modern and contemporary for your bathroom, minimalist for your kitchen, or cozy farmhouse style - your aesthetic is key to narrowing down
Which One Comes First – Countertops or Backsplash Tile?
After you pick your color palette, style, and the big-ticket items set for your kitchen or bathroom remodel (such as the cabinets and floors), it’s time to take the next step. If you’re getting new countertops and backsplash tiles, which one should you pick first?
First of all, there’s no definite answer to this question, but unless you have a particular backsplash tile you already set your heart on, picking countertops first is the most common approach. The reason is clear; countertops take up more space, use up more of your budget than a tile backsplash and are not easily switched out. With this in mind, it may be easier to pick your countertop first, then choose a stunning tile that will complement it.
Shop tile samples or request lot photos to see how your beautiful backsplash looks in person and with your countertop!
On the other hand, sometimes you’ve already fallen in love with a backsplash tile - and we can’t blame you, there are so many gorgeous options! If you’re picking backsplash tile first, keep in mind that the tiled walls will be the center of attention in the room. You can then select a subtle countertop material to coordinate with your bold backsplash tiles! We’ll cover the best way to work around that scenario below!
Whichever situation applies to you, we have all the ideas to help you design!
Which Material is the Star of Your Design?
Textured Elongated Carrara Hexagon Marble Mosaic Tile pairs beautifully with other shades of gray stone and wood - the mosaic pattern on the accent wall pops against minimalist bathroom decor.
Whether you pick the countertop or backsplash tile first, let one of them be the star of your design - not both! If both surfaces are chosen as a focal point, not only will they compete with each other but neither will get the attention it deserves. Go with a statement-making design with either the countertop or backsplash, and let the other material play a supporting role!
That doesn’t mean you cannot have a mix of colors or patterns in both your countertops and backsplash tiles! The key here is to make sure one of the patterns is more subtle than the other and that they have coordinating colors and design elements! If you want to be on the safe side, opt for a pattern on only one of the surfaces while the other one has a plain design.
Now let’s see how you can successfully coordinate these two surfaces in kitchen and bathroom spaces!
Design Tips when Pairing Countertops with Backsplash Tiles
Highlighting the Countertops
Whether you have natural stone countertops or man made countertops with a stone look, most countertop materials have some pattern, with some much more varied than others. If you want a busy countertop design to stand out, finding a quiet, subtle backsplash tile is the best option to showcase your countertops, especially when you have unique hues or movements on it!
If you truly want to highlight your countertop design, choose a backsplash tile with a single solid color and minimal pattern. Pick it in a color that either matches the veins or spots of the countertop - let the countertops be the star of the show! Another recommendation is to make sure the finish matches both your countertop and your tile - if you’re planning a honed marble countertop, make sure you use honed marble for your backsplash as well!
We find our White 4x12 Polished Ceramic Subway Wall Tile a great option to coordinate with busy countertops with white backgrounds such as the blue-white quartz countertops in this kitchen that takes the center stage! When in doubt, a white subway tile backsplash is as classic as it gets - and it pairs with everything!
Making Your Backsplash the Focal Point
If you’ve already selected countertops with a uniform and neutral color, you have the perfect opportunity to amp up the backsplash area with a pop of color or interesting patterns with your tiles! In fact, creating a bold bathroom or kitchen design is so easy with a statement-making backsplash- all you need to do is to pick your favorite colors and shapes.
If you want to showcase your backsplash design, you can coordinate them with plain, quiet countertops and let your backsplash tiles lend a rich touch to the standard design. Marble and Gold accents with this Mother of Pearl backsplash let the natural shell details remain the focus.
If you go with a mosaic tile with multiple colors such as our Mother of Pearl Deep Sea Penny Rounds Mosaic Tile, choose a neutral countertop material, or try to have one of those featured colors in your countertop color as well. Mother of pearl tiles are great for bringing classical style to a space while keeping stone countertops from feeling too austere. Since shell tiles are reflective and iridescent, they pick up colors from their surroundings, making it easy to tie in stone countertops!
You can easily showcase statement-making backsplash tiles when paired with countertops in plain colors as well, such as cream, grey, or even black.
When you have dark solid color countertops, coordinating backsplash tiles in glass or porcelain and ceramic with a glossy finish is a great idea to brighten up the space! A good example is this kitchen where our Ocean Glass Louvre Grey Mosaic Tile coordinates beautifully with the black granite countertops – you can see how this combination highlights the distinctive lantern pattern of the tiles without clashing with the countertops! This kitchen creates a beautifully coordinated design with black appliances and dark counters paired with white cabinets, while the glass backsplash adds a blend of neutral colors that combines all of the decor!
How to Mix Two Different Patterns in your Tile and Counters
We mentioned that you can consider a mix of colors and patterns for both your countertops and backsplash tiles, but that’s a bit tricky! If you want both of your materials to feature multiple hues and different patterns or movement, there are two things to keep in mind: stick with one unifying hue and choose one pattern that is more subtle than the other.
When selecting your backsplash tiles and countertops, consider going with a maximum of two colors in both materials, and making sure that the patterns don’t fight with each other. Too many patterns in one space can create a jarring effect, rather than a welcoming ambiance. This kitchen pairs neutral materials with our Roman Flower Wooden Beige and Carrara Marble Mosaic Tile backsplash and speckled granite countertops in the same tones - the colors help the distinct designs tie together and the warm neutrals are a stunning counterpoint to the black and gold La Cornue range.
You can see the same approach in this wet bar where our 3” x 12” Agate and Shale Glass Tile combines the look of natural stone with the shine of glass, paired beautifully with countertops in similar warm hues. Keeping the cabinets consistent and dark in color creates a contrast to the natural stone tile design and slab counters without adding another element to the design.
Choosing High Contrast Colors
Whether you opt for patterned or plain materials, choosing contrasting colors for the countertops and backsplash tiles is another way to create powerful kitchen and bathroom designs. In fact, this contrast between the materials is a great way to liven up your space and add energy.
Bold Black and White Details with Boulevard Nero Marquina And Carrara Marble Mosaic Tile and marble countertops combine for a visually striking kitchen!
With monochromatic design, you can utilize the contrast between black and white in your interiors to create interest in your space, especially if you want to achieve a calming and timeless look. Modern and contemporary spaces also lean towards stronger contrasts such as black and white where bold angles and clean lines tend to dominate. The combination of white marble or quartz countertops with our black and white mosaic tile is one of the tried-and-true ways to give your kitchen or bathroom a punch of contrast and convey a vibrant and graphic design!
If you select backsplash tiles with a vibrant color hue, such as our Deep Orange Foil Glossy and Forest Square Mosaic Tile, you can contrast them with white as well as other neutral tone countertops to showcase the tiles, depending on the color scheme in the rest of your design. The more contrast you have between the two surfaces, the more your focal point stands out in your interior!
Choosing Low Contrast Colors
While high contrast colors are often used in modern and contemporary designs, neutral colors with softer contrasts work better in more traditional and farmhouse style settings. Having low contrast colors for different surfaces can also give you a chance to work with more intricate patterns and textures in your countertop and tiles.
If you’re opting for neutral tone countertops, how about getting more creative with the backsplash? Wavy Hex Calacatta Gold Thassos Mosaic Tile with live edge wood countertops is the perfect combination for an earthy jungalow-inspired bathroom with lots of natural potted plants! The glossy green leaves and rich wood grain of the counters is a beautiful counterpoint to the natural marble veining found in Calacatta Gold.
When you have countertops with neutral hues or subtle patterns in it, you don't necessarily need to pick a backsplash tile that matches the color or pattern of your countertops. You can opt for a simple and neutral-hued tile for your backsplash with minimal pattern in white, cream, beige or even lighter shades of green and blue. The soft tone of our Mallorca Grey 4x4 Ceramic Tile can allow you to showcase gorgeous countertops in various shades in kitchens and bathrooms while it sets a tranquil room and evokes the calm of nature! Butcher block wood counters have become popular for a classic farmhouse kitchen filled with country charm!
Going All Neutral
Sometimes keeping your kitchen or bathroom color scheme simple may sound more appealing, since it gives you the flexibility to change your kitchen or bathroom theme any time by adding pops of color through smaller items and accessories. In that case, going all neutral with your countertop and backsplash tile combination is the way to go – the result is a continuous flow that makes your kitchen appear minimalist and uniform!
You can choose cream, beige, greys for an all neutral kitchen or bathroom, but you can never go wrong with an all-white look for your kitchen! For a really sleek appearance, pick up one of the colors in your mosaic tile backsplash in the counters - like our Selo Hexagon Carrara and Thassos Marble Mosaic Tile backsplash with a Carrara marble countertop!
In pursuit of your dream kitchen or bathroom design, the coordination of countertops and backsplash tile is often overlooked in the initial design process. Picking these materials together is a key part of creating a beautiful remodel that you’ll love for years to come - not to mention a stunning design that will be the envy of all your visitors!
We hope this article was able to inspire you on how to pair countertops and backsplash tiles and give you some tips for your next kitchen or bathroom project! Need a little design help to bring together your design elements? Let us know in the comments or reach out to our design team!