Which Backsplash Tile is Best for your Kitchen or Bathroom?

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Which Backsplash Tile is Best for your Kitchen or Bathroom?

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Between choosing the perfect lighting, cabinetry, hardware, and a color scheme, there's a lot to consider when designing a beautiful and functional kitchen space. One of the most fun decisions is choosing the best backsplash tile — which basically refers to the material that protects your walls from heat or water, while adding a gorgeous design element!

What's your Backsplash Style? Find the best design, material, and placement for your kitchen

With a range of both subtle and eye-catching designs, as well as a wide world of texture and color to choose from, you are sure to find a backsplash tile design that will coordinate with the cabinets and floors in order to bring about a cohesive look, like our Recycled Glass Herringbone Mosaic in Calacatta Marble Color seen on HGTV’s Rock the Block!

Your backsplash can easily become the decorative focal point of any kitchen or bathroom! It can span the entire wall up to the ceiling, it can add a pop behind the range, or it can cover the area between the countertops and cabinets. Along with a fresh coat of new cabinet paint, a new backsplash is usually the quickest and most cost effective way to makeover your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.

Regardless of your design aesthetic — contemporary and sophisticated, rustic and cozy, or modern and sleek — it’s important that you choose the best backsplash material that will meet your lifestyle needs and transform the heart of your home.

Why do you need a backsplash behind the stove or over the sink?

Because the purpose of a backsplash is primarily functional, a great deal of thought and planning goes into the choice of materials and the design of the surface. Pragmatically speaking, backsplashes protect the wall against moisture (that can lead to mold growth), stains, heat, and impact from daily activity — ensuring that your home remains stays strong and stylish for years to come.

Glass backsplash tile is protective, low maintenance, and visually appealing all at once

This Fabrique White Chevron Glass Mosaic Tile not only creates a striking statement with its modern appeal, it offers a protective layer to the wall surface behind the kitchen sink thanks to the water-resistant and easy to clean material.

For this reason, the very first thing you need to keep in mind is your family’s lifestyle and priorities. This will highly influence the material that’s best for your backsplash needs! After determining what will function best for your home, you can then work out the look and aesthetic of your backsplash tile to complement your bathroom or kitchen’s overall scheme. 

If you're looking for lots of design inspiration, check out the Tile Club Lookbook to browse backsplash ideas by room or area of the house!

If you are one not to cook or entertain often, you have the freedom to go with pretty much any material to like. On the other hand, entertaining and cooking daily may mean that you to steer clear of materials that require more maintenance over the years. Luckily tile by its very nature provides better protection and wear than painted walls to ensure the best life for your interior!

Our Guide to Choosing a Backsplash Design

Built with care and an eye toward aesthetics, today’s tile backsplashes are a brilliant accent to one of the busiest spaces of the household — easing anxieties by adding a protective barrier behind your sink or stove while also rounding out the space with a splash of color, detail, texture, and pattern.

Glass Mosaic Backsplash Tile Behind the Stove adds a Glossy Finish to this Traditional Kitchen

Full-wall backsplashes continue up to the ceiling, adding much needed textural depth and dimension. Here, the Toasted Marshmallow Mixed Glossy Squares Glass Tile gives you something gorgeous to gaze upon while cooking up a delightful meal at the stove, while at the same time protecting your wall from heat and messes.

Ideally, you may want to choose a backsplash that works with your cabinetry, flooring, paint, fixtures, and appliances. Matching these interior design elements creates a uniform and harmonious effect while artfully mismatching the materials and colors can be all you need to bring everything together and still provide an intriguing and exciting finish. 

Check out our styling tips on pairing countertops with backsplash tile designs!

When it comes to an unconventional or creative placement of a backsplash, wrapping it around the entire kitchen radiates continuity, providing visual character and making a small space seem larger. Alternatively, adding backsplash tiles to certain parts can tremendously help spotlight those areas effectively and add a little pizzazz to the scheme of things. 

Blue Cabinets, Chrome Backsplash Tile, and a Vintage Wood Range Hood for a Contemporary Kitchen

This contemporary kitchen design by Blanc Marine Living adds a metallic glass tile backsplash just over the stove - the area that is the most likely to be exposed to heat from the burners or splashes from simmering sauces or heating oil. The brass pot filler is anchored into the tile for additional stability on the wall.

If you’re considering a minimal backsplash design and want to leave your walls uncovered as much as possible, the primary locations to add the protective covering provided by tile are behind the stove and over the sink. Painted walls in those areas are the mostly likely to sustain damage - from heat, stains, or water - and cause potential long term problems for your home and resale value. Adding a tiled layer makes them much easier to clean and keep in peak shape, not to mention adding a gorgeous detail to your kitchen or bathroom!

Diamond Pattern Kitchen Backsplash and Tiled Range Hood in Wooden Beige and White

Some homeowners choose to make a statement with their tiled backsplash - like carrying the Wooden Beige Marble Diamond tile pattern from countertop to ceiling and over the range hood! This can add the feeling of high ceilings to any space for a luxurious kitchen design! 

How to choose backsplash tile material -

Most importantly, opt for a backsplash material and design that is stylistically versatile — one that gives you many options in order to cater to new preferences as your aesthetic needs and desires evolve.  

Popular backsplash materials that add beauty and personality to the overall design of the kitchen generally fall into three categories: ceramic, glass, and natural stone. Ahead we give you a lowdown on a variety of tile materials that provide both durability and style.

Ceramic Backsplash Tile

To fulfill the essential requirements of a kitchen backsplash, ceramic tile is a superior choice. No other material can measure up to the benefits of using this brilliant surface finish behind your stove or over your sink! Ceramic tiles have been a historic choice for backsplash designs, as they provide an easy to sanitize surface. Glazed, non-porous materials are a great choice for areas where you prepare food, as they are easily cleaned.

White Kitchen with Zellige Ceramic Subway Tile Backsplash

Classic subway ceramic tiles are given an updated finish for 2021 with zellige style tiles - this kitchen by Dan Rak Design combines the low-maintenance yet chic style of ceramic tiles with the handcrafted look of this organic tile design!

A properly installed ceramic tile is highly resilient, incredibly easy to maintain, versatile, and boasts a lower price point compared to other options. This type of tile finish won’t produce smoke, burn, melt, or give off toxic fumes when heated. For this reason, it is a widely used option when it comes to backsplash designs. 

With a limitless array of colors, patterns, shapes and textures, ceramic tile can be whatever you want it to be. In addition, it gives you the option to custom design a unique look to reflect your individual style. Porcelain tiles (a special type of ceramic that’s denser and more durable) can be used to effortlessly mimic the look and feel of natural stone and wood in areas where those materials may not be ideal.

We particularly love how ceramic can be installed to function as a backsplash and on ALL your kitchen surfaces — countertop, floor, and even the ceiling. This way, you have the opportunity of working with just one material type throughout your kitchen renovation for a look that’s consistent. 

Ceramic tile prices start under $5 per square foot for machine-made tiles, while detailed handmade designs can increase in price based on the intricacy of the design.


How to Clean a Ceramic Backsplash

Ceramic tiles, especially ones with a glazed finish, are a great low maintenance backsplash material! You can use a wide variety of household cleaners to wipe down ceramic tiles, from dish soap or mild detergent to countertop sprays. We always recommend checking the approved material on your cleaning products to ensure that it specifies ceramic before you clean. Keep your grout in great shape by regularly applying grout sealer to keep scrubbing grout lines to a minimum!

Glass Backsplash tile

Glass tiles as a backsplash first gained popularity in restaurants and professional kitchens, and have since made their way into the kitchen in a major way.  And with good reason: the reflective surface of glass tile is low maintenance but highly reflective, bouncing natural light to illuminate your kitchen or small powder room!

Bathroom Backsplash Tile should get more love, like this Peony Blush Mixed Squares Glass Tile

Our Peony Blush Mixed Squares Glass Tile is all you need to bring life into a neutral kitchen or bathroom. The eye-grabbing mic of purple and pink adds a bold pop of color while its shiny surface beautifully reflects and bounces light throughout the room, making it feel spacious and bright.

If you’re looking for a material that’s easy to maintain, glass backsplash tile is your best bet. Like ceramic tiles, they are virtually impossible to stain. This also makes them incredibly easy to clean, which helps tremendously in an area of the home sure to experience its fair share of spills and splashes. 

Another factor to consider for your backsplash design is how porous the material is. Glass tile also wins in this area as it is naturally non-porous and requires no sealant. However, just like ceramic surfaces, the grout between tiles needs to be periodically sealed for stain-resistance.

Moody Kitchen Design with Navy Blue Cabinets and Blue Deco Brick Glass Mosaic Tile

This minimalist modern kitchen with navy blue cabinets gets a contemporary dose of pattern from the Gray Deco Brick Glass Mosaic Tile backsplash.

What’s especially fantastic about glass tile is that it imparts a luminous look because of its translucence and ability to reflect light — in turn, creating a sophisticated feel and brightening up the look of the kitchen or bathroom. This option also comes in a huge range different sizes, shapes, colors, ranging from classic subway tiles in every color of the rainbow to mosaics with a mix of polished, frosted, and iridescent finishes!

Furthermore, glass mosaic tile patterns often mix a range of shades to create a multicolored look that can make a real impact and draw attention to the backsplash area. Glass tiles also come in budget-friendly backsplash options, starting at $7 per square foot for simple designs.

How to Clean a Glass Backsplash

Keeping your glass tile backsplash clean and free from spots or stains is as easy as wiping with a glass cleaner! You can use household cleaners approved for glass surfaces to spray and wipe down your glass tiles to remove water spots, wine splashes, food stains, or anything else that life may throw at your tiled walls. 

Tile Club recommends using an unsanded grout when installing your glass backsplash tile - the finer grout can help avoid scratches to your glass tile surface. However, you may still want to seal your grout over time to help keep it as clean as possible and cut down on scrubbing to enhance the low maintenance benefits of the glass itself.

Natural stone backsplash tile -

Natural stone tile is highly sought-after and consists of materials such as marble, quartzite, sandstone, granite, slate and travertine. A marble tile kitchen backsplash is a staple of timeless and traditional home design - although there are countless design options to pair with any interior design style.

Contemporary kitchen meet marble elegance with this white and blue herringbone pattern backsplash behind the sink

With its understated elegance, our Nova Herringbone Blue Marble Tile is both durable and stylish as a kitchen backsplash! Perfect for a wide variety of design aesthetics, it effortlessly imparts a high-end look that’s sure to remain timeless for many years to come. 

Favored for its natural elegance, marble kitchen backsplashes symbolizes permanence and strength and is a natural choice that appeals to many homeowners. When selecting natural stone for your kitchen or bathroom, there’s so much variation to consider — for example, white marble’s unique natural veins add to its clean, chic elegance, while slate offers an earthy touch that’s full of character and depth. 

Calacatta Gold for a Gorgeous Kitchen Tile Backsplash with an Arabesque Pattern

There's a marble backsplash tile to suit any interior style, but the classic beauty of stones like Calacatta Gold marble arabesque tiles really shines in traditional kitchens like this fresh take on a French Country interior!

Natural stone and marble tiles come at a higher price-point compared to stone-look tiles, ceramic and glass. The variances in texture and color can make it tougher to keep pristine, requiring regular maintenance. However, the timeless elegance of this material can also have a major impact to your home’s resale value! The allure of a marble backsplash or other stone designs can be a huge selling point, with a positive effect on your property value that will more than make up for the initial cost and the

How to Clean a Marble Backsplash - 

Keep in mind that real stone tile, like the stunning look of marble, is more porous than manufactured materials. The best way to ensure the natural beauty of your marble backsplash tile stays intact is to regularly use a grout and tile sealer that can penetrate the pores in natural stone and provide a layer of protection. Always use a cleaner that is approved for marble, as you want to avoid chemicals that can etch the stone over time. 

Peel and Stick Backsplash tile -

Here’s a question we get from homeowners, renters, landlords, and even commercial designers - are peel and stick tiles ok to use for a backsplash?

This Peel and Stick Backsplash was DIY'ed by a Tile Club Customer!

This Tile Club customer shared their peel and stick backsplash installation using Silver Grey Picket Peel and Stick Tile between the counters and cabinets for a DIY backsplash makeover!

 When it comes to the adhesive tiles that Tile Club offers - which are made of high quality PVC and aluminum or even genuine marble - you can install them as a backsplash tile with close attention to fire codes (which, let’s face it, you should always consider when installing something near a heart source). Unlike vinyl stickers, these tiles are thicker, made to withstand more wear, and feature a heavy duty adhesive. 

When installing a peel and stick backsplash, you should carefully consider your stove placement. You want at least 8” - 9” between the heating coil or gas outlet on your stove and the start of your stick on tile to avoid direct heat on the material or adhesive backing. A back panel on your stove will also provide ample distance! Ensure at least 2” of space between other appliances that put off heat, like your toaster oven or - in the case of a bathroom backsplash - a curling iron.

While peel and stick tile backsplashes may not be ideal for areas that are directly exposed to water - like a shower wall or a bathtub surround - you can certainly use them for a vanity backsplash or behind the sink in your laundry room or mudroom!

DIY Laundry Room Makeover with a Marble Peel and Stick Tile Backsplash over the Sink

Check out Remington Avenue’s laundry room redesign with Carrara marble peel and stick tiles! Thanks to the marble discs on top of heavy duty adhesive sheets, these stick on tiles can be used behind the sink.

 

Now you know that backsplash tiles can be made from a variety of materials, selecting one that’s suitable for your kitchen space will largely depend on your lifestyle and design goals. Each material is unique in its own way, but all serve a vital role in terms of function and aesthetics.

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