Backsplash Ideas for Granite Countertops

Gather backsplash ideas for granite countertops, and prepare to install a stylish and efficient backsplash in your kitchen.
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By: Sean McEvoy

If your kitchen features granite countertops and you're looking to install a new kitchen backsplash or refurbish an existing one, you'll want to explore some specific backsplash ideas that pair well with granite countertops.

High-End Kitchen Countertop Choices

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Two Countertops Are Better Than One

In this sunshiny blue-and-white kitchen, a mix of materials helps break up the large expanse of the central island and to define its multiple functions. For the prep zone, designer Kathleen Walsh chose Vermont White Quartzite while watershed-finished walnut warms up the breakfast bar area.

Boomerang-Style Kitchen, New-Age Countertop

To give this warm, woodsy kitchen an energetic mid-century modern vibe, designer Magued Barsoum chose custom-colored cast concrete for the swoop of island countertop. Backsplash tiles in a similar turquoise tone create the perfect backdrop for a collection of richly hued ceramics.

Black + White = A Timeless Classic

Sometimes a remodel is less about updating the look of a space than it is about a return to architectural roots. Such was the case with the kitchen of an Arts & Crafts home that, until recently, had been subject to a completely out-of-character turn of post-modern design. Starting from scratch, designer Kirsten Marshall set about giving it a new-old look. "The kitchen is designed to feel as if it was a part of the original house," she says. Topping the island — a dual-function prep and dining area for a family of five — is Statuario Marble with a dramatic 3" mitered straight edge. The perimeter counters are Caesarstone's Raven quartz, with a 1/2" mitered straight edge.

Photo By: Jeremy Kohm; jeremykohm.com

Precious Stones

When a family of seven decided to update their kitchen, the homeowner's one requirement was that the new space feature Cosentino's Concetto surfacing, an innovative (and dramatic) material made from semi-precious stones. Designer Karen Kassen highlighted the eye-catching product by restricting it to a curving breakfast bar and using a pure-white quartz on the remaining surfaces.

Brazilian Blue Stone

In the course of adding a two-story addition to a landmarked Brooklyn townhouse, architect Ben Herzog, working in conjunction with interior designer Elizabeth Cooke-King, added a large, light-filled kitchen to the home. As a fitting focal point for this dramatic space, the design team chose beautiful Azul Macauba, a blue stone from Brazil, to top the Shaker-style white cabinets.

Concrete: Endlessly Customizable

It may be surprising to see a formerly industrial material in a high-end kitchen, but concrete is covering counters in some of the most costly kitchens around. The material's adaptability is a big part of its popularity. "Cast concrete is a truly handmade product that can be customized in a variety of ways and represents a design collaboration between the builder and the client," says designer Jayme Guokas. Here, rich surface variation and an integrated drainboard create the custom look.

Marble: An Edgy Choice

Kitchen designers often suggest marble, but clients are wary of the upkeep. "Marble can be a controversial choice," says designer Meredith Heron. "I assure my clients that Rome was, in fact, built out of marble — most of which is still standing today." But, she notes, the clients who choose to go with marble in their kitchens must be open to embracing the patina and character that will emerge with their stone over time. "Here, we used Nero Marquina, a black marble, because the homeowners were too nervous to put white marble on the island. Even this variety is very prone to water spots and acid etching, so if you have the slightest hint of OCD, I don't recommend it." To complement the classic stone, Heron specified a double ogee edge.

Natural Simplicity

Designed to emphasize the natural beauty of its vineyard setting, this kitchen shows its architects' dedication to using materials that are not only beautiful and durable, but that make a low ecological impact. The kitchen countertops are Red Ironbark timber with a clear sealant and waterfall edges. "We sourced this material, along with the wood flooring, from the demolition of an old bridge. It's Australia's densest timber — extremely durable and full of character," says the architect, Mihaly Slocombe.

A Contemporary Spin On Neutral

In this large kitchen, the equally large "aircraft carrier of an island" (as the builder describes it) features double sinks and polished Breccia Paradiso marble with a mitered 4" thickness. The bold marble stands out in part thanks to the simplicity of the rest of the materials in the space: cabinets with a dark, mocha stain, a painted glass backsplash and limestone flooring. Design by Tongue & Groove Custom Builder.

Form Meets Function

"This dramatic design takes its inspiration from the past but retains the best of the present," says architect Wayne Visbeen. To lend structure in the long space, he created a dual-level island, with cooking functions clustered on one level on the inside and a raised breakfast bar on the outside. Topping the dining bar with richly veined white marble not only differentiates the various uses of the space but creates a bold visual impact.

Granite is one of the most sought-after materials in kitchen design, as it can lend a high-end, refined touch to any kitchen. Pairing the right backsplash with your granite countertops—in terms of material, color, pattern and texture—is an important step in creating the kitchen you've always dreamed of.

Your first decision when planning your kitchen backsplash will have to do with scope. Exactly how much backsplash do you need in order to create the perfect pairing with your granite countertops? To determine the scope of your backsplash, first decide if you want it to cover either a portion or the entirety of your kitchen's walls above your granite countertops. Some homeowners opt for the former, incorporating a more understated, low-profile backsplash, whereas others decide to go big and bold with a backsplash that covers the entire wall between the countertops and cabinets. When you've decided how much surface area you want to cover, simply measure and calculate the square footage in order to determine how much backsplash material you'll need.

Now that you know the amount of material you'll need, it's time to decide on the type of backsplash you'll install above your granite countertops. Your options here will be extensive, including traditional ceramic tile, visually dynamic mosaics, glass, stainless steel and an array of stone materials (including granite, if you decide to match the countertops and backsplash).

Within the various material categories, you'll find a range of styles, colors, textures and pricing tiers. For example, ceramic tile is generally the most widely available and one of the cheapest options for a backsplash, whereas stainless steel, glass and stone will put a little more strain on your wallet. You can also opt for more crafty DIY options like boldly patterned vinyl wallpaper or even found or recycled items like bottle caps for your backsplash, adding a personal touch and plenty of visual interest to your kitchen design.

Browse Granite Countertops

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Granite Countertop and Backsplash in Kitchen

Granite takes on a more modern look when it’s cut so that the backsplash continues the countertop pattern. “We chose this piece because it looks like a watercolor painting of the home’s exterior wooded landscape,” says Ines Hanl of The Sky is the Limit Design in Victoria, BC.

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Photo By: Works Photography; Design By: The Sky is the Limit Design

Spacious Kitchen With Granite Counters

This bright and inviting kitchen features plenty of light, using under cabinet lighting, recessed lights in the ceiling, and decorative pendants over the island and dining table

New Granite Countertops

Homeowner Whitney Gaspar admires the new granite countertops in the kitchen.

Granite Tile Kitchen Countertop

Granite slabs are the gold standard in stone countertops, but those slabs don’t come cheap, and the installation of the slabs isn’t going to be any easier to stomach, either. If you really want the look and feel of granite, though, you can still get it at a fraction of the cost with granite tiles. You don’t even have to source the material yourself: You can order kits online from Lazy Granite, and if you are disinclined to DIY, hire a tile installer to finish the job. You will still come out far ahead financially than you would have if you’d laid out the money for those granite slabs!

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Photo By: Lazy Granite

Small Multicolored Bathroom With Pop Art

Flashy pop art and red decor complement the gray granite shower and vanity countertop in this bathroom. The large mirror over the vanity enlarges the otherwise small space.

Large Open Kitchen With Long Granite Island

This kitchen of the HGTV Dream Home 2014 is the heart of the first floor's open concept living area. Warm browns, cool tans and brilliant yellows balance the industrial feel of the restaurant-style appliances and a granite island that's nearly 16 feet long.

Photo By: Eric Perry © 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Traditional Granite Bathroom with Striped Hand Towels and Framed Mirror

If there is no room on the walls near the sink for a hand towel ring or hook, take it to the countertop. Designer Jennifer Foster filled a red tray with a small towel stand for a boy’s bathroom. Decorative hand towels also are an easy way to make a bathroom look more polished, and designers often opt for ones with simple patterns such as stripes.

Bright White Kitchen with Subway Tile Backsplash

This updated kitchen has new hardwood floors, granite counter tops, a subway tile backsplash, two pendant lights, and new stainless fixtures and appliances. The original cabinets and island were painted bright white and updated with modern, stainless steel hardware, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

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Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images

Traditional Kitchen With Globe Pendant Lights

This traditional kitchen features see-through cabinets, globe pendant lights and granite countertop.

Photo By: Ben Gebo

Old World Kitchen With Custom Moldings

Mushroom-colored walls and cabinets, combined with golden granite countertops and custom wood moldings, complete this Old World kitchen remodel.

From: Karen Kettler

When you've decided on the material you'll use for your backsplash, it's time to source it. If you've decided on traditional tile, stone or other common backsplash materials, your best bet is probably the local home improvement or tile specialty store—or any number of tile sources available online. For a DIY approach, you'll simply need to find or purchase whichever material you've decided on.

Once the materials are in your possession, it's time to install your backsplash. If you're a home improvement veteran, this may be old hat to you, and a DIY self-install may be possible; it'll certainly save you a lot of money. If, however, you're a little foggy on which end of a hammer is the business end, or, more likely, haven't installed a backsplash before, you may want to consider hiring a professional. You'll pay more, but you'll lessen the risk of a botched installation—thus saving yourself precious time you might otherwise spend measuring, re-measuring and measuring again, for example.

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