Modern Kitchen Backsplashes

Explore ideas for modern kitchen backsplashes, and get ready to install a sleek and sophisticated backsplash in your home.
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kitchen-backsplash-modern_4x3

Wide view of kitchen with tiled backsplash, stove, hardwood floor, kitchen island with chairs, and appliances - new overhead lighting.

By: Sean McEvoy

If your kitchen features a modern design and you're looking to install a new one or update an existing one, you'll to browse ideas for modern kitchen backsplashes before beginning the project.

Kitchen Style Guide

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Cottage

Colorful and comfortable, with vintage-inspired features, cottage kitchens continue to be a popular choice. Painted cabinets, salvaged hardwood flooring and playful patterned fabrics are hallmarks of this casual, family-friendly style. Design by Sarah Richardson

Traditional

Still the reigning design style, the timeless look of traditional kitchens speaks to most of us. Cabinets can be painted or stained, and glass-front doors are a popular option, as are multipurpose islands. The best traditional kitchens pull in classic elements without looking too stodgy or trapped in a time warp. Keep the look fresh by mixing in modern or industrial elements like these patinated lighting fixtures or streamlined barstools. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff

Transitional

Transitional kitchens blend the best of traditional familiarity with modern sophistication to create comfortable, livable spaces. The high-end Calacatta marble countertops and built-in breakfast nook are traditional elements, while the sleek wood-veneered cabinets and ebonized flooring are modern influences. Design by Linda Sullivan

Old World

Intricate moldings, hand-carved details and dark woods are hallmarks of this European-influenced style. Although beautiful, these elements can combine to create a kitchen that feels fussy and dark. Designer Sarah Barnard keeps the look fresh by mixing in updated elements, like the armless upholstered barstool, pop of yellow on the island and graphic, embossed concrete backsplash. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

Modern

Streamlined and sophisticated, modern style is the forward-thinking relative of contemporary. The cabinets in this kitchen, with their unadorned doors, chrome hardware and flush setting, show their contemporary parentage, but the straight lines and matte cabinet finish is all modern.

Design Tip: Keep the look fresh by adding a geometric glass tile backsplash for color. Photo courtesy of Nicole Sassaman

Contemporary

This small galley-style kitchen epitomizes the sleek, chic contemporary look. The custom flush cabinets, with minimalist doors on top and simple oversize chrome pulls on bottom, are hallmarks of contemporary style.

Design Tip: To make a small kitchen feel larger, paint the cabinets and walls a similar shade. Design by Andreas Charalambous

Romantic

Add a little va-va-voom to the heart of your home with white or richly stained cabinets adorned with ornamental molding. Romantic style is reminiscent of Old World — ornate moldings, furniture-like cabinets and European accents — but with a decidedly feminine feel.

Design Tip: This is one style where you can go for the glitz. Crystal chandeliers are a must, as are elaborate draperies and printed French-inspired wallpaper. Design by Dave Stimmel

From: Dave Stimmel

Craftsman

Simple Shaker-style cabinet door details, rustic hardware and open shelving give this kitchen an updated Craftsman feel. Two-toned cabinets in burgundy and gray resemble individual furniture pieces, while the polished oak floors complement the kitchen's timeless charm. Design by Mary Broerman; photo by Greg Epstein

From: Mary Broerman

Tuscan

In a Tuscan kitchen, cabinets anchor the space with their sun-warmed tones. Often featuring elements that are seen in both traditional and Southwestern design, this warm and family-friendly style feels casually grand. Copper is often a feature, as are handmade tiles and subtly distressed stone or wood floors. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger

Often featuring the sleek, streamlined, minimalist style that's a hallmark of modern design, modern kitchen backsplashes can work well in many types of kitchens.

It's important to note that your backsplash design doesn't need to precisely match your overall kitchen design—many homeowners use the backsplash to add visual interest, color or diversity to a kitchen's style. There's no hard-and-fast requirement to pair a modern backsplash with a modern or contemporary kitchen, and ultimately the choice to incorporate a contrasting design or match the overall look and feel is yours alone. Also, keep in mind that a simple, elegant and understated modern backsplash design can be brought to life with the use of color and texture. So, although modern design is generally an era-specific style that reflects the classic, clean-lined, sleek styles of the mid-20th century, those rules can always be bent a bit to suit your personal style.

As you're planning your modern backsplash, the first decision you'll need to make will involve the scope of the project. Some homeowners want a backsplash to cover the entire wall area above their countertops, while others may prefer to cover only a portion of the surface area. This is an important aesthetic decision, and it'll also help define the amount of materials you'll need and therefore the budget. Measuring the surface area you want to cover and calculating square footage will give you an answer regarding how much material you'll need.

When you've decided on the scope of the backsplash project, it's time to turn your attention to those materials. For a modern backsplash design, some materials are more common than others, simply because they lend themselves particularly well to the sleek, minimalist, modern look. Ceramic tile is available in enough colors, styles and textures that you will have no trouble finding a wide range of modern options. Granite, travertine and other stone products often have a distinctly modern feel, and they can add great visual interest and texture to your backsplash design. Metals like copper and brass are also often employed in modern kitchen backsplash designs, providing a distinctive pop of color and the added benefit that their look may "evolve" over time with exposure to air and moisture.

One you've decided on the right materials for your modern kitchen backsplash design, it's time to begin construction. You've got two options here—hire a contractor to install the backsplash for you, or go the DIY route and install it yourself (hopefully with some assistance from friends and family). Depending on the scope and complexity of the project, you may be able to save a considerable amount of money by installing the backsplash yourself. Alternatively, hiring a contractor will save you time and sweat, especially if you've never installed a backsplash before or aren't particularly handy.

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