9 Out-of-the-Box Kitchen Backsplash Ideas We're Loving
Skip the tile and try something totally unexpected in your cookspace.
I’ve got a problem. I’m addicted to kitchen backsplashes. There, I said it.
I’m not sure where this backsplash obsession came from or whether or not it will ever end, but since we’re being honest, I should further confess that about once a week I like to hop onto Pinterest, type in “kitchen backsplash,” then spend WAY too time scrolling through backsplash porn.
By far, the most common types of kitchen backsplashes I come across are tile and stone. (And I love me some tile and stone.) But lately, I’ve been venturing into the world of more non-traditional kitchen backsplash ideas. And wowza — there are some good ones out there!
I’ve rounded up 9 of my favorite out-of-the-box backsplashes for those of you who, like me, like to mix things up a bit in your kitchen.
Open Shelving with Chalk Backsplash
White open shelving is the perfect way to display your dishes and glassware. This kitchen adds a touch of whimsy with a chalkboard backsplash where the owners can add their own artwork, labels or even a simple to-do list.
Chalkboard paint has opened up a whole new world in design and decorating, and it’s now made its way into the kitchen.
This is a fab, inexpensive option for your backsplash that can really add a lot of fun and interest to your space. You can use the chalkboard to keep grocery lists, to-do lists, recipes or even drawing space for the kids.
Make It: Chalkboard Kitchen Backsplash
Wood Backsplash in Modern Kitchen
For the kitchen of a vacation house in Portland, Ore., designer Michelle Ruber of Encircle Design and Build wanted a stylish and low-maintenance material that would stand up to a high-traffic environment. She found her solution in an unlikely place: “The backsplash is the old pony wall in the basement that was removed during the remodel,” she says. “We had the wood planed and then applied it to the backsplash, which brought in a warm feel and history of the original structure. We used a durable marine-grade varnish to protect and properly seal the wood.”
Kurt Hettle; Design By: Michelle Ruber, Encircle Design and Build
Wood is another fairly inexpensive option for your backsplash. This really brings in a warm, rustic feel to your kitchen. This option would work best in a space that doesn’t already have wood or laminate floors, but you could really get creative with the type of wood as well as the placement of the wood (vertical, horizontal or even a zigzag placement).
Button Kitchen Backsplash
Designer Kelli Kaufer created this one-of-a-kind backsplash using her client’s prized collection of buttons (plus a few extras bought at garage sales and crafts stores). “I used a double-sided sticky mat,” she says. “Apply the mat to the wall and start placing the buttons. You may want to use the back side of the buttons as there are fewer ridges. Once the buttons are in place, apply a non-sanded grout just like you would grout normal tile. This will help hold the buttons in place.”
This idea is definitely a bit quirky, as I’m guessing buttons are likely not already on your backsplash options list. However, for a midcentury modern or more vintage-inspired home, it could be just the right amount of fun you’re looking for.
For a super colorful option like this, a cleaner, more neutral counter and cabinet color would be a great way to go.
Get Inspired: Button Backsplash
Sleek Contemporary Kitchen With Photo Backsplash
Brian Patrick Flynn designed this modern kitchen with gray high-gloss cabinetry and a cutting edge backsplash made from a black-and-white photo. Orange accents brighten the monochromatic palette.
This is a fun, creative way to honor your friends and family with a giant photograph as your backsplash. While any photo would work, going with an older black-and-white family photo really adds an element of vintage cool to your space.
If you have several walls in your kitchen, you could do a few different photos, or simply use one large photo to add some continuity.
Make It: Create a Vinyl Photo Backsplash
Wine Cork Backsplash
To give a wet bar a dose of witty personality, consider an easy DIY project: covering the backsplash area with used corks. "It’s a great conversation-starter,” says Luke Perisich of Blue Sky Building Company. “If anyone asks, just claim you can't remember drinking all those bottles."
Chris Campbell; Design By: Luke Perisich, Blue Sky Building Company LLC
If you’re a wine lover through and through, why not try a backsplash made entirely of wine corks? If you happen to have a wine refrigerator or cabinet, you could try this backsplash in the area you store your wine. It’s a fun way to document and keep track of all of your wine adventures by saving and using your corks.
Get Inspired: Wine Cork Backsplash
Modern Kitchen with Graphic Black-and-White Backsplash
This kitchen is a study in contrast, with large corner windows, structural steel columns and a dynamic wallpaper behind a glass backsplash.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
While wallpaper can be quite expensive on its own, for a smaller space like a backsplash area, it’s actually a pretty economical choice.
With all of the wallpaper options these days (regular, temporary, handpainted, vinyl), you really can get creative if you want to go for this look. For a more bold look, have fun and choose a bright, patterned wallpaper. Or if you want to go with a more subdued approach, try a simple striped or polka dot paper.
Make It: $100 Half-Day Wallpaper Design
Contrasting Paint Color
Loft Kitchen With Blue Wall and Shadow Box Accents
Shadow boxes on a track provide additional shelving for a custom backsplash bar display. Aqua chalkboard paint was used to tie in the rest of the loft and provide a pop of color to the space. The clean look and sleek lines make this kitchen an inviting place to gather.
Lauri Howell, Scripps Networks
For a very simple, super economical backsplash option, try using a contrasting paint color. For the most impact, choose a color that will really pop against the palette of the rest of the kitchen. To add an extra element of interest, consider a different paint finish (if you used an eggshell paint on the walls of your kitchen, consider a glossy finish for the backsplash). This will also really help your backsplash pop.
While this won’t necessarily cover all of your backsplash space, simply using framed art is a great way to create an easy, bold backsplash. You can hang larger pieces of art on the wall. Or a super easy fix, try leaning a series of framed art up against your counter.
This is another fun option that I just tried in my own kitchen: a basket backsplash. My love of baskets meant that I had quite a few extra ones lying around from all my flea market/thrift store shopping. So I decided to choose a fun mix of sizes and styles and simply nail them to the backsplash area of my kitchen wall. (I made sure to leave easy access to outlets/light switches.) If I ever want to switch things up or take it down altogether, these are also easy to remove.