9 Out-of-the-Box Kitchen Backsplash Ideas We're Loving

Skip the tile and try something totally unexpected in your cookspace.

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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.

Chalkboard

Open Shelving with Chalk Backsplash

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.  

Wood

Wood Backsplash in Modern Kitchen

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.”

Photo by: 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).

Buttons

Button Kitchen Backsplash

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

Photograph

Sleek Contemporary Kitchen With Photo 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.

Wine Corks

Wine Cork 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."

Photo by: 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

Wallpaper

Modern Kitchen with Graphic Black-and-White 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.

Photo by: Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

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. 

Contrasting Paint Color

Loft Kitchen With Blue Wall and Shadow Box Accents

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.

Photo by: Lauri Howell ©Scripps Networks

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.

Art

Modern Kitchen With Stenciled Hardwood Floor

Modern Kitchen With Stenciled Hardwood Floor

Designed by Zinc Interior Concepts, this stylish kitchen features a stenciled hardwood floor, offering much personality. An orange stove unit and art deco-themed frames enhances such a look.

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.

Baskets

Photo by: Erica Reitman

Erica Reitman

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.

45 Splashy Kitchen Backsplashes

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