Backsplashes for Small Kitchens

Get ideas for backsplashes in small kitchens, and prepare to install an efficient and attractive backsplash in your home.


Photo by: Nathaniel A. Padilla Bowen

Nathaniel A. Padilla Bowen

By: Sean McEvoy

If your kitchen is an intimate affair and you're in the market for a new or updated backsplash, your first step will be to explore ideas for backsplashes in small kitchens.

Innovative Solutions for Small Kitchens

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Add a Splash of Color

Small kitchens are prone to looking cluttered, even with very little covering the counters. Adding a bright splash of color to the walls or cabinets, as the Kitchen Cousins did here, moves attention away from the countertops and to the eye-catching accent instead.

From: Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri

Create Visual Interest

Just because a kitchen is petite, doesn't mean it can't have pizzazz! Make the room more exciting by integrating vibrant accessories, like the coral bird cages in this teal kitchen. Go for pieces you can hang up rather than place on the counter. This will add visual interest to the room without taking up precious space.

Use Appliances as Decor

To maximize the space in your kitchen, consider choosing design elements that are multifunctional. This stylish chandelier from the BEST Sorpresa Collection, for example, is also a functional range hood. Image courtesy of BEST Appliances

Keep it Clean

Another way to use color to your advantage is to remove it entirely. By maintaining a clean, white palette in your kitchen, it keeps the room feeling open and airy. Plus, the monochromatic scheme naturally causes the eye to travel around the room, giving the sense of more space. Design by Rachael Franceschina

Miniaturize Appliances

If you're really looking to conserve space, check out downsized appliances like the GE micro-kitchen, expected to be in production later this year. This compact unit can house an array of scaled-down appliances, including an oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and more. Image courtesy of GE Appliances

Re-Focus Attention

If your kitchen is tiny but lucky enough to have high ceilings, use this feature to make the room feel bigger. Place accessories, like the geometric mirror in this kitchen, as high as possible. For storage, hang your pots and pans on wall hooks and use tall, open shelves for dry goods. All of this will help draw attention upward, and give the illusion of additional square footage.

Minimize Space, Maximize Efficiency

You don't have to sacrifice luxury and style to save space. Choose appliances like the DACOR Renaissance Induction Stovetop — the flat design and retractable vent help maintain a sleek and streamlined look in your kitchen. In addition to looking stylish, the stovetop cooks with over 90 percent efficiency. Image courtesy of DACOR

Pick a Wall

Especially in an open loft, a great kitchen space-saving strategy is to simply pick a wall. In this layout, arranged by BEST Appliances, all features and appliances are lined up against one wall to maximize room for other living spaces. Bonus: integrating a stylish range hood, like this curved model from BEST's Sorpresa Collection, adds a decorative statement to the simple space. Image courtesy of BEST Appliances

Collect Cabinetry

In an undersized kitchen, storage can be hard to come by. Try to integrate as much cabinetry and shelving a possible by taking advantage of wall space. By choosing cabinets that are a clean, neutral hue, excess cabinetry won't feel overwhelming. After all, the goal is to conceal clutter, not create it. Design by HGTV fan Felt So Cute

Let the Light In

One of the best ways to make your kitchen feels more spacious is by making sure it's well-lit. Avoid dark draperies that will block out natural sunlight and choose plenty of stylish overhead lighting to keep the room feeling bright and open at any hour. Image courtesy of Hinkley Lighting

A small kitchen can provide a number of unique design challenges in terms of decorating and optimizing spaces, but there are also several benefits of a smaller space, including efficiency of design and the lower cost involved in refurbishing less square footage.

If you've decided a new or updated backsplash is just what your small kitchen needs, your first step will be to identify the materials you'll use for your backsplash. You'll have myriad choices, from traditional backsplash materials like ceramic tile and glass to more high-end materials like stainless steel and granite. Your material choice will likely have everything to do with two factors: the style you're shooting for via your kitchen design, and your budget. For anyone attempting to install even a small kitchen backsplash while maintaining a budget, high-end materials may be cost-prohibitive. On the other hand, if the design style you're trying to implement absolutely needs a granite backsplash despite a limited budget, there are plenty of synthetic materials you can consider that will approximate the look of just about any natural stone or other material.

Once you've decided on the material you'll use for your small kitchen backsplash, it's time to determine how much of it you'll need. To do so, simply measure the surface area you're looking to cover. This can be anything from the entire wall space between the countertops and cabinets, a smaller portion thereof, or, for a truly grand design, the entire wall space between your countertops and ceiling.

When you've got the scope figured out, it's time to source materials for your small kitchen backsplash. Your local home improvement or tile specialty store is your friend here, and you can also browse countless backsplash material options online. You'll need to decide on the right style for the material as well—most backsplash materials are available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns. For a small kitchen design, consider a backsplash that adds personality, color and visual interest without overwhelming the small space or making it feel exceedingly cramped.

When you've determined the style you want and purchased the material, it's time to install your new kitchen backsplash. One of the benefits of a small kitchen is that the surface area you'll need to cover with your backsplash is likely not that large—so a self-install may be possible, particularly if you're handy and/or working with self-adhesive backsplash materials that don't require extensive cutting and configuring. If you're not thrilled by the idea of installing your own backsplash or if you lack home improvement chops, a professional installation may be in order. It'll be more expensive than a self-install by a large margin, but you'll be freeing up your time and giving yourself the knowledge that an expert is in charge of the installation.

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