Dreamy Kitchen Backsplashes

No longer just an afterthought to countertops and cabinets, kitchen backsplashes are getting the attention they deserve. Design experts weigh in on the best options for any style and budget.

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By: H. Camille Smith and Melisa Russo

Photo By: Photography by David Tsay, Styling by Dani Fisher

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Photo By: Andrea Schumacher

Photo By: Photography by David Fenton

Photo By: Bob Narod

Photo By: Photography by Scott McKay

Photo By: Photography by Evan White

Choose a Happy Hue

This kitchen, featured in HGTV Magazine, showcases the homeowners' love of green with an eye-catching key lime-hued backsplash. After looking at dozens of green tiles, she chose Walker Zanger's Vibe-Ashbury for its saturated shade and curvy arabesque shape.

Rustic Goes Luxe

In her own farmhouse kitchen, design diva Sarah Richardson chose a slab of limestone, that resembles weathered barn wood, as a focal point above the commercial stove. As an accent, she framed in the limestone with mosaic tiles of honed onyx.

Rock On

Incorporating one material throughout a room is a great way to unify the design and establish a distinct focal point. For this contemporary kitchen, Jamie Herzlinger used large slabs of marble to create a monolithic look, allowing the dark cabinetry and floors to pop. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger

Add Some Drama

Glossy black penny round tiles applied floor-to-ceiling create a dramatic backdrop in this contemporary kitchen designed by Brian Patrick Flynn. Designer's Tip: Painting the pantry door glossy black as well causes it to blend in with the tiles and helps the small kitchen's back wall to visually recede.

Keep It Classic

Designer Lauren Muse of Muse Interiors takes a classic approach to designing a backsplash, both in material and color selection. "White porcelain keeps kitchens looking bright, clean and contemporary," explains Lauren. Cabinets and countertops in the same hue ensure a unified look. Photo courtesy of Lauren Muse

Splurge on High-Impact Tile

The Kitchen Cousins chose handmade Moroccan tiles in a graphic pattern and cool palette to soften this kitchen's stainless steel countertops and sleek, contemporary Italian cabinetry. Handmade tiles can be a pricey splurge but in a small area, like a backsplash, the damage to your budget is minimal.

Go Graphic With Wallpaper

Of course tile or natural stone aren't the only backsplash choices. Wallpaper has been rising in popularity over the last few years so it's no surprise that it's popping up more and more in designer kitchens. When selecting wallpaper as a backsplash material, choose a pattern with an easy-to-clean vinyl coating so your paper will stay pretty for many years to come. Design by Andrea Schumacher.

Switch It Up

Color trends change by the season, but a neutral backsplash remains timeless through the years. Says designer Lauren Muse, "With a neutral canvas, you can give your kitchen a new look simply by swapping out the accessories." For this space, Lauren chose clear glass brick tiles and let the polished nickel accents take center stage. Photo courtesy of Lauren Muse

Go Green

As durable as it is eco-friendly, the seaglass-hued backsplash and countertop in this kitchen is Icestone terrazzo -- concrete mixed with colorful bits of recycled glass and bottles. Image courtesy of Massucco Warner Miller

Try Out A New Take on a Classic

White subway tile is a classic choice that's equally at home in a modern, cottage, traditional or industrial kitchen. Its chameleon-like design qualities also make it a good candidate for extending beyond the traditional backsplash area into a whole wall application. Designer Rebekah Zaveloff took it a step further and used the timeless tile to also cover this kitchen's custom range hood so the fixture simply blends in.

Design on a Dime

A smaller budget doesn't have to mean a sacrifice in style. Graphic designer Jen Ramos selected honed Carrara marble for her backsplash, which she found at Home Depot and installed via independent contractor. "There's something really cool about marble," she explains. "It never loses its appeal, plus it holds up over time." Photo courtesy of Jen Ramos

Embrace Eclectic

To suit her clients' love of eclectic interiors and all things vintage, designer Meg Caswell created this kitchen that has a decidedly whimsical, retro vibe. Fused glass tiles in shades of blue, green and white create a funky backspash while the wall cabinets receive a coat of soft powder blue paint. Meg tops a creamy center island with a glass countertop with just a hint of green, reminiscent of the jadeite pieces collected by the homeowners.

Carve Out a Niche

A backsplash can also be used to separate one area of a room from another. In this modern home, designer Jamie Herzlinger brought in stainless steel tile to designate a butler's bar within the oversized kitchen. The tile evokes a hip lounge feel -- perfect for those who love to entertain. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger

Play With Texture

Designer Lauren Levant Bland gave this contemporary kitchen an artistic backsplash by installing modular panels of sculpted limestone. The stone backsplash extends behind open shelves which conceal accent lighting to illuminate the stone's carved ridges and create dramatic shadows.

Make a Splash With Metal

Design blogger and fine artist Nicole Cohen had her work cut out for her when she took on a gut renovation of her apartment. She selected miniature stainless steel tiles for the backsplash, which gave an industrial edge to the Calacatta marble countertops and white lacquer cabinetry in her kitchen. A twist on traditional subway tile, the metal is modern and easy to keep clean. Photo courtesy of Nicole Cohen and Emily Anderson

Fool the Eye

The textural backsplash in this rustic kitchen looks like stacked stone but it's actually quartzite sandstone -- a much more budget-friendly material that's installed in sections, just like tile. Image courtesy of Hamilton-Gray Design

Recreate Historical Touches

Designer Karen Swanson recreated the look of historic New England shiplap paneling by cleverly installing 6-inch-wide planks of plywood, evenly spaced 3/8" apart, on her own kitchen walls. Coated with Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo paint, the surface is durable enough to stand up to all but the worst of kitchen stains.

Pair Form With Function

The glitzy glamour of this stainless steel backsplash belies its durability. The metal tiles are non-porous and utterly stain-proof -- a smart backdrop to this kitchen's hard-working espresso and wine bar. Design by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, the Kitchen Cousins.

Go White, Go Bright

For this Hamptons home, Michele Devon Kamali of Lavender & Plum Interiors wanted a backsplash that was luxurious but not overly ornate. She chose matte glass tile, which complemented the white of the granite countertops and offset the sweetness of the pastry pattern above the shades. Says Kamali, "When in doubt, choose white. It's always in style, even if the rest of the room isn't." Photo courtesy of Michele Devon Kamali

Be Confident With Color

For designer Jamie Herzlinger, a backsplash is the finishing touch that can make or break the room. "So often I come across backsplashes that aren't in sync with the rest of the kitchen," laments Jamie, "and that's a missed opportunity to make a big statement." For this space, Jamie chose a mustard-yellow and oxblood-red pattern to accent the Mediterranean decor. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger

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