Stainless Steel Backsplash Tiles

Get all the info you'll need on stainless steel backsplash tiles, and get ready to install a sleek and efficient backsplash in your home.


By: Sean McEvoy

A new backsplash can liven up any kitchen design—and if you're in the market for one that's attractive, efficient and long-lasting, you'll want to check out ideas for stainless steel kitchen backsplash tiles.

10 Big Hits from the Dream Kitchen

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Cabinets to the Top

"When it comes to storage, use every single inch of wall space," says HGTV Dream Home designer Linda Woodrum. "Cabinets that go up to the ceiling create a very tidy look. Use the high-up ones to store things you rarely use." Next to the refrigerator and freezer, Linda created skinny pullout pantries that are great for corralling spices and snacks.

Triple the Light

Since the room was already so bright,with windows practically everywhere you look, Linda went with refined pendant fixtures with paper drum shades that give off soft, ambient light. She hung three over the island because "an odd number is always more pleasing." Although standard height is 42" from the counter, she eyeballed it and hung them higher so they wouldn’t block any views. "Ask your electrician to hold the light at different heights to see what works best in your room."

Do We See Two Refrigerators?

Nope. One’s a freezer! Linda installed separate refrigerator and freezer units to get nearly twice the storage space of a traditional combined appliance. This way you can really stock up on frozen and prepared foods. "This house could very well be a vacation home for the winner," says Linda. "And who wants to be running to the grocery store when you’re trying to relax?"

Easy Open Shelving

A lot of kitchens have open shelves above the counter, but Linda broke the mold with the same idea below the cooktop. Keeping pots and pans in full view is not only practical, but it also makes a display out of everyday stuff. She used a 2"-thick piece of manufactured stone—the same material as the counters—for the shelves because it’s a champ against wear and tear. "You can slide pans in and out without a scratch," Linda says.

An Ambitious Island

Linda made sure this large square island would be a total workhorse. It boasts a sliding garbage/recycling cabinet and a built-in dishwasher. Even the ends have smart 8"-deep cupboards that are perfect for glassware and canned goods. "Shallow storage is the key to staying organized," says Linda. "It helps you keep track of what you have so you don’t duplicate items at the market."

The Best Little Detail: a Pot Filler

"When you’re cooking mass amounts of pasta, you’ll be so happy to skip that painful trip from sink to stove," says Linda of the stainless steel faucet she anchored above the cooktop.

Sturdy, Stylin' Countertops

Engineered quartz is bacteria-resistant, and it’s harder than granite, so you can cut right on it, says Linda. "It’s a great heavy surface, but the consistent color makes it feel light and clean."

Big Sky Backsplash

"I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do a blue backsplash," says Linda. "Blue and white just always works. Look up at the sky for proof!" The 2"-square glass tiles are laid with white grout, which makes the color look even brighter. Behind the stove, Linda made a frame for the backsplash with 4" slate gray glass tiles.

Sleeker Than Sleek Hardware

"Hardware can totally change the look of a kitchen," says Linda. Ceramic knobs, for example, would be too traditional, and half-moon bin pulls have that country feel. So she chose long brushed nickel pulls to give the flat-panel cabinets a modern look. "I hung them horizontally just to mix things up."

A Casual and Formal Mash-Up

"Nobody wants a closed-off kitchen where you just announce, 'Dinner is served,'" says Linda. "Cooking is a social activity." She wanted the dining space, located right off the kitchen, to be elegant enough for grownup dinners but laid-back enough for family breakfasts. Cushy upholstered ikat chairs and wooden end chairs pull up to a long harvest table.

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Stainless steel's durability and design flexibility make it a great choice for just about any kitchen design, from traditional to ultra-modern. And not all stainless steel backsplash tiles have the same look—you'll certainly find tiles in the traditional shiny or matte stainless steel style, but there are also options for punched, rippled or otherwise distressed tiles that can add a distinctive style to your kitchen.

Stainless steel appliances have become common in modern kitchen designs, and with good reason—their sleek, stylish appearance works well in a wide range of kitchens, and they're extremely low maintenance. The same is true of stainless steel backsplash tiles—one of the great added benefits of these tiles is that they're extremely low maintenance and durable. Ceramic or other forms of grouted tile can require extensive scrubbing or specialty products to clean—with stainless steel tiles, homeowners can normally just wipe them clean easily with some disinfectant and a damp rag.

Additionally, stainless steel is more resistant to the corrosive effects of food spatter than most kinds of tile. This means it's likely to hold up well over the years, providing a great return on the initial investment.

If you're in the planning stages of a stainless steel backsplash tile installation, your first task will be to determine how much tile material you'll need for the project. You can calculate this by measuring the surface area you need to cover in the kitchen—usually a portion or the entirety of the walls above your kitchen countertops. Once you've determined the scope of the materials you'll need, you can explore the full range of stainless steel tile backsplash options at your local home improvement, hardware or tile specialty store, or you can browse the almost infinite options online for inspiration. You'll find that the varieties of stainless steel available for kitchen backsplashes are quite diverse in terms of color and hue, texture and reflectiveness.

When you've made a decision regarding the amount and type of stainless steel you'll need, it's time to install your backsplash. You'll have two options here—you can go the DIY route and install it yourself, or you can hire a professional to install the backsplash for you. In most cases, a DIY kitchen backsplash installation will require significant home improvement experience, so it's not recommended that you take this on unless you're comfortable with your level of expertise. If you choose to hire a professional, you'll save yourself valuable time and labor, but you'll pay more for the project in the long run. Whichever route you choose for your stainless steel tile backsplash, you're sure to be enjoying its luster and efficiency for years to come.

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