Choosing a backsplash is the perfect time to have some fun with your kitchen décor. Adding a backsplash is akin to adding jewelry to the kitchen. Since there is only a two-foot height between the countertop and upper cabinets, splurging can be kept reasonable. Combine a few of the below 5 backsplash elements to create depth, visual interest and function in your kitchen.
5 Backsplash Elements to Consider:
One of the most common ways to treat the area is with tile. Tile is a favourite of many because it’s so easy to clean. There are thousands of tile options; mosaics with combinations of glass, stone and porcelain. Choose your tile carefully; like accessories, they must complement the entire outfit. A beveled subway tile can be the perfect backsplash choice. The bevel provides a bit of sparkle and the pattern is understated. You can find tile in stainless steel, copper, glass, and semi-precious stone which can all be add to creating the perfect amount of “bling”.
Most completed, pre-decorated kitchens come in some version of off-white — a basis to inject a backsplash of colour to contrast the upper and lower cabinets. Options include back-painted glass, stainless steel or tiles. A stark contrast to the cabinetry tone is not essential but, if possible, add in some shade difference. Some may not see grey, cream or black as a “colour” but these understated colours can effectively draw focus. In modern kitchens, with few other details, strong colours can be part of the look you’re after. Just think of how well strong colours worked for artists like Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, Joan Miró.
Add cabinetry lighting to showcase the backsplash and make the countertop area more functional. Indirect lighting is the best option. A cabinet valence will help to conceal the light source so plan the lighting as part of the cabinetry millwork. Install a dimmer to control the amount of light in the area so it’s easy to work, create mood, or dim completely while at the dining table with guests!
Do not worrying about using the same countertop material on the backsplash; each will be seen on different planes: parallel vs perpendicular to the floor. The details of a nice stone or quartz countertop provides great visual interest and the continuation visually increases the height of the backsplash. The look is very elegant, with few seams or grout lines. Unlike tile installed in patterns like herringbone, the details of the stone or quartz are the focal point. Installation is easier since the trades person can install both the countertop and backsplash. It may not, however, include a savings since countertop materials can be more expensive than tile.
The backsplash is the back drop for decorative elements. Feature your best appliances like the espresso maker, blender and other elements that personalize the kitchen. The KitchenAid stand mixer screams “baker in residence” while a knife block, cookbooks, serving platters, live edge cheese boards or exotic oils and vinegar suggest a serious chef. Whatever you select, remember you’re going to light it and feature it like art against your beautiful backsplash. Choose these elements as décor, not just as function, and they’ll add the depth of layers that will make the kitchen really sing for you and your guests.
Photos by Larry Arnal
Glen Peloso, Principal of Grafus Design Co., has been providing design inspiration for over a decade. A well respected name in the design world; Peloso has appeared as television design expert on Restaurant Makeover, Take This House and Sell It and the Marilyn Denis Show.