From Beth on October 14th, 2009 in Kitchen Remodel
A spectacular kitchen encompasses all elements: a sensible layout, high-quality appliances, workable counter space, accessibility, functional cabinetry, effective lighting, and durable flooring for easy upkeep. When you add a backsplash, it pulls all those elements together and creates a sense of unity. Great chefs understand that every part of the kitchen needs to meet their needs in a highly efficient way, and that includes the backsplash. You want your kitchen to be beautiful but you also want it to be workable. Let’s look at the things you should consider when planning your kitchen backsplash.
What’s the Point?
The function of the backsplash is to protect the walls around the stove and sink area from water splashes, cooking splatters, grease, grime and stains. The backsplash also has the fashion means to enhance the overall look of the kitchen.
Among the most common materials used to build backsplashes are ceramic tile, stainless steel, natural stone, engineered stone and stamped metal. Though these are the most popular products, don’t let that limit you from other possibilities.
Of the materials listed above, there are two that really stand out in popularity – ceramic tile and stainless steel. When choosing your material, think about cleaning and staining.
- Ceramic tile is easy to clean and durable. Plus, there are eons of textures, accents and colors to choose from to turn your walls into a masterpiece focal point. The downside is that it’s prone to crack and the grout can stain – think about tomato-red spaghetti sauce boiling and erupting all over the stove and backsplash.
- Stainless steel is used in restaurants for a reason – it’s functional. Steel is popular in homes because it’s useful and sleek, easy to clean and maintain, and blends well with other stainless steal appliances, thereby giving the room an elegant appeal. Plus, it doesn’t crack, stain or corrode. You can find stainless steel in various finishes, such as matte or satin, and it’s available in diamond, checkerboard and diagonal patterns. The downside is scratches are hard to remove.
Color Design & Accents
The material and design you choose should complement other features of your kitchen, like the styles and shades of your cabinets, walls, flooring and countertops. Rather than spending money on samples only to find they look atrocious with your existing elements, take a sample of your floor, a small drawer from your cabinets and a swatch of paint from your walls to a home improvement or specialty store.
Play Around with Backsplash Designs
To help you visualize, use paper to create a mock-up design. Buy colored paper and cut out the shapes and dimensions of the tile you’re considering. Lightly tape them to the wall behind the stove and then shuffle the faux tiles around until you find the perfect design. Turn the tile 45 degrees to create a diagonal design to add visual interest.
Once you install the real kitchen backsplash, don’t forget to show it off by installing under-cabinet lighting – this will also serve as task lighting for cooking.
Use a rail system and shelves to hold bowls, utensils and a basket strainer. Attach hooks, spice racks or knife holders.
A Last Resort
If you need to live with your existing backsplash due to budgeting, you can hand-paint the tiles for a creative and unique look. Your existing tiles need to have a satin glaze and your paint should be glossy oil-based. I did this in my kitchen and it created a retro look that went well with my black-and-white-checked floor from the 30s.
Your backsplash is like the icing on the cake. Take your time planning, shop at specialty stores for reliable advice and a bigger and better selection, use the colored paper technique to help you visualize, and most of all – have fun with it.