8 Backsplash Alternatives To Check Out

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Everyone is familiar with the basic tile backsplash that has become commonplace worldwide, but there are alternatives to this look if you are willing to think outside the box. We have scoured the web and found the most unique and beautiful backsplash ideas for you.

Some awesome alternatives to a traditional tile backsplash are created with the following materials:

  1. Paint, stencils, or prints
  2. Wallpaper or peel and stick coatings
  3. Wood
  4. Brick
  5. Stone
  6. Metal
  7. Glass
  8. Small object mosaic

Traditional tile backsplashes are everywhere these days. If you’d really like to make your kitchen stand out, using a different backsplash material is a great way to do so. Don’t be scared to try DIY options and get creative; keep reading for a closer look at these ideas.

Furnished Bar in New Luxury Home with brick as an alternative for backslash, 8 Backsplash Alternatives To Check Out

The Traditional Tile Backsplash

An interesting and unique backsplash can add a lot of character to any kitchen. The backsplash is the wall area between your countertop and upper cabinets and can often be overlooked during kitchen design, but this area is a great space to get creative and really let your decorative style shine.

Do you really need a backsplash?

A backsplash is recommended for all kitchens due to moisture, grease, and food mess that commonly junk up this particular area above our countertops. We use our counters to prepare food, resulting in splattering on the adjacent wall space, and a good backsplash can keep your walls from being damaged or stained.

What is the cheapest kitchen backsplash?

Paint is certainly one of the cheapest backsplash options, though water-resistant, it is less durable and more likely to show signs of wear quicker than some other backsplash types. This is a great option if you’re looking to spruce up your backsplash area inexpensively due to its affordability and variety of colors and finishes.

Peel and stick backsplash sheets are another very affordable and easy-to-find backsplash material. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and are a great option for someone looking to improve the look of their kitchen on a tight budget. You can also do some wood and DIY backsplashes without breaking the bank.

Beautiful Backsplash Alternatives To Tile

1. Paint, Stencils, or Prints

Paint is a great way to liven up the area under your cabinets. Many people use a different color of paint than what is used throughout the rest of their kitchen to make the backsplash area pop. Make sure to use something water-resistant with a bit of sheen if possible, but any paint will do.

Bright colors, stripes, patterns, or unique paint types are commonly used. Chalkboard paint is also very popular amongst DIY-ers for both their backsplash and other kitchen areas, like inside pantry cabinets or on fridge encasements. 

Bohemian painted concrete floor

Stencils can be used to add depth and create eye-catching designs for this area. Black and white patterns are a great choice for a timeless look that blends well with many decor types.

Prints can also be an interesting way to add interest to this area of your kitchen. Use interesting, unique, or even natural tools to make a one-of-a-kind print. Leaves, sponges, and wrinkled papers or fabrics create interesting patterns.

Some people have even painted mural pieces for this area of your kitchen, though much less traditional, this works well in bohemian style homes.

2. Wallpaper and Peel and Stick Coatings

Wallpaper or contact paper can be a great way to spice up your backsplash area. There are endless possibilities available in patterns, stripes, and textured when using papers under your upper cabinets. Some wallpapers are also water-resistant, which can easily be wiped off and are great to have in a potentially messy area like the kitchen.

Perhaps one of the most affordable backsplash options, peel and stick coatings, is an awesome fit for renters looking to update their kitchens without upsetting the landlord. Also, peel and stick coatings work well for anyone who frequently changes their home decor style.

Click here to see peel and stick, removable tile-look backsplash on Amazon.

Does peel and stick backsplash come off?

Most peel and stick backsplash materials are easily removable, making them a great option for people not seeking a permanent change to their home’s decor. These come in faux tile sheets and other designs, piecing together in sheets like puzzle pieces along the edges. Most manufacturers claim they can easily be removed by simply peeling off when desired, but make sure to read the directions before applying.

3. Wood

Wainscoting

Old and antique kitchen counter with old jugs, water pump, sink, mirror and shelf above the counter

Wainscoting or beadboard work well in traditional or farmhouse-style homes. These are generally white but can be painted in different colors. Light blues, greens, and yellows are also common. Wainscoting adds a traditional look to your kitchen, is easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. Click here to see “13 Cozy Country Kitchen Ideas” to compliment your wood backsplash.

Shiplap

Shiplap is another farmhouse-looking backsplash option. This is again generally painted white but can be done in any color. Vertical or horizontal, shiplap looks great and adds a more rustic vibe wherever it is used. Some people like to use shiplap on their backsplash as well as their ceiling to create a cohesive look that carries through the entire kitchen.

Click here to see these white shiplap boards on Amazon.

Planks

Interior of modern kitchen in luxury mansion

Cork, bamboo, and butcher block or planks are other unique but beautiful options when selecting your new backsplash. These look great paired with other natural elements in a kitchen, like stone, glass, and greenery. You can match the color of the wood to your wood flooring or go for a darker floor and lighter wood backsplash.

Barn Board or Reclaimed Wood

Raw, exposed barn board and reclaimed woods can be used to achieve a rustic appearance in your backsplash area and if you’re lucky, it can be obtained affordably off anyone completing a tear-down type of project yields a lot of wood. These pieces typically have nail holes, dents or chips, and knots.

Wood planks and barn board create a more interesting look when multiple types and finishes are alternated throughout the backsplash area. Some people have even used vinyl plank flooring on their walls to create this popular wood look for less.

4. Brick

Furnished Bar in New Luxury Home with brick as an alternative for backslash, 8 Backsplash Alternatives To Check Out

When it comes to using brick or stone for your backsplash, there are many options. Traditional red brick can add character and dimension to an otherwise boring backsplash. Generally, people knock out drywall to expose the underlying brick structure of their home to do so. There are plenty of faux brick options to achieve this look as well.

Interior of a bright modern kitchen in vintage style, decorated with Christmas decor, general plan

You can also paint the brick to better blend into your home’s design. White or whitewashed is a common paint choice when trying to enhance the beauty of exposed brick but others opt to add a pop of color. Make sure the mortar is in good shape and that the wall is well insulated, as the paint can bubble, crack, and chip off due to temperature and moisture changes.

5. Stone

Stone makes a very sturdy and timeless addition to your kitchen. Nearly any kind of stone looks amazing as a backsplash. Some people get creative with concrete to get this look for cheap, while others buy more expensive natural stone tiles. Stone slabs are also common in more stately or expensive homes.

Marble 

Bright horizontal image of classic white kitchen, with gas range and marble backsplash.

Marble is common in kitchens with lighter color palettes. This stone is very expensive but can be purchased and installed in large slabs for a seamless look. Marble has a cool, modern, and luxurious look. It works well with white cabinetry and stainless steel appliances.

Travertine

Travertine is very popular and looks great with wood or tiled floors. It is typically left as a rough surface, comes in lightweight tiles or panels, and is relatively easy to install. This stone can crack more easily than others, so it is not great for countertops, but a backsplash is a pretty safe area to display this stone. It ranges in color from grey to brown, so it can go with just about any color scheme.

Sandstone

Sandstone is similar in look to Travertine but is generally a bit browner or orange in color. This stone goes well in warm kitchens and compliments red Terracotta tiles really nicely.

Granite

Granite comes in varying shades but is generally a bit darker. This stone pairs beautifully with red oak and cherry cabinetry. This stone is exceptionally solid, which is why it is one of the most expensive types of stone you can purchase for your kitchen. Granite can easily last a lifetime, is heat and crack-resistant, and is overall a very durable choice for any home improvement project.

Slate

Modern kitchen with black sink and fronts

Slate is another commonly used stone for backsplashes. This stone is nearly black in color and is typically smoother than Travertine and Sandstone when used for this purpose. Slate is typically a very dark gray or black stone with a matte surface and adds a more modern look to any kitchen.

6. Metal

Tin

Pressed tin can be used as a backsplasho add an old-timey or victorian look to your kitchen’s backsplash area. These sheets of metal come in varying colors and designs. Antique pressed tin can be reclaimed from old structures, is generally hard to come by, and may cost quite a bit to procure sheeting with the look you desire. Modern manufactured pressed tin is also available for a more affordable price.

Click here to see this affordable faux pressed tin backsplash option on Amazon.

Stainless Steel

Luxury Kitchen Interior, part of the main floor open concept area of modern cottage

Stainless steel is another great metal backsplash that can add a more industrial look to your home’s kitchen. You can buy this in sheets or smaller tile-sized pieces, many of which are fingerprint-proof and magnetic, which makes for a great place to post recipes and family photos.  Stainless still matches more modern appliances and creates a clean, sleek look.

Copper

Copper also looks great as a backsplash in farmhouse-styled homes, as well as kitchens that contain a lot of color and warmth. Copper is a very expensive metal that will add a reddish or orange tone to the room’s color scheme. It pairs nicely with raw woods and other natural materials.

7. Glass

Glass can be used in a few different ways to create a unique and aesthetically pleasing backsplash. Broken or beaded glass can adhere to your backsplash area the same way you would use tile. Colored glass works best for this and looks very nice. You can use multiple colors and create a pattern or mosaic. A mixture of larger and smaller pieces will give the area dimension and interest.

Detail of a colorful glass mosaic.

Retrofit Windows

Windows are also sometimes used in place of a traditional backsplash. These can be a few windows spaced throughout the area or a full-length window that runs the whole length of the counter. To install windows as a backsplash, however, will typically require some major construction and is best left to trained professionals.

This is a very expensive backsplash option unless you are building your home from scratch and can have the windows installed during the build, but some people are lucky enough to have pre-existing low-lying windows in their kitchen space. Click here to read on how to make the most of kitchen windows that encroach on your backsplash area.

Mirrors

Mirrors are another great way to use glass as a backsplash. These can be bought in larger panels, but will generally need to be custom-fitted, resulting in a hefty price tag. A mirrored backsplash is much more affordable than retrofitting a window backsplash, however. There are also smaller mirrored tiles and panels available for purchase. Mirrors can add depth, dimension, and light to your kitchen area.

Click here to view mirrored subway tiles on Amazon.

Known to reflect light and open up tight spaces, mirrors are a great option for smaller homes and kitchens. Mirrors brighten a room by reflecting natural and artificial light and give the illusion of added space because of this. Position mirrors near a natural light source if at all possible to make the most of their beauty.

Sheet Glass

Sheet or back-painted glass also creates a smooth, clean look when used for kitchen backsplashes. These come in various colors and depths and will most likely need to be custom-fitted to your kitchen backsplash area, resulting in an added expense.

8. Small-Object Mosaic

Color tiles pattern lighten from behind.

If you are trying to save money and are not afraid of a DIY project, nearly any small flat object can be used to create a one-of-a-kind mosaic backsplash. People have used bottle caps, pennies, and shells to create their own individual designs. These objects can be in neat columns or rows, random, swirling, or other patterns.

Click here to see polyblend white grout on Amazon.

Typically these kinds of backsplashes are made similarly to how you would adhere, grout, and seal traditional tiles. These backsplashes go well in vacation homes, cabins, and any home that has a bit of a quirky style. They are also great for bars and restaurant areas visible to customers.

The Backsplash Possibilities Are Endless 

There are countless ways to complete your kitchen backsplash. Whether you are doing so on a tight budget or have quite a few extra bucks to spare, you will find there are many options to create a beautiful and unique backsplash in your kitchen.

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