Saturday, 5 January 2008 - Ryan Burden

A new kitchen backslpash design can revitalize an otherwise out-dated or tired style without remodeling your entire kitchen. Turn your kitchen backsplash into an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind design with exotic pieces, murals, mosaics, marble or metal tile. Backsplash ideas are endless, so good planning is important.........

Follow these style tips and ideas to create that perfect backsplash

design that you've been dreaming of.

Kitchen Backsplash Styles and Themes

I'm sure you've been in kitchens that you really loved and some you

didn't. Also, you've seen enough pictures to have a good idea of the

"look" you want to create. Adhering to a central theme will help you

avoid a mish-mash style and turn your kitchen backsplash idea into a

design that you enjoy for years to come.

Old World: This look is cozy and comfortable and easy to achieve. A

classic style. Use tumbled marble, chipped or worn kitchen backsplash

tile, cobblestone or generally any aged material in the subtle earth

tones of beige, gold and light brown. Dark browns are out.

Hand-painted tiles, murals and mosaics are also right at home with this

style. And although not traditional, a copper backsplash or tin

backsplash could be interesting too.

Mediterranean: Colorful, hand-painted tiles in seaside colors of blue

and green are what create this fresh, vibrant and comfortable look. The

boldly colored tiles can be used as accents, or as a distinct kitchen

tile design in a particular section or for the whole backsplash. This

look works best when paired with light earth toned countertops and


Contemporary: Clean, sleek lines and smooth surfaces are the keys here.

No complex tile designs, rough textures or a busy stone. Polished

granite on both the countertop and backsplash is perfect for achieving

this look. But also consider a glass backsplash, metal backsplash or

stainless steel backsplash for that ultra-urban appeal.

Metals are HOT! Copper, tin and especially stainless steel backsplashes

and countertops are quickly gaining popularity with many new tiles and

designs on the market.

Uniquely Yours: Don't be afraid to take elements of style, but not too

many, from different themes to create a design that looks and feels

good to you.

Just remember a simple, elegant backsplash design will be most

pleasing. So, plan it all out first, have a clear picture in your mind

what the finished product should be like and play with the design a


Putting It All Together: Colors, Textures & Patterns

Your goal of course, is to integrate the backsplash with all the other

elements and structures in your kitchen to establish the them you


The colors of your backsplash material should be chosen to complement

the countertops and cabinets.

Bits and splashes of non-complementary colors can be integrated if they

don't compete for attention, but start by picking colors that are

represented in your countertop.

The texture of the backsplash materials should be consistent with the

style or theme of your kitchen. Rough and uneven for "Old-World" or

smooth and sleek for contemprorary.

Avoid creating a busy pattern or using too many textures, colors or

intense colors if your countertop has a lot of movement or veins.

Creating harmony is the key and you don't want to confuse the eye with

an intricate backsplash design on top of a dramatic countertop.

More Fun Backsplash Ideas

Murals and mosaics in general will look better when paired with a

countertop that has a uniform or subtle color and pattern.

Niches and ledges can be interesting and useful elements to add to your

kitchen backsplash design. Place these above the sink or behind the

cooktop to display a collection of colorful bottles, ceramics, plants

or all your spices!

Picture frame designs are often added above the cooktop if space allows

creating a focal point for a mural, mosaic or a more elaborate tile


Choose Your Countertops Before The Backsplash

You want to choose your countertop material prior to designing your

backsplash for a few reasons.

First, the countertop is generally the
centerpiece of the kitchen and should be the first material chosen or

matched to an existing color scheme.

Second, the countertop material is
going to cost you more than the backsplash, unless you are using the

countertop material for a backsplash as well, which for most of us

makes it a higher priority.

Lastly and probably the best reason to pick your
countertop first is that the design possibilities for your backsplash

are virtually infinite; therefore, it is much easier to match the

backsplash to the countertop rather than the reverse.

Designing Your Backsplash Space

First off, you need to determine the space you have available and

whether you can or want to change it.

Measurements of a typical backsplash are 16 to 18 inches between the

countertop and cabinets. Now, the countertops must be installed before

adding the backsplash so, the countertop will be at a fixed

The top cabinets, however, can be moved increasing available backsplash

space to 20 inches or even 24 inches allowing more room for your


Of course, moving your current cabinets higher or installing new

cabinets means that it will be more difficult to reach the top shelves

and you may
lose space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, which is

often a nice space for displaying plants, glassware, ceramics or other


Before you decide, consider the size of your kitchen. A 24 inch

backsplash may be overwhelming in an intimate kitchen, but if your

kitchen is large and open with tall ceilings then the bigger space

expands the
design possibilities and adds to the dramatic appeal of the backsplash.

Outlets and switches are an important consideration too. In most homes

the outlets are right in the middle of the backsplash and will

interfere with your design.

If you're only replacing the countertops and backsplash then it's

probably not worth the trouble to have them moved.

If this is the case, you can faux paint the cover plates to match the

backsplash, use stainless
steel cover plates if you have appliances to match or buy cover plates

that are a close color match to the backsplash.

If you are doing a big kitchen remodel or building from scratch, then

consider placing the outlets under the cabinets.

Other options are an outlet strip installed at the top of the splash or

turn the outlet horizontal and place
them just above the countertop surface at the bottom of the backsplash

where they are more likely to be hidden from view by all the stuff on

your countertops.

Also, installing under-cabinet lighting will help showcase your

backsplash and provide additional workspace light. Of course, messing

with the electricity means you'll need to get a permit and adhere to

building codes.

Creating a kitchen backsplash design is an exciting project since even

simple designs are unique reflecting your personal taste and style. So

have fun and good luck!

Ryan Burden publishes, which provides nformation on custom countertops AND . . . produces a nice income.

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