How To Pick The Best Backsplash For Your Kitchen

Our tile installation – click image to learn how we updated our kitchen without painting our oak cabinets

When designing a new kitchen or remodeling your existing one, a backsplash can be one of the trickiest elements to pick out in the room. I am going to help simplify the process for you and help you pick a backsplash that will complement your kitchen beautifully.

There are 4 main elements in a kitchen:

  3. FLOOR

When deciding on your choice for the backsplash in your kitchen, it is important to carefully consider the other three elements to put together a well balanced and cohesive look.

Follow This Rule to Pick Out The Best Backsplash For Your Kitchen

The key to picking the best backsplash for your kitchen is to achieve a 50-50 balance of plain to pattern in the 4 main elements in your kitchen (backsplash, cabinets, floor, and countertops). This will give the most visually appealing overall look to the room, avoiding an overly busy/cluttered look and avoiding a bare and cold look to your kitchen.

Plain to pattern means that you want at least 2 of your elements to be simple, uniform in color and texture. This could be a solid color (or near solid color) countertop. It could be cabinets that are free from a lot of wood grain, giving a uniform appearance to the eye. It could be a wall color & backsplash that does not have a busy pattern to it.

To read more about my method to assist you in selecting the perfect balance to the 4 main components to your kitchen, read my post on WHITE OR WOOD CABINETS? Which is the best choice for your kitchen?

Click image to follow my method to help you decide between WHITE OR WOOD CABINETS & learn how to coordinate the other elements of your kitchen.

To add an additional bit of brightness to the kitchen I added added a shiplap accent to the end of the cabinet. It is made with wood, it totally removable, with no glue or nails in the cabinet. Click here to learn how to make your own REMOVABLE SHIPLAP ACCENT.

Should I Pick A Backsplash Tile With A Pattern?

NO. Allow me to explain…

Pick A Simple Tile To Avoid A Cluttered Looking Kitchen

I know that is pretty blunt, isn’t it?! But, here’s my reasoning on that. The vast majority of us actually live in our homes and actually cook in our kitchens. We have a certain degree of real life clutter that will exist on our countertops in our kitchens.

Our kitchens do not need any additional help creating clutter. Therefore, to achieve the most visually appealing look to your kitchen, selecting a simple backsplash will always be a good choice.

Pick A Simple Tile to Avoid Having An Outdated Kitchen In A Couple Years

Anytime you design a new kitchen or remodel an existing kitchen, there will be a certain degree of the room being dated to the year you made it. But, the majority of that problem can be greatly reduced by picking more classic elements in your 4 major components in the kitchen (countertop, floor, cabinets, and backsplash). And, save the trendy items for décor you can more easily change as trends come and go.

Before & After From Busy Tile To Simple Subway Tile Inspiration

Kristen from LifeMadeSimpleBlog shows a great before and after of changing from a multi-tonal brown tile to a fresh, clean, simple subway tile with her wood cabinets. It simplifies and brightens the look of the kitchen. A great example of HOW TO UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN WITH WOOD CABINETS WITHOUT PAINTING THEM.


AFTER – LifeMadeSimple.Blog – Lighter & brighter, updated look w/ all classic, timeless elements

Should I Add A Tile Mosaic Or Accent Behind Stove?


How is that for definitive? While I definitely think you should have a tile backsplash behind your stove, I do not think you need to do a special tile accent behind the stove. I even would generally vote against it.

There are some benefits to installing an accent mosaic or special tile pattern behind the stove in your kitchen, and there are also some drawbacks to installing one.

Let us take a look and decide.

Benefits Of A Tile Accent Behind Stove

There are some benefits to adding in an accent in your tile backsplash behind your stove.

  • adds a focal point to the room
  • gives style to the room to help complete ‘the look’ you are trying to achieve
  • allows you to incorporate a small area that focuses on a trend, rather than using that tile throughout the entire backsplash
  • good way to incorporate patterned tile without overwhelming the room with too much of a busy look

Tile Accent Behind Stove Inspiration

Janna from Yellow Prairie Interiors nailed it with her tile accent behind her stove. She stayed in the same tone as the rest of her backsplash, but added the interest of a different shaped tile. This adds interest and a focal point to the room without being distracting or too busy looking. (She is a favorite of mine on Instagram, be sure to give her follow. She is so genuine and kind.)

Yellow Prairie Interiors

Drawbacks Of A Tile Accent Behind Stove

  • detailed tile can quickly date a kitchen
  • can contribute to a busy/cluttered look to the kitchen
  • difficult to decorate around
  • added expense in tile budget

Sarah from Sarah Joy Blog kept her backsplash in her new construction home uniform throughout her kitchen, including behind her stove. This allows her to easily change out seasonal décor behind the stove, which is a perfect way to accessorize the room throughout the year. You can see her simple sleighride sign that dresses the room up for Christmas without adding clutter to the room.

Favorite Backsplash Tile For Kitchen

CLICK IMAGEHow to Update Your Kitchen With Oak Cabinets Without Painting Cabinets

Whether you have white or wood cabinets, I just don’t think you can go wrong picking a larger subway tile. Mine shown above is a 3 inch by 12 inch subway tile. My favorite detail of it is that it is not flat on the surface. It has some waviness to it that gives beautiful light play and reflection. It is such a subtle detail that adds so much beauty to the overall look to the kitchen.

If you have wood cabinets, I would suggest going with a more cream tone tile. If you have white cabinets, you could select a more true white tile.


Initially when I picked my tile, I had selected to go with white grout. I thought the clean and simple look was what I wanted. But, as the tile was being installed, I realized I liked how it looked before it was grouted.

I made a last minute change from white grout to a soft grey grout to allow some contrast between the tile and grout. Using a soft grey called ‘oyster gray’ maintained softness to the overall look, but gave some definition to the tile. I love being able to see the pattern in the tile layout.

My tile shown with samples of grout. You can see oyster gray is a warmer toned grout shade, not a cool grey. Keep the tones in mine when you are coordinating your elements to work with your counters, floors, etc.


Click here to keep reading to learn more about coordinating the 4 main elements in your kitchen.

Best wishes with your kitchen project!!


Tara Foster

Hi! I'm Tara, half of the Growit Buildit duo. I am a frugal DIY enthusiast!! My professional background is in education and counseling, but have spent the last few years as a stay at home mom, which has given me the opportunity to explore my passions that have been put aside for so long. I gravitate towards what I'd consider modern farmhouse style, with a little boho mixed in. I have planned remodels for larger projects, like our kitchen, as well as many smaller DIY projects around our house. In addition, I create a lot of smaller craft projects. I am currently a maker for a local retail boutique in our area called 6ix North. I hope my posts provide you with some useful information for your DIY projects.

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