Technically speaking, the kitchen backsplash is the upright area at the back of the sink and the range/cooktop designed to keep that area safe from water and cooking splashes and heat. These days the backsplashes typically runs the full length of the countertop and occupies the space between the countertop and the cabinets.
Aesthetically speaking, the kitchen backsplash serves as a decor and design element. The color and texture of the backsplash also helps to bring together the color palette of the various elements in your kitchen. AK's designers recommend to design your backsplash color and texture in contrast to your kitchen countertops. This rule is explained in the very technical term of "no matchy-matchy!" Instead of trying to match your countertop or cabinets your backsplash color and texture should pick up on elements within them both! Consider other pieces around the room as well, like the elements of the floor or kitchen fixtures that will not change over time; as opposed to using appliances and accessories that are more will be changed and replaced over time.
Let's take a closer look at the materials commonly used for backsplashes and the looks they can help create:
- Glass - Contemporary / Clean Lines - 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. Glass tiles can create an ultra-urban feel. Glass tiles are unique and beautiful. Better yet, it is possible to get recycled glass tiles, which appeals to those who've adopted a greener way of life. Glass is not porous like ceramic tile, so it resists stains, mold, and mildew and the colors and combinations are as limitless as your imagination! Because the tiles reflect light, the room where they are used will always look bigger and brighter!
- Stone - Old World / Traditional - This style uses tumbled marble (travertine), chipped or worn kitchen backsplash tile, onyx, slate, limestone, cobblestone or generally any aged material in the subtle earth tones of beige, gold and light brown. Stone has a timeless quality, because of it's appearance. Some stone backsplashes need special attention and maintenance. Tumbled marble, also known as travertine, is very porous and requires a sealant after the grout and thinset, or mastic, has fully dried. (The full cure time for grout is 28 days) Stone is still one of the most popular choices for new homes as many homeowner's feel the universal appeal of stone will help boost the home's resale value in the future.