Tile backsplashes have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, both in the bathroom and in the kitchen. But while having a backsplash in the first place is trendy all on its own, the size, shape, color, and even type of tile used is constantly evolving. In fact, many of the most popular tiles are going out of vogue, while some classic designs are making a comeback, along with a few new stars. If you’re considering adding a backsplash to your kitchen, read this first!
Subway Or Rectangular Tile
Subway tile is a century-old classic that’s regaining popularity in a major way, both in cottage style bathrooms and in classic and contemporary kitchens. These simple rectangular (usually white porcelain – but more on that in a second) tiles offer a crisp, clean backdrop for your kitchen. In addition to the traditional offset layout, rectangular tiles are starting to show up in straight set, vertical straight and offset, diagonal, crosshatch, herringbone, and a wide variety of other patterns. For those that don’t like the traditional subway size, rectangular tiles of all sizes and shapes are also becoming quite popular.
Another twist on the increasingly-fashionable rectangle tile is to opt for a tile made out of glass rather than porcelain or ceramic. Glass backsplash tiles offer a high-gloss and much more contemporary style, and are available in a wide variety of colors, from frosty pastels to bold primary colors. I’m personally partial to mid-sized rectangles (a slightly modern twist on the traditional subway tiles), but if you have room in your budget, painted single-sheet glass backsplashes are amazingly trendy, offering a stunning, unbroken and very modern style.
Get The Look With: This Ice Gloss light blue glass tile.
What About Stone?
While I can’t say this is a trend I’m totally overjoyed about, marble and granite are two materials that, for kitchen counters and backsplashes alike, are still going strong. Light marble and travertine are especially popular in terms of backsplash trends, and if you have a particularly generous budget, a single-piece marble backsplash is undeniably impressive. Smaller marble or other stone tiles can also be quite lovely, and if you love the look but are on a tight budget, HD stone print ceramic and porcelain tiles offer a very convincing duplicate at a much lower price.
Another timeless kitchen trait that’s making itself known in kitchen backsplash trends is… the color white. It’s hard to look at an all-white kitchen and not be impressed (after all, they look clean! light! bright!), and white backsplashes are a natural evolutionary step. The size, shape, or even type of tile doesn’t matter all that much, but if you go with an all-white kitchen decor, you definitely want to play with patterns, especially in the layout of the tile, to give your backsplash a little texture.
Get This Look: By installing that same subway tile with different orientations, or looking for white stone tile with its own texture, like this ivory Herringbone Travertine.
Shop Mosaic Tile by Tesoro:
These days, many designers are shirking the conventional ceramic, porcelain, stone, and glass tiles in favor of more exotic materials. From stainless steel to abalone, these unconventional tiles are designed to be eye catching, either by the literal reflective nature of the tile, or some other design feature. Bright metallics work great in a modern kitchen, while bronze or copper accent tiles add depth and texture to a more traditional or French country style kitchen.
Shop Mosaic Tile by Soci:
Adding a three dimensional aspect to tile is another popular backsplash trend that isn’t limited to cast metal tiles. In fact, while past trends emphasized using bright, eye-grabbing color in backsplash tiles, these days it’s more en vogue to use raised tiles that play with light and cast interesting shadows. This can come in many forms, including rough stone tiles, but among my favorite are weave or wave patterned glass tiles, which continue regular dips and curves across the whole surface of your backsplash.
Get The Look With: Legion Furniture’s Stone Mosaic.
One of the most important trends in modern kitchen backsplashes, though, is that backsplashes are getting bigger than ever. It used to be that your stone kitchen counter would have a 4 inch backsplash made of the same material as the counter top. But these days backsplashes start at the level of the counter and are easily twice or three times as tall, with many designs covering the entire wall. Not all backsplashes have to be top to toe, but definitely look into building them up more than you might have a few years ago.
Get The Look With: Lots and lots of Crema Marfil Tiles.
Shop Mosaic Tile by Soci:
One Big Showpiece
As kitchen backsplashes trend larger, it’s becoming popular to put a large tile focal point on the area above your stove and below your range hood. This area offers a nice blank canvas cutout from between your kitchen cabinets, and can be used in a variety of ways. Custom painted designs, mosaics, and unique raised tiles or decorative plaques add a dramatic and personalized flair to the space, but even simply installing a raised tile border and changing the direction of the tile within the frame adds visual interest to an otherwise blank space.
Maybe the biggest change in kitchen backsplash trends in the last few years is more of an anti-trend: the tiny one inch by one inch square mosaic tiles that have been popular for so long are going out of vogue in a big way. While I’ve always been a big fan of easy-to-install mosaic tile sheets, I can definitely understand this backsplash backlash.The small size of the tile combined with the often hectic assortment of colors can wind up looking busy both up close and at a distance, which is definitely NOT what you want for a sleek, contemporary design.
DON’T Get This Design: (Unless you really love the tiny tiles, in which case, look for tiles in a single color with some other distinguishing feature, like the opalescent finish on the Glacial Glow tile from Tesoro)
While small squares are on their way out, those mosaic sheets are still a good go-to, as long as you use… well, basically anything but a one inch square. There are many varieties of these, ranging from the simple rectangles I mentioned above to beautiful broken shapes. Among the most popular though are staggered, irregular rectangles that are very long and very thin. These can be installed either horizontally or vertically, to beautiful modern effect in either case.
Get The Look: With this Fusion Mosaic tile.
Kitchen backsplash trends are constantly evolving, but the good news is, there’s no lack of styles to choose from!