Cheap Backsplash Panels to Make Your Kitchen Pop Without Draining Your Wallet

Is your kitchen looking tired and dated? Drab backsplash materials like old tile or peeling wallpaper can really drag down the look of your kitchen. Unfortunately, a full kitchen remodel costs an average of $25,000, according to HomeAdvisor. Not in the budget? No problem! With creative use of inexpensive backsplash panels, you can give your kitchen a fresh new look that pops for under $100.

You’ll learn how to design a gorgeous budget-friendly backsplash, find the best materials, and install it yourself. Let’s make your kitchen shine without draining your wallet!

Why Upgrade Your Backsplash?

So why bother upgrading your backsplash when you could put your money towards a full remodel? Here are a few excellent reasons to give your backsplash a refresh:

  • Cover up damages or stains on existing backsplash
  • Make kitchen feel brighter and more spacious
  • Increase functionality by choosing moisture-proof materials
  • Protect walls from water damage or splatters
  • Add personality and style to boring, builder-grade kitchen
  • Increase your home’s value for resale

A new backsplash is one of the most dramatic changes you can make in a kitchen renovation with a massive visual impact. By choosing budget-friendly panels and doing it yourself, you can achieve this transformation for a fraction of the cost!

Planning Your Budget Backsplash Project

Determine Your Budget

First, set a realistic budget for your backsplash project. How much you’ll spend depends on the size of your kitchen. For a small kitchen under 150 square feet, plan to spend around $50-$75 on materials. For a medium 200 square foot kitchen, budget $75-$100. Large 300+ square foot kitchens may need $125-$150 for an impactful new backsplash. If your budget is ultra-tight, look for peel-and-stick panel options under $50.

cheap kitchen backsplash panels

Choose a Material

With your budget set, now you can explore material options. For an inexpensive DIY backsplash, consider:

  • Peel-and-stick backsplash panels or tiles: Self-adhesive and easy for anyone to install, these are the most budget-friendly option.
  • Clearance ceramic, metal, or glass tile: Check home improvement stores for discounted or discontinued tile on sale.
  • Sheet vinyl: Sheet vinyl comes in numerous patterns, mimicking tile, stone, or wood.
  • Remnant granite, marble, or stone: Use leftover pieces from other jobs for a unique eclectic look.
  • Wallpaper: Self-adhesive wallpaper with a tile or stone pattern adds visual interest.

Decide on Installation

DIY installation is ideal to save money, but some materials like tile require more skill. Peel-and-stick tiles or panels are the easiest for DIY. For beginners, avoid intricate tile patterns or natural stone that require cutting. The right tools, time, and care are also needed for professional results. Consider your skill level and whether it’s worth hiring a pro to avoid headaches.

Best Materials for Inexpensive Backsplashes

Peel-and-Stick Tiles

Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles are a renter or homeowner’s dream. They feature a self-adhesive backing, so you just have to peel away the protective coating and press onto the wall. No grout, thinset, or special tools needed!


  • Easy DIY installation – just peel and stick
  • Reusable – remove without damaging the wall
  • Endless pattern and finish options
  • mimic real ceramic, metal, glass, or stone
  • No grout for easy upkeep


  • Not as durable as real tile
  • Adhesive could lose stickiness over time
  • Gaps may show at edges if not precisely aligned

Quality brands to look for include Art3d and StickTiles. Measure carefully and prep the surface for maximum long-term adhesion. Use a plastic putty knife to press tiles firmly into place.

Backsplash Panels

Full backsplash panels from cladding manufacturers like Smart Tiles provide instant wall coverage. Popular options include:

  • PVC – Waterproof and budget-friendly
  • 3D foam – Lightweight with realistic textures
  • Metal composite – Sleek and modern
  • Faux brick or stacked stone – Rustic and charming
  • Wood plank – Warm and natural


  • Provide full wall coverage
  • Many realistic textures and finishes
  • Moisture and mold resistant
  • Easy install with adhesive or screws
  • Good for renters – removable


  • Prone to damage if not installed correctly
  • Limited color options with pre-finished panels
  • Seams may be visible between panels

Get creative mixing and matching panels for a custom look. Prepare the wall surface and use the manufacturer’s recommended adhesive. Carefully measure and cut panels to fit your space.

Clearance or Discounted Tile

Hit up home improvement stores and tile shops for marked down or discontinued tile. Keep an eye out for:

  • Customer returns – tiles in perfect shape, just opened
  • Old or discontinued stock – classic styles won’t go out of fashion
  • Mis-tints or overstocks – nothing wrong but unsellable colors
  • Chipped or broken tile – use for mosaic sheets or edging

With some creativity and bargain hunting, you can find beautiful tile for cheap. Make sure to buy extra – breakage always happens! Check condition carefully before purchase. Install as you would any tile backsplash.

More Unique Budget-Friendly Backsplash Ideas

Think outside the box with these unique DIY budget backsplash ideas!

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet vinyl is an inexpensive material that comes in every pattern imaginable. From natural stone and marble to graphic prints, the options are endless. Self-adhesive vinyl is easiest to install, or use vinyl adhesive for a permanent hold. Use a vinyl squeegee and sharp razor to trim.


Like sheet vinyl, self-adhesive wallpaper lets you customize on a budget. Choose from sophisticated patterns like Moroccan tiles, concrete, or weathered barnwood. Metallic or faux-stone finishes add a luxurious feel for less. Use a wallpaper smoothing tool for perfect results.

Reclaimed Materials

Check architectural salvage stores, Craigslist, or eBay for unique reclaimed finds. Wine crates, ceiling tiles, or tin roofing can all be upcycled into a one-of-a-kind installation. Get creative with materials like old doors, windows, or signage for artsy appeal.

Design and Installation Tips

Choose Complementary Materials and Colors

Tie your new backsplash into the rest of the kitchen with complementary colors and textures. For modern kitchens, opt for sleek glass or metal tiles. Rustic styles pair well with natural stone slates or reclaimed barnwood panels. Match existing countertops and cabinets so your new backsplash blends rather than clashing.

Lighter colored backsplashes reflect more light, making small spaces feel open and bright. Darker colors have a cozy, intimate feel. Add pops of color with glass tile accents or vibrant wallpaper.

Prepare the Surface

Proper surface prep prevents problems down the road. Thoroughly clean the wall and remove any oil or grease residue. Scrape off loose paint or wallpaper border. Fill any holes or uneven areas with spackle for a smooth finish. Wipe away dust with a damp cloth before installation.

Measure Precisely

Accurately measuring your backsplash area prevents mistakes and wasted materials. Mark the outlet locations. Hold panels or tiles up to the wall as you plan the layout. Leave room for edge trim and fixtures. Use painter’s tape to map out the design.

Use Adhesive and Sealant Liberally

Don’t skimp on quality construction adhesive and grout sealant. This holds your new backsplash securely for years and prevents moisture damage. Apply adhesive to the back of panels or wall surface as directed. Use non-sanded caulk for a waterproof seal between sections.

Take Your Time Installing

Rushing leads to careless mistakes, so go slowly and double check alignment. Work top to bottom and side-to-side. Use spacers between tiles or panels to maintain even gaps. Press firmly to set adhesive. Make any cuts carefully and precisely with proper tools.

Finish with Grout

Grout fills in gaps cleanly between tile or panel edges. Use a rubber grout float to spread it evenly across the surface, pressing into crevices. Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge in diagonal motions. Apply grout sealant once dry for maximum stain resistance.

Transform Your Kitchen on a Dime

Upgrading your backsplash on a strict budget may take more effort and creativity. But the results are stunning and cost a fraction of a professional remodel. With inexpensive panels or peel-and-stick tile, a few tools, and DIY determination, you can give your kitchen a fresh new look that shifts the eyes away from worn counters or cabinets.

Follow this guide to search out deals on materials, design within your budget, and install your new backsplash successfully. Take your time to enjoy the rewarding process and end up with a kitchen that looks straight out of a magazine. Get ready to impress guests with your savvy styling skills!

Magnetic Sheets

Magnetic sheets provide a smooth, modern backsplash material that adds function to your kitchen. Magnetic sheeting comes in stainless steel, copper, and other finishes that create a sleek, industrial look. Beyond just appearance, the magnetic surface is perfect for hanging utensils, knives, recipes and more. The sheets can be cut with scissors and installed using liquid nails or other permanent adhesive. Magnetic sheets are affordable and easy to keep clean. Their versatility and durability make them an excellent choice for a cost-effective backsplash upgrade.

Tempered Hardboard

For an ultra-low cost backsplash option, tempered hardboard panels check all the boxes. Hardboard is pressed wood pulp that forms a durable, smooth panel that can be finished, painted, or wrapped. While plain white hardboard on its own has a clean, modern feel, it can also mimic other materials like stained wood, marble, or encaustic tile. Tempered hardboard has moisture resistance and strength, holding up well behind stoves or sinks. Simple to cut and install using silicone caulk and paneling nails, it provides an affordable blank slate for endless customization.

Laminate Planks

Laminate flooring planks aren’t just for floors! Their realistic wood look and texture also works beautifully for kitchen backsplashes. Laminate planking comes in oak, cherry, rustic barnwood, and other appearances that warm up kitchens with a natural vibe. The planks click together for simple DIY installation and can be cut with a handsaw to fit any space. Durable and scratch-resistant, laminate stands up to daily wear and tear while adding visual interest. Float the planks right over existing materials for a quick upgrade on a budget.

With a little bit of planning, an affordable material like backsplash panels or peel-and-stick tile allows you to transform the look of your kitchen for under $100. No need to settle for an outdated, damaged backsplash when numerous budget-friendly options exist. Follow this guide to turn your kitchen into a bright, stylish space that looks amazingly expensive.

Refreshing your backsplash is an easy, affordable way to update your kitchen’s look before tackling larger projects like cabinetry or countertops down the road. Implement these budget backsplash ideas now to boost enjoyment of your kitchen today! Which material are you leaning towards for your project?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *