The backsplash is often an afterthought in kitchen design. Yet this relatively small space can have an outsized impact on your cooking area’s style. Backsplash trends ebb and flow each year, providing ample opportunities to upgrade your kitchen’s look. With so many stunning new backsplash tile shapes, colors, and materials emerging, 2023 is the perfect time for a backsplash makeover.
From bold colors to nature-inspired textures, there are countless options to create a fashionable, functional backsplash. Read on to discover beautiful new styles that will level up your kitchen’s overall aesthetic.
Timeless Subway Tile Patterns
Subway tile backsplashes remain a popular classic. Their rectangular shape and moderate size make them endlessly versatile. Subway tiles come in virtually every color and material imaginable, pairing beautifully with any kitchen decor. Install them horizontally or vertically, in patterns or solid blocks of color. Their simplicity provides the ideal backdrop to layer in more trendy backsplash elements.
Classic Horizontal Subway Tiles
The quintessential subway tile backsplash consists of 3-by-6-inch rectangular tiles installed in horizontal rows. This clean, streamlined look pairs well with contemporary to farmhouse kitchen designs. Laying subway tiles horizontally helps walls appear wider and ceilings taller. Their modular size makes installation a breeze. Horizontal subways enable endless pattern options. Try offsetting rows or alternating colors to add visual interest.
Glossy white ceramic subway tiles are the most common. But earth tones, pastels, or black pair excellently with stainless steel and marble countertops. Horizontal subways exude understated sophistication. For a pop of contrast, fluorescent tiles in pale blue, green, or pink create retro-modern style.
Stacked Subway Tiles
For a more unique look, stack subway tiles vertically with their short edges aligned. Stacking heightens the industrial vibe, perfect for urban lofts or modern spaces. Combine vertical and horizontal placements in a herringbone motif. Or, alternate vertical and horizontal stacks in rows. Use grout color to define patterns like bricks. Soft grays, beiges, and whites keep things minimalist.
Go bold with primary reds, yellows and teals when stacking subway tiles. Their vertical orientation maximizes the visual impact of vibrant colors. Or, choose contrasting hues of the same tone. Stacked navy blue with light blue subway tiles, for example, creates subtle colorblocking.
Subway Tile Shape and Material Variations
The classic rectangular subway shape now comes in endless material types. Opt for glass, marble, or penny rounds with black grout for an upgraded look. Introduce sculptural shape variations like hexagons, irregular concave/convex tiles, extra-long planks, and L-shaped corner pieces.
Oversized and elongated subway tiles (4×8, 4×10 inches) establish contemporary flair. Run contrasting materials like marble and ceramic in the same color for stylish texture mixing. Cut subway tiles creatively to fashion one-of-a-kind mosaics. Subway tiles may be commonplace, but their flexibility enables totally unique backsplash designs.
Eye-Catching Geometric Tile Layouts
Geometric tile patterns inject energy, movement, and modernist appeal into kitchen backsplashes. Angled arrangements and tactile shapes grab attention. While ornate backsplashes aren’t for everyone, geometric tiles offer artists, minimalists, and eclectic design lovers exciting possibilities. Their dimensional tones and textures make cooking feel like an elevated experience.
Herringbone and Chevron Patterns
For an intriguing spin, lay rectangular or square subway tiles in zigzag herringbone motifs. The dynamic angled pattern perks up traditionally straightforward subway tiles. Tiles pointing left and right create charming V shapes down the wall. Herringbone backsplashes complement both modern and farmhouse decor when done in natural woody tones.
Closely related chevron patterns use jagged angles rather than sharp points. These look stunning in glossy black paired with marble countertops. Metallic golds or coppers make a glamorous statement, especially when accented with glass mosaic tiles. Choose a large-format porcelain or ceramic tile and cut pieces to fit the angles. Or, purchase specialty herringbone and chevron tiles designed for easier installation.
Hexagons, Fishscales, and Diamond Shapes
Interlocking geometric shapes like hexagons and diamonds create mesmerizing multi-sided impacts. These dimensional tiles work best on expansive backsplashes. Keep grout thin with white or light gray for a nearly seamless look. Pair hexagons or fishscales with solid-colored subway tiles in complementary tones.
Play with scale by incorporating large statement tiles amidst smaller mosaics. Geometric tiles look ultra-contemporary in glossy finishes. But matte options provide added depth and tactile appeal. For a luxe aesthetic, choose iridescent glass or mother of pearl tiles. They reflect and amplify surrounding light beautifully.
Mixing Tile Materials for Custom Backsplashes
One of the biggest current trends involves blending materials in eclectic, multi-textured backsplash designs. Combining natural stone with ceramic, glass, or metal tiles maximizes visual interest. These mix-and-match combos create depth and custom style. Arrange mosaic materials in geometric patterns or clustered asymmetrically – the options are endless.
Combining Subway With Natural Stone Tiles
Few combinations top classic subway tiles paired with gorgeous marble, travertine, or quartzite. Their sleek straight lines contrast dramatically against the stone’s organic veining. Consider a primarily subway design with stone tile accents. Or, alternate equal-sized stone and ceramic tiles in an eye-catching checkerboard.
For an Old World vibe, frame neutral subways with an intricate stone mosaic border. Natural peel-and-stick stone veneers like quartzite now make this look attainable at all budget levels. A creatively mixed subway and stone backsplash lends elegance to any kitchen scheme.
Blending Metallic With Ceramic or Glass Tile
Metallic backsplashes shine bright, infusing kitchens with contemporary edge. The most popular choices are copper and brass, prized for their warm, reflective golden sheen. Pair copper tiles with cool grays or ocean blue ceramics. Brass pops against vivid scarlets or midnight black.
Incorporate metallic mosaics sparingly with ceramic tiles as accents along the top or bottom. Or, go bold with a primarily metal backsplash for industrial swagger. Minimize grout lines between metal tiles to maximize glittering impact. For more shine, polish your metal backsplash routinely.
Using Wood With Brick, Tile, or Stone
Natural wood backsplashes resonate in casual, eclectic spaces. Barnwood planks with chipped paint and rugged reclaimed surfaces bring vintage character. While hardwoods like oak work, weathered softwoods better complement live edges. Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine, Heart Pine, and Southern Yellow Pine are excellent reclaimed backsplash options.
Pair salvaged wood with brick veneers or natural stone tile for textural contrast. Intersperse real wood between ceramic subway tiles and cement tile accents for an ultra-custom creation. A wood backsplash scales beautifully to any wall size while infusing organic warmth.
Bold and Vibrant Backsplash Colors
2022’s affinity for muted backsplash palettes is fading fast. Vibrant, saturated color treatments are replacing subtle, neutral schemes. If your kitchen’s canvas can handle it, bold backsplashes help create that coveted “wow factor.” Dark, dramatic colors paired with light cabinets and counters pop amazingly. Even if you stick with neutrals overall, introduce pops of color for visual excitement.
Saturated Hues and Tonal Shades
Deep blues, emerald greens, and coral reds are replacing white backsplashes in 2023. These rich foundation colors make cabinets and counters the accent. Set off a navy blue backsplash with warm wood counters and antique brass hardware. Vivid color transforms tile you’d overlook into an artistic focal point.
Stay tonal with different hues and values of a single color. Navy to robin’s egg blue, for example, shares a harmonious connection. Glossy finish lighter tiles and matte darker ones for subtle contrast within a cohesive palette.
Vivid Color Combinations and Gradients
More daring designers can combine complementary colors like orange and blue or triadic schemes featuring three equally spaced hues. Think vivid yellow, fuchsia and turquoise. Such combos arc from retro to cutting-edge depending on tile choice and installation style.
Ombre or gradated backsplashes transition beautifully between colors. Use encaustic cement tiles to create stunning rainbow effects. Sweeping color changes work especially well on unbroken kitchen walls. Whichever palette you pick, vivid color combines with neutrals for maximum liveliness.
Texture and Dimension With 3D Tiles
2022 saw increased interest in 3D tiles with enhanced depth, relief, and artisanal touches. This dovetails with a larger design shift toward more organic, handcrafted elements. While sleek and glossy backsplashes suit modern tastes, people want to inject more human personality via pronounced texture.
Handcrafted and Molded Materials
Look for concrete, ceramic, or glass backsplash tiles made using traditional molds and methods. Their subtle imperfections and custom markings create natural beauty. Handmade encaustic cement tiles have bubbled color effect. Subtle hand-chiseling produces one-of-a-kind stone and porcelain tiles.
Consider hiring artisan tilemakers to fabricate fully custom backsplash pieces. Or, use mass-produced hand-molded tiles for distinct texture at lower cost. Handcrafted backsplash tiles infuse authentic craftsmanship into modern spaces.
Raised Relief Patterns
Traditional techniques like pressing or carving raise beautiful reliefs across tile faces. Herringbone, fish scale, diamond, and subway relief tiles cast intriguing shadows thanks to their 3D surfaces. Reflective glass or glazed ceramic tiles showcase dimensional patterns. Or, opt for matte finishes to maximize the tactile impression.
While any design enjoys added depth, boldly patterned and shaped tiles benefit most from reliefs. The special handmade quality grants artistic flair. Massage your eyes and mind with the pleasing dimensionality of relief tiles.
Modern Textural Finishes
Glossy backsplashes remain popular for their sleek, polished effect. But more designers now prefer less light-reflective finishes. Satin, natural, honed and matte tiles have a subtler luster. Their luminosity comes from texture instead of sheen. Matte works wonderfully with vivid colors, while glossy finish can mute them. Ensure your backsplash finish aligns with the overall design style.
Eco-Friendly Backsplash Ideas
Sustainable design practices are influencing all aspects of kitchen decor. Homeowners want high-functioning spaces that reflect their eco-values. Manufacturers now offer recyclable, non-toxic backsplash materials suitable for any green kitchen. Breathe new life into waste items by repurposing them into your socially-conscious backsplash installation.
Recycled Glass and Solar Tile Manufacturing
Recycled glass tile breathes bold new life into bottles destined for landfills. The glass gets crushed, re-melted, and formed into glittering mosaics available in every color. Some companies like Triada Tile use 100 percent recycled content and solar-powered production.
Recycled glass appeals aesthetically and ethically. It cuts waste while retaining the sleek beauty of glass. Use it to put an environmentally-friendly shine on any kitchen scheme.
Incorporate reclaimed and repurposed materials for an eco-savvy installation. Salvaged wood from old barns and buildings makes a wonderfully rustic backsplash. Mix ceramic fragments from broken dishes, pots, or glassware to DIY your own eclectic mosaic.
Look for reusable resources in unlikely places. Pallet wood, unused kitchen utensils, and driftwood from beaches get beautifully renewed as backsplash features. Let environmental imagination be your guide in designing a sustainable, one-of-a-kind backsplash.
Responsibly sourced and manufactured tiles are growing in availability. Look for materials like renewable bamboo, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, stone remnants and smaller cuts that reduce waste. Even concrete can be eco-friendly using recycled fly ash and slag.
Natural materials like cork, earthy terra cotta, and recycled paper make laid back, sustainable choices. Your new backsplash can stand out sustainably by selecting greener materials and ethical production methods.
As we’ve seen, kitchen backsplashes are taking on bold new dimensions in 2023. While timeless classics like subway tile remain, innovations in shape, color, texture, and sustainability beckon. Striking patterns, eco-conscious materials, attention to detail, and an organic feel define today’s top backsplash trends.
Whether designing a sleek modern space or rustic retreat, backsplashes help personalize your cooking zone. Set your kitchen apart with mix-and-match metallics, vivid colors, handmade tiles, and eco-friendly recycled glass. Let this backsplash design overview spark ideas to refresh your home with stylish, current tile styles.