Kitchen splashback ideas to perk up and protect your walls

Inject color and personality into your home with these splendid kitchen splashback designs

kitchen splashback
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's not just the safeguarding element that makes kitchen splashbacks special. From classic tiles to modern block metals, installing a backsplash to walls adds depth, interest, and color, thus fusing the whole kitchen scheme together. 

Kitchen splashbacks can make a practical finishing touch to kitchens. The clue is in the name—they protect walls from water and food splashes. "Kitchen splashbacks are a must for protecting walls from cooking splashes, heat, and steam. They are an essential feature in kitchen design and are made from easy clean materials such as glass, tiles, stainless steel, and granite," Emma Hoyle, founder of Emma Hoyle Design, told w&h.  

Traditionally, a kitchen splashback was a run of kitchen wall tiles laid around worktops, cooking areas, and sinks. But as kitchen design and trends change, manufacturers are exploring all kinds of weird and wonderful materials to do the job. If you're giving your kitchen an overhaul, you might want to check out our guides on how to organize a kitchen, kitchen cabinet organization ideas, and tips and tricks for organizing a pantry

Kitchen splashback tiles—why they're so effective

Kitchen splashback with scalloped fish scale style wall tiles in ocean colours

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Ceramic and porcelain wall tiles are the typical choice to protect kitchen walls but that doesn't mean the look has had its day. Far from it, as there are now so many options to suit every kitchen style you could imagine. The simple grid of 4x4 inch squares we see covering kitchen walls in vintage magazines of the 1950s has evolved and even come around full circle with many modern interior designers favoring a nod towards the retro trend. 

Tiles are now produced in all shapes, patterns, and sizes. From tiny mosaics to brick effect subway or metro tiles. From quirky hexagons to lengthy planks and large-scale looks that can be repeated on the floor. Colour, pattern, and texture are choices to make too as well. And we must not forget innovative laying designs that are having a bit of a moment—with raised and layered tiles adding a fresh twist or tiles blended with grout for a more natural look. The options are endless, so installing a new kitchen splashback is a chance to get super imaginative and creative. 

What other materials can be used for a kitchen splashback?

kitchen splashback ideas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are four key materials when it comes to kitchen splashback options, according to Emma Hoyle:

  • Steel—easy to clean, not too expensive, and has a cool industrial vibe.
  • Glass—strong, long-lasting, and can come in many colors. Gives a great contemporary feel to a kitchen.
  • Tiles—perhaps more of a traditional choice but still plenty of scope for creativity with the different shapes and styles.
  • Granite—hard wearing and easy to clean. A favorite in contemporary and traditional households alike.

If choosing tiles as a kitchen splashback seems overwhelming, a decorative panel could be an easier, more fluid, and less time-consuming option. As long as it's water-proof, almost anything can be used to create a protective layer to become a standout or harmonizing feature of the kitchen scheme. 

Worktops made from decorative stone such as marble and quartz can be extended or matched with tiles to create a seamless and luxurious flow. Toughened, colored glass is reflective and looks clean, while metallic panels bring in an opulent and glamorous glow. Stainless steel can tie in with other integrated kitchen appliances. 

"Kitchen splashback styles can range from tiled backsplashes, which can come in various colors, sizes, and styles, to metal splashbacks such as copper/brass which will patina over time," said Xander Shreenan, interior designer at home décor brand Dowsing & Reynolds. "Or even a classic steel look that gives that industrial edge. Stone, such as marble, is always a classic choice which can really add a wow factor with its natural patterns, which are totally unique."

What kitchen splashback will suit my space?

In small kitchens, try to keep the splashback simple to keep small spaces from looking cluttered. However, if you can't resist a striking focal point, the rest of the kitchen scheme should remain subtle. In large kitchens, it's unlikely the backsplash will overwhelm the room—so here you can go to town and be bold. 

Open-plan kitchens benefit from splashbacks that tie looks together. Product Manager for Worktops, Bushboard UK, Fiona Jackman comments, "connect with the rest of the home using similar colours, textures and materials. If you love dark wood furnishings and this is something you use throughout the rest of the home, why not incorporate this into the kitchen with a statement walnut splashback to create an on-trend panelled effect?"

 Xander Shreenan told w&h, "When considering a splashback think about how you want this to sit with the rest of your kitchen space. If you want your splashback to be subtle with hints of texture, consider tiles. If you want this to be the statement piece, then opt for brighter colours and patterns, or a large piece of brass."

Kitchen splashback ideas—from traditional tiles to eye-catching metallics

Colourful kitchen splashbacks

Bright and bold colors can make a real impact in an otherwise plain kitchen. Try a bold all-over colour, or patterned tiles reminscient of holidays abroad for a stylish and finish that's full of character. 

Patterned tiles look at home next to deep ceramic sinks and add an exotic touch to a plain kitchen. Mix and match graphic patterns for a striking effect. 

Intensify accent colors with a bold and colorful kitchen splashback pattern. Just add a pop of color with a vibrant fruit bowl and you'll feel like you're on vacation every day.

Muted tones in bold shade look stylish and sleek on kitchen splashback tiles. Deep blues and sage greens will give a rustic kitchen a contemporary feel. 

Neutral kitchen splashbacks

A neutral kitchen splashback is perfect for those who prefer a miminalist style, without any fuss. 

Adding a graphic monochrome print to your kitchen will instantly give it an upgrade. Try a graphic pattern as a nod to the retro trend.

A marble effect is a super subtle and modern way to dress your kitchen space. This style works particularly well with muted and pastel shades. 

Can't decide which kitchen splashback style you prefer? Go for two! Choose different graphic patterns in complementing colorways for a modern look. 

Textured kitchen splashbacks

Adding a little texture to your kitchen is an easy way to create a more luxe and upmarket feel in your space. 

Intensify the impact of your kitchen splashback with a textured pattern, like this 1920s style art deco splashback idea. 

Splashbacks with incredible pattern

If you're feeling brave, these statement patterns will create a real impact in your home. 

You can afford to be a little bolder in your choice of pattern with this area of the kitchen, so why not go for an eye-catching graphic print? 

A speckled, confetti effect is a modern and fresh take on kitchen splashback designs, if you favor the bright and bold. 

Use complementary colors to create a real impact with your choosen splashback pattern. 

Grout highlighting splashbacks

Highlighting the grout on tiles can look effective and offers a more natural, rustic finish. 

If you want to get your grout in good condition before deciding on a tiling effect, read our guide to how to clean grout

Pastel shades look soft and stylish against white-colored grout. 

To switch up the usual kitchen splashback with grouting style, try a vibrant shade on the grout lines for a big impact. 

Panel kitchen splashbacks

For those who favor the clean and simple look, a panel kitchen splashback overs a pop of colour with minimum fuss. 

Sunshine yellow is sure to brighten up any kitchen and will add warmth to an otherwise clinical space. 

Try a subtle patten or wooden effect if your kitchen has monochrome finishes for a modern and stylish look. 

Metallic kitchen splashbacks

For those who want to add a little glamor to their kitchen, metallic finishing touches are a great option. 

The rose gold trend shows no sign of slowing down, and can add a stylish finishing touch to your kitchen. 

Rustic kitchen splashbacks

There's no point opting for a super modern effect if your kitchen is more old-fashioned. Instead, try a rustic style that's more in keeping with the kitchen style.

Exposed brick or stone is a rustic trend that's not going anywhere and it will add a homely feel to your space. 

Botanical illustrations offer an elegant finish to a neutral kitchen splashback. 

A final word on kitchen splashbacks

As long as you clean your splashback regularly from grease and steam stains it should do it's job for years to come. A grout pen can freshen up faded or cracked grout. The only reason it should need replacing is if you can wait for a new look. 

And if your windows also suffer from grease, condensation or stains, see our guide to how to clean windows here.