Update Boring Kitchen with New Backsplash

Sometimes a boring kitchen needs a recharge instead of a remodel.  An easy and inexpensive way to update a kitchen is by installing or changing the backsplash.

The backsplash is the space on the wall between the counter top and cabinets. Originally created to catch splashing water or grease, backsplashes have become fashion statements in today’s beautiful kitchens.

Choices range from traditional ceramic and porcelain to glass, stainless steel and even copper. Patterns run vertical, horizontal, diagonal and in mosaics. With color combinations, textures and finish options in the hundreds, where do you start?

Begin with your counter top or cabinetry.  No matter which material you chose, if the counter top is plain, you can be more creative with the backsplash.  If the counter top has plenty of pattern, keep the backsplash simple.

If you have a tiny kitchen, splurge on expensive materials.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile remains the most widely used material for backsplashes. Ceramic is made primarily of clay mixed with different minerals and water. The mixture is processed with heat and sealed with a glaze, which provides the surface that determines the tile’s finished color, design and texture. Durable and easy to clean, ceramic comes in every color, pattern and style.


Porcelain is made of finely-ground sand. Unlike ceramic, processing of the porcelain composition involves pressure and extremely high heat. The end result is a dense, glass-like finish. Both can be arranged to suit any design or style. French Country kitchens often feature porcelain backsplashes with provincial images on select tiles or murals. Using tiles in one tone gives the kitchen a clean long look.


Although glass tile made its debut back in second century B.C., it has gained popularity with a new audience; mainly hip urban dwellers who want something a bit more contemporary.  Available clear or frosted, class tiles come individually or in interlocked sheets.

Stainless Steel

Easy to clean and durable, stainless steel makes a bold statement as a backsplash.  Its reflective quality, gives stainless steel a mirror-like effect when wrapped around an entire kitchen. Available in sheets, tiles or mosaics, stainless steel works best in modern, contemporary or industrial style modern kitchens.


Like stainless steel, copper is durable, beautiful and available in tiles and sheets.  An alternative to copper is copper tin, which looks like the real deal, but at less than half the price.  A newer product, color copper, is real copper that has changed colors due to natural aging process.

Article by Merlisa Lawrence  interior design journalist