Something Other Than Subway Tile For a Unique Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash is an aesthetic and functional component that requires thoughtfulness when embarking upon a new kitchen design. It's a focal point that can add an element of style and luxury to your entire design, but you need to be pragmatic about its primary reason for being: easy cleanability. Tile has traditionally been the most popular option with the recent design trend leaning toward 3x6 inch ceramic subway tiles in a variety of colors and glaze finishes. It's a great choice offering clean lines, flexibility, affordability and easy application.

For many homeowners who are looking to make a unique statement with their design, many other materials are available that can take your kitchen to a new level! Whether your backsplash goes up to the bottom of your cabinets, all the way to the ceiling, or somewhere in between, using the following unique, inspiring and intriguing tiles and backsplash materials can give you the luxury and aesthetic beauty you're looking for.

Choose backsplash materials that make a statement

While ceramic tile is an excellent choice, there are many other backsplash materials that can add a real sense of style to your kitchen. Using a combination of tile or varying the design behind the range and using a different material can add an exotic touch. Here are some alternatives to subway tile that can make your kitchen design pop!

Tumbled travertine – Natural stone tiles like travertine, marble, limestone, and slate are popular choices in backsplash materials. For extra character and dimension consider a tumbled travertine or marble. The tiles are tumbled with sand and are worn down to create a softened, less uniform appearance.

Full granite backsplash – To create a perfectly smooth surface that's easy to clean consider a full granite backsplash. It can be cut from the same slab as your countertop, so the pattern will flow smoothly from the counter on up. Engineered stone like Silestone and Quartz are also good choices. Looking for something more exotic? Consider slabs of marble, soapstone or onyx.

Glass – If you're looking for a cutting-edge modern look, consider a glass backsplash. Glass tiles and mosaics are trending right now either as accents or for the entire surface. If you're looking for a contemporary look, consider a solid glass backsplash. It can be custom shaped to fit your wall and is incredibly easy to clean.

Stainless steel – The choice of the professional chef, nothing tops stainless steel! It's fireproof, sanitary and easy to clean. New trends in metal backsplash materials include copper, tin, and metal tiles. Be careful and consider the overall effect of a metal backsplash. It can visually overpower your design, especially if using tin or copper with pressed in patterns.

Creative subway tile alternatives

Technology like laser etching and computer aided designs have given manufacturers the ability to create beautiful alternatives to ceramic subway tile. Here are some interesting options to consider for your kitchen design.

Laser-cut tile – These tiles are intricately cut with lasers to create elaborate designs that can be pieced together like a puzzle. These are often made of materials like quartz and marble, or handmade gold or silver- backed glass.

Mirrored tile – Assembling mirrored tiles into a design or patterns can create texture in your backsplash. This is a perfect alternative that can add a unique touch to a buffet area or serving station.

Large, patterned tile - Big, bold patterns are hot right now. Try one on your kitchen wall! Many companies are producing large patterns that repeat like wallpaper. Make sure to lay out your pattern carefully so your design looks even throughout the installation.

Specialty shaped tile – You're not limited to square or rectangular shaped ceramic tile anymore. Many manufacturers are producing tile in a variety of shapes and colors. Specialty tile can define your design, for example, oval shaped tiles can give your kitchen a great mid-century feel.

These are just a few of the material and tile choices you have for your kitchen. Speak with your contractor or designer about all of your options. With a little creativity, you can create a signature backsplash that will be the defining focal point for your redesigned kitchen! It all depends on the look you're going for and your budget.

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Kitchen DesignJay YoungTile