How to choose the right kitchen splashback

Kitchens sell houses and are also the heart of the home.  Overall this is probably the biggest investment you will make when renovating or building your home.  NO pressure then to get it right!

There are many decisions to be made but one that is very important and I find often overlooked to begin with, is the kitchen splashback.  A splashback can make quite a statement in the overall design or you may want it to blend in.  In each case, they can be expensive and difficult to change.  Retrofitting a kitchen splashback is not much fun so you really need to be sure that you are happy with your choice.

I have set out below the pros and cons for the different types for you to choose from together with some gorgeous inspiration.

A tiled kitchen splashback

How to select a kitchen splashback

There is no doubt that the kitchen splashback choice of the moment is one made from tiles.

The design possibilities are endless and this is a great opportunity to put your personal stamp on your new kitchen. Tiles are relatively inexpensive, particularly when compared with other splashback alternatives, and the choice is huge.

This gorgeous black and white geometric design is very eye catching but you need to ensure you love it and also that it works with the style of your home and your decorating look.  The touch of timber here really softens the black and white theme.

Related: Monochromatic colour schemes – black and white

Related: How to choose the right black

How to select a kitchen splashback

For a simple classic look you can't go past the white subway tile.  Either plain, with a bevelled edge or with a beautiful crackled glazed finish, this look is popular and very cost effective.

How to select a kitchen splashback
Domino Magazine

Want to put your own stamp on the classic subway tile?  Then change the grout colour.

Dark grey grout defines the edges and gives more of an industrial feel to the kitchen scheme.  There is no doubt too that it is also very practical.

Which brings me to a word of caution with tiled splashbacks.  The reason so many of us moved away from tiles to more seamless choices was that we were fed up with cleaning the grout! You can of course limit the tiled area to the food preparation and eating zones and switch to a glass or stainless steel panel for the area behind the stove top.

Ensure too that you speak with your tiler regarding the type of grout they will be using.  A good quality epoxy grout, although more expensive, will hold off stains for far longer than a standard grout. 

How to select the right kitchen splashback


Subway tiles also come in a gorgeous range of colours.  This stunning blue with white grout makes a great feature for this simple kitchen but you will need to ensure that you continue this colour into your decorating scheme.  A pale grey grout could also be used here if you didn't want to see so much definition between the tiles.

How to select the right kitchen splashback

Another favourite of mine.  How could you not be charmed by this gorgeous kitchen?  The link with the black windows in terms of both colour and style, is inspired.

Tiles come in all shapes and sizes.  If you feel like mixing it up a bit then use a hexagon shape.  These mosaic tiles come in larger sheets making them easy to install.

How to choose the right kitchen splashback

A stone kitchen splashback

How to select the right kitchen splashback
Amber Interior Design

A stone splashback is one of the more expensive options but I love them because it really gives the stone an opportunity to shine.  The beautiful veining in marbles and granite are often lost when just used on the bench top but when installed vertically, they become almost a work of art.

A good kitchen designer and stonemason will ensure that the most stunning pieces are used in this area, or not of course, if you prefer a more subtle approach.

When considering this option though ensure that you view a piece of the stone in a horizontal position and then a piece with it in a vertical position next to it so that you can see how different they look.  You have to be sure that you like the effect before signing off on it.

How to select the right kitchen splashback
Est Living

This approach is interesting as a plain white has been used on the bench top with the piece of natural stone used as the splashback creating a very effective link to the grey flooring.

How to select the right kitchen splashback
Quantum Quartz, Kastell Kitchens

Reconstituted stone that replicates a natural stone is also an excellent choice and more practical as it is more stain resistant than the marble it is copying.

A word of caution though with any type of stone behind gas stove tops.  Check with your kitchen designer as you need to leave enough space between the gas and the splashback as the intense heat can crack the stone.

How to select the right kitchen splashback

This gorgeous timber veneer splashback doesn't really belong in this section but I have included it to show how you can use stone as a splashback to create a very practical base for something more original.  Just 10cm of stone is enough for water splashes and marks from wiping down the bench top.

I love this solution as it continues the benchtop material and acts as a base for a stunning feature.

A glass kitchen splashback

How to select the right kitchen splashback
How to select the right splashback
Image: Artform Australia

Glass splashbacks have fallen foul of the fashion machine but they really are a very practical and elegant solution for this area.

The dark colour used above makes the look more trendy and very eye catching.  I think it is more the coloured glass that is not so popular, when dark or very light, white colours are used, the look is very contemporary.

Plain or tinted mirrored glass is also a very effective solution.  Remember that water and grease splashes show on dark surfaces so although stunning, a dark grey or black glass will be high maintenance!

A window option

How to select the right splashback for your kitchen

The designers who first introduced the window splashback to our home designs were geniuses.  I really like this solution as it lets in more light, gives a very unique outlook and gives you the opportunity to get really creative.

You don't have to have the harbour bridge as the view, a simple fence with gorgeous greenery is just as effective.  This option is relatively easy to maintain too.

A word of caution though if you are planning to have your cooktop in this zone of the kitchen and use the glass as a splashback.  You can't use a tinted glass as the product in the glass to make it tinted reacts with the hot splatters from the stove top.  Speak to the window supplier first to ensure that what you have selected will cope with splatters and marks.

How to select the right splashback for your kitchen

Often with a window splashback there will be a small remaining area of splashback that still needs to be considered.  I like to continue the stone benchtop in these areas as it starts to get fiddly with tiles, particularly with window reveals.  A simple glass solution to match the wall and/or joinery colour is also a good idea.

How to select the right kitchen splashback

Coastal-style blog

Taking the window all the way to the ceiling is a stunning idea too to maximise the view and light.  You just need to ensure that you won't be blinded by the sun as you obviously can't add blinds here!

How to select the right kitchen splashback
Caesarstone, Peter Alexander

Pressed metal kitchen splashbacks

An alternative idea that you don't see very often is a pressed metal splashback.

How to choose a kitchen splashback
Image: Heritage Ceilings

The benefits of a pressed metal splashback is that they are very durable and easy to install.  They are also an affordable solution but they certainly do not look cheap.

A pressed metal splashback can give you a heritage look, particularly if you select one with an art nouveau pattern that evokes the period of Federation.  These splashbacks in white also work well for a country look and in certain patterns and colours, particularly, silver and grey, suit an industrial style look.

There are of course other solutions for kitchen splashbacks: vertical laminates and stainless steel, amongst others, but I have just concentrated for now on the main options that I work with each day.

To help you decide on your splashback choice you may like the following:

Related: How to create a classic white kitchen

Related: How to select the right kitchen benchtop

My Pinterest page has lots of inspiration with boards dedicated to contemporary and classic style kitchens and I would love to hear your design dilemmas in the comments section below.

How to select the right kitchen splashback

To help find the right solution for your kitchen you should put together a decorator's mood board.  This allows you to see how all your selections work together.  I have a FREE e-book showing you how to do this in my FREE Resource Library.  Click here to download it.

59 thoughts on “How to choose the right kitchen splashback

  1. Deb Pearl says:

    I have been wanting to get a kitchen splashback for a while. That is a great idea to get a stone splashback. It would be really beautiful to get a marble or granite splashback. Thank you for all the ideas for different splashbacks!

  2. Callum Palmer says:

    Wow, I had no idea that there were so many options available to people who wanted to use splashbacks in their kitchens. I only thought that they cam in a few options such as tile and glass. However, I do have to admit that the stone splashback looks really good and could look amazing next to the right countertop.

  3. Jordan says:

    I’ve been wanting to get a stainless steel splashback for my house. I’m glad you talked about how there will be a small area of splashback that needs to be considered with a window. I’m going to have to do some research and try to find some information! Thanks!

  4. Braden Bills says:

    I’m going to be remodeling my kitchen, but I still need ideas for it. It makes sense that a tiled splashback would be a good thing to have installed! I never realized that they could look so fancy and nice.

  5. Vivian Black says:

    My son and his daughter recently bought a new home and have been looking to add a nice splashback to their kitchen. I appreciate that you mentioned the importance of a splashback in being either a statement piece or an opportunity to blend aspects of your kitchen into one whole. Thanks for your tips on choosing a splashback.

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Anna I tend to like silver tones with either white or grey, blue etc. and I’m not sure that the look will be successful with a timber. It may work if the kitchen is ultra contemporary and it will also be affected by what you also select for the bench top. If the kitchen is more of a classic style timber then possibly a tile or a continuation of the stone bench may work better. Think about the style of the kitchen, the bench and then see if you can get a sample of the splashback to put it together to see if you like the effect. Good luck Samantha

  6. Shane Fitzgerald says:

    I am renovating my kitchen, with Hanstone cotton grey benchtops and spotted gum floors. I would like a square tiled splash back, approx 6” square tiles.

    What colour grey tile would best match , blend in with the benchtops

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Shane I think you might find it difficult to blend in exactly – even if you get a colour match it will look different in a vertical format to the horizontal bench. I think it is therefore better to look for a grey with the same undertone – Hanstone Cotton Grey is a nice warm grey – but a bit lighter or darker or even a white to bring out the white vein in the benchtop. Hope this helps Samantha

  7. Linda Hobday says:

    Hi Samantha,

    What a fabulous page! I have just come across it while trying to look for options for splash back for my new kitchen. I have chosen RHF carrar white bench top with opti matt white cupboards. I was thinking about a tile splash back but my difficulty is trying to select a tile which will blend it and not be too dark (area is not so big and will be a U shaped kitchen) or conversely be too light and be a neither here nor there choice. I’m looking at grey/blue tones. Do you have any recommendations please?



    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Linda I like a small herringbone carrara to match your bench top. Use an off white/pale grey grout that blends with the vein in the marble and will offer durability in terms of staining. The play of whites and greys gives you a splashback that is not too light or dark and the smaller format suits a small area. Hope this helps Samantha

      • Linda Hobday says:

        Samantha! What a great idea. I will go have a look at these. I keep getting stuck between blues/greys which I love but either seem to be too dark or too light so maybe you have just cleared up my confusion for me! So very appreciated!

        Linda 🙂

      • Linda Hobday says:

        Samantha, how small do you mean, as in mosaic style on the sheeting or single tiles and lay them in herringbone pattern? Would you have an example please?



  8. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are remodeling our kitchen next spring, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about how natural stone is stain resistant. We’ll definitely ask about this splashback option with our contractor so we know if we’ll need to leave a space between the wall and the stove.

  9. Tina says:

    Hi Samantha

    Absolutely loved this post. We are building our first home and have our colour appointment next week. We visited ceasarstone and we really liked Atlantic salt benchtop for our island bench with 3 pendants (delicate ones to complimant) with a mirrored splashback silver I guess and the benchtop for the otherwise to be Nougat.

    Any suggestions ???


    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Tina I love the idea of the mirrored silver splashback with the Caesarstone Atlantic Salt as it will pick up the silvery hues in the bench top. Nougat is a nice option too and would work and will give you a simpler look being white but it doesn’t have the impact of Atlantic Salt. Think about the overall look that you want. I wouldn’t use the two together – if you want just Atlantic Salt on the island I would use a plainer one to go with it – possibly just something like Caesarstone Organic White to blend in and let this one shine. I hope I have understood that right? Good luck with your appointment and make sure you are well prepared! Samantha

      • Tina says:

        Thanks so much Samantha for your reply. For some reason the page didn’t show me the reply before our colour appointment. But you’re right we ended up going with white shimmer… When we kept everything together noughat was a bit too much . How does that sound?

        Otherwise I can still try and change to organic white.

        Let me know your thoughts!

        Thanks 🙂

  10. Lisa says:

    I am in the process of renovating my kitchen. I have decided on white cabinetry and nearly decided in Silestone Pearl Jasmine benchtops. I will be having vinyl slates… wood grain flooring.
    My hardest decision is splashback and would like advise.
    I am leaning towards tiles… perhaps herring bone or alternatively large look tiles.
    Do I need to go white or how do I contrast / blend with the stone?

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Lisa You can certainly link your tile splashback to your cabinetry and just go with white and this is probably the simplest solution as it may be hard to find a match to the benchtop stone. However remember there are lots of whites to select from and this will be more obvious in a large look tile that isn’t broken up with grout. You must take a sample of your kitchen cabinetry to the tile showroom or better still ask to borrow or purchase a tile and hold it up to the cabinetry on-site. Many white tiles are quite blue/grey which could really clash in your cabinetry is a warm white. This will be a very timeless look and easy to add accessories to for your kitchen styling. I hope this helps Samantha

  11. Janelle says:

    Hi Samantha, really loved your article on kitchen splash backs and would appreciate your advice. We have chosen polar white cabinets with smart stone Arcadia, have golden bamboo floors, whisper white walls and whitewashed furniture in family area close to kitchen. Would love a red glass splash back but am hesitant mainly due to resale. My other choice is Aqua torquise colour like sea water. Is red popular? Thanks

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Janelle Red is probably one of the most polarising of colours – people either love it or hate it and I must say that it isn’t a colour that I am really asked for at all. Unless it’s a front door! I always say you should have what you love however if you are thinking of resale I would look at something like the Aqua which is softer and certainly has much broader appeal. I hate to put a dampener on the red but I think it probably is the case! Samantha

  12. Sarah Smith says:

    I really appreciate your information that a light glass splashback will be less maintenance than a dark one because grease splashes will show more on dark surfaces. In my mind, ease of cleaning would be better to think about than looks because I am the one who cleans the kitchen. When my husband gets home, we’ll start looking into different options for glass splashbacks. Maybe it would be good to go with a design that incorporates the green that we have in the cabinets.

  13. Maria Panas says:

    This is a great article Thankyou. I am looking at a quantum quartz ‘reflections’ bench top and same splash back with white cabinets. I have a gas cook top but am nervous about the splashback cracking. I can’t seem to get easy information about distance from cooktop to splashback. Any recommendations or advise would be appreciated.

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Maria There is certainly a regulation distance for reconstituted stone splashbacks and gas burners. Caesarstone recommend a minimum distance of 200mm from the actual burner to the wall so you need to have a deeper benchtop and position your gas cook top towards the front. This seems to be consistent advice and Quantum Quartz is a reconstituted stone as is Caesarstone. A good kitchen manufacturer should be completely aware of this too. I hope you love your new kitchen! Samantha

    • Jill Jeffrey says:

      Hi Samantha we are doing a full reno with new kitchen. We have chosen granite in glacier for benchtop and black cabinetry the splashback will be 1.8 high x 2.2 wide. We are thinking tiles because of the size what color tile would you recommend there is lots of soft marble colors with black veins in the granite. Would also consider other options.

      • Samantha Bacon says:

        Hi Jill I would recommend looking at matching one of the lighter marble colours in the granite rather than another dark tone. This way you will accentuate the black veins and cabinetry. You will also need to consider the colour of your wall to ensure that will work with that too. So if you get a sample of benchtop and wall paint and then assess the tile from there. Hope this helps! Samantha

    • Shirley says:

      Hi Samantha, I’m in the process of putting in a new kitchen and need help and running out of time. I have marble bench tops, white cupboards and stuck on tile splash back. Was thinking of a white tile with a hint of light grey in it.But not a smooth tile, a little bit of texture with a bit of uneveness in it. White or light grey grout.. How do you think that would like….Thanks heaps.

      • Samantha Bacon says:

        Hi Shirley This should work – I think I would opt for white grout so that the overall look is cleaner and easier to tie in with the marble which will be the main feature. I think you are on the right track selecting a tile that has some texture and unevenness to it as the shadows this creates means the tile will not be as stark as one that is smooth. Good luck Samantha

  14. Lidia says:

    Hi I just renovated my kitchen and I struggled to find the right colour for the glass splashback I want. The kitchen colour is grey blu and the bench is white marble with beautiful veins. I do like colour aqua or turquoise but I am not sure if is match the kitchen. What colour do you think will be perfect? Thank you

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Lidia I think as you have a grey blue kitchen I wouldn’t advise adding another type of blue to the scheme. I think it might be preferable to match the glass to the colour of the benchtop – ie a white. It sounds stunning with the cabinetry and benchtop beautiful features so I think the splashback would be great in a more neutral tone and then introduce some aqua or turquoise in your styling. Hope this helps Samantha

  15. Jenny Gebicki says:

    Hi, I just found your site today and love what I have read so far. I am renovating my kitchen and have Coffee bamboo vinyl blank flooring and looking at white shaker style cabinetry, my walls are Dulux white exchange half and the bench top is carrara marble (only a laminate as this is my first house). I have been looking at splashback ideas but so far am a little confused, I like subway tiles (but is that to much white?) My kitchen is not big. Thank you

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Jenny You can’t go wrong with white subway tiles. I like a satin finish in them. You can then add colour with accessories for the kitchen – canisters, fruit bowl, jugs for utensils etc. These give you a clean look, are stylish and suit the carrara bench top and are affordable too but don’t look cheap. I think this would be a good solution for you. Good luck Samantha

  16. Tracy Seymour says:

    Hi Samantha, I have a Caesarstone nougat benchtop and currently the light green splashback with feather white cabinetry. I would like to update my splashback and love the Carrara hexagon tiles but am concerned about staining/maintaince. I was going to paint the overhead cabs or island a soft grey. My floors are a very light oatmeal stone colour. Any suggestions would be so welcome thank you Tracy

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Tracy I always recommend sealing natural stone. If you do this properly it should give them quite a bit of protection. Possibly look at using a soft light grey grout rather than a white to add another buffer to the maintenance – a good tile showroom will have different grout colours for you to see the effect. This all sounds great – just ensure that the soft grey you use is a warmer one to go with the light oatmeal stone colour. Kitchen rugs are really popular now and quite inexpensive so if you felt that the floor was dominant and detracting from the grey you could perhaps buy one of these? Hope this has helped you Samantha

  17. Lori says:

    Hi Stephanie, We currently have white colored cabinets. Our surrounding benchtop is a dark gray Corian material. We are going to be installing an island with a Silestone benchtop that will have a white marble look. I am wanting to put in a splashback, but need advice on what color or material to use. Their are several electrical outlets along the splashback area that are black in color so I was thinking of doing a black splashback to help blend easily. Can I get your advice please?

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Lori you need to be careful with black splashbacks as they show every mark – every splash of water and fat shows up. Could you change your electrical outlets to a silver or white for this area? You need to think carefully about introducing a third colour as you already have white and dark grey and you need to consider how much light the kitchen gets. Perhaps something more neutral like a tinted mirror splashback could work but it depends so much on the type of style/look that you want so it is difficult to say. I hope this has helped a little with your planning. Samantha

      • Lori Patterson says:

        Thank you and yes, that helped a lot! I have opted out of a black backsplash. Thinking to keep everything white for now, with a Silestone Bianco Calacatta bartop and light gray subway tiles as a backsplash.

  18. Fay says:

    I really appreciated that you mentioned that the stone can shine in a kitchen. I am trying to remodel my whole house. I should make sure I do some more research to make the best decision.

  19. Jayne McKinlay says:

    Hi, we have chosen gloss white cupboards and overhead cupboards. Stainless handles and appliances. We are having Essastone concrete pezzato benchtops and I was thinking of having a white glass splashback to blend in???? any thoughts would be helpful. Cheers Jayne

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Jayne all sounds lovely and crisp and clean. Just ensure that the white you choose for your splashback works with the white of the cupboards as you don’t want to have two different types together. The splashback supplier should be able to loan you a sample so that you can put it next to the cupboards. Good luck Samantha

  20. Tyson Coolidge says:

    I like what you said about getting a kitchen splashback that’s made from tiles. My wife and I would like to remodel our kitchen in the coming months, and we want to make sure that we get the right backsplash. We’ll be sure to look into our options for professionals who can help us with this.

  21. Jenny says:

    Hi Samantha, so happy to have found your site have been renovating for a while now open floor planning. Have 60×60 timberland bianco tiles (very pale grey) throughout, kitchen is L shaped + island bench, cupboards are polytec Amoro sheen – bench tops are Caesarstone Organic white as well as waterfall n top of island bench
    underneath the back of island bench is lined with Bottego Oak Woodmatt laminate. I for the life of me cannot decide on a tile for the splashbacks. Found a dark slate one done in herringbone but was advised against it as it needed lots of upkeep. Now looking at Stanzo Opus Tile in colour Storm 400x80mm would really appreciate your thoughts as I don’t know if I’m on the right track, the house is almost completed furniture etc. but no SPLASHBACK. Cheers Jenny

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Jenny I don’t know the particular tile you have in mind but the colour name Storm suggests it is dark. A dark tile will incorporate the Bottega Oak into the scheme well so replicating the look that is on the front of the island on the splashback makes sense. Consider the size of the tile too and how it fits into the splashback size. A dark splashback always shows more water/fat splashes than a light one. If the tile is dark ensure that it works well with the Bottego Oak as it sounds like these are the two dark elements and they will need to relate well to one another. Good Luck Samantha

      • Wendy says:

        Hi Samantha, I have just renovated the kitchen in my apartment, previous bench was dark and made the kitchen look drab, so have gone white gloss cupboards and cream/white stone with dark grey veins through. Im thrilled with the kitchen but like everyone ,now not sure of the splash back. I was going a charcoal tile with white grouting . The splash back is 1.7m and it is in a corner. Hoping you can advise.

        • Samantha Bacon says:

          Hi Wendy I like the idea of picking out the grey in the stone too – the smaller the tile, the more white you will see from the grout. If you can, get a couple of samples of the tile and place them on the wall next to the bench to see how they relate together. Just ensure if the bench is busy with veins that you don’t make the splashback too busy as well. Hope this helps Samantha

          • Wendy says:

            Thank you for your advice Samantha , I liked the idea of smaller tiles, but you were right the area looked very busy. So have decided to go white tiles that match my cupboards ( from a suggestion you gave to another on this site 👍) and just a hint of silver in the grout. My bench will be the focus.
            Thanks again.

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