Whether it’s tile, wood or wallpaper — kitchen backsplashes can take many forms.

Can’t decide on the look you want? Use these tips from Mr. Handyman for some kitchen tile backsplash ideas and alternative kitchen backsplash ideas for those on a budget.

Shower with grab bars and seat installed.

Kitchen Backsplash Ideas on a Budget

The costs involved in installing a typical tile backsplash can add up quickly. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a tile backsplash. While they protect walls and add a nice design element, your kitchen will be fine with creative alternative options!

Here are three to consider:

  • Painted Backsplash

If you go this route, simply use a quality paint on the tile; one that is easy to wash and scrub, such as a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint. Not into gloss? No worries, there are also “scrubbable” versions of matte and other low-gloss paints.

  • Wallpaper Backsplash

You can also use durable wallpaper as a backsplash, just be sure it’s made to withstand moisture and is easy to clean. The great news is, wallpaper comes in thousands of designs and is easy to replace or remove if you decide to go a different route. You can also cover wallpaper with glass or plexiglass for an extra layer of protection.

  • Farmhouse Kitchen Backsplash (wooden)

Wood isn’t the first material that comes to mind for kitchen backsplashes. But for a farmhouse kitchen, it can really tie the room together. Although wood backsplashes can be high maintenance and don’t offer the same durability as tile backsplashes, they are easy to install, can be made with recycled wood and are very unique.

Depending on the look you’re going for you can use rough-cut lumber, or even a high-end exotic wood. Either way, you’ll want to finish the wood with a quality oil-based stain for moisture protection. (Want the wood look without the maintenance? Ceramic tile with a wood grain pattern fits the bill!)

Kitchen Tile Backsplash Ideas

Porcelain tile, subway tile, penny tile — with some many different tile options Mr. Handyman is here to help you decide.

Ceramic Tile

To help you narrow your options, look only at glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles because they’re non-porous and hold up well to water. While stone, marble and granite tiles are attractive options, they come with a high price tag and require more maintenance.

Subway tile is a type of white, glazed, rectangular ceramic tile named after the iconic tile in New York subway stations. Penny tile is named after its size. Due to the small tiles, it typically has higher installation costs.

There are so many color variations of tiles, we suggest you look at color themes throughout your house to help you decide on a color or look.

Tile Patterns

One you’ve found the color of tile you want, how should you install it or “lay it”? There are many ways lay tile, we’ve outlined a few of them below! Keep in mind, some patterns are easier to lay than others.

If this is your first time, keep it simple with a basic pattern. The type of tile you have should also guide your selection. Handmade tiles, for example, can have more irregularities which make them difficult to install in complex patterns.

  • This unique pattern creates texture and depth. This is popular for floors and backsplashes.
  • A straight pattern is easy to lay and creates clean, simple lines. This is perfect for the first-time tile installer or tile that has a lot of texture or color in it.
  • Diagonal patterns can make small rooms look bigger. This pattern is easy to lay and creates a unique look, especially on floors.
Basket Weave
  • The basket weave pattern is a great way to give your kitchen walls a unique look. Avoid this pattern with tiles that have a lot of color or texture.
  • The pinwheel pattern uses smaller and larger tiles to create a visually attractive look. This looks great behind stoves.
  • Cobblestone patterns embrace the traditional tile layout that’s similar to herringbone. This patter looks great on floors.
English Bond
  • English bond is a style that uses both square and rectangular tiles. This is a difficult pattern to lay, especially with handmade tile.

Don’t Forget the Grout!

After the hard work of finding a color and style of tile you like, grout may seem like an afterthought, but the color of grout can significantly affect the look of your backsplash. Darker grout colors hide stains; however, it creates more visual separation when paired with a light-colored tile. The opposite applies to light colored grout. Dark colored cement-based grouts are best for floors in high traffic areas.

Remember, all cement-based grout should be sealed after it has dried to prevent stains. Epoxy and urethane based grouts don’t need to be sealed but always follow the manufactures recommendations.

Your Local Tile Backsplash Experts

When you’re looking for tile installation you can trust, Mr. Handyman can help. Give us a call today or request service online.

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