Tile Tips for an Eye-Catching Backsplash

This guest post is by Bill Buyok, the Founder & Owner of Avente Tile.

A kitchen backsplash is one place you’ll be looking at a lot while you enjoy your home. It’s also one place that allows you to really emphasize your style. Creating an eye-catching backsplash that reflects your style and taste is easy with tile.

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Bright colors and bold patterns found in cement tile are used for this patchwork design.

The choices and options are endless and range from a traditional fruit-themed mural, multi-colored mosaic, colorful Spanish tile patterns, or a muted bold pattern with cement tile. Consider the style and color palette of your cabinets, flooring, appliances and range hood. Then follow these three important tips that will point you in the right direction to create a winning kitchen backsplash. Don’t be afraid to splurge a little on the backsplash. It’s a small area and one you’ll enjoy almost every day!

  1. Decide on the countertop you want first. Then you can start talking tile and backsplash designs. Make sure the two complement each other. Don’t draw attention away from a stunning counter with a busy tiled background. If the countertop is plain or simple, then let the backsplash be the focal point. Here are a few photos that show the “yen and yang” relationship of a counter and backsplash.

In the patchwork above, bold colors and strong patterns are placed next to clean white cabinets and counters with stainless steel appliances and hardware. The backsplash is both eye-catching and appealing because the cement tile patchwork is the dominant focal point.

Here’s another example of a bold, colorful backsplash that uses traditional hand-painted Spanish decorative ceramic tiles that really catch your eye. A plain counter, in a similar color that is dominant in the tile pattern, doesn’t take your attention away from the backsplash.

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A bright bold backsplash using Barcelona San Jose 6″ x 6″ pairs nicely with a simple solid-color counter.

Alternatively, the pattern in the cement tile backsplash below gets your attention while integrating a bold pattern that works flawlessly with the counter. Bold patterns can often be “toned down” with similar colors, neutral colors or colors without high contrast.

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A bold cement tile pattern is muted with neutral colors and hues similar to the counter and cabinets.

Below, the Indian Teal brown granite countertop takes center stage. The decorative dots of hand-painted Spanish tile and plain field tile are the supporting cast.

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Decorative Spanish Teruel Dots sparingly accent the Yucatan Chamois 4″ x 4″

  1. Work with the available space.You can’t fit 10 pounds of gold into a 5-pound sack. Large tiles with big patterns just don’t work in that tiny wall space behind the sink with a big picture window – no matter how much you love that tile. It sounds obvious; but pictures make it very clear.

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Find the right scale of patterned tile to fit your space.

Above, Cuban Heritage Design 110 2B 8″ x 8″ requires eight (8) tiles to complete both the cross and medallion pattern. It works well for a large wall with no cabinets. The same impact could not be achieved here. There is only 18” between the cabinets and counter. However, decorative tile placed randomly throughout the backsplash and grouped to form a medallion create a warm, Tuscan feel. Notice how the range and the hood meld beautifully with the above cement tile installation.

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Smaller tiles can be used randomly or grouped to form a medallion.

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Patterned tile with a border are the right scale for this kitchen.

  1. Define your style. A kitchen designer can really help. First, though, try to define the experience you want to achieve, the importance of aesthetics versus “ease of maintenance.” What colors do you like? Do you like clean lines and contemporary designs or classic patterns? Bright colors or muted colors? Vivid colors or earth tones?

Avente Tile 8Consider using Pinterest to collect ideas you like. Not only will you discover a theme that works, you’ll also be able to share your vision with your designer or friend who is helping with the design.

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If too much pattern scares you, consider “blocking tiles” to create an interest area.

As you find your style and look for tile, keep these three rules in mind and you will end up with an eye-catching backsplash that you’ll love for years to come.

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