The latest trends to improve that real estate over the sink
Those handsome cabinets, snazzy appliances and well-equipped island may make you beam with pride as a homeowner. But the kitchen area that’s most likely to catch the eye and impress visitors is actually that small stretch of wall hovering above the sink – better known as the backsplash. To skimp on this important design element and vertical plane of practicality is to miss out on an opportunity to make a grand statement in your home’s most important room, experts believe.
The backsplash area is a main focal point in most kitchens and an integral part of its overall design. It’s the perfect spot for homeowners to incorporate something unique and fun with color, patterns, even texture, and the options are endless. Think of it as the ‘personality’ of the kitchen. It sets the tone.
From a more sensible point of view, the backsplash serves as an easily washable surface that protects kitchen walls from getting dirty or stained. It not only complements your countertops and adds color, depth and beauty to the room but it makes your kitchen look cleaner.
A Kitchen Trends Study published this year found that nine in 10 kitchen renovating homeowners surveyed upgraded their backsplash. Respondents revealed that the most popular backsplash colors in 2017 were white (chosen by 36 percent), multicolored (19 percent), gray (13 percent), beige (8 percent) and blue (5 percent). In fact, white backsplashes are nearly twice as likely to appear in the renovated kitchens of millennials than in those of baby boomers.
Houzz editor Mitchell Parker has observed two prominent backsplash trends so far in 2018.
“First, we’re seeing people installing scalloped or fish-scale pattern tile as an alternative to the simple subway tile look,” Parker notes. “This look offers more movement and a bit more interest than rectangular tile but is still versatile enough to work with almost any kitchen style.”
Secondly, he’s noticing that homeowners prefer the versatile patterns and appearance of wallpaper – minus the paper.
“There’s a new tile that looks like wallpaper that we’re seeing people put in their kitchens. It’s prized for offering an elaborate pattern look of modern-day wallpapers while being durable enough to wipe down with a sponge and detergent,” says Parker.
Leslie Bowman, owner/design director of Chicago-based interior design firm The Design Bar, has created her share of full-height marble backsplashes lately – either book-matched or laid-straight marble.
“Additionally, we’re seeing a significant desire for texture and pattern to contrast the simplicity of quartz and marble countertop surfaces,” says Bennett. “From monochromatic stone hexagons and ovals to herringbone installation and arabesque shapes, consumers today are drawn to texture in their backsplashes.”
If you want to maintain a timeless and classic look that won’t date so quickly, yet still infuse modernity and excitement into your backsplash design, Bowman has several recommendations.
“Choose a unique grout color, such as white tile with gray grout. Or, mix up the pattern – do a chevron, or lay the tile vertically instead of horizontally,” says Bowman. “Avoid picking anything too trendy, as you will likely live with your backsplash for up to 10 years or more and should love it.”