Homeowners working on a kitchen design for a remodel or new build often focus on countertops and cabinetry but a backsplash is an area we can add interest and detail to the kitchen. One option is to continue the countertop material onto your backsplash. Another trend is to break up the monotony with a unique backsplash that complements your countertops. Nostalgia has made subway tile a natural fit for traditional backsplash designs, but there are numerous subway tile alternatives to fit a wide array of preferences. A truly great backsplash becomes the focal point of your kitchen, so finding the perfect match for your space and your personality is key.

Comparing Tiling Materials

A kitchen backsplash protects the walls from water, grease splatters, bubbling sauces and ingredients in blenders or mixers that don’t stay put. It also makes cleaning easier, and adds visual interest to the kitchen. Traditionally, ceramic or porcelain tile has adorned this area, but homeowners striving to create a more modern kitchen may opt for contemporary materials. Some popular material choices include glass tile and marble or other natural stone.

One up-and-coming tiling material attractive to environmentally conscious homeowners is fireclay tile. These tiles are made of refractory clays widely used for making tiles, ceramics and firebricks. Fireclay tiles contain materials like fine-grained micas, quartz and other organic substances, which means most of the materials are recycled.

You might also want to swap out conventional 4×4 square tiles with one of the various eye-catching shapes, sizes and patterns. Subway tile, especially white subway tile, offers a classic look that has been a long-time favorite for kitchen backsplashes, but there are numerous alternatives with endless colors, sizes, shapes and styles to choose from. Many patterned backsplash options add visual interest and dimension to your kitchen design. Popular shapes include a fish scale, hex or herringbone pattern, and Moroccan or mosaic tile offers a beautiful style that remains in vogue.

Subway Tile Alternatives

Classic 3×6 subway tile is a rectangular, glazed tile that’s been popular for decades. Homeowners who crave the clean lines and super-easy maintenance of subway tile might want to consider using a bigger tile. Large subway tiles create the illusion of space in smaller kitchens. However, there are numerous alternatives to subway tile backsplash, and many work well as DIY projects. Consider some of these subway tile alternatives as you contemplate your new kitchen design.

Marble Tile Backsplash Ideas

Marble Tile BacksplashMarble adds a touch of elegance to any room, and the luxe look of a marble backsplash is one of the biggest reasons homeowners pick this material. Choose from marble tile, which you can probably DIY, or go ultra-luxe with a solid marble slab. The stone for a marble slab backsplash is lightweight because it’s cut thinner, with a backer used to attach it to the wall. Slabs usually require a professional installer, but installation costs are often lower than tile because it’s a single piece that doesn’t require grout. A marble backsplash adds a bright, airy quality to your kitchen that provides a stunning contrast to dark cabinets or a distinct sleekness in contemporary, all-white kitchens.

Other Natural Stone Backsplash Options

Besides marble, other natural stones in tile or slab form also create stunning backsplashes, but take care it’s not more form than function. Natural stone requires resealing annually, and the rough surfaces can be difficult to clean. Consider using a dark grout that better hides discolorations. Granite has become a popular stone, but there are several natural stone options to create the look that works best for your decor. Choose stones in warmer colors to create more of a European look or cooler colors to create a minimalist feel. Since no two natural stone backsplashes are exactly alike, your kitchen benefits from a unique look that will be envy-worthy.

Glass Tile Backsplash Ideas

Glass tile is extremely trendy but also lends itself to a classic look. These tiles are made of slender pieces of glass, often recycled glass that attracts eco-friendly homeowners, with a translucent glaze fired onto the back side of each piece. Glass tiles are sold individually or in predesigned patterns as a mosaic tile set on mesh backing. Tiles mounted on mesh sheets are easier for DIYers to install and are appropriately spaced for grout. The translucence of glass makes it one of the most contemporary-looking backsplash materials. Glass tiles reflect light, which makes your kitchen appear larger and brighter and especially helps brighten dim spaces beneath overhanging cabinets. Glass is transparent, so use white grout or a matching color grout as dark grout can affect the finished color of the glass.

Hexagon Tile Backsplashes

Hexagon Tile BacksplashHexagon tiles are also among the trendiest subway tile alternatives. They come in a wide range of colors and sizes, including large and small hex tiles to create two very different looks. The most popular small-scale hexagon tiles are penny tiles that offer unique geometry and texture. Consider navy hex tile with white grout for a bold, contemporary kitchen or white hexagon tiles with black grout for a truly eye-catching backsplash. Large hex tiles in bold colors with contrasting grout make a vibrant statement. Consider a bright yellow with white grout to accent dark cabinetry with a brilliant pop of color or large white hex tiles in a geometric pattern with dark grout for a daring decorative feature.

Moroccan Tile Backsplash Ideas

Moroccan tiles often feature colorful arabesque designs and patterns that delight the senses and add a bit of the exotic to your backsplash and kitchen. These tiles can also come in various shapes to further add to the visual interest. Element Kitchen and Bath Design Studio has many options of moroccan inspired tiles to choose from. We have beveled arabesque tiles, glazed arabesque, and beautiful blue, white and yellow patterned tiles to bring an exotic touch to the your kitchen.

Contact Design Experts

Whether you have contemporary tastes or prefer more traditional styles, our interior design experts at Element Design Build Remodel help you achieve the look you’ve always dreamed about. We can also help you compare all your alternatives to subway tile backsplash. We’re a full-service home remodeling company serving Cleveland and the entire northeast Ohio area from our Hudson location. Contact us at 330-523-6919 to set up a free, no-obligation design consultation to discuss your kitchen remodeling project today.