Tile Styles: Getting What You Want

One of the easiest ways to improve the look of your kitchen is to have a quality backsplash installed that complements your kitchen.  However, choosing a backsplash isn’t as simple as it used to be – there are a variety of materials, colors, finishes, edge styles, and patterns to choose from.  We hope this overview will help you get a better handle on the right tiled backsplash based on the style you want to achieve!  For more details and images, check out the source of our information at ThisOldHouse.com and in their article, “All About Ceramic Subway Tile.”  While the emphasis is on the subway tile style, there is great variety and freedom in using this style!

Materials Matter

As you know, most tiles are ceramic and are made from a mixture of clay, sand, and water.  However, there are some unique options for tiles that can create a completely different feel in your kitchen.  Increasing in popularity, glass tiles are easy to take care of and come in beautiful colors that create a soft, and sometimes translucent, look and feel for your backsplash. Another tile option is stone, which will need to be sealed to keep from getting stained, but it can bring a natural appeal to your kitchen without costing as much as you might think!  If you’d like a little shine and glimmer in your kitchen, use metal tiles made of copper, bronze, or nickel, to name a few of the options.

When planning a backsplash, another material to consider is the grout you use.  While we often don’t think of grout as being a design detail, the color grout you choose will make a subtle but strong difference in the finished product!  There’s always the neutral white grout that is used in the majority of backsplashes, but if you have white tile you can try using a darker black or gray to show off the design of your tile.  In addition, if you use colorful tile, why not try colorful grout?  For example, a bright blue tile against a light blue wall gives you the freedom to use a light blue grout to create a cohesive space!

Edgy Embellishments

Your choices are far from over!  Aside from the many colors you can select, the way the tile’s edge is cut will impact the overall look of your backsplash.  Three basic edge treatments include traditional or square, rounded, and beveled.  Tiles with square edges can be placed very close together and have been used as the standard treatment for many installations.  For a slightly more contemporary and softer look, rounded edges can make a subtle change to your space.  For a more sculpted look, try the beveled edge to add depth to your backsplash.

Patterns, Please!

Where all your thinking, planning, preparation, and designing come together is in the finished product, so pick a pattern that you love!  If you want to stick with a more traditional pattern, place subway tiles end to end in each row.  Then, make sure each row’s joints hit the middle of the rows above and below for a classic look.

If you’re looking for a contemporary design, stack tiles in horizontal columns to create clean lines.  This is a great time to use a grout that makes your tiles stand out, since you are foregoing any extra design.

Finally, if you are using neutral tiles, have fun with your design and show them off by trying a herringbone pattern, which puts tiles in a zigzag pattern.  So, even though your tiles may be white, they will still stand out with this wonderful design!

Whether your backsplash is nonexistent or just needs updating, it is crucial to take time to select the tile, style, and design that best suits your kitchen.  Since we know there are so many choices to make, we’d love to help you through the process to ensure you get what you really want!  COMMENT below and let us know what style you’re more inclined towards: traditional or contemporary?  We’d love to hear from you!