11 Backsplash Alternatives To Make Your Kitchen Stand Out


Between your countertop and upper cabinets lies the backsplash, which is often an area where people get creative with their decorative style.

Many overlook the potential of this space during kitchen design, but it’s recommended to have a backsplash because of moisture, grease, and food splatter that commonly accumulate in this area.

A good backsplash (like the tiles) can no doubt keep your walls from getting damaged or stained from everyday food preparation.

The only downside to adding tiles is the cost. So, if you are working with a tight budget, you might want to forego this design element and go with some other backsplash materials.

Here in this post, I will have something different than the typical tile backsplash, so check out our top picks for unique and beautiful alternatives to backsplashes from around the web.

Tile Backsplash Alternatives

The tile backsplash is standard in most kitchens, and for a good reason.

But there are other very effective wallcovering options worth considering if you desire to make your kitchen stand out and can think out of the box.

Here are a few unconventional backsplash ideas for what to put on kitchen walls instead of tiles and grouts…

1- Colorful Paints

Paint is undoubtedly one of the cheapest ways to do a backsplash in your kitchen.

If you want your backsplash to stand out, use a paint color that contrasts with the rest of your kitchen.

Look for something water-resistant with some sheen. Bright colors added in the form of stripes, shapes, patterns, or unique letterings are all popular choices.

Many DIYers also like chalkboard paint because it can be used in other areas of the kitchen as well, such as on pantry doors, cabinets, or fridge encasements.

2- Stencils and Prints

Designers often use eye-catching stencils to add depth and a designer element in the kitchen.

Timeless black and white patterns are perfect for any type of decor, but you can also use interesting, unique, or even natural prints to add interest to this area of your kitchen.

Prints and designs of flowers, leaves, fruits, vegetables, etc., can all create interesting patterns.

And if you want to be less traditional, even painted mural pieces for this area of your kitchen can work well, especially in bohemian-styled homes.

3- Peel and Stick Coatings

If you’re looking to give your kitchen a makeover but don’t have much money to spend, peel-and-stick tiles are a great option.

These are like faux tile sheets that come in various colors and patterns, so you can easily find something that matches your style.

Plus, they’re very easy to install. You can complete the design without hiring a professional by just placing the pieces together like puzzle pieces.

And if you ever get tired of the look, you can peel them off and replace them with new ones.

That’s why this budget-friendly way to add personality to the kitchen is also a great option for renters.

You need not upset your landlord by changing the designs.

4- Wallpaper or Contact Paper

The design possibilities are endless with wallpapers and contact papers, as you can find papers in a variety of patterns, stripes, and textures.

Some wallpapers for your backsplash area are even water-resistant, making them easy to clean – perfect for an area like the kitchen that can get messy.

If you want to liven up your kitchen space under the upper cabinetry, consider using no-grout kitchen backsplash like wallpaper or contact paper.

5- Bricks as a Backsplash

Bricks may be the way to go if you’re looking for more dimension and character in your backsplash.

Traditional red brick is always an option, though generally, people have to knock out drywall first to expose the underlying structure of their home.

If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, faux options are plentiful as well.

Like you can paint in the design of bricks that can blend with your kitchen’s palette.

When deciding to paint your exposed brick, many people go for white or whitewash, but you could also add a pop of color as per your liking.

Just be sure that the mortar is in good condition and that the wall is insulated well, as otherwise, the paint may bubble, crack or chip off due to rapid temperature and moisture changes in your kitchen area.

6- Mosaic Backsplash

If you’re looking to save money and don’t mind a DIY project, you can use almost any tiny flat object as part of your mosaic backsplash.

Adhering, grouting, and sealing, much like traditional tiles, are typically how these kinds of backsplashes are made.

I know homeowners who have used their old beer bottle caps, pennies, or seashells to create unique, fun designs by arranging them in neat rows or columns.

You can, if you want, group these items randomly or in patterns of your liking.

They will exceptionally go well in vacation homes, log cabins, retro-styled homes, bars, and restaurants visible to customers.

7- Wooden Planks and Shiplap

Wood planks, barnboard, shiplap, wainscoting, or beadboard are other inexpensive yet excellent farmhouse-looking backsplash options that can create a more interesting retro look in your kitchen and home.

Shiplap is especially popular in farmhouse-style homes as this type of backsplash can give the space more texture and a cohesive look when arranged on the ceiling to match the entire kitchen.

The type of wood you can use can be raw or sanded and sealed, unfinished or painted.

If you want to go for a more distressed look, use reclaimed wood from old homes or fences.

You can inexpensively get wood from anyone completing a project where they demolish something.

These pieces usually have nail holes, dents or chips, and knots. So, make sure to remove them carefully before using them in your kitchen.

The beauty of the wood is it goes well with other natural elements in the kitchen, such as stone, glass, and plants.

The wood backsplash can be painted white or stained to match your wood floors, or you could go for a darker floor with a lighter-colored wood backsplash.


8- Mirrors and Glasses

For a sleek and shiny backsplash that will make your kitchen look more classy and aesthetically pleasing, glass is a fantastic material that can be used in a few different ways.

First, you can adhere broken or beaded glass (maybe larger and smaller colored pieces together), much like the tile, to create a mosaic or patterned look.

Secondly, sheet or back-painted glass in several colors and depths will create a cleaner appearance when used in kitchen backsplashes.

Remember that these might need custom-cut shapes to fit your kitchen space and backsplash area, so they will cost a bit extra.

And lastly, mirrors are an excellent way to achieve a reflective surface that will make your smaller kitchen appear brighter and more open.

Adhere them in a mosaic or broken glass style or as one large sheet/panel behind your stovetop.

9- Custom Fitted Windows

If you’re feeling a little daring, you could forgo the typical ceramic tile backsplash in favor of some stylish windows.

This installation will be more expensive and require some professionals’ help, as it is quite a bit more involved than just slapping up some tiles.

But wouldn’t it be worth it to have beautiful natural light illuminating your kitchen?

Homeowners who are not a fan of traditional tile backsplash and are building their homes from scratch or for the first time can try this substitute in their kitchen space during the build.

This is a great way to get more use out of those windows and save on energy bills in the long run.

Add some colored curtains made of washable fabric to soften the look and provide some privacy when needed.

10- Tin or Aluminum Backsplash

Metals like tin, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel are other excellent kitchen backsplash ideas that can add a modern touch and flavor to your cooking space.

They are easy to wipe down and come in a variety of colors and styles, including tile, panels, and sheets.

Pressed tin or aluminum panels are best for those who want a more old-fashioned and victorian look in their kitchen, as they can bring a bit of nostalgia.

For a contemporary kitchen, opt for brushed stainless steel, giving it more of an urban edge.

The tile-sized, fingerprint and magnetic-resistant stainless steel pieces are a perfect way to achieve a modern look while being able to post family photos and recipes.

Copper, although expensive, should be your option if you want to add a more industrial look to your farmhouse-styled home’s kitchen.

It contains a deep reddish or orange tone along with warmth that pairs nicely with other color schemes, appliances, and materials in your kitchen.

If you are concerned about the high cost, you can get all these metals reclaimed from old structures, although it’s generally hard to come by.

11- Stone and Marble

Stone is not only resolute but also adds a classic touch to your kitchen.

Backsplashes made of natural stone come in all shapes, sizes, and colors; some get innovative with concrete to achieve this look on a budget, while others invest in more costly tiles.

Slabs of stone (like marble, granite, slate, travertine, etc.) are also prevalent in more sophisticated or luxurious homes.

You can use them as a smaller piece or a large slab for a seamless look.

Marble and granites are typically the most expensive backsplash options and go well with lighter colors like white cabinetry, light brown flooring, and stainless steel appliances.

Compared to marble, granite is a bit darker and comes in various shades to match wood cabinets like red oak, maple, and cherry cabinetry.

Granite is rock-hard, heat, and crack-resistant, so it can easily last a lifetime without much maintenance.

Slate and sandstone are other popular options that can be used for backsplashes. The former is dark gray or matte black, while the latter is a bit browner or orange.

These options complement well in warm kitchens and can look more modern with red terracotta tiles.

Besides all, travertine is getting popular, and it matches well with tiled or wooden floors.

It’s mostly available in easy-to-install lightweight tiles or panels in a range of colors like gray and brown.

Although it chips more quickly than other stones, this one is still a safe choice for a backsplash.

The bottom line

Installing a backsplash is not as difficult as it may seem, but it’s still critical to consult with a professional to get the job done right the first time.

There are many different kitchen backsplash ideas to choose from, so be sure to find one that matches your kitchen’s style and personality.

Whether you’re looking for a classic white subway tile backsplash or something more modern like stainless steel, there’s an option for you.

Don’t forget to take into account the maintenance required for each type of backsplash before making your final decision.

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