Kitchen Backsplash Design & Installation Tips

The fun part about kitchen backsplash design is deciding on colors, picking out tiles, playing with patterns and unique materials.

We covered those topics on the previous kitchen backsplash ideas page.

Now you have some exciting kitchen backsplash ideas flying around your head, but you still need to consider a few more details before you finalize your kitchen backsplash design for installation.

Countertops Before Backsplash

You'll want to choose your countertop material prior to designing your backsplash tile for a few reasons.

First, the countertop is generally the centerpiece of the kitchen and should be the first material chosen.

Second, the countertop material is going to cost you more than the kitchen backsplash tile...
unless you are using the countertop material for a backsplash as well... which for most of us makes it (the countertop) a higher priority.

Third, and probably the best reason to pick your countertop first, is that kitchen backsplash ideas are virtually infinite; therefore, it is much easier to match the backsplash to the countertop than the other way around.

Space For Your Kitchen Backsplash

First off, you need to determine the space you have available for your backsplash and whether you can or want to enlarge it.

Measurements for a typical backsplash are--16 to 18 inches--between the countertop and kitchen cabinets. Now the countertops must be installed before adding the backsplash tile, so the countertop will be at a fixed height.

Top cabinets can be moved higher to--20 to 24 inches increasing available space to develop your kitchen backsplash design.

Of course, moving your current kitchen cabinets higher or installing new cabinets means that it will be more difficult to reach the top shelves.

You may also lose space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, which is often a nice space for displaying plants, glassware, ceramics or other personal treasures.

Kitchen Size. Before you decide how much space you want to create for your kitchen backsplash design... consider the overall size of your kitchen.

A 24 inch kitchen backsplash may be overwhelming in an intimate space, but if your kitchen is large and open with tall ceilings then the bigger space expands the possibilities and . . . adds to the dramatic appeal of the backsplash design.

Electrical outlets and switches are an important consideration too. In most homes the outlets are right in the middle of the wall and will interfere with your kitchen backslpash design.

If you're only replacing the countertops and backsplash, then it's probably not worth the trouble to have the outlets moved.

If this is the case, you can faux paint the cover plates to match the backsplash... use stainless steel cover plates if you have appliances to match or... buy cover plates that are a close color match to the backsplash.

If you are doing a big kitchen remodel or building from scratch, then consider placing the outlets under the top cabinets or have an outlet strip installed at the top of the splash.

Another idea . . . is to turn the outlet horizontal and place them just above the countertop surface at the bottom of the backsplash where they are more likely to be hidden from view by all the stuff on your countertops.

Also, consider installing under-cabinet lighting to help showcase your kitchen backsplash design and provide additional workspace light. Anything you do, of course must adhere to building and safety codes.

So figure out all these details first then get back to the fun part playing with your design. Good Luck!

Kitchen Backsplash Design Questions & Answers

Learn even more! Click on the links below to see kitchen backsplash questions submitted by other visitors with complete answers and great info.

Grouting & Sealing Tumbled Travertine Backsplash 
QUESTION: We have 4" tumbled travertine backsplash tiles installed over our Ubatuba granite countertop and have several questions. I need advice …

Re-caulking Between Granite Countertop and Backsplash 
QUESTION: The bead of silicone between my black granite countertop and backsplash is turning white and rubbery. Water does get on it from the sink. …

Sealing Tumbled Marble Backsplash 
QUESTION: I just put in a tumbled marble backsplash (whitish color) with a bone colored grout. Do I need to seal it... especially the area behind the …

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