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At their core, backsplashes are functional elements. They’re made to protect the wall behind the sink from getting too damp. After all, that section of wall is in a “danger zone”. It doesn’t take long for moisture to wear away at the paint and damage the drywall.
So, a backsplash is a way to prevent that wear and tear from occurring.
But obviously, they’ve evolved into decorative elements. By adding a layer of colored tile or laminate to the wall behind your sink, you have the opportunity to experiment with contrast and texture in your kitchen.
While the options for backsplashes are limitless, there are two primary types: half-backsplashes that only extended 25%-50% up the wall from the counter and full or “feature” backsplashes that take up the entire wall.
Feature backsplashes actually weren’t very common until a few years ago. In the past, I think it may have seemed ridiculous to cover one wall with tile. But, once people tuned in to their design potential, we started to see a lot more of them.
A feature backsplash is a great way to unify your entire kitchen. When it’s done well, it creates a perfect sense of harmony between the walls, countertops, cabinets, and floors.
It’s hard to say whether the feature backsplash trend coincides with the rise of social media, but I will say this: they do look great on Instagram.
Of course, their are some downsides. The cost is prohibitive for a lot of people. With decent tiles, a half backsplash is going to cost between $400 and $600, before labor costs. If you’re a DIY warrior who is down to take on the project yourself, you may be able to keep the cost around $500.
But, once you move past that halfway mark on the wall, you can expect the price to climb. A full-on feature wall can cost upwards of $1200, depending on the tiles you choose
If that’s in your budget and you want to move forward, my suggestion is to take a hard look at your kitchen. Ask yourself which colors would look good with your counters and cabinets. I find that backsplashes work best when they’re a variation on the color of the cabinets. You don’t want to clash with the cabinets, but you don’t want them to blend into each other too much, either.
You may even want to consider a mirrored backsplash. They’re neutral, so they look good in every kitchen. And they’re super easy to clean, too. Plus, mirrored surfaces make your kitchen look bigger. It’s definitely a trend, but it’s so classic that I think it will always look good.