Updating your kitchen can be costly and a length endeavor, but changing your backsplash makes a big impact in how your kitchen looks for less money and in less time. Backsplashes keep your walls neat and clean when you cook. In theory, washable enamel paint serves as a sufficient backsplash, but lately, elaborate and creative backsplashes take on a life of their own in the kitchen. Standard kitchens use the same materials and patterns on both the counter and the backsplash, but you can change out the vertical backsplash surface only for an effective update.
Tumbled marble or limestone tiles add a classic understated elegance to your kitchen. Smaller mosaic tiles laid out onto mesh sheets make installation easier. Colors are usually muted and soft in beiges, ivory or gray tones. Ceramic tiles make clean up a snap and come in a huge array of color and patterns. Try installing tiles on the diagonal, if you have horizontally positioned tiles on your countertop. Thin contrasting liner tiles work well for old fashioned kitchens. Bead board painted with water resistant paint adds a casual country touch that warms up a kitchen. Bead board is not expensive and is available at most home improvement centers and large hardware stores.
For a Victorian flare, try tin ceiling tiles cut to fit your backsplash. The inlaid patterns add visual and textural interest. Modern kitchens have sleek clean lines and often feature stainless steel appliances. Use sheets of stainless steel for your backsplash, and extend the treatment all the way up to the bottom of your upper cabinets to keep the look understated and unfussy. Plain glass or frosted glass laid over a painted surface is another good choice for modern kitchens. Alternately, mosaic glass tiles keep the cool look but add some texture to your backsplash. Installing glass tile can be tricky and requires special adhesives and grout so work with an experienced installer.