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Jana Roach / Riad Tile

80 Kitchen Tile Backsplash Ideas for the Ultimate Accent Wall

Tile your house into a home.

By Rachel Silva and Sarah Choi

Ready for a kitchen refresh? You don’t have to put a sledgehammer through the wall to give your space a new look. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of adding tiles and a fresh coat of paint, et voilà! And when it comes to home improvements, nothing makes a kitchen stand out quite like a backsplash. Whether it’s a cheeky patterned inlay, an unexpected metallic backdrop, antique ceramic gems, or classic white subway tiles, the perfect kitchen backsplash can be the final touch that brings your design scheme together for the cooking space of your dreams.

“Tile is design eye candy,” says Anna Lood with Clay Imports. “It is such an effective way to bring texture, movement, and life into a space.” When selecting the right tile for your kitchen, Lood recommends thinking outside the box, while staying true to the space. “Why not take it all the way up to the ceiling or create an unexpected statement wall? One-of-a-kind patterns, clever layouts, or playful shapes are an easy way to create an intriguing ‘stop and stare’ moment.”

Wherever you fall on the chef spectrum (no judgment, HelloFreshers), here are 80 inspiring ideas from designer spaces that will make the hub of the home the heart of your home.


Brutalist Backsplash

montana labelle toronto
Patrick Biller

The cooking space of this low-key Toronto home features a custom backsplash that nearly steals the show. The wall is ornamented in Brutalist-inspired tiles by local artist Catherine Carroll of Black Rock Tile Studio. A shelf, illuminated by vintage Charlotte Perriand sconces, showcases a bevy of vintage vessels. Who needs wall space for art?


Chipped Charm

kitchen backsplash
Jana Roach / Riad Tile

Designer Jana Roach can’t stop gushing about her four-inch Riad Snow zellige tile backsplash—and we can’t blame her when it looks this good. “I adore zellige tile,” she tells ELLE DECOR. “It transcends trends and decor styles. It has the best texture, and the natural variation in color adds so much depth and character to my kitchen.” If you look closely, no tiles are exactly the same, with their individual pits, cracks, and chipped edges. For Roach, that adds to its charm. “It gives my space a one-of-a-kind, handmade feel that perfectly complements my preference for old furniture and natural materials.”


Streamlined Style

montana labelle toronto
Lindsey Drewes

Interior designer Madison Lussier had her work cut out for her before she renovated the kitchen in this Santa Barbara, California, home. “Originally there was a very heavy-feeling hood with molding that had carved grapevines in it, and the cream crackle subway tile that’s in the rest of the kitchen was behind the range as well,” Lussier explains. She replaced the hood with a much simpler look that matched the cabinetry and framed it all out in a more rustic wood. “I really love the way it turned out,” she adds. “I think it complements and draws attention to the stunning LaCanche range so much more than the original design.”

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Checkered Backsplash

montana labelle toronto
Annie Schlechter

In this large kitchen, design duo Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller kept the cabinet color neutral to soften the graphic, checkered zellige backsplash. “We selected this hand-glazed, terra-cotta backsplash because it added visual interest and charm,” says Miller. “It’s playful yet historically appropriate to this 1920s Tudor.”


Aged Finishes

kitchen backsplash
Delina Langridge

When selecting the tile for her kitchen renovation project, Farmer’s Daughter InteriorsKelsey Grose says these aged gray porcelain tiles caught her eye. “I loved the variation in this particular tile and that it could handle being installed all the way to the ceiling without feeling too boring or too busy,” she explains. “A stacked layout brings a subtle midcentury feel to this farmhouse kitchen, and the rough-around-the-edges feel gave the room that extra bit of warmth I was looking for.” Paired with her own shop’s light fixture, this wall adds a modern, almost urban touch to a rustic farmhouse-style space.


Penny for Your Wall

the kitchen cabinets and hood are custom designs the barstools by lawson fenning are covered in a leather by edelman and the penny tiles are by ann sacks
Mikkel Vang

Sometimes the best design ideas evolve from the smallest, most mundane items. In this Manhattan crash pad, designer Ariel Ashe and architect Reinaldo Leandro had the idea to create a counter-to-ceiling backsplash made entirely of round white pennies. “I was pretty nervous, because I really am not that into round things,” the client says, laughing. “But they were completely right.” The resulting look will make anyone second-guess the worth of a simple penny.

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Textured Touch

montana labelle toronto
J. Reiko Design + Co.

The subtle, organic texture of these rectangular tiles adds just the right touch to this Denver basement renovation. “I instantly fell in love with the natural undulation and imperfections in this tile that give it a handmade appearance,” designer Jenny Murphy says. She was aiming to give the basement bar a simple and contemporary look, while also adding an element that creates visual interest. “This tile was exactly what we were looking for,” she adds. “And it complements the soapstone countertops gracefully without detracting from them.”


Bespoke Backsplash

montana labelle toronto
Courtesy Taylor + Taylor

This geometric backsplash moment is giving us all the reasons to depart from the standard lines of classic subway tilesDesigners Jess and Jonathan Taylor of Taylor + Taylor took the possibilities of custom tiles to a whole other level. “Working in Los Angeles, we often have to find ways to blend old and new,” Jonathan explains. “In this home we were looking for ways to play with pattern and variation in an old Hollywood home. This tile maker offered these custom tiles such that we could specify every detail of color and line, which offered us a path to this playful but sophisticated backsplash.”


Gainful Grout

countertop, kitchen, room, kitchen stove, cabinetry, property, furniture, interior design, building, major appliance,
William Waldron

The kitchen in this Hamptons home is a lesson in the power of contrasts, created by this ingenius hack: Use a contrasting tile grout to create a juxtaposition between the subway tiles and grout. Here, crisp white subway tiles are bordered by contrasting black grout that makes a statement in all the right ways.

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Balance in All Things

blue kitchens
Richard Powers

If you have a flair for maximalism, you might have gone no holds barred on your flooring as did designer Pamela Shamshiri with patterned Granada tile in this Hollywood Hills home. Shamshiri cleverly balanced it all out with a crisp set of white subway tiles for the backsplash.


Multidimensional Mystique

montana labelle toronto
Taylor Barbetta

Take notes from HW Interiors’ implementation of these elemental Oval Chalk tiles, which jump out to you—literally. “The exquisite 3D design of these tiles adds a textured element that elevates the space,” says Anna Lood, head of sales and design at Clay Imports. “I especially love the complementary effect of the wood-accent open shelving, which imbues the kitchen with a cozy and inviting ambience.”


Moody Moment

kitchen backsplash
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Who says tiles belong only on the wall? Chic, dark tiles punctuate the island of this D.C. kitchen with a contemporary appeal that balances the space’s cool navy hues. This scullery is a bold departure from the trending white kitchen look that has dominated the market, and we’re here for it.

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Colorful Tile

furniture, room, white, interior design, property, living room, floor, shelf, home, building,
Annie Garner

Sure, white subway tiles seem to be the standard go-to, but this Maren Baker–designed space proves that a touch of color can create a fresh take on an old classic. Here, soft green tiles create a cozy backdrop to this light-and-bright kitchen. We’re green with envy!


Contrasted Cookery

room, countertop, kitchen, property, furniture, cabinetry, interior design, tile, building, kitchen stove,
Eric Piasecki

This two-tone kitchen is proof that high contrast creates both balance and depth. In this 1890s Southampton, New York, home, the black subway tiles give the space an elevated edge. The contrasting white hood and open shelving make it stand out even more.


Diagonal Design

kitchen backsplash
Alana Stipech

This charming 1920s farmhouse in Los Alamos, California, features a backsplash moment that is the star of the show. Don't believe us? Rent it yourself on Airbnb and form your own opinion. "I’m obsessed with the imperfect, raw look of this tile by Clé Tile," says Alana Stipech. "Not having grout lines between each piece makes the backdrop look like a piece of art." We love how every single tile is unique in texture and color. How perfectly imperfect.

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Mirrored Mosaic

john mcclain home tour
Zeke Ruelas

In the kitchen of this fearlessly eclectic Los Angeles home, the original square tiles, seen in a 1960s iteration of the same space, served as inspiration for the new mirrored version. Interior designer John McClain paired the tiles with dark cabinetry and cool gray floors. “The tile alone makes the space feel larger,” McClain adds. “Plus, you can check your hair while you’re cooking up dinner.”


Tiles on Capri

a kitchen with green backsplash and chrome and black appliances and cabinets
Nathalie Krag

Some backsplashes speak to a time and place in a big way. Case in point: these wavelike majolica tiles, which invoke the island surroundings of this midcentury villa on Capri. These tiles, custom-made by Galleria Elena, were reproduced in the likeness of some found at Capri’s Villa Torricella, the stately former home of the American expats Kate and Saidee Wolcott-Perry in the early 1900s. Talk about a backstory!


Classically Inclined

kitchen with wooden table and pink floors
James Merrell

There’s nothing more classic than white glazed subway tile, an elegant solution for nearly any interior style—and the kitchen of this idyllic retreat on a remote Scottish island is proof that this simple design passes the test of time. With a custom hood and a peacock blue–painted vintage table (not to mention the pop of red flooring), this color palette brings in all the romance of its illustrious history—with a dash of pizzazz.

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Art Deco Deluxe

bradley stephens  upper east side apartment
Thomas Loof

For those going all out on glam style, there’s just one oft-repeated word of caution: Too much can sometimes be, well, too much. But designer Bradley Stephens—who incorporated his first muse, Art Deco banks, into this Manhattan apartment—knows when to rein it in. So of course this subtle backsplash offers a stabilizing neutral blue-toned background to the dramatic patterned flooring and vintage brass pendants. A weightless backdrop to the main act, we give a (metaphorical) round of applause to the true star of the space.


Black Backsplash

kitchen tiles backsplash
Ema Peter

We love how this bold kitchen turns informality on its head, merging postmodern-inspired lighting with charcoal-colored tiles that create a cozy Pacific Northwest feel, West Vancouver, British Columbia–style. The backsplash brings the dark hues throughout the room together, linking the black back-of-the-island block to the delicate pendant lines.

Headshot of Rachel Silva
Rachel Silva
Assistant Digital Editor

Rachel Silva, the Assistant Digital Editor at ELLE DECOR, covers design, architecture, trends, and anything to do with haute couture. She has previously written for Time, The Wall Street Journal, and Citywire.

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