Transform your kitchen by selecting a practical backsplash material

Let’s say you’re planning a full kitchen renovation. Do you have your cabinetry sorted? What about your kitchen floors? Are you going with hardwood, or tile? We bet you’ve considered your wall colours, selected your appliances and even started to think about adding a kitchen rug. Yep.

But have you given any thought about your backsplash? It’s that area between your upper and lower cabinets, that many kitchen renovators tend to forget when redoing a kitchen.

If you haven’t planned on including a backsplash behind your hob or sink, you may want to think about adding one. Not only is it a practical inclusion in your kitchen, but one that makes a surprisingly big aesthetic difference.

Maybe you’ve thought, “I’ll just put some subway tiles there”. While it’s true that tile backsplashes are very popular and thoroughly stylish, there are more low-maintenance options out there. The amount of grout you use can be a complete deal-breaker. Grout, texture, matte finishes; they all collect dirt and grease.

So if kitchen tiles aren’t the number one option, what is? We break down a handy selection of low-maintenance backslash options below.

Glass

Tile backsplashes, of course, are lovely. They’re most people’s first choice, and for good reason. But the truth is, those grout lines need cleaning. Usually with a toothbrush or something similar. If this sounds like a lot of work, it may be time to consider something more low-maintenance and modern. And that’s where glass comes in. Glass is super easy to clean, but it also allows you to add a pop of colour to your space. Getting the glass backsplash look is easy too. Here’s what to consider.

Naturally, you’ll need to choose the colour or patterns you wish to use. Your choice might dictate the application you use. A back-painted glass backsplash can be applied to the wall with heavy-duty silicone adhesive. It’s important to ensure that the adhesive is able to hold the glass you’re attaching. Once the glass is fastened securely to the wall, add a filler between the backsplash and the countertop to keep water and other liquids from coming in.

Wallpaper with a clear glass overlay create a striking backsplash in this kitchen. © Leicht

If patterns are more your thing, opt for your choice of wallpaper, and simply use clear glass to protect it. If the shape of your area is quite straight-forward and relatively small, you can DIY this yourself using a piece of pre-cut glass. If the backsplash will be installed behind your stove, make sure you use tempered glass to deal with the hot temperatures.

A wallet-friendly (and easy to install) backsplash alternative is to use acrylic instead of glass. Keep in mind, that with the reduced costs come a few drawbacks. Acrylic scratches a lot easier than glass and can’t be installed near warm locations. But if none of these are an issue for you, look into this low maintenance and low budget option.

High gloss paint

Yep, good ol’ paint can be great low-maintenance backsplash option. Just make sure it’s high-gloss and not matte – or else food stains and splashes won’t be wipeable. The pros of choosing high gloss paint: it’s inexpensive, it’s easy to clean, and you can always change your mind.

Don’t underestimate the practicality of using simple high-gloss paint for your kitchen backsplash. © Leicht

While subway tile is very popular, even sealed grout gets dirty and is a pain to clean. The look of a solid backsplash with zero grout lines is simple and understated. Paint is of course a much less expensive option than just-about anything else out there. Just be sure to take care of your painted backsplash. While a high-gloss surface is easy to wipe, it shows all sorts of oil and water spots if it gets dented or damaged. To get you started on a painted backsplash, check out the kitchen colour options and considerations available to you.

Mirror

The history of kitchen design has seen some pretty terrifying trends come and go. The kind of stuff that was popular for an instant, then disappeared without warning. Most of these trends deserve to be forgotten, while others tend to swing back into modern kitchen consciousness every once in a while. One of those old-yet-new trends is the nifty mirrored backsplash.

While the thought of a mirror backsplash might make some people cringe, it has a lot going for it as a serious consideration. Firstly, it’s one of the most low-maintenance backsplashes you can find. It holds up really well over time, and is super easy to clean using a basic window cleaner. Even the greasiest messes come off with a few simple wipes. And because of its reflective nature, mirror will light up your space significantly – a real asset if you have a small or dark kitchen without cabinet down lighters. It’s also a very affordable option, elegant to look at, and when done right, super stylish.

Mirror is an excellent low-maintenance kitchen backsplash option – when it’s done right.

The key to selecting mirror as your backsplash of choice, is getting the elements around it right. While many people swear by the practicality of using mirror, there’s a fine line between being trendy and tragic.

Form follows function. Or does function follow form? When it comes to kitchen backsplashes, it really is a toss-up. The stylish kitchen backsplash has come a long way since its inception. Originally used simply to protect walls from spills and splatters, now, they are a way to personalise your kitchen and incorporate a wide array of interesting materials into your space. But they need to be practical. So thing long and hard before blindly pointing at any options when selecting your kitchen backsplash. Have a look at the gallery below for more kitchen backsplash inspiration.