The kitchen backsplash is one of the most unique areas in the home. It can be covered in any material and in any pattern or configuration. And while the space is typically about 18-inches in height, it may expand behind the cooktop or you can continue the material up and around the cabinets to other areas of the walls to help complete your style. For this reason, backsplashes can have a wide range of costs, with $900 to $2,500 being the average cost.
Like any decorative area in the home, backsplash trends can change over time. We asked interior design experts to weigh in on what trends they thought would be the most popular kitchen trends in 2022 and we broke down everything related to kitchen backsplash in this article. Each one of the following trends is accompanied by the percentage of experts who chose that style as one that they believe will be most popular in 2022.
1. Slab Backsplash as an Extension of the Countertop
The most popular trend identified by experts is a slab backsplash, or an extension of your slab countertop up through the backsplash area. 84% of experts agreed that this trend would be seen frequently in 2022. Slab backsplashes can help create a very subtle and cohesive look for the kitchen. Because the backsplash and countertop are made of the same material, this can make the area seem larger, as well as a little less busy. You don’t need to worry about mixing and matching your backsplash material with your countertop; one choice will make the decision for both areas.
This style is a favorite of MacKenzie Cain, interior designer at Habitar Design, who explains, “Extending the countertop up the backsplash, whether that is natural marble or engineered quartz, is such a clean and luxurious look.” This look also has few seams and no grout lines, which can give the kitchen a cleaner appearance, while the look of a marble or quartz can create the feel of luxury as well. Garrison Hullinger, president of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, agrees, “If the cabinets and hardware are the star of the kitchen you can utilize a slab on the backsplash to achieve a cleaner aesthetic.”
Keep in mind that slab-style backsplashes like this can be expensive. Your backsplash area is going to be roughly the same amount of space as your countertop area; you will therefore be doubling the cost of your countertop, making the average cost for this project $1,500 to $4,500 depending on the material you choose.
2. Ceiling Height Backsplash
Backsplashes extending to ceiling height is also a popular trend with 67% of experts agreeing that it will be seen in many kitchens this year. Extending the backsplash to the ceiling can have a lot of benefits for the kitchen design. It can draw the eye upward, making the kitchen seem larger and more spacious, with higher ceilings. It can also spread out a “busier” backsplash, so it becomes less of a focus and more of a backdrop for the rest of the room.
Extending your backsplash like this can also be a way of simply solidifying the room’s design. For example, taking a handmade ceramic tile and using it everywhere on a wall creates a much more unified design for the entire space than simply confining it to one area.
There are many ways that you can tile the wall outside of the traditional backsplash area as well. As Laura Medicus, owner of Laura Medicus Interiors, says, “Take your tile up and around your shelves, your windows - go bold with it! Don't just hold it to the traditional 18" height.” In other words - the backsplash can play up any feature in the space, rather than sticking to the traditional area, which can in turn make your design a lot more dynamic.
Owners of Scottsdale Interior Design Group & Prescott Interior Design Group Tim and Jackie Santos agree that this look can work particularly well in small kitchens, “A full-wall of tile backsplash makes a fabulous statement and makes the room feel open and spacious. Your eye captures the full height of the ceiling; a terrific treatment for smaller kitchens.”
Interior designer Wanda Suitt-Horton (Wander S. Horton Interior Design) also feels that it can be a way to balance taller ceilings, “In some instances, where the ceiling height could stand to be balanced by something other than super tall and hard-to-reach cabinets, extending the backsplash tile pulls the view together.”
This type of backsplash can also be more expensive than the average, simply because you will be using considerably more material and labor to achieve the look. While the average backsplash is roughly 20 to 30 sq.ft. in size, extending it to the ceiling could essentially double or more your total square footage. For this reason, you can expect costs between $1,800 and $5,000 depending on the material you choose.
3. Natural Stone Backsplash
Natural stone backsplashes are the third favorite for the year, with 30% of experts feeling that this will be the most popular trend. With the growing trend of bringing nature and natural materials into the home in 2022, this particular backsplash style feels like a good fit for the year.
There are many ways that you can create a natural stone backsplash, using tiles or slab countertops. Any stone can be used in this area from marble to slate, limestone to river rocks.
If you opt for a slab backsplash, a natural stone such as marble or quartzite can make a beautiful statement in this area. As Marshall Erb, Marshall Erb Design Inc., points out that by doing so, “Allows the veining to continue up the wall and provides a cohesive look that is very easy to maintain.” As for the material, most experts agree that marble is the stone of choice. Veronica Solomon, president and lead designer at Casa Vilora Interiors, loves the look of a, “marble backsplash with statement hood,” while Vincente Wolf describes his ideal as a, “marble backsplash with matching counter and island.”
Just be sure that you remain aware of how loud or patterned some stone backsplashes can be. As Ally Whalen (Ally Whalen Design) warns, “If you do a marble backsplash- make sure it isn't too busy.” This is particularly true if you choose a different marble or stone from a stone countertop; the competing veins and colors could overwhelm the space.
Stone backsplashes can have a wide range of costs; expect anything from $900 to $4,500 for the average backsplash depending on the material and its installation type. For example, a honed carrara marble backsplash with beveled edges in a 3x6 running bond may cost around $900 to $950, installed, while a slab backsplash made of the same stone as the countertop could cost $3,000 or more depending on the material.
4. Ceramic Tiles That Create a Pattern
28% of experts felt that ceramic tiles that create a patterned backsplash will also be popular this year. Ceramic tiles are unique amongst other materials for several reasons. They’re made of clay and can therefore be shaped in many different configurations. They’re also glazed, which means that they can have bold hues and colors not seen on other types of tile. Combined, you can have a tile that has a pattern all its own, or you can put together many different types in colors and shapes to create your own, unique pattern.
Ceramic tiles are generally easy to clean, although you will want to stay away from any tiles that use copper in their glaze - including some deep greens - as these can react poorly with lemon juice and other common kitchen substances. Depending on the pattern you want to create, you can use anything from mosaics to large format ceramic tiles, so you can control the amount of grout you use in the area as well.
Most experts agree, though, that if you use a patterned tile in the kitchen, that you keep the rest of the space neutral or simple to avoid clashing. For example, owner and creative director of Marcia Moore Design, Marcia Moore, likes the look of, “Patterned tiles used as the only pattern in a kitchen with solid color cabinets and countertops. Karen Otto, Home Star Staging, agrees by recommending that, “If the backsplash is the star, try letting the supporting players (countertops and cabinets) be background actors who compliment the star. A geometric patterned backsplash works well with solid color countertops.”
Ceramic tiles can run a wide range of costs, because you can create a pattern using simple, solid colored tiles mixed and matched yourself, or you can purchase specifically shaped and patterned tiles as a set. For example, you can create a very simple backsplash using white glazed tiles for under $300, or you can create an intricate pattern made of different sizes, colors, and shapes of handmade ceramic tiles for $3,000 or more.
5. Glazed Tile Backsplash
Glazed tile backsplashes will also be a top trend this year according to 17% of experts. Glazed tiles can be made of ceramic or porcelain, with ceramic being the more common of the two. A glazed tile simply means that it has a thin layer of melted material on its surface. This glaze can add color and sometimes texture to the tiles.
Glazed tiles don’t necessarily have any benefits over unglazed tiles in the backsplash area. The biggest benefit is simply that the glaze can make the tiles easier to clean than a textured, unglazed tile might be. Glazed tiles can come in a wide range of different colors, shapes, and styles, including those with patterns. They can be used alone or in combination with other materials, and can have matte, glossy, textured, or crackled (crazed) finishes.
Using a backsplash of glazed tiles in a single color can make a nice contrast to other elements in the kitchen, and can often be a design element in some kitchen styles such as Cottage or Farmhouse. Helen Bartlett, stylist and home stager at Refined Interior Staging Solutions, explains, “Glazed tiles create a beautiful texture and highlight many different styles/textures of countertops. It adds enough contrast so that each element stands out on its own.”
Glazed tiles can also run a big range of costs, because they can be simple and machine made or handmade and glazed with shifting colors. Expect a glazed tile backsplash cost to fall between $300 and $2,500.
Bring the Backsplash to the Forefront of Your Kitchen Design
Backsplashes are one of the easiest ways to bring trends, interest, and design elements to your kitchen. They’re easy to install and easy to change out without disturbing the rest of the kitchen when you’re ready for a change. Incorporating any of these trends into your kitchen can be a quick and easy way to ramp up your whole kitchen’s style. If you’re looking for a way to make your kitchen look more on trend this year, try one of these backsplashes in the space.