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Backsplash Possibilities for Your Kitchen

Modern kitchen backsplashes have come a long way since your mother and grandmother planned their kitchens. Originally meant as an easy-clean surface to cover the wall behind a sink or stove, the backsplash has now become a creative showpiece in its own right. From stainless steel to natural stonework, from simple ceramics to imported tiles from all over the world, this little nook gets special attention in upscale kitchen planning, and the only limits are your taste, imagination, and budget.

That being said, it’s important to keep one caveat in mind: avant-garde or hot, trendy backsplash colors and materials can look dated far faster than your funds may be able to keep up with them. Bright purple glass tile or a stylized floral motif may look terrific in a showroom, but it might be overpowering in your smaller kitchen. You don’t have to give it up entirely, just compromise: put a swatch of it over a small area such as a cooktop or sink as an accent, and keep the rest in a complementary shade and style but with a more laid-back approach. Not only will this be easier to live with; it’ll also be far more effective, in that the unique element will stand out.

What are some of those unique elements? Here are a few to consider.

1. DECORATIVE AND ARTISANAL TILE

Decorative tile, especially with a raised, embossed, painted, or recessed design, gives your kitchen a rich, classic ambiance. These tiles come in various sizes and configurations, not to mention a wide color palette, and can be ceramic, porcelain, quarry, glass, or natural stone. Hand-painted artisanal tiles can give a rustic, folk art appearance to your focal point without being obtrusive.

Despite a delicate appearance, these tiles are amazingly strong; glazed, they’re impervious to water. Unglazed tiles, used for a more matte and less shiny appearance, need to be sealed before they go on duty, but the effect is worth it. These tiles are surrounded by grout—which also comes in a host of colors to complement or contrast with the design.

2. PREFABRICATED MOSAIC DESIGN

Mosaic tile art goes back thousands of years, yet harmonizes flawlessly with even the most modern minimalist kitchens. Tiles in cool blues evoke a seaside or shore feel, while warm terra-cottas can bring to mind a painted desert or canyon landscape. There are even duplicates of famous paintings (such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers) done in tile—an easy way to bring great art into a kitchen without worrying about damages!

The other good news about mosaics is that your choices are truly infinite. If you don’t need a custom design, choose from prefabricated tiles about 12 inches square that are mounted on mesh for easy installation. These come in a bevy of hues and patterns, giving you lots of possibilities without breaking the bank. Latex-formula grouts and epoxies complement the tile with the strength and bond you need at a sensible price. And, despite their artistic flair, glazed ceramic mosaics are practical and easy-care—a boon for families much too busy living in their kitchens to spend time pampering a backsplash!

3. ONE-OF-A-KIND CUSTOM  MOSAICS

On the other hand, if only the most personal design will do, a custom mosaic dealer will work with you to devise a design to your specifications, your color preferences, and your exact kitchen measurements, in materials from glass to granite and porcelain to marble. If your kitchen is truly “off the beaten path,” custom mosaic artists can make your dreams come true with patterns that incorporate marbles, dice, bottle caps, river stone, beer bottle glass, and more. Each of these requires specific care and treatment—annual sealing, at a minimum—but for a backsplash that reflects your unique personality, the tradeoff can be well worth a little fuss.

EXPLORE WHAT’S OUT THERE

Whether you’re updating a tired kitchen or finally putting together your dream home from scratch, take your time to browse through both local home stores and online retailers. You’ll soon find that, if anything, you have too many choices in backsplash beauty. But isn’t that a great problem to have? If you need more help with your Kitchen design project, contact the professionals. At Diamond Kitchen and Bath, we specialize in cabinetry and countertops, but perform full kitchen and bathroom designs and remodels at an affordable price. We’d love to help you create your dream kitchen.

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