backsplash matching counter

jabeloneJanuary 19, 2011

Is there a recognized effect if the color of the backsplash exactly matches the counter? I don't mean using the same counter material, I just mean matching in color tone. Does it generally make the kitchen appear larger? more modern? smaller? Is there a rule of thumb?

I'm one of the people on this site who has been considering a backsplash now for many months. We continue to look non-stop to no avail. I usually would have thought that I would prefer the backsplash to be different than the counter but complimentary. However, the only BS samples we seem to even consider are the ones that match the sandy off-white tone of our quartz counter. It seems kinda boring... but maybe it's the simple zen look we like.

I should mention the paint we chose also matches the counter almost exactly so the net effect is that a matching BS will only be a change in material texture. ie. will reflect light differently maybe but look the same as both the wall and the counter? I guess this is what makes the issue even more confusing for us. We have modern espresso cabinets w. fir floors, fir ceilings.

Here is a link that might be useful: previous discussion and photos on this thread.

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Even the same color and same material look different laying flat then they do against a wall, due to the light.

Monochromatic and light colors will make it look bigger. ALthough a dark backsplash will recede more which could make the counters appear deeper...

There is no rule that says you need to have a BS. Why not paint it and leave it until and if something strikes your fancy?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:33PM
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Do you like the way the color you have the BS painted now looks with the counter? When we were making our decision, I painted the backsplash the same color as the wall. The tiles we were considering were this same tone as well. I decided I needed it to look brighter so we went with a brighter tile.

I think the paint is an excellent way to help you decide the "big picture". I think that you will know when the right backsplash comes along. Or maybe it has already?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I was just looking back at your old post from November. I really can't see the kitchen from the photo you posted.

But, I still stand by what I just wrote about doing the "paint test". I see that some people suggested penny round tiles to you. I think that they might really be nice. I think they would tie into the mcm, and yet they add a bit of pizzaz without going over the top. YOu might be able to find this shape in the tone you are talking about.

Below is the link to Sarah's House. She had renovated a 60's backsplit. I know you can't really see the penny rounds she used all that well, but take a look.

Here is a link that might be useful: scroll down to the kitchen

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:52PM
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I feel matching is very underrated. People talk about not liking things matched but so many kitchens I see would be improved by more of the same instead of so many different elements.

For me, matched counters and backsplash is a commitment to a surface -- both its color and texture. Quartz counters have special patterning. When there's a lot of something it does make it more important so a backsplash will magnify that and show in a different way, with more impact. Think of the counter material in a more confined space like a shower -- first on the floor. Then try to imagine the impact on two walls as well.

Of course, it all depends on the kitchen and everyone has different taste but when you look at kitchens done by pro designers there usually is a common thread or theme which involves a lot of matching. So I wouldn't hesitate.

Here's a kitchen with a marble counter and matching backsplash -- it's active material and far from boring. Walls are also painted in the same color.

Here is a link that might be useful: Matching counter & 'splash

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 3:10PM
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I agree with rococo, I think matching or coordinating closely can be very effective.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 3:36PM
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I've seen a lot of pure white kitchens (white cabs, white BS, white marble counter) so why not? i'm sure you'll find ways to add variety in other ways.

We were warned not to choose the quartz we did because it wouldn't stand out enough against our cream cabinets...but I wanted it that way...

It had all the right colors within it to pull in the dark brown floor, the SS appliances, and cabinets. I thought it was subtle and just worked.

Then we used slate for the backsplash..very high contrast against the counter/cabs--yet the dark specks in the counter work with it well. (So we made the least expensive part of the kitchen stand out, lol. But if I ever get sick of the dark BS, it will be the least expensive thing to change!)

I don't think "safe" or "boring" is bad--if done right, it can become timeless.

Here is a link that might be useful: our light cabinets and counters with dark backsplash

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:22PM
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laura mcleod

I really, really wanted a simple kitchen on the light and airy (and low contrast) side of things so did everything I could to limit the number of different surfaces that came in. As a result, I went with a slab backsplash and LOVE it. I think it really pulls the kitchen together, which was important to more (it is not a huge space). (I also went with similiar wall and cab color so there was not a lot of visual break-up around the space). I am a total fan of less is more - I think the result can be simple and calming.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:08PM
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A few of us here have had to redo our backsplashes. The backsplash should blend with the cabinets and the counter. If it doesn't it winds up looking off! And then you want to rip it off!!. I know there are some funky kitchen with a backsplash that pops and is different, but if you look through the hundreds of kitchen on GW, a common thread in all the beautiful kitchens is that the backsplash coordinates well with the other elements.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Its actually more difficult to use a number of materials that are related in palette or are near matches, than it is to do different but relatively high contrast materials. As each material is chosen, finding that last one that is a close match can be difficult.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:09PM
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Thanks everyone. I guess every kitchen has different factors. I know the BS should match other elements in the room but there is always the floor, the ceiling and of course the cabinets. Our kitchen is open to living/dining area so there are lots of other elements in the same view (ie. stone fireplace, furniture... ). I always thought of the BS as the "jewelry" - something with a bit of bling, not something that just fades into the background. We've been trying to pull in all the design elements with the BS, and it's just not possible unless we go with a mosaic, and that comes across as pretty busy in our open space (love it in some kitchens though).

I forgot to mention that the reason there is some urgency is that the drywall gypsum got damaged (the outside paper layer ripped up) when we removed the old former laminate BS which was just glued to the wall. It looks terrible (can't clean it either) and makes us feel we have not completed the kitchen. I suppose I could patch it up with some drywall mud - sand and paint, but seems like a lot of work if it's going to be covered by tile anyway. And it still wouldn't look like new drywall.

We're at the point where we're prepared to settle. I know the backsplash can make or break the look of a kitchen so if we settle, it will just be an run-of-the-mill kitchen. Or maybe we're putting too much emphasis on the BS? In all our searching for tile, we just never found anything really special - that really inspires us. Don't mean to whine. We certainly improved the function and layout with our renovation (and got the all important dishwasher). Maybe that's good enough. Just a shame we couldn't top it off with a really great backsplash as the final touch.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:44PM
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