Mirrored Backsplash - Tacky or Good Idea?

beth0301November 8, 2011

So, my new kitchen is teensy tiny - just one wall. The room is Bangkok Rust, a dark warm red. The cabinets are oak (yuck, but can't change them) with black trim. The add depth, I was wondering about using a mirrored tile backsplash. I don't want it to look too contemporary though, nor modern or futuristic or tacky. Mirrors, if done well, can be classy, but they can also be super tacky. I'm not sure where a backsplash would fall.

Here's a photo of what I'm thinking:


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Mirrors w patina are very in. Even regular ones are pretty nice. I say no to tile, though, as the grout lines give a whole different feel.

I have the aged mirror in my bathroom but its impossible to photograph!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:23PM
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Another vote for no miniature tile mirrors!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:30PM
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It depends. Do you keep a lot of stuff on your counters? If so, you see double of it. If you keep the counter relatively clear and it reflects something interesting, like a view outside rather than one into the bathroom, it can be nice. But I would do full mirror or at least big squares, not mosaic.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:56PM
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I vote no. IMO a backsplash is a real long time element in your home and fear that mirrored will get dated more quickly then a more classic look. Then also there is the 'double clutter' look with anything that is on the counter.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 8:06PM
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Some years on this issue someone noted that the reflected 'headless torsos' might feel odd.

That stuck with me. I vote no.

Could you do shiney and well lit instead?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:04PM
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It depends. Friends mirrored the backsplashes in the galley kitchen of their condo. I suspect that it was fairly expensive since it's a single piece of mirror on each wall. They fit perfectly down to the beveled mirror switchplates and outlet covers. They both cook, but the mirrors are spotless. I don't know how they do it.

It wouldn't work for me. I can rinse my hands and soak three walls and the floor. Oh and the cats. They'd get on the counters and put nose prints on the mirrors just for the fun of getting me to shriek.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:15PM
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I'm not feeling a mirrored backsplash. It would seem to me that it'd be really hard to keep clean, and I think it'd feel really busy in your small space.

My DD hung a mirror over the sink in her apartment, since there was no window, and that was nice, but I just don't think the tiny mirrors would give the same effect.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:22PM
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Actually, a mirror is just glass and so very easy to clean. And it will depend on layout, but when you yourself are a headless torso you can't see the backsplash, you are too close.

In one of the apts I had in NYC, i had a small galley with an ordinary mirrored backsplash. Not something I would have picked but I liked it and it sure did lighten it up.

Ordinary mirror is quite reasonable. It is a lot less labor then say, tile, if you do a sheet of it. In the past I added mirrors to a basement work out room, and replaced mirrored doors, and dont even recall it being terribly expensive.

But, as usual, Pal is right. You need to find out what your mirror will reflect first. Put one up and see what the "view" will be.

Here is a link that might be useful: prior discussion on mirror b/s

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:29PM
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I think stainless steel would look so much better.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 11:52PM
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I would rather see a mirrored back splash in a butlers pantry or bar/coffee bar area than the main cooking area. Too hard to keep clean IMO.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:02AM
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It isn't the entire kitchen backsplash but I have a beveled mirror behind my stove and I'm here to tell ya, it is the easiest thing in the world to keep clean as mtnrdredux said. I cook all the time and clean up with window cleaner and a microfiber rag. There wouldn't be less splashing/spattering if the material was something else (tile, paint, stone...) but the spatters might not SHOW as much - and to me, not seeing the yuk is worse than seeing it and knowing where to clean! Another material (especially with grout) wouldn't be as easy to clean, either. Having a mirror there bounces light around a dark area of my kitchen and has somewhat the same feel as a window - the eye can travel beyond the wall confines (and I can see the tv behind me as I cook!).

As for the entire counter space, if you keep appliances on your counters (I only have a toaster), do you want to see the back of them? I keep oils & vinegar in pretty bottles on my counter in a nice basket so the reflection of that wouldn't bother me.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:18AM
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Think it looks great! I didn't realize there we so many options and designers who have done it in a very "un-tacky" way. Go for it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mirrored Backsplash Examples

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:10PM
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I had a condo which faced north and was very dark. I used mirrors on my backsplash to reflect light from the one floor-to-ceiling window I had in the living room/kitchen combo room. It really brightened up the space. The room was a sage green. Sorry, I never took a picture of it and no longer live there.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:30PM
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I don't keep things on my counter, so the double reflection isn't an issue.

I see what you mean about grout though ... but I really am liking the solid piece idea, especially if I can find/afford a smoked or distressed looking solid piece.

I got the idea from my bf house, where the previous owner placed a large, but not quite fitted, mirror above the sink where a window would normally be. It really adds depth to the small kitchen.

I'm going to do some more research for inspiration photos. I don't want to destroy my 'non modern' look, but I do like the idea of bouncing a little light around the tiny room.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 11:37PM
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yogocat, you had me laughing so hard concerning you issues with washing your hands, 3 towels and the cats. I can see me now in the scenario.

I have nothing out on my counter in the kitchen or the bathroom. Sick huh?

beth, I hope if when you do it you will show it Good luck with a tough decision. If you don't like it iwhen it is up then cluter the counters with stuff.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:28AM
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Just look up your local glass place. They will have samples of all levels of antiques mirror that you can look through. Plain glass will be less. I spent $23 sq ft for my antiqued glass in my bathroom, but I am in a high cost area and it was through my GC, who has a knack for finding me the worst prices. I am certain you can find it for less.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 7:51AM
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My SIL put in a mirror backsplash. To me, it was very disconcerting. You couldn't see anything but slices of your own midriff. It didn't make the room bigger because there wasn't enough mirror surface to create that illusion.

How tall is your backsplash, beth?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:16AM
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Mirrored backsplashes are very good for small kitchens.
In 1985 we put in a new kitchen and mirrored the backsplash.
It's a 10 foot run with two side walls that are mirrored
as well. We removed the mirror when we installed our new
kitchen cabs five years ago. It made the kitchen feel
close and smaller...so, we reinstalled the same mirror.

In addition we installed a mirror over the stove and
also installed one in the breakfast room, however we didn't
have enough mirror to go all the way down to the counter
we we only partially mirrored under the pig cab in the
breakfast room.
This is my 'pig cabinet' with a partial mirror -- it's not as high impact as the 10 foot run, but it reflects light and energy. I'll get you a pic of the 10 foot run later as I have to get ready for work and I'm late.
btw...I only clean them once a week using a small squeege.
I recommend one piece of mirror instead of mirror tiles.

here's one I just found from 2008, a close-up on the 10 foot side,

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Oh Joann, I LIKE that. It feels like your window space is doubled.

I don't know how big my backsplash is, lol, but I get to go in tomorrow for another lookie see and to have the carpet guy measure the basement for the room we're building down there.

I don't close until next week but there are a few projects that I want to do before moving in (including a total interior repaint) and removing the ugly, out of alignment/off center/unlevel chunk of poorly laid out tile they've stuck right behind the stove. They didn't do the whole backsplash, just a chunk, with cheap white 4 X 4 tile and the lines are all crooked, grout coming out, etc. I figured once I rip that out and redrywall that little section, I either need to patch and paint it or do something else, and I'm really liking this idea. Those select projects will need to be done in about a week as I really have to get out of this house asap. I think though, if cut to fit and in large chunks, it shouldn't take long to put up with clips. I can't glue it though ... against the rules.

I will take pix tomorrow. The last time I went in my camera settings were off and none of my pix came out. Tomorrow I will do better and photograph the entire place, each wall, for my before pix.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Here is a nice coffee bar just for inspiration.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 5:39PM
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caminnc, Your coffee island is gorgeous. I love it,
and the stain color is awesome too.

Yes Beth, give us some photos of the space. The mirrors
will 'widen' and appear to double your space.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 9:52AM
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beth, here it is from the breakfast room view.
this mirror is actually 26 years old.
the mirror we installed over the stove is only a few years

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 2:42PM
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I think out of the link to mirrored bs', I like the one with the subway tiles the most. I would want small grout lines, but I like the idea of breaking up the mirror. It will be like a disco globe and will sparkle.
I googled a search and came up with the link below.
Check this out too, and scroll down to the one with the silver vase: http://glamlamb.com/?p=3042

Here is a link that might be useful: how it would look installed and if you had that lady to your house

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 3:03PM
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I just got back and am so happy! They have really gotten a lot done and it's looking so much better. I'm still not digging the oak, but oh well, it's a minor thing and I will work around it.

Thankfully they used a truer oak stain and not one of those yellow honey ones that just looks, well, yellow.

Here are my kitchen pix as of today:


Keep in mind my wall color is Waverly Bangkok Rust. The name is deceiving, as is the online swatch. It's really a warm dark red, not a rust, and darker than the "tomato soup" looking swatch they have online.

My accents will be black, including the new cab for the dishwasher and the crown going around the top of the cabs.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 6:11PM
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I added it wrong above

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen - Before

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Love the full mirrors! I'm not so sure about the mirror tiles, though.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:50PM
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If you can kind of kneel on the floor with the stove behind you, and take a photo at about 32" high, you will see what would be reflected in your proposed mirror backsplash

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 9:46PM
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While I can see that these examples are very well done with nice countertops and cabinets, I still don't like the mirrors. I am very minimalist, I guess. It looks to me as though the stuff on the counters is tripled or quadrupled, and it feels very very crowded and cluttered to me.

And when there's NOTHING on the counter, it feels "bathroom-y."

To each his own.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Hi, I put mirrors in my kitchen doors and I have to say that they are very easy to clean. This picture is before the kitchen was done ( over a year ago) but best shows the mirrors. They mostly reflect the outdoors and I do love them. Go for it!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 3:52PM
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