Having a backsplash meltdown

debbiet2November 11, 2012

I've recently renovated my kitchen and I'm having a horrible time trying to figure out a backsplash. I keep going back and forth between stone and glass, liner and subway, accent border and plain. The more I look at images and shop, the more my head spins. I'm at the point where my head is so overwhelmed that I can't see the forest through the trees. I'm hoping someone can give me some ideas and clarity. My cabinets are Merillat Cherry Paprika and my countertops are supposedly Alaska White. I've never seen an Alaska White like this one though. There's no white at all. The color is an ivory/cream color, then there are colors of beige, black, taupe, gold, red, and amethyst. I'll try to upload pictures to let you see. The only change that is still to come here soon, the cabinet and microwave above the range are getting removed and will be replaced with a chimney style range hood in two weeks. Wall color can be changed and sometime next year we will be redoing the floors so I'm not taking them into account.

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Here is a closeup of the granite. It didn't take a true color picture. The areas that look white are actually ivory/cream color. Then there are some areas that look like they're a greyish-blue color but it's a tad bit of a yellow-gray-green hue to it.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:20PM
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First off, try to calm down. You are not alone in haviing a difficult time choosing a backsplash.
To me it would be a no brainer. I would do cream ceramic in any shape.
I would not do stone because you have a busy granite and there are many vairables in it. Also, it is not as popular as it once was. Glass can be tricky and I think it has a more modern vib to it.
I agree it doesn't look like White Alaska. But, who cares?
Some like to put a border, but honestly you don't really need it.
You have a really nice kitchen so far. Take your time on the backsplash. Come back here with your choices.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Debbie - we have all been there - that is why there is an unofficial ABB (all but backsplash club - some have been in it for years. Your kitchen is looking great and now just needs the proper jewelry. Remember sometimes a simple gold or pearl necklace is better than something too wild.

Many of us have a crateful of samples in the basement as we all struggled with the backsplash issues - especially those with a lot of movement like your beautiful counter.

As ellendi says calm down - I see take a deep breath and then search on Houzz and GW for back splashes to get some ideas.

Then post your ideas - but do expect not everyone will like your first attempts. (I can tell you from experience - I would be all excited and GW would say - no way - doesn't go, too busy, etc.)

Here is a link to my final backsplash - In the process of deciding - I want from back painted glass to mosaics, to subways, to squares, etc. I looked at multiple glass sites, have samples from many companies and still struggled but with the help of GW - I did it! and you will too!


Can't wait to see some of your choices :-)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Deep breath, Debbie! the b-splash was the biggest nightmare in my reno. Someone just posted a "show me your backsplash" thread, it's just a couple posts away from yours. Maybe you can get some ideas there.

I found Sonoma Tilemakers to have one of the largest, most impressive selection of anyone. You might want to check them out.

Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:09AM
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We all could have written this exact same post at some point. I tell ya, the backsplash decision is such option overload! Funny, my colors are almost the exact same as yours and I went through the plain vs blingy vs glass vs stone vs accent vs all the other myriad of options out there. If you were inclined to search, I am sure that you could find my backsplash threads. Since our colors are so similar, I'll post what I decided on....plain porcelain tiles, no accents. I have no regrets on the choice. I like that it isn't detracting from the granite. The accent that I had selected was beautiful but super expensive. I am sure it would have looked nice as well, but I honestly don't miss not having it. Good luck to you. What you have right now looks beautiful so just trust your instincts....and the advice of the kitchen obsessed people here! Remember to enjoy the journey.

Funny, I just posted this in another thread so have it immediately accessible.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:14AM
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debbie I am in the exact same place as you! frustrated and nervous about the bs decision. I have bianco antico - also a busy stone so i'm looking for an interesting shape or interesting pattern using 2x8 or 2x5s, but plan to do all one color. here are some tiles i'm thinking of but in a creamy white.

I've also considered a glazed light greige.

maybe we can swap ideas since we have such similar granite tops?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Debbie - I just posted a few pictures in the 'show me your backsplash' thread - you are not alone!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 1:45PM
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I'm happy to throw some ideas your way. It would be helpful to know your budget, some basic likes and dislikes (large tiles, small tiles, a tile alternative...) and what you want the bs to do for you that the wall color doesn't (i.e, do you want to brighten the space, add color, etc..). Also, do you have under-cabinet lighting, or do you plan to?

Busy stones with a lot of movement do best when paired with quiet bs tile, so choose one variable at most in the tile. You can pick tiles all the same color, and different sizes, or all the same size with slightly different colors, but don't vary both.

kellie chose cream porcelain subway tiles, all the same color and size, and you can certainly do the same. They look lovely, and her tiles are interesting because they are not conventional 3" x 6" tiles. You must have come across a similar look at some point, so I won't bother recommending glass subways - they are more modern looking, but you've seen them already.

I would bring some light into the space with shell tile, glossy glass, or light glass-fused porcelain, so tiles uniform in shape and color, that play with light. Here are some examples.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:59PM
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The more simple, the better, IMO. Let the granite be the star, creamy/white and all.... I love it! I sell backplashes for a living, and maybe it's just my opinion, but sometimes people get so dead set on making it so fancy next to a fancy granite that you lose the focal point of the kitchen. Busier granites call for a complimentary softer backsplash that completes the room rather than overtakes it. I love the idea of a subway ceramic in cream. It's not boring to me if the end result is the room working together as a whole.

Just a thought. But as I tell my customers, there are a 1000 different ways to get to a backsplash. The easiest part is knowing what you DON'T want. The hard part is narrowing down your choices and being realistic with your vision.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I would like something that is pretty and compliments the granite without competing. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the things I'm looking at would compete. I don't like large tiles or colors that would darken the room. We do not have under counter lighting. We have 6 recessed cans over the main area and then a 3 light fixture over a breakfast table where I was standing. The more that I look at pictures, I'm leaning towards subway or linear tiles. Pictures that I've seen of my color cabinets with square tiles lent a tuscan feel and I would like to try and stay away from that.

I like how all the walls on this are very simple and then there's a statement behind the range on these two pictures. Didn't know if it would be too much though http://www.hgtv.com/designers-portfolio/room/transitional/kitchens/6969/index.html and on this one http://www.stantonhomes.com/images/KitchenBacksplashW5.jpg

I really liked the idea of this with the linear sizes or as subway tiles. http://www.houzz.com/photos/210045/Kitchen-Remodel-contemporary-kitchen-boston

And I like the idea of this but don't know if it would make it way too busy. http://www.houzz.com/photos/217101/Haight-Ashbury-contemporary-kitchen-san-francisco

If I did go with something like that, I found this tile for the accent. Could either go with the crema marfil or contempo white as the main tiles. But would it make it too busy? http://products.daltile.com/seriesdetailStone.cfm?series=288&log=4&subType=1&item=4370

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:42PM
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I think I might have found my tile. Daltile has a ceramic color tile called Biscuit. I think it looks nice but I'm wondering if it might be too little color so I was thinking about adding 1 line of a colored 1x6 glass tile to break it up. The glass tile that I'm looking at is also a Daltile called Kinetic Khaki. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 8:28PM
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Debbie - is the glass tile next to the field tile? It looks dark from here - Can you put a lighter background with it to get a better idea.
I used the new edit feature - I forgot to mention the field tile looks pretty darn good with your counter and cabs!

This post was edited by a2gemini on Mon, Nov 26, 12 at 21:03

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I like the field tile a lot with your counters. Simple and does not take away from your beautiful granite! I'm not sure you even need the glass tile with it. Can't wait to see what you chose!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Love your kitchen as is. I think people have so much trouble with backsplashes because granite and backsplashes clash in both color and shapes. I would find some type of super durable marine varnish to protect your current wall paint and FINITO!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 6:21PM
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a2gemini, I tried to put a white piece of paper behind the tiles and take another picture. I think the glass tile looks a tad darker in the photo than it does in person.

I really like the field tile in the biscuit color. It's my front runner so far. It's just trying to figure out whether to use the glass liner or not.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:15AM
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Thanks - that is helpful
I think the field tile is great - harder to tell about the accent tile but I have to trust you that it is lighter and I think I saw the color when I was looking! If the color is in your counter - it is a winner (and you have a lot of choices!)
Go for it! (Before 16 other answers pop!)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Some people here like accents and some don't, but most prefer clean and simple--well, except for the chandeliers, where they let loose.

I personally like accents, but I look at the whole room to see if it will enhance the space. So in yours I see a raised panel door style with deep cherry stain. Lots of cabinetry. A diagonal corner cabinet with glass muntins. Detailed hardware. "Busy" granite. Lots of shiny stainless appliances. A pass-through. My eye is bouncing around the room. I want a place for it to rest.

I think you have enough going on and should stick with subway tile. You can get color with your accessories. You've got a lot of stainless, so try trading out the SS cannisters to ceramic and add some other accents to your baking counter. Large pieces of colorful pottery in your glass cab would bring in color too. That's your natural focal point, but I can't tell what's in there.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 11:28

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:11AM
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I like the subway tile alone without the accent tile. As may_flowers said, there is enough going on in the kitchen that another element is not needed. The simplicity and calmness of the field tile finishes the room. I think you're done!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:27AM
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debbie2 - I would encourage you to think of having under counter lighting! Your backsplash (whatever it may be!) may not show its true beauty if it's not illuminated directly. You might, when prepping at the countertop, cast shadows from the recessed lighting. Your range hood might only have lights in the front that point straight down.

I *am* a light fanatic, though.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Well, the tile ordering has been an ordeal. I decided to go very plain with the cream tile and just do a row of the dark liner, at my husbands request. I ordered all the tile from HomeDepot except for the top corner tiles. I had to go through a different company. After getting the wrong tiles delivered to me 3 times, I just went to Daltile and got the tiles straight from them and managed to get it done with 1 day left before our family christmas party at the house. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. Hope you like it too.

This is the passthrough wall...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:50PM
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And here is the main wall.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Very nice! Your kitchen is beautiful. Your simple but stepped up a notch backsplash adds a nice finishing touch. Congratulations on a job well done.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:08PM
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great job....wonderful finishing touch that pulls it all together.[you did that in one day right before XMas?...hope Santa remembered that]

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:29PM
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Very very pretty, congrats!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Very nicely done. It visually ties the uppers and lowers I think. You have a beautiful kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:04AM
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Looks lovely! I think that the simplicity of the cream tile fits in with your kitchen perfectly. The accent strip pulls out the darker tones of the counter nicely. Congrats on being FINISHED! Hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family in your new kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:43AM
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Really nice! Glad you could get it done before your party.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Nicely done! Very simple but quite elegant in your new kitchen. Have a great party and welcome to the ABB alumni club! I like that you didn't go up around the range - I saw that in one of your earlier ideas- I like this much better!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:27AM
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