Kitchen Clarity Adventures in Kitchen and Bath Design

Kitchen backsplash – where it has to end

01.25.2011 · Posted in Kitchens

I think it’s generally agreed in kitchen design that the  full counter-depth tile sidesplash is dead – it shuffled off this mortal coil a long time ago. I had to hunt down a picture for you because some of you are so youthful you’ve probably never even seen one:

A beautifully executed but still problematic sidesplash

See, however beautifully the tile is arranged and installed, when a splash on the side wall sticks out beyond the upper cabinets,  it throws off the proportions. And you don’t solve the problem by ending it at the wall cabinet front either – then half your counter is left relatively naked. Much better just to end the splash in the corner, paint the end wall, and be done with it. If this hasn’t struck you before, you’ll probably start noticing the absence of  “sidesplash” (if noticing an absence is  logically possible) in just about every kitchen you see, from now on.

Though of course, if there are no upper cabinets, if there are open shelves, if the tile  covers the entire wall… all different situations, and different posts, too. Just stay away from rectangles of tile floating on the side wall, with no logical place to end, OK?  And for the especially young and innocent among you, who are wondering about that horizontal plane covered in tile in the foreground – that’s a tile counter, and they are about to become extinct. I suspect that means they’ll paradoxically become chic and desirable in some quarters.  There’s no durable material that allows as much variety and individual expression as tile (remember this English tile counter, and this Italian one?).

But back to those sidesplashes – there are some truly creative ways to finish of those pesky corners. Check out these non-tile, non-rectangular examples for inspiration:

Definitely not rectangular - Beserra-Byrd house, LA TImes

(via)

Curvacious treatment - Bamax via KitchenDesignThinkTank

Image source

The sidesplash is dead – long live the sidesplash!

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3 Responses to “Kitchen backsplash – where it has to end”

  1. Hi Michelle – and thanks for stopping by! Interesting that you are finding a move away from tile – I just love the way you can use it to complement or contrast with or emphasize elements of the rest of the design. So personally I think of a few inches of matching stone (and even a full stone splash) as a missed opportunity to create something special. Of course sometimes a quiet, retiring splash is just what you need, but you can still introduce a gorgeous texture…

  2. I am not a fan of tiled backsplash. I see more and more people moving away from tiles. It can be difficult to find a tile to compliment your countertops. If using granite or the likes I think it is nice to use a similar backsplash or just a 4″ high backsplash then full height behind both sink area and cooker.
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