Vancouver Interior Designer: The Best Backsplash Tile for Your Kitchen

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This post is strictly for those of you who are still trying to decide on a backsplash for your kitchen. I get so many questions on backsplash tile that I thought I’d cover it in a little more detail in this video.

Images in video Kitchen #1, Kitchen #2
Read my post on Which Backsplash Tile Goes with Granite before you watch the video.
Image via Pinterest
The only time a patterned tile of any kind (above) looks good is with a solid colour countertop. Even then, keep in mind, most patterns are super trendy and will still be the first thing that that dates your kitchen.
Related posts:

Slate or Porcelain Tile in the Bathroom?

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  1. HI Miki,
    That first kitchen is designed by Tobi Fairley. Notice how she chose a colour on the walls to coordinate with the glass subway tile backsplash. The green and cream drapery in the breakfast area and roman shade above the sink also coordinate the the walls and then she brought in the blue polka dots for an added injection of colour.

    I think the best kitchen for you is the one you find in a photo. This way you know you'll be happy with it in the end.
    Maria

  2. Jennifer @ Timeless Interiors

    Maria,
    Another great post to your fantastic blog! I could not agree with you more. This is the advise I give to my clients over and over again. One example is where I have used a beautiful beveled Limestone subway tile that worked beautifully with Crema Flakes Granite and cabinets painted with Ben. Moore Bone white with an umber Glaze (see here: http://www.timelessinteriorsdesign.com/galleria/themes/twelve/kitchens.html). I am finishing up a kitchen with a subway tile in a crackle finish in a yellow based neutral to work with the yellow based neutral of the cabinet paint and granite. When using granite with its beautiful natural patterns, it is the star of the show, and everything else must be the supporting cast. And yes, subway tile is classic and timeless. Look at great houses from the 1920's (great designs that continue to appeal today) and you will find fabulous subway tile!

  3. I love to READ your blog and all the great info! I wish you would include the same information written in your posts that you put in the videos. If I have a few minutes of quiet time to read, I don't want to click on videos.

  4. Just laughing at some of the things people have to complain about. Come on people, free advice that you are not forced to watch, read or use. I have tropic brown granite with maple cabinets and have been apprehensive about choosing tile. Thank you Maria for your advice, it is very much appreciated.

  5. HI Audrey,
    I appreciate your feedback about videos and my blog is not turning into a video blog. When I feel strongly about something and I feel that it is best conveyed 'in person' so to speak, it'll be on video.
    Thanks for reading my blog,
    Maria

  6. Hi. I love your blog Maria, and I totally get the simple is better.
    To be honest, I am almost feeling like subway is dated, maybe I am just tired of talking about it, lol. I was planning that for my kitchen. I used to really dislike the idea of subway tile. I felt it "depressing". But that is just me, and not that I wanted something "cheery" or busy or artsy or whatever. Perhaps I wish it just had a different name? SILLY, I know. Anyway,, I do see some responses of only putting a backsplash above the cooktop or rangetop….I am installing granite and I do want/need a very simple wall space next to it.
    What IS the "rule" for backslpashes??? And when can the rule be broken?
    Would love some comments…MUST a backsplach even be there?
    Thank you all so much, I really enjoy learning from all the comments.
    Thanks Maria for the forum,
    Mary

  7. White cabinets, busy granite and white subway tile may not put you in the category of committing any "style crimes," but everyone seems to be doing the same thing. And when a look is overdone, people will naturally veer away from it, which will end up dating a kitchen.

    It is possible to do something unique, use beautiful, colorful tiles AND have your kitchen be in good taste. I'm surprised people don't go with a simple quartz top more often and give themselves more latitude to choose a special backsplash tile.

  8. Hi! LOVE your blog and I think you come across as very sweet and funny in your videos! Keep doing them!

    I have white cabinets, stainless appliances, medium dark wood floors, and lots of browns and creams in my family room which my kitchen opens up too. I love the white subway tile/honed absolute black granite. But if I were going to choose a lighter granite to pick up some browns, is there one you would recommend that would go best? I love the two in your original blog post about this – from Southern Living and Decor Pad, but couldn't find a mention on those sites of what either one is.

    Thank you!!!!!

  9. Maria,
    This one cracked me up! I have black splotched with white granite counters and large slate tiles on the back splash. I did not do this, the former owners did. And while the slight color variations in the slate do bring together the Cabinet, floor and wall colors along with the black granite – I so wish it was just plain. But I've convinced myself of the good points because I know it's not changing anytime soon. 🙂

  10. love your confident tone in all your posts and videos! read your blog this past spring….went with white cabs, black/dark charcoal granite, white subway tile and med. wood floor….and LOVE my kitchen now! Still small, but now my favorite room in the house! Kitchen guy tried to sway me from the "plain white subways because it will look a bathroom" He wanted a patterned, marbled looking tile….so glad I didn't listen to him! THANK YOU MARIA! -olivia

  11. Great post! You crack me up. I am going to have to phone you and let you choose the counter tops and backsplash. I'm more confused than ever.
    Currently I have white cabinets, white countertops with white tile squares set on the diagonal. They have stood by me for 25 years and I have loved them but they are tired.

  12. Hi Maria:

    I just stumbled unto your blog and love it! Like you I am a fan of the classic white kitchen.

    I am in the process of renovating my house and wonder what you think of Bianco Antico granite. What colors for cabinets/islands/wall and floor (wood) would you pair with this granite that bring out the taupes and grey. Not a fan of the pinkish look.

    Thank you! Would love to participate in your seminar but I am on the East Coast in Halifax.

    Janet

  13. Maria,

    In the first picture, with the cool polka-dot patterned chairs, do you know the pattern for the curtains? I love this pattern and would love to have it in our new kitchen! Can’t find it anywhere.

    Thanks! Laura

  14. With granite countertops do you like plain metal tiles as a backsplash? The only place I have for a backsplash is behind the cooktop.

    I agree people have gone crazy with back splashes

  15. Subway tile is cold and institutional looking. A kitchen needs some personality. I agree, it shouldn’t be too busy or clash; but saying that subway tile is for everyone makes clones of everyone’s kitchens. There is never only one right way. I understand your point; but you’re doing a major disservice to your readers and clients. How boring. One size NEVER fits all.

  16. I understand the idea behind not being too trendy- you don’t want to pour money into a project only to have it look silly in a few years. However, my feeling is that I just don’t want to generic “look” that everyone has with subway tiles. It’s very subdued and it I feel it is very American (which is great if you want that) and does not appeal to the growing number of Americans from other backgrounds who want some color, salsa, curry, spice, and global feel in their homes. You might think that the splashy tiles are too much; I think that the subdued subway tile look is sooooo plain Jane vanilla. There’s room for different tastes, that is what makes it so fun.

  17. Why can’t I view this video? Your blog is the first blog that has made sense, and I am in the very process of choosing my backsplash–the LAST step!! HELP!

  18. Three years later and white subway is still going strong in spite of many of the comments above. Maria is vindicated. Subway is a classic, same as the Barcelona chair by van der Rohe 1929 which today costs $5,2000, Eames chair 1948ish (and severely still knocked off today), Thonet chair 1859, Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer. Classics. Still produced, still wanted by great designers. How about your fireplace designs? Most of you are using tackier versions of historic designers which are better–and it goes on and on with all room elements. Can you create a design that lasts? Yes, that’s the whole idea behind “interior design.” I think what most people are referring to in this thread is “interior decoration,” i.e., applied ornamentation not necessarily constructed from the basic elements and principles of interiors, which follow cultural and manufacturing whims. Maria is just gently trying to expose, educate and guide a mindset. PS: I just looked at a room done by David Hicks the mold eclectic designer of the ages, he died some years ago–EVEN with his trendy eclectic designs, they still hold up. Interesting. How is it that modern and historic mixed can hold up? Use the classics!