Kitchen splashback ideas to keep kitchen walls protected in style

Be creative with tiled backdrops and colourful laminate to decorate kitchen surfaces
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  • Kitchen splashbacks are a perfect example of how kitchen planning and interior design have become intertwined. Elevated from a purely practical role – it is, after all, about protecting the walls from hob and sink splashes – these days, kitchen splashback ideas make more of a statement.

    In addition to worktops, splashbacks are quite often the first element that’s noticed when walking into a kitchen, so designers are keen to make it count.

    Check out our kitchen channel for more great kitchen decorating ideas and inspiration

    ‘Splashbacks are not only practical to help protect your walls from any unruly cooking, but they also prevent steam and heat from damaging the wall behind,’ explains Darren Watts, Wren Kitchens Showroom Development & Design Director.

    ‘They’re useful behind areas that are frequently used such as dining and seating zones and appliances such as microwaves, ovens and sinks. As well as being designed as an extension of your worktop seamlessly flowing up the wall.’

    When it comes to choosing a splashback material you need to think first about how practical it is. You need to choose a material that is waterproof, easy to wipe clean, and heat proof if you are using it behind the cooker.

    However, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetic value. In fact, splashbacks are the perfect space to dabble in playful patterns and new trends because they are easier to update at a later date than a kitchen unit or wall colour.

    navy blue kitchen with tiled splashback and dining table

    Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez

    What is the best kitchen splashback?

    Tiles are the typical choice for kitchen splashbacks. Patterned tiles are perfect for a country-style kitchen, while hexagon shaped tiles can create a cool honey-comb effect in modern kitchens. But tiles aren’t the only option when it comes to splashbacks.

    ‘You can create amazing designs with tiled splashbacks, but tiles are by no means the only option. Alternative materials include laminate, glass, Corian and even stainless steel’ shares Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising for Magnet. ‘The best splashback is one that elevates your kitchen design and is suited to your needs and lifestyle. Two materials that I highly recommend are laminate and glass.’

    ‘As with tiles, both laminate and glass splashbacks can be used to make a style statement. You can create a real contrast to your units by opting for a bold, striking colour, especially if set against a more neutral hued kitchen.’

    However, while a laminates smooth surface makes it easy to clean, Hayley advises that it shouldn’t be used behind a cooker. ‘Laminates plastic qualities make it unsuitable for use as a gas hob splashback, as it should not be exposed to open flames,’ she explains, suggesting to opt for glass instead.

    ‘Always consider the positioning of a splashback, what works behind the sink might not be the best material to use behind the hob.’

    Kitchen splashback ideas

    Kitchen splashbacks are more than merely a functional part of the kitchen, they are also a design detail for you to get creative. We’ve pulled together a selection of our favourite kitchen splashback ideas to inspire you to make the most of this practical part of the kitchen.

    1. Mix luxe materials

    Kitchen marble splashback and gold cooker hood

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Create a cohesive blend of on-trend materials for a contemporary look. More than merely a practical solution creating a splashback using a different material can help to elevate the wider kitchen design. In this modern marvel of a kitchen the blend of luxe materials helps to add depth and interest. The use of a marble panel as splashback adds an indulgent touch. When mixed alongside a luxe-look gold cooker hood, white gloss cabinets and ash wooden panels the marble placement helps to zones the cooking area effectively.

    2. Embrace exposed brickwork

    kitchen with black brick splashback

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Create a bespoke kitchen by creating a splashback using exposed brick. Whether you add half bricks to an existing wall to emulate the look or embrace the bricks that are already in place, you can create an industrial look finish that is cool and contemporary.

    While bricks are a steadfast building material, they need to be properly sealed when used in the kitchen, to ensure they are not damaged by splashes behind the sink or cooking area. Painting the brickwork helps to tailor the look to suit a kitchen colour scheme.

    3. Create an understated splashback

    grey kitchen with white splashback

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    In a kitchen where you want alternative design elements to shine, such as the stylish Scandi-style shelves in this U-shaped kitchen idea, you may not wish to draw attention to the smaller details. While the humble splashback is one of the most practical designs in any kitchen we might not want it to stand out.

    The key to making your design feel almost invisible is to keep it simple. If the walls are white, use a simple white tile to fashion a practical splashback, avoiding pattern at all costs to make it camouflage into the wall. Keep the size small and restricted only to where it’s needed most, behind sinks or hobs.

    4. Make a statement with focal pattern

    red patterned kitchen splashback

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Whether you are using tiles or laminate, opt for a pattern to fill your kitchen with personality. A splashback is the easiest place in the kitchen to play with colour and pattern because it will cost a lot less to change than your cabinets if you fall out of love with it. Pick a pattern in a contrasting colour to the rest of the kitchen to add extra wow factor to this eclectic style.

    5. Add an accent colour

    blue tiled splahsback

    Image credit: Barbara Bazso

    Create a colour scheme centred around your tile choice. Limited colour to that of the splashback to prevent the space from feeling overwhelmed with too many clashing colours. Pick out the same shade with kitchen textiles and accessories.

    6. Match a splashback to the work surface

    kitchen splashback ideas 1

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    For a high-end look match your splashback to your kitchen work surface. This works best with smooth materials such as marble or laminate. Whether you go for the real thing or a marble-effect material, marble will add a modern touch to your kitchen. Contrast the contemporary marble with a blue shaker style kitchen for a dreamy finish.

    7. Embrace Metro tiles for a traditional look

    kitchen splashback ideas 2

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    In a colourful kitchen scheme it’s best to keep the splashback simple, to avoid overwhelming the space. Tiles are a traditional choice for an easy to clean kitchen splashback. Metro tiles add a stylish design element to a practical solution.

    However, a splashback doesn’t need to stop at the cooker and sink. Wrap the tiles around the whole kitchen for a look that is stylish and practical.

    8. Neaten up a tile splashback with floating shelves

    kitchen splashback ideas 3

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    If you have a neutral kitchen, patterned tiles will add a splash of colour and personality. These blue vintage look tiles add a touch of blue to the cream kitchen, providing a spectacular backdrop to the sink.

    Framing the top of the tiles with a floating shelf helps keep the splashback looking succinct, and makes the patterned tiles pop.

    9. Add depth to a white colour scheme with hexagons

    kitchen splashback ideas 4

    Image credit: David Giles

    You don’t need colour to make a statement with a kitchen splashback. In this all-white Scandi style kitchen, hexagon tiles create a modern honeycomb effect behind the sink, adding a layer of interest to this kitchen without add colour.

    See more ideas: Scandi kitchen ideas to transform your space Scandinavian style

    10. Be playful with patterns

    kitchen splashback ideas 5

    Image credit: David Giles

    For a bold look use pattern to dominate a kitchen splashback. Make the pattern feel more playful by using different styles on opposing walls. This playful pattern contrasts with the simple wooden cabinets. However, its neutral grey colour scheme avoids overwhelming the space.

    11. Create a luxurious look with gold

    kitchen splashbacks 9

    Image credit: Wren Kitchen

    Don’t worry this isn’t real gold or even metal, it is called ‘Tek Wall‘. It’s a modern alternative to tiling that is made out of an MDF material. It might look fit for a prince, but this gold finish is actually an affordable option.

    ‘Not only is it easy and quick to fit compared to tiles, but it creates a much more impactful look at less expense!’ says Darren Watts from Wren. Pair a gold splashback with exposed brick walls for a unique twist on the industrial trend.

    Related: Pink kitchen ideas – from cabinets in soft blush and powder pinks to bold fuchsia furniture

    12. Don’t be afraid to mismatch tiles

    Kitchen splashback ideas 6

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    There is no rule to say you need to have the same splashback for behind the cooker and sink area. In fact not all materials will work for both areas, making it the perfect opportunity to play around with different designs.

    In this kitchen smaller patterned tiles have been used to tile the alcove for the cooker. Instead of replicating this by the sink, six larger mismatched tiles have been chosen to create a striking design. If you do choose to mix your tiles, stick to the same colour palette or a similar design to tie the kitchen together.

    13. Reflect light around with glass

    Kitchen splashback ideas 8

    Image credit: Future plc

    Glamorous and practical, a glass splashback can make a style statement in a kitchen all on it’s own. Not only is is sleek option that will blend seamlessly into your kitchen decor and prove very easy to clean, but it will also help to bounce light around the room.

    ‘A bonus of reflective splashbacks, like glass, is their ability to bounce light around the room,’ says Hayley. ‘Install under cupboard lighting on wall units to reflect light around the room, creating atmosphere and ambience for cosy evenings in the kitchen.’

    14. Keep things modern with a matt finish

    kitchen splashback 8

    Image credit: Magnet

    A velvety matt finish is the perfect way to achieve a modern designer feel on a budget in your kitchen. You can get the look with matt finish tiles, or for an ultra modern look opt for laminate or a similar material for a smooth surface.

    If you decided to go for the full matt look in your kitchen, add in a few glass items and other glossy accessories to help bounce light around and stop the room looking too flat.

    15. Contrast your splashback with coloured cabinets

    Kitchen splashback ideas 10

    Image credit: David Parmiter

    This striking kitchen has gone above and beyond with its tile choice. Instead of stopping before the cooker hood, the whole cooker area has been tiled in grey toned tiles.

    Tiling the whole area ensures attention isn’t taken away from the striking blue cabinets which the grey tiles compliment perfectly. When using one colour of tile on a splashback, use a few shades in the same colour to soften the effect and add depth.

    Related: Kitchen island lighting ideas to illuminate all your needs – from cooking to socialising

    16. Go for a mosaic splashback

    kitchen splashback ideas 11

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    The attention is all in the detail. Small tiles are ideal for adding texture and decorative interest to kitchen walls. You can choose from a variety of styles varying in shape, size and colour.

    A mosaic tile design doesn’t need to be over the top and fussy; for a more modern twist opt for small tiles in a simple colour scheme. When planning how to grout tiles, consider using darker coloured grouting like this for a sleek, easy to clean scheme.

    17. Create a chef-worthy kitchen with stainless steel

    kitchen splashback ideas 12

    Image credit: Jeremy Phillips

    A stainless steel splashback is a classic choice for a reason. It’s easy to clean, stylish and will withstand any heat given off from the cooker. The material is incredibly versatile it can look traditional when paired with a wood cabinets, or modern when set alongside high gloss finishes.

    What can I use instead of tiles in a kitchen?

    As mentioned above there are a whole host of materials that you can use as a splashback instead of tiles, including glass, stainless steel, laminate and corian. Some of the alternatives are actually easier to clean and more affordable than tiles. However, if you are looking for a good all rounder, Magnet’s Hayley suggests opting for glass. ‘A great all-round material for the purpose of a hob or sink splash back, glass is strong, low maintenance, durable and easy to clean.’

    What is a budget friendly splashback option?

    ‘If you’re on a budget, consider a laminate splashback,’ suggests Hayley. ‘Don’t underestimate the style and possibilities that can be achieve with laminte in the kitchen. Magnet offers a chic selection of laminates to create a designer feel on a budget, including stunning Terrazzo and Veined Slated styles.’ However, do bear in mind that because of it’s plastic qualities laminate will not work behind a cooker.

    Another affordable alternative to tiles that can be used behind the cooker is Tek Walls, as mentioned earlier. Available in a range of modern designs.

    Whatever finish you choose, play to the material’s strength, adding a protective cover for less lardy finishes and backlighting or down lighting to make the most of texture and fine stone patterns.

    Have you been inspired by these kitchen splashback ideas?

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