/ Backsplashes

Is there a prevalent backsplash style that you see in smaller kitchens in big city apartments?

White-Subway-Tile Kitchen
Photo Courtesy of the Atlanta Building Company

Older apartment units in big cities often stick with classic tile for backsplashes, like white subway tile seen above.

Anna Marie Fanelli, Showroom Owner: In Manhattan, all the pre-war buildings like 3x6 white subway or stone tile with some accent detailing. In larger newer buildings, the look is very contemporary such as bamboo mosaics or waterjet patterns and glass in any format.

Verdict: There are no set rules for designing a backsplash for small kitchens in big city apartment buildings. The designs can range from classic to modern.


In the last 35 years, what have you seen change in backsplash design?

Crossville Backsplash
Photo Courtesy of Crossville

As backsplashes have evolved over the years, they've went from functional parts of the kitchen to a dimension of a kitchen that allows for creative design. The photo above shows a current backsplash with an artistic element.

Lori Carroll, Interior Designer: I believe backsplashes are a more thought out design element than in years past. Kitchens and bathrooms are definitely defined by the materials now. Back in the 1970's when I started, backsplashes were mainly for practicality. Options like copper, latex paint or even faux "Z-bricks" were the standard. With a diverse selection of natural products available today, designers can be more creative in their kitchen and bathroom designs.

Verdict: Once an afterthought, backsplashes are now a primary design element in many kitchens. In other words, when redesigning your kitchen in the 21st Century, don't neglect the backsplash.


There are many great reclaimed wood kitchen products, but could you use reclaimed wood in a backsplash design?

Farmhouse Kitchen
Photo by Paul Dyer, courtesy of CCS Architecture

You can use reclaimed wood for something like a countertop, as seen in the kitchen above. But using reclaimed wood for a backsplash can be a difficult proposition.

Lisa Elkins, Architect: I see it on a lot of tables and cabinetry, but not for backsplashes. People want something that's easily cleanable for a backsplash, so I haven't seen it used that way. I saw a beautiful wall in a home that used reclaimed wood, but it wasn't used as a backsplash.

Verdict: Reclaimed wood can be great for making some kitchen products, but don't expect to find it available for backsplashes.


Meet the Backsplash Experts

Backsplash Tips Trends Experts

Lori Carroll
Interior designer Lori Carroll, ASID, owns the award-winning design firm Lori Carroll & Associates, located in Tuscon, Arizona. In 2006 she recieved the prestigious Pinnacle of Design award from the National Kitchen and Bath Association.


Lisa Elkins
Based in Chicago, Lisa Elkin is a LEED-accredited architect and founder, with her husband, Ron Elkins, of the architecture firm 2 Point Perspective. The company focuses on eco-friendly architecture and interior design.


Anna Marie Fanelli
Anna Marie Fanelli is the co-owner of Floor & Décor, a tile, stone and plumbing studio in Tenafly, NJ. For the last 18 years, she's designed tile and stone installations for a large range of clients in the Northern New Jersey and New York area.


David Portales
David Portales is the promotions director of the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER), a private organization based in Spain, ASCER represents 220 tile manufacturers, most of whom are located in the Spanish province of Castellón.


Lori Kirk Rolley
Lori Kirk-Rolley is the director of marketing for Daltile, the U.S.'s largest ceramic tile manufacturer. With over a decade of experience working in the tile industry, Lori is responsible for understanding the latest design and tile trends.