8 Top Trends in Kitchen Backsplash Design for 2017

Top Trends in Flooring Design - Sebring Services


For decades, the backsplash has been an important part of any kitchen remodel. In addition to protecting walls above the work area, it complements the countertop. In the early years, backsplashes were often colorful with fruit and vegetable graphics adorning 4×4 ceramic tiles. With time, they have undergone many changes. Today, you can install stone, glass, mirror, or metal tile backsplashes or go with a more artful design and incorporate textures and different shaped mosaic tiles.  Today, you will find a mixture of traditional and contemporary backsplash designs with personal touches here and there. Below, we look at 8 backsplash design trends that should gain popularity in 2017. They include full height backsplashes, use of alternative materials and being a bit bold with color and patterns.

1. Ceiling-Height Backsplash

The traditional way has been to display the tiles between the countertop and the underside of the wall cabinetry. If there was no wall cabinetry above the countertop, then it was common to still place the tile straight across in the same location as if there had been wall cabinetry there. Perhaps by instinct or tradition.

In 2017, we expect to see a change of trend as more and more homeowners venture beyond the usual heights. Backsplashes are not only going higher, they venture up to the ceiling. Ceiling-height backsplash can help in highlighting a single area of the kitchen, creating a focal point that unites all other aspects of the space. This can be even more effective if you are using colorful or mosaic tiles. Higher backsplash can also brighten the space up, with the reflective qualities of the tile itself, a break in the cabinetry run, and with the color. Especially if you are using white subway tiles. By adding surface area, the backsplash reflects more light into the kitchen while also creating a stunning background for your work area.

Feel free to play around with a combination of colors, textures, and patterns to create an even more interesting style.

2. Larger Subway Tiles

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Subway tiles have remained in their 3″x 6″ size for years, a true testament of design & function. But as a result, homeowner are left craving something a little different. With subway tiles still being the hottest thing in kitchen backsplashes. Homeowners loved them, and still do, for their clean classic look and super easy maintenance. But a few changes are in the air as we get into a new year.

Specifically, we are beginning to see manufacturers produce subway tiles in larger sizes. The standard large format size is 3″x 9″ or even a 4″x 12″ though you can check what sizes are available at your local dealer. A large format subway tile backsplash can be especially helpful for a small kitchen where the large tiles create the perception of space. Large format subway tiles can also help in creating a feeling of continuity especially if you are extending the backsplash to the ceiling.  Take a look at our remodeling ideas page, which is s selection of our best work.

3. Mirrored and Metallic Finishes

These two types of tile finishes are bound to pick up in popularity in 2017 as homeowners seek unique but subtle styles for their kitchen backsplashes. The mirror finish gives tiles a glossy reflective surface, which is highlighted even more when struck by natural light. The mirror effect is even stronger when you extend the backsplash to ceiling height.

With a mirrored subway tile backsplash, use lighting to bring out a dramatic effect. During the day, make sure there is plenty of natural sunlight falling on part of the backsplash. The reflected light really brightens up the kitchen. At night, position some of your fixtures (e.g. under cabinet lighting) to take advantage of the glassy backsplash. The light reflection can make for quite a dramatic look.

If the glossiness is too much for you, try a metal finish. Tiles are finished in a look and texture that resembles that of metals. You can choose from different colors and shades. A metal finished backsplash gives your kitchen an unstated “strong” feel. It brings in an industrial feel, which can be enhanced by extending the backsplash across the entire wall height. You can also use smaller metal-finished tiles for a more artistic look.

Related: 7 Top Trends in Interior Lighting Design for 2017.

4. Patterns and More Patterns

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It is no longer enough to have a plain tile backsplash; more homeowners want something that turns heads and creates an interesting focal point for the eyes. Many are beginning to experiment with various tile patterns. Upcoming 2017 tile patterns include checkered, herringbone, travertine and chevron among others.

One of the hottest upcoming trends involves the use of tile patterns inspired by cultures. Consider an Asian theme, Egyptian-inspired or Turkish-inspired backsplash pattern. Moroccan patterns are also extremely popular as are those from India. Check what patterns your local dealer has and see how you can integrate them in your kitchen backsplash.

Since most of these patterns will be “busy” you have to be careful not to create an overexciting or over-cluttered kitchen. With this pattern, we would recommend a plain countertop or even white cabinetry to highlight the beauty of the patterned backsplash. Feel free to take the backsplash as high as the ceiling to make it even bolder. It will not just be a protective surface; it will be a piece of art.

5. Even More Interesting Finishes

With technology so advanced, there is virtually an endless option of finishes to choose from. If you want a backsplash with a slightly aged appearance, look for tiles with a weathered finish. For a washed-out look, go for tiles with an acid wash finish.   A lot of finishes are aimed at mimicking natural appearances for a more authentic look. For instance, you can get tumbled tiles that have been designed to resemble natural stone. They have an appealing antique look to them. The natural stone effect can also be seen in matte or honed finish tiles, which are especially popular in luxury themed kitchens.  There are dozens of finishes you can choose from depending on what kind of style you want for your backsplash and your entire kitchen area. Whether you want glossy and reflective, rustic and country or aged and weathered, they are all available.

6. All Colors Welcome

Most people are used to neutral (white, cream or beige) backsplash colors.  But now you can get tiles in almost any color you want, backsplashes in 2017 will see a little more color. From divine black to splashy red to denim blue, anything goes.

The backsplash is a good opportunity to introduce a surprising pop of color in the kitchen. If you want to convey luxury, go for black or grey tiles. Just make sure they contrast well from surrounding elements such as the cabinetry and that there is enough natural light coming in. If you want an airy feel to your kitchen, good old white will work just perfectly though you can also try cream or light blue.

A blue-tiled backsplash introduces a homey feeling. It makes the kitchen feel like a happy yet cool and relaxing place. If you want a burst of energy whenever your eyes drift to the backsplash area, go for red or yellow tiles.  If you are feeling creative, combine two colors for a nice twist to your work area. A green band at the bottom of the backsplash and a white half that stretches to the ceiling results in a simple yet creative style.

2017 is around the corner. It is the perfect time to experiment with new styles and colors. Try a color you would have never even considered and see the magic happen right before your eyes. If you are feeling hesitant, you can always introduce the new color in one or two lines or in individual tiles scattered throughout the backsplash.

Related: Hanstone Quartz Countertops: The Pros and Cons.

7. Marble and Marble Looking Slabs

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Tile is the mainstay of kitchen backsplashes. For years, backsplashes have been made from tile, whether they are ceramic, porcelain or natural stone. Marble slabs are very different. A slab, unlike tile, is continuous with few breaks for appliances and cabinetry. So instead of many small tiles making up the backsplash, you have one large slab stretching the entire backsplash area.  Marble and marble looking slabs are becoming especially common and in 2017, a marble kitchen backsplash will be a big trend. Mostly what draws people is it’s pure beauty, subtly of color and it’s unique variation in veining for stunning aesthetics appeal. This is why you will see a lot of marble look a likes too.

Being one large slab, any design aspects on the surface catch more attention. If the slab finishing is glossy, it creates an even airier feeling than tiles. In some cases, a slab backsplash can help create a smooth flow from the countertop to the backsplash. In such cases, both the countertop and backsplash are similar in color. Plus you have the added bonus of not having to clean up in those dreaded grout lines.  The design choices are limitless. You can choose a slab with slight color variations all the way to dense veining patterns, the choice is yours.

8. Alternative Materials

At a time when everyone wants their homes to be unique, it is inevitable that alternative backsplash materials would come into play. This time don’t just consider just a metal-finished tile backsplash, but a full metal backsplash. Some manufacturers add decorative metal pieces such as copper, aluminum, and or zinc.

Same case applies to glass-finished backsplash. You can now get full glass tiles to use for your backsplash. Why not incorporate a mixture of materials such as glass and steel. Some people even get creative and put a fabric behind the glass to create a unique look without having to worry about cleaning and or fire hazzards. Or what if you were to paint the back of the glass with your preferred color. How fun is that?

There even can be wood backsplashes. Although you will find most of these in furniture pieces versus around the cooking surface, since this could be a maintenance challenge. You would need the right wood with a protective finish. But don’t rule out wood as a wall finish treatment instead of paint. Wood cladding, shiplap, bead board, or wainscoting can take your kitchen to the next level.


What backsplash trend will you choose? Ceiling height backsplashes, metallic tiles, or wildly patterned tiles? Choose from the hottest 2017 backsplash design trends and make your kitchen look amazing!


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About the Author:

” We are very passionate about educating homeowners.
From design ideas to hiring a contractor, we hope this blog
helps you in the process of remodeling your home. ”

~ Bryan Sebring


  1. Priya April 10, 2017 at 7:42 am - Reply

    This page is wonderful gives ideas for people like me looking for what is on trend in 2017. I am trying to look for backsplash for mykitchen and confused if i have to go with 4*4 travertine stone with ascent wall with 1*1 glass stones or should i completely put 1*1 glass stones. My counter top is Giallo Rio with Cherry cabinet and oak floor. Please advice what type of backsplash should i go with and what colors go best with it. Also appreciate some links that suggest. Thanks in advance.

    • Bryan Sebring April 10, 2017 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      Hi, thank you for your interest in our blog articles. It is hard to give you the right guidance about your specific project unless we were to see it first hand, and because of this we would not be able to give a directive for you. Thank you for reading our articles and have a great day.

  2. Katherine McCadden April 14, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    These ideas and new trends are beautiful! I highly recommend looking though these photos to get an idea of what you may want if you may be having trouble deciding what backsplash works best for your kitchen.

  3. Leviticus Bennett April 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I like that new colors are being used for backsplashes now; it’s a wonderful trend. Another trend I think is worth mentioning is the use of different shaped tiles, like hexagon or triangle shaped tiles. They’re often refreshing and modern in comparison with the usual rectangular tiles.

  4. Pete May 18, 2017 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    Love it! I love all of the trends right now!
    – Pete (Unlimited Contracting)

  5. Mel June 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    We are looking to get feedback on grout versus no grout installation of limestone subway tile for our kitchen backsplash. We currently have no grout and it looks great until you get up close and see the chipped edges of the tile which are typically covered by the grout line. And then when we turn on the under cabinet lighting it shows the highs and lows of the stones. Not sure if this is correct or should be redone?
    Does anyone have any insight or feedback?

    We don’t know if this is custom and done properly or if we are getting told something.

    • Bryan Sebring June 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Mel, I asked our designer and product estimator and we have never installed it that way (that is not to say it is wrong). We would typically add grout to ensure no water can seep behind the tile and also to ensure it does not show the mortar between the tiles. Hope that helps!

  6. Krystie August 3, 2017 at 9:52 am - Reply

    What is the product pictured in section 4 – Patterns and More Patterns? Thank you!

  7. Ken Hwan September 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    I really like your idea to use a mixture of glass and steel tiles for a backsplash. My mother is traveling right now and I wanted to surprise her by doing some work in her kitchen while she’s gone. Currently, the wall behind her stove has splotchy oil stains, so a backsplash would be a great way to surprise her.

  8. Carol Cialella-Mosel October 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Glossy or matte backsplash in ali then with only one window!

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