From the Floor Up

Questions And Answers about Picking Countertop-Backsplash Combos

Posted by Daltile Team on May 18, 2016 11:21:07 AM

Having difficulty finding the perfect combination of countertop and backsplash? It can be tricky to know where to start and even harder to find two surfaces you love together.

Start narrowing down the overwhelming options with these tips and find a match made in heaven.

Emperador marble on the countertop with Emperador  honed chair rail and 1 x 1 mosaic with Fashion Accents in Damask Dark

Backsplash or Countertop First?

The countertop. That’s the short answer. Here’s why. The countertop is the center of work in the kitchen. It also constitutes a big chunk of the budget. It makes up the larger portion of the surface area in your kitchen. Find the countertop you love and you’ll be able to build everything else around it.

That said, what if you fall in love with a backsplash tile before you find a countertop? The point here is to start at a point that’s important to you and design everything else around that. Too many people look for countertop and backsplash separately and end up with two products the love independently but don’t work together. So if that backsplash speaks to you, roll with it.

Is Mix & Match OK?

Generally, you’ll want to have one star of the show and let everything else play a supporting role. Two attention-seeking surfaces will make the space feel busy and overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up a bit.

Play off of undertones and accents as you mix and match. If your backsplash has highly variegated beige and grey colors, you’ll want to choose a countertop that has less movement and complements the color scheme. Or if you have heavily veined stone on the countertop, a nice, even-toned backsplash in a complementary finish will do the trick.

Harmony is your goal. Get samples of both in and put them in your kitchen for a week so you can see how you feel about them—just like paint swatches on the wall. You’ll know when you’ve found the right match. Be aware that samples might be misleading if you don’t consider the expanse of the surfaces in your kitchen. You might be able to handle the combination in small amounts but find it overwhelming in larger amounts. Try to see your combination in a larger setting like a vignette.

Ion Metals in Antique Nickel on the backsplash with Calacatta Gold Marble on the countertop

Use the Same Material on Countertop and Backsplash?

Absolutely! Using the same material for both is often a great design choice, especially with stone slab. It takes all the pain out of the process. It is also an efficient and sustainable choice. You’ll have some leftovers after the installation of your countertop, so using these on the backsplash decreases waste.  

On the other hand, having the same material all over the kitchen may not be your idea of interesting kitchen design. You can still use the same material but shake things up a bit to break up the monotony. If you have carrara marble on the countertop, try carrara tiles in a 3 x 6 subway tile size. You get the harmony but it remains interesting.

Another way to tone down matching countertop and backsplash is to limit the backsplash to four to six inches (check your building codes for requirements). You’ll get the benefit of a backsplash without it going up the wall and becoming too much.

Still Perplexed?

If you are still struggling to find the right combination, seek the help of the pros. A good designer will listen to your vision and present you with a few options that are exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll wonder why you ever thought this process was so difficult.

Stop by a Daltile showroom or design studio to speak with a design consultant and see your options side by side so you can make a great choice.


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Topics: Mosaic, Trends, Design, Countertop

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