Backsplashes aren’t just for protection from food splatters anymore. Whether you are starting a kitchen remodel or are designing a kitchen from scratch, consider these points before you make your final backsplash selection.

Make a budget

Multiply the width by the height to get the square footage of your backsplash space. Add an extra 10 percent to be safe. If your budget is tight, choose an inexpensive classic: white ceramic tile. Be flexible, as you might not find the exact size, color and material if funds are low. If you have a large space, and are trying to save money, stainless steel sheets come in a variety of finishes. They are challenging to keep clean but are durable and wallet-friendly.

Consider wear and tear

Research the maintenance required for your selected material. How easily can you clean it? Does it need to be sealed regularly? Is it durable? Will abrasives scratch it? Natural materials such as granite, marble and slate need to be resealed once per year to maintain appearance, while travertine needs to be sealed every two years. A stainless steel backsplash can become discolored if acidic liquids such as coffee or juice dry on the surface. Understanding the quirks of each material will help narrow down your decision.

Take your tile for a test drive

Having a hard time deciding? Tape color and tile samples to your wall and “live” with them for a while. This allows homeowners to see the samples at different parts of the day when natural lighting changes.

Get creative

There is more wall space above the stove and the sink so you can get playful with the design. In this space, use a different tile than the rest of your backsplash to create a showy centerpiece or install the same tile, but in different directions. End the backsplash at the bottom of the cabinetry or let it go to the ceiling. Have a small kitchen? Extend the backsplash to wrap around the room. Although it will be more expensive, it’s a visual trick to make the room look bigger.

DIY

Let your creativity really shine and create a truly unique backsplash for your home. Try painting blank six-inch square tiles with water-based paint or make your own mosaic with shards of broken china and stoneware.

It’s not just for looks

Incorporate functionality into your backsplash design by using a magnetized material to store utensils and clear up counter space and free up storage.

Create a backsplash that not only aligns with your personal style but fits with your kitchen design. Whether it’s hand-painted tiles, granite or travertine, there are no boundaries to make your kitchen a unique focal point in your home.

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