A backsplash makes big impact no matter the look, but these trends are making us swoon.
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slab backsplash
Credit: Molly Culver

On a practical level, a backsplash is made to protect the wall behind a stove or counterpart. Essentially, it's the material that covers, or fills in, the area from the top of the countertop to the bottom of the kitchen cabinets. And while a standard element in every kitchen, kitchen backsplashes are having a serious moment of their own right now.

Why? Homeowners are seeking warmth and character in their stones and bringing their personality out in their kitchens like never before. Adding backsplash tiles to your kitchen gives you an opportunity to have a focal point that's both functional and beautiful, too. In our Southern Living home tours, we are seeing couples make their backslashes do double duty—with both practicality and style— by hanging art at the center of the backsplash or making the whole wall a statement piece (no art of decor needed). And no material is a given here, as it may have been in the past. Today, homeowners have a choice in choosing a material that fits their style, home, and price point. Most popularly, we are seeing couples buying beautiful (and expensive) slabs of marble, choosing colorful tiles, and even adding patterns with painted tiles.

If you need inspiration for a kitchen renovation or even a quick upgrade, you'll find the best kitchen backsplash ideas for 2022 below.

Quartz

Gray and White Kitchen
Credit: Chris Edwards; Styling: Kendra Surface

At her North Carolina home, designer Liz Carroll kept the walls open and airy by installing floating natural wood shelves and glass sconces (from Visual Comfort) atop painted white shiplap. In this room, the lower cabinets, painted Benjamin Moore's Iron Mountain (2134-30), act as the space's focal point thanks to an otherwise neutral palette, which is solidified with quartz countertop that extends above the stove as a subtle backsplash.

Single Slab

slab backsplash
Credit: Molly Culver

Some argue that traditional tile is officially out. While we have a few still-on-trend options below, there's a certain truth to this statement. Many are forgoing an abundance of tiles and are instead opting for a single slab as a backsplash, as demonstrated in this minimalistic kitchen.

Wood Paneling

Meg Kelly 1960s Ranch Remodel White Kitchen with Open Floor Plan
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Matthew Gleason

When renovating this 1960s ranch-style home in Nashville, the owners left some of the property's original charm—but added a little paint. More specifically, they painted the original wood-paneled walls bright white (PPG's Delicate White, PPG1001-1). While there is no official backsplash, a painting is hung intentionally above the stove. "You can use art to make a kitchen feel a bit more lived-in," says designer Meg Kelly, who oversaw this project.

Marble Tiles

Open Kitchen and Dining Room with Round Table and Pops of Purple and Green
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Kathleen Varner

See! We told you tiles can be done right. This recently renovated 1940 cottage in Birmingham, Alabama, is a great example. The couple had a vision for bright and vibrant decor in the rest of the house, but decided to keep things neutral in the kitchen to allow the green cabinets to pop. They used marble 3 x 6 tiles in a subtle grey tone—and, as shown, the material is successful in letting the rest of the room to shine.

Bold Hues

KEX Design + Build's KV Harper New Orleans Shotgun House Remodeled Kitchen
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lisa Tudor/FT45

We also weren't kidding when we said that some couples are making a major statement with a unique backsplash choice. Designer KV Harper did just that while designing her New Orleans home. "My carpenter built the reclaimed-wood countertop which breaks up the green backsplash and dark blue cabinets (painted in Sherwin-Williams' Anchors Aweigh, SW 9179)," she adds.

White Cloe Tile

White Cloe Tile in 5x5
Credit: Bedrosians Tile and Stone

Driven by bloggers such as Emily Henderson and Studio McGee, Bedrosian's Cloe tile is having a moment in residential interiors, according to Campbell Minister, an interior designer and founder of Decorated Interiors. "From shower stalls to kitchen backsplashes, the white Cloe tile has an organic look and a fresh modern presence all at once," she says. "They come in a 5 x 5 square or a more standard 2.5 x 8 rectangle—similar tiles like this are available on Wayfair for a lower price, too." The key is to choose something with a subtle texture and color variation that still acts as a neutral.

Marble and Quartzite

Dark Green kitchen cabinets with marble slab backsplash
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Another trend that homeowners are catching onto are continuous slabs of marble and quartzite as a backsplash. "Choosing a continuous slab that matches your counters creates a cohesive feel that blends in with the kitchen's overall scheme," explains Minister. "You can go wild with a bold pattern or choose a more muted and quiet material as a backdrop for a bold cabinet color." Be sure to check with your fabricator on the suitability for any slab material you choose as a kitchen backsplash, as some quartz materials are not as resistant to heat.

Search any kitchen design by Jake Arnold and swoon. This designer is showing a ton of warm and textured material in his designs. One trend I see on the rise is again a continuous piece of stone slab that sits approximately 10" to 15" above the counter, and dead ends into a shelf. The beauty of this aesthetic is you then can use this perch for art, bowls, utensils, you name it. The shelf itself can be wood for some more visual interest, or the same material as the counter.

Colorful Tile in Cool, Calming Hues

White kitchen with light teal backsplash
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Gone are the days of the standard 3 x 6 white subway tile—choosing a tile that is longer creates a calming visual effect, according to Minister. "Go for a 3 x 10, or a 2 x 8 to create a sleek look," she says. "Wood finishes, moody blues, and greens are having a moment with regards to kitchens. The Tile Shop has a line of subway tiles that have light greens and blues that can complement this trend."

Interesting Texture

Off White Kitchen with textured tile backsplash
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Natural ceramic or porcelain tiles are an intriguing way to change up your backsplash as well. "Adding a bit of texture to an otherwise basic shape provides dimension and interest in a backsplash," explains Minister. "You don't have to spend a million bucks for this to make a statement."

Neutral kitchen with herringbone backsplash
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Graphic Geometrics

Glossy White Kitchen with Tile Backsplash
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

"Geometric shapes and patterns hold a special place in my heart on kitchen backsplashes," says Minister. "Hexagons and herringbone's patterns don't seem to ever go out of style. A herringbone pattern with a Calacatta marble finish makes for a little subtle interest in an all-white kitchen."