Backsplash: The Sequel


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Welcome back! Last week we talked about backsplash options in terms of material. Today we continue on to talk about backsplash patterns. There are tons of new and innovative ways to arrange your backsplash, and I’ll briefly touch on those as well. For now, let’s take a look at some of the most popular patterns for backsplash:

SUBWAY/ RUNNING BOND (E): Probably the most recognizable and utilized pattern of backsplash is subway tile. The traditional form of subway tile is 3″ x 6″ rectangular tiles laid in a “running bond” pattern reminiscent of traditional brickwork. Variations on  this pattern include rotating the tiles so they run diagonally or vertically, which leads us to:

VERTICAL (A): Backsplash doesn’t need to run parallel to the countertop. Vertical backsplash can be just as effective at drawing the eye and protecting your walls from the trials and tribulations of kitchen life. You can turn many horizontal patterns on their head to create a new and interesting way to place any size of tile. Darkening the grout in between can also provide your vertical pattern with a more prominent look.

GROUT (C): Speaking of grout, it’s important to remember that it can be used to enhance and even to provide patterns. Lighter grout, like the grout in C, can complement the chosen tile while also dividing it into established sections; a darker grout is more effective in affirming the pattern and making it more prominent.

FULL HEIGHT SLAB (F): The opposite of a tiled backsplash is a full-slab splash, which is usually comprised of one piece of material that runs to full height between the countertop and the upper cabinetry. The most popular materials for this include marble and quartz, while some more unique variations include mirrors, blown-up photographs, and wood. A full height slab can be easier to keep clean and maintained than other intricate patterns that have grooves where dirt and bacteria can collect.

HERRINGBONE (G): Herringbone marks the start of our journey into more adventurous patterns. Herringbone is named for its resemblance to the bone structure of a herring – diagonal lines that protrude downwards from a centerpoint (or up, depending on your perspective) and form a V shape. As illustrated by the brick flooring in G, the Herringbone style doesn’t have to be confined to the walls.

CHEVRON (H): Chevron is a variation of Herringbone that looks more like stylized wheat. Diagonal tiles run vertically in uniform rows; horizontally, they resemble a series of M’s. Chevron can highlight contrasting colour schemes like the blue and white above and create an appealing pattern without overwhelming the eye.

PATTERNED TILE (B): Sometimes the easiest way to select a pattern is to pick out tiles that already have patterns on them! Patterned tile comes in an array of colours, shapes, designs, and styles. While the wrong tile might make your kitchen look too busy (a risk associated with the arabesque style pictured in B) or too dated, the right patterned tile will provide a refreshing and dynamic alternative to coloured tile.

MISMATCHED SIZES (D): Tile patterns don’t have to be uniform! As shown above in D, tiles can be different sizes and run different ways. Choosing a “random” selection of irregular tiles and repeating them throughout the duration of the design can bring attention to your backsplash without making it too overwhelming to look at or take care of.

ANYTHING! (I): Well, there are limits to what you can use as a pattern and get away with, but backsplash patterns have definitely diversified and modernized over time. Any pattern variation can be spiced up with a unique material, different placement of key elements, or a splash of bold colours or shapes.

Though you can use backsplash as a design focal point in your kitchen, it’s important  to remember the real reason for backsplash – protecting your kitchen walls from damage, dirt, and bacteria. You want a backsplash that’s easy to maintain and clean, and also strong enough to withstand the kitchen elements (not just the ones on the stove).  Whatever pattern you choose, make sure it’s the right one for your lifestyle and your kitchen.

See you next week!

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