Breathe life into your kitchen with a stylish and functional backsplash. Choosing the right tile gives your cooking space just the right amount of flair while protecting your walls from splatters and spills. With so many tile options to pick from, narrowing down your backsplash design can feel overwhelming. To help guide your decision, we’ve compiled the 8 top tile types to consider for your kitchen backsplash.

Subway Tile

Subway tile offers a timeless, classic look that pairs well with any kitchen style from traditional to modern. These rectangular tiles are typically 3 by 6 inches and made of glossy ceramic or porcelain. Their elongated shape allows for easy installation in straight or diagonal patterns.

Subway tiles come in a vast array of colors like white, gray, blue and even black. Opt for a monochromatic look or create interest with alternating colors. Subway tile backsplashes complement both neutral and colorful schemes. Their smooth finish makes for easy cleaning too. For a bit more flair, choose subway tiles with subtle patterns like herringbone.

Glass Tile

Glass tile instantly livens up a backsplash with eye-catching shine and color. From bold primaries to soft pastels, glass tile comes in every hue imaginable. Solid colors make a powerful statement, especially when used creatively in stripes or diagonals. Choose glass mosaic tiles for a fragmented, multi-colored look.

Glass tile works beautifully behind a stove or sink thanks to its resistance to heat, moisture and stains. It’s also quite durable and scratch-resistant. Just be aware that individual tiles may need replacing if damaged. Installation takes precision and care to properly space and grout them. The gorgeous results are well worth the extra effort.

Stone Tile

For stunning depth and texture, bring nature into your kitchen with stone tile. Rustic slate or travertine can give your space an earthy feel. Marble looks luxurious with its veining and swirls of color. Use stone tile sparingly in the backsplash or cover entire walls and floors for a seamless look.

Stone comes in a wide range of sizes, shapes and finishes. From mosaics to ledgestone, keep the installation pattern simple to showcase the tile’s natural beauty. As one of the more expensive options, opt for stone only behind the stove or sink if it doesn’t fit your full budget. Stone requires sealing to prevent stains and etching.

Stainless Steel Tile

Achieve a sleek, modern aesthetic with stainless steel backsplash tiles. Brushed or metallic finishes reflect light beautifully in the kitchen. Stainless steel tiles resist heat, stains and bacteria growth. Water and crumbs wipe away easily keeping maintenance simple.

Use silver stainless steel tile to make small spaces appear larger. Pair with neutral cabinetry and countertops for a balanced contemporary vibe. Or make stainless steel an accent behind the range in an otherwise colorful kitchen. Many tile options cleverly mimic the look of stainless steel at a lower cost.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

Peel-and-stick backsplash tile offers a budget-friendly and DIY-friendly option. The self-adhesive backing adheres right to your wall or existing tile surface. Just peel off the paper backing, press into place and grout as needed. Choose vinyl, plastic or real ceramic or porcelain tiles to achieve any look you desire.

Create patterns easily with the stick-on tiles or completely cover a surface. Many homeowners use this self-adhesive tile to refresh backsplashes between replacing countertops and cabinetry. Peel-and-stick tiles are also great for rental properties. Just be aware that quality varies widely and improper installation can lead to quick failure.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile backsplashes provide maximum versatility in terms of look, durability and maintenance. Made from refined clay, porcelain tiles maintain color better than ceramic and resist water, heat and staining. Modern digital printing allows porcelain tiles to mimic natural materials like wood and stone.

From rustic to modern, matt to polished, small to oversized, porcelain tile comes in every style imaginable. Intricate patterns printed on the tiles take the guesswork out of designing an intricate mosaic or geometric motif backsplash. Porcelain tiles hold up well to heavy use and require minimal grout sealing.

Metal Tile

Infuse your kitchen with old-world charm and contemporary cool using metal tile. Copper, zinc and brushed aluminum come in a stunning range of shapes and finishes from hammered and oxidized to polished and art deco inspired. Use metal tile to make a big decorative impact while covering less surface area due to its higher cost.

Metal tile can also lend an industrial edge or touch of bohemian flair. Higher gauge metals work better for backsplashes than thinner tiles intended for wall decor. Check that metal selections are properly sealed and rated for moisture exposure. Steer clear of tin ceiling tiles as they can corrode.

Penny Tile

Also called penny rounds, these tiny mosaic tiles make a seriously fun backsplash. Penny tiles got their name because they are about the size of a penny, measuring just 1 inch across. They create a retro vintage look, often used in bathrooms but right at home in the kitchen too.

Install penny tile in geometric patterns or a contrasting field behind the range. Use varying colors for interest. Glass penny tiles tend to cost less than real ceramic or porcelain. Keep in mind that the teeny tiles require careful grouting and sealant to keep them securely in place and prevent staining between tile edges.

Key Factors When Selecting Tile Finish

With so many types and options for kitchen backsplash tile, choosing the right surface can feel tricky. Keep these key factors in mind when selecting a tile finish:

  • Durability – Pick a tile that will hold up to heat, moisture and daily use based on placement behind the stove, sink or as full backsplash.
  • Ease of cleaning – Consider how easily the tile can be cleaned of oils, greases, tomato sauces and hard water build up. Smooth and non-porous are best.
  • Stain resistance – Opt for tile that is less likely to stain or etching for high use areas and lighter colors.
  • Style – Let the tile complement your kitchen’s design theme from traditional to contemporary.
  • Cost – Natural stone, metal and glass tile tend to cost more than porcelain and ceramic.
  • DIY skills – Peel-and-stick tiles are beginner friendly while natural stone requires advanced tiling expertise.

Designing the Perfect Backsplash

With so many exceptional tile varieties, your backsplash possibilities are nearly endless. Use these tips when planning:

  • Mix tile textures and colors for visual interest.
  • Tiles with veining or patterns hide flaws better.
  • Limit patterned tile to one wall as a focal point.
  • Install tile vertically near a stove for easy wiping.
  • Carry tile all the way to lower cabinets for a finished look.
  • Add an accent strip of decorative tile on top or bottom.
  • Coordinate with countertop and cabinetry finishes.

Any of these 8 tile types can help you achieve the kitchen backsplash design of your dreams. Just take your time considering the options and don’t be afraid to get creative. Before you know it, you’ll have a stunning, functional focal point to enjoy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular backsplash tile sizes?

The most popular backsplash tile sizes are:

  • Subway tile: 3 x 6 inches
  • Mini subway tile: 3 x 4 inches
  • Mosaic tile: 1 x 1 inch
  • Hexagon tile: 1 to 4 inches
  • Penny tile: 1 inch diameter

4 x 4 inch and 6 x 6 inch tiles are also very common. Selecting the right size depends on your kitchen scale and overall style. Smaller tiles allow for more intricate patterns.

How do I choose a backsplash color?

Consider the color scheme of your cabinets, countertops, flooring and decor when selecting a backsplash color. Contrasting colors can make the backsplash pop while coordinated shades create flow. For a timeless neutral palette, white and off-white tiles pair with nearly everything. Gray, beige and black backsplashes are also versatile neutrals.

What tile is best for kitchen backsplash?

Ceramic and porcelain tile are best for kitchen backsplashes as they resist heat, stains and moisture well. Glass, metal and stone tile also make lovely yet higher maintenance backsplash materials. Always check that the tile you choose has a water absorption rate less than 3 percent.

How much does it cost to install a kitchen backsplash?

The national average cost to install a kitchen backsplash is between $800 and $1,200 depending on tile selection. More intricate tile patterns, larger backsplash areas, and professional installation will increase costs. Budget tile options like peel-and-stick and DIY installation can reduce costs to under $500.

Can you put tile straight on drywall?

It is not recommended to install tile directly on drywall alone. Cement backerboard reinforced with mortar provides the appropriate subsurface for tiled backsplashes. Waterproofing membranes can also be applied before adding tile over drywall. Ensure underlying drywall is in good condition first.


Finding the perfect backsplash tile brings your kitchen design full circle. Subway, glass, stone, metal, peel-and-stick, porcelain, penny and stainless steel tiles each offer outstanding options to showcase your personal style. Consider the texture, color, durability, look and cost to select the ideal tile for your space and budget. Then roll up your sleeves to install a backsplash you’ll enjoy for years to come.