When I’m out on the road, visiting clients, I get asked a lot about backsplashes. People wonder if they should tile their backsplash and my answer is always yes!

So why do I think people should tile their backsplash? My first reason is pretty simple… they look good. A wall of gyprock between the countertop and the upper cabinets just doesn’t have a lot of pizazz. We all spend a lot of time in our kitchens so I just think that you and your kitchen deserve a little bit more. This is your chance to add another layer and more dimension to a room you spend a lot of time in. A tiled backsplash is like adding the perfect accessory to your outfit. It takes it from ordinary to fabulous.

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The other reason to tile the backsplash is for the clean factor in the hardest working room of the house. It gets messy in the kitchen. Things get splashed, spilled and splattered in the kitchen. And you want to be able to easily wipe down the surfaces. A tiled backsplash is much more forgiving to all those spills. Why do you think it is called a backsplash!

If you have a range hood and cupboards that go to the ceiling, it’s a great look to tile all the way to the ceiling. It gives a cleaner look without the additional lines of the transition of tile to drywall. Besides, the stove is one spot in the kitchen where you tend to get more splashes and splatters. This is also works well around the sink space, too.

When it comes to picking the tile, my rule of thumb is the busier the countertop, the plainer the tile and vice versa if you have a plain countertop. The smaller sized tiles work well for a backsplash – anything from a 4” x 4”, 3” x 6” right down to the little penny tiles and mosaics. There are so many fabulous tiles on the market, the possibilities are endless.

And you can’t go wrong with the simple subway tile, it has stood the test of time and remains classic to this day. They have made some variations to pick from – beveled, glass, textured and all in a great selection of colours, too. It doesn’t have to be boring – there are so many different ways to lay the tile to provide interest and add some personality to it. And then there’s the grout, you can add a little zip there, too, if you want something a little extraordinary.

While on the topic of grout – is there a hard and fast rule about what colour to use? The answer is no. Basically, you need to decide if you want the grout to stand out or bend in. The current trend is to use a grout that stands out and creates an accent. That accent colour can be pulled in from the countertop, the cabinetry, the wall colour or the tile itself if there is more than one colour in it. If you are using a natural tile, like a tumbled marble that has natural valley, pits and dips, you’ll want to use a grout that will blend in the with the fell of the tile so that when the tile is grouted, those holes don’t stand out.

If you find yourself stuck with what to do with your back splash – consult the experts. They have seen many back splashes; the good, the bad and the ugly. They can help with your selection, give you sound advice and steer you in the right direction.

A well-chosen back splash can really add to your kitchen design. It can take it from ordinary to something extra special.

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Lori Byrne
Hi, I'm Lori Byrne, an Interior Decorator and a country-girl at heart. I have the urge to create, whether it's in my studio or helping you create a home that's a perfect fit for your family. You can find me over at www.farmfreshstyle.ca