We expect our kitchens work hard. From meeting space to eating space and everything in between, your kitchen is a reflection of your lifestyle. Today’s homeowners are busier than ever, meaning every element in this high-use heart of the home must be stylish, durable and easy to clean. This is especially true for the backsplash, which is designed to accent the kitchen counter and other details while protecting walls from inevitable spills, splashes and stains.

According to Freyenhagen designer Jennie Kolk, a backsplash is also a way for homeowners to showcase their personality.

“A number of homeowners may choose to go a more traditional route with larger pieces, such as cabinets or countertops,” she says. “They recognize that a backsplash can be changed out more easily, so it’s one of the places they can show a little more trendiness or the personal style.”

Subway tile and mosaic tile in kitchen backsplashMore Backsplash Options Than Ever Before

Jennie notes that there have never been more options for people to choose from—stainless steel, marble, concrete, ceramic or glass tile and even reclaimed wood. A growing trend in backsplashes is mixing metals like brass and steel, or materials like marble and copper. Nothing says adventure quite like the look of natural stone accented with ribbons of shiny steel. The latest kitchens prove that details don’t need to match in order to create a sleek finish, even in open concept spaces.

“We’re seeing a lot of rectangular mosaics right now,” she says.  “They’re a nice way to add texture, patterns and color.”

Another trend that’s continuing to grow? Subway tile.

“Subway tile is interesting because it can work in a contemporary space or a traditional one,” she says.  “Subway tiles have also changed—there are great beveled options, cool back-painted glass, cracked finishes, different sizes—it’s not just basic white 3 x 6” tiles anymore.”

Another benefit of subway tiles is that they can be arranged in a variety of patterns.  In addition to the classic horizontal brickwork pattern, think herringbone, stacked, and vertical or horizontal orientation.  You can also choose to install it just a few inches above the counter or stretch all the way to the ceiling—the options are virtually limitless.

“Think of your backsplash as the jewelry in your kitchen,” Jennie says.  “Have some fun with it, try different combinations and don’t be afraid to go a little bold either in the materials themselves or in the way you install them.”