House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

11 Kitchen Backsplash Trends To Avoid In 2023

brick kitchen backsplash in a vintage inspired home

The kitchen backsplash traditionally referred to a small rectangular section above the stovetop and reaching to the stove hood, although more recently it has referred to the entire section of wall between the countertop and the wall units. It is an area that receives a lot of abuse. It gets damp from steam and condensation, wet from water splashes, and dirt and grime can gather here even if you’re a careful cook.

Rather than leaving wallpaper or other wall covering to deal with this abuse, a backsplash is fitted over or on the wall and is meant to be easy to clean while protecting the wall and wall covering from the water, grease, and food that collects.

While it is functional, it can also be a prominent part of your kitchen design and, if you want a kitchen that looks good and meets recent trends, you will want to avoid the 11 backsplash styles below, although it is also important to remember that there are always exceptions. It is possible to make a stainless steel, or an all-white backsplash look good and, if that’s what you really want, don’t let annual trends dictate your style.

divider 1

The 11 Kitchen Backsplash Trends to Avoid

1. All White

small kitchen with white tiles as backsplash
Image Credit: Lisaphotos195, Pixabay

The white kitchen is likely to be with us for many years to come, but the trend for having absolutely everything adorned in white is diminishing. Having white counters, white units, and a white backsplash, with white appliances, can look very utilitarian and uninviting. This may come as sad news to those of us with all-white kitchens, but fear not. Swap out your white backsplash for something more colorful and it will brighten up the room, leave an acceptable amount of white in the room, and it negates the need to have a total kitchen refit.

2. Granite

neat extended countertop on kitchen
Image Credit: arealgirlfriday, Pixabay

Granite has pretty much had its day in the kitchen, and you should avoid using it for counter tops and for splashbacks. It tends to have a really busy design: to the extent that you can start to lose the important items in your kitchen, like the stove. Marble is the preferred finish of a similar style, and its marbled effect is preferable to that of the mottled granite look.

3. Ornate Design

kitchen backsplash with ornate design
Image Credit: Victoria_Borodinova, Pixabay

Some ornate designs can look beautiful, and they bring character to a room. But, too much and it becomes too busy and cluttered, effectively making the kitchen look a lot smaller and more confined than it really is. If you have quite a plain room, adding an ornate backsplash can liven it up, but if you have ornate countertops, units, and backsplash, it will be a struggle to make it work. This is especially problematic for those that have gradually updated the kitchen a bit at a time and added new and increasingly ornate features throughout. Think statement pieces, rather than full-on ornate designs.

4. Short Backsplashes

The days of the traditional backsplash are disappearing, with the small square above the stove being overtaken by a backsplash that spreads right around the kitchen above the countertops. Another trend that was popular was that of the short backsplash. This did stretch around the room but was only a single tile high. It doesn’t really protect the walls and it can look like you simply didn’t finish installing the tiles, if not done well or effectively.

5. Painted Walls

There is nothing inherently wrong with painting a backsplash or using a painted wall as a backsplash. The main issue is that paint fades even in ideal locations, and the damp and grimy area on the kitchen walls is far from being an ideal location. If you are going to paint, ensure that you use a very good quality waterproof, grease proof paint, that is fit for the purpose, or you will find yourself painting the kitchen walls regularly.

6. Rustic Wood

Rustic wood looks natural and beautiful, sure, but it also ages and, if it isn’t treated properly, it will bow, warp, and otherwise become disfigured in the damp and hot environment of the kitchen. What’s more, rustic wood goes out of fashion so what looks great now may look tired and broken in just a few years. That’s not to say that you can’t use wood at all, just make sure it is well treated and that you choose the design carefully.

7. The Basic Subway Tile Layout

subway tile as kitchen backsplash in a beautiful home
Image Credit: EDDIE_LEE_KR, Pixabay

Subway tiles have long been a favorite in kitchens. The ceramic tiles are easy to clean, and they retain their good looks. However, the traditional white tiles, in traditional measurements, and with the traditional 50% overlay are starting to lose their popularity. If you do still want this style, consider a different overlay, add some character with occasional color tiles, or even go for a diagonal tile layout.

8. The Blank Backsplash

While there is nothing wrong with neutral colors or the use of a single color to create a striking backsplash, simply opting for a blank design won’t cut it. It looks like you’re still waiting to decorate the kitchen and is something of a throwback to the 1980s. Simple tiles or another basic backsplash will look better than the blank wall.

9. Pebble Tiles

Pebble tiles are supposed to give a natural look to a kitchen, although it isn’t entirely natural to have rocks in your cooking area. Pebble tiles, especially when used as a backsplash, draw the attention and if you already have a granite worktop and other busy designs, it really can be too much for the eye to handle.

10. Brick

brick design for kitchen's interior
Image Credit: TheVirtualDenise, Pixabay

Exposed brick has a look of New York loft apartment style about it, which is not a bad thing. However, backsplashes are used to protect against damp and dirt, both of which can easily get inside the porous surface of brick and cause real trouble. Bricks are also rough and difficult to clean, and once they start to fall apart, it is very difficult to keep them together so you will end up with bits of brick dust on your countertops. Brick effect may be fine, but exposed and untreated brick is best left for other rooms.

11. Stainless Steel

Metal backsplashes are popular, but we caution against the use of stainless steel for several reasons. Firstly, it will make your kitchen look like a professional restaurant kitchen, which is far from inviting. It is also very difficult to keep clean and ensure that it isn’t smeared or otherwise looking dirty. Combine the two, and you have a dirty looking but still starkly utilitarian kitchen. There are other metals out there that can make good looking and easily maintained kitchen surfaces.

Related Read: 12 Kitchen Backsplash Trends

divider 4

Is The Backsplash Going Out Of Style?

The backsplash is not going out of style, but rather than covering a small area above the stove or a single tile high around the whole kitchen, the modern backsplash stretches from counter to unit around the whole room.

huge kitchen with aesthetic backsplash
Image Credit: GetLostMIke, Pixabay

What Is A Timeless Kitchen Backsplash?

If you’re looking to avoid the trends above, consider a simple square tile or a mosaic style effect. Hexagonal tiles look good and, as well as being attractive, they have a uniformity that works well in kitchen design.

divider 7


The kitchen backsplash is a functional item in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean it has to be ugly or dull. Above, we have covered 11 backsplash trends that you should avoid but remember that rules can (sometimes) be broken and even a stainless steel backsplash can be made to look incredible.

You might also be interested in: 9 Kitchen Color Trends

Featured Image Credit: shadowfirearts, Pixabay

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools