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Backsplash Ideas for White Cabinets

Posted by The Kitchen Shop on Jan 31, 2020 1:33:40 PM

White cabinets with light-colored countertops and flooring give you the pristine look that many homeowners love having in their kitchen. But you might want a contrast somewhere in your kitchen, just to break up the all-white look. In this picture below, stainless steel appliances, including the vent hood, break up the eye-level white pristine visual, while the coloring of the wood flooring is carried over into the bar seats.

White Kitchen Backsplash TipsPhoto by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

Changing out your backsplash would be the easiest component to renovate, if you want to add a little contrasting color or design in your kitchen. Look for an interesting tile design or pattern, if you want something that ties your wall paint color and countertop color to the cabinets and flooring pattern. Let us look at some ways to decide how we want to choose a backsplash that pulls everything together.

Cabinet Door Design

The design of your cabinet door may give you an idea about choosing a design for your backsplash. If you have a smooth flat door design (below), then you could go with a backsplash that has intricate designs which adds that little bit of pizazz you might want. Here is one look with a cabinet door from Mid Continent Cabinetry, that has a plain, smooth design door style.

Horizon White Painted Oak

White Cabinet

You can use just about any type of designed or patterned backsplash under this cabinet door. One idea would be to use colored grout that picks up a thread of color in the countertop or the wall paint, which surrounds white porcelain tile designs.

Or, you can do something dramatically different, such as a cobalt blue alternating brick installation found at this link. Click the following link from Home Depot’s product page for backsplashes that come in many designs and colors, manufactured by different companies.

Other types of backsplash materials to use are marble, granite, glass, and stainless steel which, without any design, but in a contrasting color, can add a visual depth to the look of your kitchen. Your tiles can be installed not only sideways, but from top to bottom, and even diagonally.

Do not overlook colors in silver, gold, and copper. The copper look is beautiful, especially if the tone or hue of a wood floor in an otherwise white kitchen is a match.

Styles of Backsplash Installations

There are many ways to install design patterns in a kitchen backsplash. Here are the most typical layout patterns.

  • Herringbone: These are panels set in at 90 degrees to each other
  • Offset/Staggered Brick: This is a style very popular in today’s kitchens
  • The 1/3 Offset: Somewhat like the staggered brick, but offset at a third point of each brick
  • The Grid Stack (horizontal): If the staggered 1/3 offset brick is not your thing, try the perfectly aligned look
  • Stacked Vertical: Rather than using a horizontal layout, the stack is vertical. These panel styles can carry diagonal designs that line up perfectly, but are easy to install
  • Pinwheel (Hopscotch): More likely to be seen in flooring installations
  • Random: Individual tile pieces that can be used in different colors to create unique designs
  • Diamond (Diagonal): This can be used as a central focus point behind an open-top range or cooktop, while surrounding backsplash tiles carry the color through underneath the cabinets.

You can see more of the above types of designed installations at the Tile Shop here online.

Be aware that installing individual tiles diagonally may cost you more as you will have to manually cut each of the tops and bottom rows to fit under the cabinet, and below at the countertop edge. There will be some material loss here. This is also true of the chevron installation where edges are cut at 45 degrees to match up to the opposing side.

Use Colored Grout to Add Character

Grout plays a big role in filling out the spaces between tiles and can be a complimentary color or a vividly contrasting color. You just want to make sure that you, or your installer, will do a good job with the fill application. Always keep a little extra set aside for grout chip repair, should you need it later.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tips

If you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of homeowner, and you want to go pick out backsplash from a local tile store, or one of the big box hardware companies (Home Depot, Lowe’s), take a picture of your cabinet door on your smart phone. Also take a picture of your countertop if it has any color design in the material.

Bring a color swatch of your wall paint, too, to help you see what you can put together while looking at backsplash examples. Having these samples with you, helps with “seeing” how the backsplash will integrate into your current kitchen design.

You can also ask if you can check out a sample piece(s) to take home and see how the backsplash might work with your surroundings. It doesn’t hurt to ask, although you may have to give your name and number, as well as a refundable deposit to do this. It just depends on the store, although most are very accommodating.

Examples with Doors and Suggested Backsplash

Mid Continent Cabinetry’s line of wood cabinets offers white cabinets in maple and oak. The Horizon (white painted oak) line offers the following stream-line look that can accommodate just about any backsplash design.

If you have a beveled design in your doors, such as the Princeton White Painted Maple and Oak, or a more complicated design, such as the Cottage White Painted Maple and Oak doors, then your backsplash should have less design that might clash with your door style. See the images below for examples of the designs mentioned here.

White Cabinets

From left to right: Mid Continent Cabinetry Doors Horizon White Painted Oak, Princeton White Painted Maple (L) and Oak (R), and Cottage White Painted Maple (L) and Oak (R).

We already mentioned that the door on left end (Horizon) can handle just about any design and pattern you might find. The Princeton oak and maple doors can handle several patterns and designs, but less so than the Horizon. The Cottage oak and maple doors would do better with simple backsplash surfaces with little to no design, such as white porcelain tiles, but could handle contrast colors.

Conclusion: Tip for Backsplash Focal Points

White Backsplash White Kitchen CabinetsImage by Solomon Rodgers from Pixabay

While the viewer’s eyes are typically drawn to the areas above a stove top or the kitchen sink, think about whether you need to clean those areas often. If you have a messy cook at home who tends to drop ladles into the cooking pot, creating splashes on the stove surface and backsplash, you would be cleaning these areas often.


You can do a tiled design there, but any raised decorative areas are magnets for food and sauces that might not get scrubbed off properly. Consider applying a flat, easy-to-wipe surface over the stove and sink, so keep that in mind when you make your choice for those areas.

When it comes to kitchen design, The Kitchen Shop has become one of West Michigan's premier remodeling centers and is here to help you! Schedule an appointment with a design consultant today or contact us for more information on your project!

Topics: Kitchen Design, backsplash