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3 Tips for Choosing Kitchen Backsplash Tile

One of my very favorite things about kitchen updates is choosing kitchen tile backsplash – there are so many options! But, you know how that goes, so many options means so much indecision! Because backsplash so easily and instantaneously transforms a kitchen (have you seen the magic of going from 90’s glassy mosaic to matte modern chevron?!), it’s definitely worth wading through all the options. Even with a classic white subway, there are a lot of variables to figure out. While I’m the midst of tackling the tile for my One Room Challenge kitchen update, I thought I’d share some of my tips for choosing kitchen backsplash tile here!

kitchen backsplash

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tile finishes

1. Consider Matte vs. Glossy Finish

One little detail can make a world of difference! Tile comes in a few different finishes, mostly commonly in a matte and a polished finish. It’s no surprise I’m a big fan of the matte. Although it’s tougher to come by (check online and local tile shops), it gives a more modern, elevated vibe.

I think matte is especially important for larger spaces as the polished could feel like a lot of shine and reflection, see above for how they compare right next to a window.

2. Compare Colors for Neutrality and Undertones

Of course, you might be looking at colors other than white but since that’s what I’m using in the kitchen, it’s a good example! Each tile above is listed as “white” on the website. Next to each other though, we can see that one is much more earthy, one is more neutral, and the last is a true bright white.

weekly home styling tips

Choosing one over the other could make the entire space feel too warm, too pink, or too cool. This is crucial for gray tile which often have pink or blue undertones.

subway tiles

3. Tile Size and Proportion

Whether you’re going with subway tile or another shape, size and proportion is a key element to keep in mind. Smaller subway tiles, like common 3″ x 6″ tiles will have a much different look than wider and longer tiles.

Not into subway? Check out these 7 Alternatives to Subway Tile!

white tile options

If you’re wanting to go with subway, but want to try something different, going with larger or differently proportioned tiles cab just enough of a change.

backsplash tile ideas

Because I’m tiling from the countertop to ceiling, I’m going with 4″ x 16″ tiles which will hopefully widen up the space and look less busy than smaller tiles. I’m using my previous kitchen as reference point:

white subway tile kitchen backsplash with wood shelves
my previous kitchen with 4″ x 16″ matte white subway tiles

BONUS- The best kitchen backsplash tile grout:

Don’t forget the grout! My very favorite grout is Mapei warm gray which is a perfect neutral gray not too silver or dark.

I love projects that make a big impact. Even better, I’ve gathered up 9 Easy Home Updates All Under $200!

tile grout colors
Mapei Grout Color Chart

Ready to see the entire kitchen makeover? Check out my Small Kitchen Remodel for the finished space and list of project sources! I used a few of my budget friendly tips on this project. Check out my list of 6 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements for more ideas.