How do you go about when selecting your kitchen backsplash? How do you match it to your kitchen countertop? Are there any tips you need to be aware of? 

Can you mix their pattern? What about the colors? What is the purpose of kitchen backsplash anyway? 

A kitchen with full white backsplash and matching white countertop.

As homeowners, going about your home renovation projects can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re DIY-ing. 

In this post, we’ll share a complete guide on how to match (or contrast) your kitchen backsplash to your kitchen countertop (combining all the questions we received from homeowners at HOMA2u). 

Let’s dive in! 

Why is it important to install a kitchen backsplash?

Before we share some kitchen backsplash ideas to you, it’s important to know what’s the function of a backsplash.

entire kitchen wall with tiled backsplash

Kitchen backsplash’s main purpose is to protect your kitchen wall from grease and water splash. It is a must-have if you are always dishing out Malaysian cuisine for you or your family. 

Apart from that, it is a great way to enhance the kitchen design as well. And that’s why it is important to understand how you can best utilize kitchen backsplash to create a harmonious design together with your kitchen countertop.

But before we jump straight in, if you’re wondering, here are 3 main reasons you need a kitchen backsplash:

  • Protect your kitchen wall. Kitchen backsplash is designed to protect your wall from spills and splatter when you’re cooking. 
  • Easy to clean up. The backsplash materials are easy to clean and wipe down. You don’t need to spend hours scrubbing your kitchen wall. 
  • Add to your kitchen design. Backsplash designs do not need to be boring all the time. Apart from the typical white subway tiles, there are many ways you can design your kitchen wall.

Your guide to matching kitchen backsplash to kitchen countertop

1 – Pick your must-have factor

There are many ways you can go about when designing your kitchen backsplash and countertop. 

At HOMA2U, we usually ask homeowners to pick their wow factor. It could be their favourite furniture, accessories or the type of design they like. 

So, here’s what you can do:

  • Browse through a catalogue of kitchen cabinets, countertops, kitchen flooring, backsplash design or the type of water faucet style you like. 
  • You can search for design inspiration via Pinterest
  • Or join any Malaysia Facebook groups to get more locally-inspired kitchen design.
  • Once you find your must-have element, centre that as your design focal point
  • Expand your kitchen design around that. 

But what does a focal point look like? 

It could be a particular kitchen cabinet that struck a chord with you, that granite countertop you want, a Moroccan tile-inspired backsplash design you like or a specific type of laminate-flooring you want for your kitchen. 

Once you get this down, it will be easier from the get-go to deciding the style and choice of your kitchen backsplash and countertop.

2 – Decide on your renovation budget

Up next, put down a number for your budget. It could be an estimate or if you have an exact figure, then it will be better. 

Having a budget in mind can help you decide better. You wouldn’t want to pick a kitchen countertop design you love just to find out it’s way above your budget limit. 

So, having a good budget pre-planning will be nice. But don’t worry if you don’t have one now. We prepared a renovation checklist for you and shared the costs of renovating a home in Malaysia.

3 – Know the size of your kitchen space

The kitchen’s room dimension goes hand-in-hand with your renovation budget. 

Larger kitchen space will require a larger amount of budget as the materials involved will be more. 

It will also influence the style and choice of your kitchen design:

  • The length of the kitchen countertop (considering your kitchen cabinet & refrigerator). Sometimes you’ll also need to ask yourself: Is it necessary to have a kitchen countertop that’s too long? Or you’d rather keep it short to save space for other furniture?
  • The width of the kitchen countertop (lesser width means bigger kitchen space)

After having these considerations (kitchen space & budget) in mind, how will they change your design choices?

Will they still stand? Or do you need to make drastic design changes?

Design tips on matching or contrasting your kitchen backsplash & countertop

Now, let’s look into some design tips for your kitchen renovation project. 

The tips shared below are simply general guidelines. Feel free to mix and match as you go and try with as much creativity as you like!  

1 – Color contrast 

Color contrasting kitchen backsplash and countertop

The easiest way to create a catchy design that’s modern and chic – through color contrasting.

Colorful backsplashes go best with solid countertops. As for your kitchen cabinets, you can go with colors that are more neutral-toned, like the design above.

2 – Keep the patterns or colors neutral 

Kitchen backsplash and countertop that have a similar pattern or belong to the same color palette

If you like to keep it subtle, you can also opt for kitchen backsplash and countertop that have a similar pattern or belong to the same color palette. 

Protip: For this type of design, most homeowners already have a kitchen cabinet design in mind. The kitchen backsplash and countertop are simply complimentary features to the overall kitchen design. 

3 – Busy designs

Matching color palettes for busy kitchen backsplash and countertop

If you have a countertop with a lot of movements (which is typical for a granite or a ceramic countertop) but the backsplash tiles you chose also have a busy design, then you can try matching the color palettes, like the design above.

Protip: You can also keep it simple by choosing a kitchen backsplash design that is more toned down. 

4 – Create a uniform look

Another design tip is to run the countertop onto the backsplash.

This creates a clean and uniform look. It is also an economical choice if you have extra countertop materials left. 

Protip: While black-coloured tiles may seem over the top, you can also keep it simple by using neutral-toned colors such as white tiles.  

5 – Grout or no grout

Kitchen backsplash with grout area need frequent cleaning

While it is sometimes easy to get carried away by the backsplash pattern you’d want (like the design above), one thing you need to take note of is the cleaning of the grout area. 

Stain or grease can easily get stuck in the grout area of your kitchen backsplash. So, maintenance and frequent wipe down will be required more frequently. 

Protip: Go for a solid backsplash if you prefer less cleaning efforts on your end.

6 – Other backsplash tile pattern you can consider

Herringbone tile pattern as kitchen backsplash

Apart from Herringbone pattern (pictured above in no.5), other tile patterns you can consider are: 

  • Vertical stack
  • Chevron stack
  • Classic staggered stack 

We detailed the differences between each pattern here and even showed some examples. 

If your focal point is building your kitchen design surrounding a Herringbone tile pattern, then you need to consider if the pattern is compatible with the design of your kitchen countertop (including the colors, style and other kitchen furniture in the area).

Should backsplash be lighter or darker than the countertop? 

One of the most common questions we’d received from homeowners is the color tone of their kitchen backsplash. 

While there are no fixed rules to this, it really depends on your preferences. 

As shared with the design tips earlier on:

  • Colorful backsplashes work best with solid countertop and can create great visual contrast
  • To keep it more subtly, use neutral-toned colors for both kitchen backsplashes & countertops (make sure the patterns are similar too)
  • Or if you have a busy design, make sure they complement each other in terms of their color pallete and patterns 
  • Otherwise, you can experiment with the various type of tile patterns

What backsplash is good for small kitchens?

Small kitchen looks larger with neutral-toned backsplash of a single color
Image Source: Tucasa

If you have a modest kitchen space, we usually recommend homeowners to go with neutral-toned backsplash of a single color

This is the best way to create the illusion of a larger space. Plus, since the kitchen space is already small, having such a design can help minimize visual conflict as well. 

And it also makes for a clean and modern design! 

Lastly, hire a contractor or interior designer in Malaysia

Creating the best kitchen design is not an easy feat. And having to do it yourself can sometimes be a daunting task especially if you’re not familiar with interior designing. 

If all these feel too overwhelming for you, you can always chat with us

At HOMA2U, we specialize in recommending the best home improvement products for homeowners like you and providing the best overstock deals

Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below. 


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