8 Easy & Inexpensive Backsplash Ideas

Rose Morrison

Apr 21, 2020


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Adding a backsplash to your kitchen ups the aesthetics of your design and makes it easier to wipe down when grease or food splatters. However, traditional tiled backsplashes can be expensive. Not only do you have the cost of the tile, but you may need to pay someone to do the tile work. 

The average cost for a professional to install a kitchen backsplash is between $2,614 and $4,708, or between $21.78 and $39.24 per square foot. If your budget is more in the hundreds than thousands, there are some easy, inexpensive backsplash ideas to spruce up your home for less.

1. Contact Paper

A clean white kitchen with marble designed contact paper backsplash

Contact paper comes in many different styles. You can even find versions that look like brick or wood. Although it won’t work long-term, contact paper can help protect your walls and add some interest to your kitchen design. Seek out a pattern matching the style of your kitchen and cut it to size. 

2. Faux Shiplap

Dining table with white shiplap as an inexpensive backsplash ideas

The look of shiplap is all the rage thanks to shows such as Fixer Upper. However, the cost of installing real shiplap is higher than most modest budgets allow. Fortunately, you can create a version out of plywood that looks very similar. You could also paint the wall white and use a permanent marker to create the look of boards, but it won’t have quite the oomph of using wood. 

3. Plywood Tiles

Different colored plywood tiles fanned out

You may not be able to afford decorative tiles, but who says you can’t make your own? Stenciling on squares of plywood and then sealing with a topcoat is a great way to create a high-end look for very little money. 

Make sure you seal everything well. You don’t want moisture to get on or behind the blocks. 

4. Discount Tiles

White hexagon backsplash tiles in a kitchen

If you aren’t picky about the type of tiles you want, look for deals on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and resell stores. People sometimes buy too much of a tile or decide they don’t like it. 

Another option is to offer to take out tile for someone wanting to get rid of theirs. You have to be extremely careful, and some of the tiles may still break, but it is possible to save much of it and reuse it in your own home. You’ll be putting sweat equity into the process to get the expensive tile look you want for very little money. 

5. DIY Tiles

Grey and white flower kitchen backsplash

Since about half the cost of a new backsplash is labor, learn how to tile and do the work yourself to save a bundle. Many home improvement stores offer classes in tile laying. Attend one if any are available in your area.

Practice laying tile on a piece of wood and see how your lines look before moving to the wall. With a little practice, you’ll soon be a pro. 

6. Duct Tape

Multiple rolls of colorful, multisized duct tape against a blue background

Look, we know this is unconventional. But hear us out before you make a decision.

Duct tape comes in a wide array of patterns and colors. With some smart planning, you can create a design for a shiny, unique look. You’ll spend under $20 on duct tape and come up with something no one else has. Use geometric patterns or straight lines for an interesting look that isn’t too distracting. 

7. Tin Tiles

Nine silver tin backsplash tiles with a flower pattern

Although made for ceilings, tin tiles make a beautiful backsplash. Look for them at secondhand stores or buy new ones. They also sell them in plastic versions now. Your color choices and patterns may be limited, but the tiles have a vintage look going well in a farmhouse style kitchen or a retro home. 

8. Maps, Posters or Wallpaper

A variety of old maps scattered around a surface

Another idea is to find something matching the theme of your kitchen and use it for a backsplash. For example, if your kitchen has a French provincial look, you might put up a map of Paris or a poster of the Eiffel tower. Think about the colors and themes of your design and choose something adding to the look. 

One great thing about using inexpensive paper is you can swap it out if it gets stained or you grow tired of it. With traditional tile, you’re stuck with the design until you break the tiles out one by one. 

Easy and Inexpensive Backsplash Ideas for Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where your family gathers for meals and where your friends stop by for a chat. You head to it for nourishment, entertainment and to remember your grandmother as you bake cookies from her special recipe. The inexpensive backsplash ideas you choose don’t matter as much as the fact that you love it, and the style brings meaning to your life and home.

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