5 Kitchen Backsplash Trends to Avoid (Updated for 2023)

Evelyn Long

Aug 9, 2021

kitchen backsplash trends to avoid

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When designing your dream kitchen, you’ve likely considered adding a backsplash. Not only does a good backsplash add another layer to the aesthetic depth of your kitchen, but it also protects the space, as backsplash materials tend to withstand a bit more than regular walls.

Of course, home decor can be a fickle friend.  A few backsplash trends need to be fixed long-term or are on their way out. 

This list isn’t meant to deter you if a look you love is no longer hot. We’re all for embracing the design approaches you like the best.

That being said, quite a few backsplash looks are on their way out for good reason. Here are just a few of those kitchen backsplash trends to avoid:

1. Leaving It Blank

no kitchen backsplash

The first of our kitchen backsplash trends to avoid is just leaving things blank. This one is a good thing in the world because it leaves room to add something later.  

However, you’ll lose out on valuable design space that could otherwise add a personal touch and make your kitchen function even better.

In addition to the aesthetic touches a backsplash can bring, an intentional backsplash can keep pests out of the kitchen, protect the walls underneath and make cleaning much easier. A solid backsplash can bring much more value to your kitchen.

2. All White Backsplash

All-white kitchens have been all the rage for the past few years, with white cabinets, countertops and backsplashes to match. While they can look sleek and bright, kitchens are beginning to skew warmer tones. Homeowners like a bit of color and the backsplash is the perfect place.

White backsplashes can sometimes come across as plain, in addition to being difficult to fully clean. If you love white and bright tones, go for it, but don’t feel you need to abandon your cozy leanings to accommodate minimalist trends.

3. Subway Tiles

white subway tile kitchen backsplash

Subway tiles are another past few years trend that often goes along with the all-white kitchen. While subway tiles can add to an industrial, modern look in any kitchen, they’re also starting to appear everywhere. Like an overplayed radio song, this can lead to exhaustion.

Subway tiles can still be spun into unique and eye-pleasing design choices. Don’t be surprised if their ubiquitous presence over the past few years starts souring as homeowners look for something fresh and new.

4. Pebble Tiles

Pebble tiles emerged less than a decade ago and often bring a natural, textured or spa-like aesthetic to any space. While this might be right for some tastes, pebble tiles can make a counter feel cramped and cluttered with too many textures and tones.

To keep pebble surfaces looking their best, cleaning them regularly is important because dirt can get stuck between the stones and harden over time. 

This is especially true when pebble tiles are added as a backsplash on top of an already deep range of colors and tones on your countertop. A sleeker look might be your best bet if you want a more current kitchen.

5. Matching the Countertop

monochrome kitchen backsplash

Sure, monochrome can be a fun idea, but simply letting the countertop bleed into the backsplash doesn’t give you the opportunity to explore your style further.

Backsplashes can be great balancing acts for your counters. Plain countertops can make a space feel absent, while busy countertops can make the space feel cluttered and consumed with busy colors and textures. A different backsplash and a bit of contrast can give the eyes a break.

6. Overly Trendy Patterns

Trends come and go quickly. What’s fashionable today may become outdated within a few years. 

Choosing an over pattern for your backsplash can lead to the need for frequent updates to keep your kitchen in vogue.

Constantly changing your backsplash to keep up with trends can be expensive. Removal, replacement and installation costs add up over time. Opting for a more timeless design can save you money in the long run. 

Highly trendy patterns may not reflect your unique style and personality. A more classic choice allows your kitchen to reflect your taste and preferences better.

7. Excessive Open Shelving

Open shelves collect dust and require more frequent cleaning. They are also prone to grease and food splatters. If not properly maintained, they can quickly look unkempt. 

Too much open shelving can make your kitchen appear cluttered and disorganized, especially if you have a lot of mismatched or unattractive kitchenware. Concealed storage allows you to maintain a clean and cohesive look. 

Open shelves limit your storage options. You may only want to display some of your kitchen items. Some items are better kept behind closed doors to maintain a tidy and uncluttered appearance. 

8. Too Much Open-Grain Wood

Open-grain wood with its exposed pores can trap dirt, moisture and grease, making it more challenging to clean and maintain. Over time, this can result in a less hygienic and aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

Wood is susceptible to damage from water, heat and sharp objects. Excessive use of open-grain wood in your kitchen can lead to scratches, discoloration and warping, reducing its life span and visual appeal.

While it can add warmth and texture to your kitchen, excessive use of open-grain wood can limit your design options. It may not complement other design elements or themes, making it challenging to create a cohesive look in your kitchen.

9. Extensive Dark Colors

Dark-colored backsplashes can’t absorb natural and artificial light, making your kitchen feel smaller and darker. This is particularly problematic in smaller or poorly lit spaces, which can create claustrophobia. 

Dark backsplashes can limit your color choices for other kitchen elements such as cabinets and countertops. This lack of flexibility can make it challenging to change your kitchen’s overall color scheme in the future without a major renovation.

It can also create a somber and serious atmosphere. If you want a kitchen with a more inviting and lively ambiance, extensive dark backsplashes may not be the best choice. 

Avoid These Kitchen Backsplash Choices

No matter what trends you choose to go with, a good backsplash can take your kitchen to the next level and help you create a space that’s totally right for you.

Original Publish Date 08/09/2021 — Updated 11/13/2023

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