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How To Save Money on a Custom Kitchen Backsplash

How To Save Money on a Custom Kitchen Backsplash

If you are looking to add some punch to your kitchen, but you don’t have the budget for an entire kitchen makeover, a tile backsplash may be the perfect solution.  With so many tile options on the market today, there is one for every style and budget.  If you are able to install the tile yourself, you will save even more money on the project.

The key to designing a backsplash to fit your budget, while creating a custom look, is to combine several tiles into one design.  Blending tiles takes a bit more work, especially during the installation process, but it allows you to use tiles that may be more expensive than your budget could handle otherwise.  Be sure to choose tiles that are somewhat equal in thickness, for easiest installation.

Luxury kitchen with custom backsplash

This kitchen features a simple backsplash design using a slate field tile and both limestone and glass tile accents. Courtesy www.landsted.com and www.landmarkphotodesign.com

The “field tile” is the tile that fills the majority of your backsplash.  You will need to select one that either blends with your countertop or contrasts with it.  There is no hard and fast rule here; some people like the continuity of blending the backsplash color with the color of their countertop.  Others like the contrast of choosing something significantly lighter or darker than the countertop material.

Affordable kitchen backsplash

This affordable kitchen backsplash uses biscuit subway tile installed in a brick pattern and glass tile accents.

The field tile is going to eat up the majority of your budget, since it will encompass most of your backsplash square footage.  Keeping this tile to a reasonable cost will ensure your project stays within your budget.  Even something as simple as a 4-1/4”x4-1/4” square, glossy ceramic tile can become the basis of a gorgeous backsplash.  At a cost of $3 per square foot (or less), this option can be very affordable.

Porcelain and Glass backsplash

3"x3" Porcelain tiles installed in a straight pattern are accented with randomly-placed rustic glass tiles in this inexpensive kitchen backsplash.

Natural stone tiles can also be budget-friendly; slate and limestone can be found for as little as $4 per square foot depending upon the color!  I recommend keeping backsplash field tiles 8”x8” or smaller, for best results and to minimize cutting.

If you plan to install the backsplash yourself, purchasing good tile from a tile shop will make the job easier, as they tend to be more consistent in size and thickness than many of those sold at home improvement stores.

Mural kitchen backsplash

This asymmetrical tile design features elements from the home's location - a wooded area. The tree tiles were ordered from a custom tile company and inserted with a less-expensive field tile.

Now, select an accent tile or two; it is the accent tiles that will make your backsplash one-of-a-kind.  You can choose from an amazing array of glass mosaic tiles or metallic tiles.  Or, perhaps you are looking for a tile that will remind you of a favorite vacation spot; you can find tiles with starfish, wine bottles or even dragonflies on them!  Whatever your accents, be sure they connect with the colors in the room in some way; perhaps they incorporate the wall color, cabinet color or countertop tones.

Backsplashes can be designed in a random pattern layout, where the accent tiles are incorporated into the design throughout the backsplash.  A more regular pattern, such as a stripe or border can also be lovely.  Try to avoid placing decorative tiles right by the electrical outlets, as this tends to accentuate these plates.

Custom limestone backsplash

This custom-cut limestone backsplash features a modular/random installation with granite and metallic tile accents.

Decide on the look you prefer, and use the tile sizes you selected to design your tile pattern.  A straight installation, with all the joints lined up, is the easiest and most cost-effective way to install tile.  However, using a brick pattern or a diagonal lay creates more interest in the backsplash.

Even with just a small budget, a new tile backsplash can make a big difference in your kitchen.

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