Ask Sally

Ask Sally

Dear Sally:

I have lived in my house a few years, and I am finally getting around to thinking about a backsplash in the kitchen.  We have a convection stove, concrete countertops and plenty of sunlight. But something is still missing.

Since our kitchen is new and my home improvement talents are few, I definitely can’t take this on myself.  I would like something nice, but within a reasonable budget.

 Any ideas?

 Becky Backsplash

Dear Ms. Backsplash:

Your kitchen looks like a wonderful place to both prepare meals and gather as a fam. The clean lines will take on either a traditional or contemporary finish with the addition of a backsplash.

Before you get started on the backsplash: do you have enough outlets? Are they well placed? Now is the time to add or relocate electrical. Also, if your fam has very different taste or you think that you might sell your home within the next five years – keep it simple. Stay with a simple color palette. Avoid super personal or bold designs. Remember that natural materials are easy on the eye.

I have three possible recommendations:

  • Tile.  There are so many options. Consider a honed subway tile to finish. Lay the tile in a railroad pattern for a more traditional look and one that elongates the kitchen or straight stack the tile for a more contemporary spin. natural stone tile would look great in your space but I would also consider a black slate tile given your darker countertops. Match your grout to the larger/main color within the tile. Your grout needs to whisper not scream.


  • Mirror. Do you have a messy cook in the kitchen? Fear not! Mirror is easy to clean. It expands the visual square footage of your space. Also, mirror will magnify those great under cabinet lights you have and brighten your kitchen.


  • Stainless Steel. If the mirror give you the willies, you might try brushed stainless. You’ll get more reflected light than with tile and stainless is more forgiving than a mirror. Stainless is a touch more contemporary (I am noting the stools in your picture).  If sheets of stainless feel too commercial for your space, I love the “little bit country, little bit rock and roll” of 1.5” x 3” and 1” x 3” stainless subway tiles.

Finally, the labor or installation is as important as the materials you choose. Don’t skimp. Check references. Trust your instincts. Seek out the best contractor for the job.

Good luck and shoot me a pic when the job is finished,


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