Alternatives to Tile for Kitchen Backsplashes

Updated February 21, 2017

While ceramic tile is a durable and attractive option for a kitchen backsplash, plenty of alternatives exist that can transform your kitchen. Selections range from basic utilitarian versions to those that can also serve as a visual delight. The type of backsplash you should choose depends on your personal requirements, taste and surrounding decor.


Different types of wood can serve as a functional and decorative backsplash for your kitchen. Pieces of bamboo, cut and arranged vertically or horizontally, could work. Traditional bead board painted to match your kitchen could also prove attractive. For a more rustic look, you could try rough cedar planks. Make sure to properly seal any wooden material that you use so that it won't be damaged by moisture or spills.

Mirrors and Glass

Mirrors that have an antiqued look can be used as a backsplash of visual interest. A mirrored backsplash, though not functional, can be a wonderful display area due its reflective properties. You could also use modern mirrors. Be aware that mirrors will need constant cleaning to avoid looking spotty. Thick glass blocks can also be used as a backsplash material, especially for free-standing outdoor kitchen counters, that will allow the light to shine through.


With all of the different types and finishes of metal out there, there's sure to be one for your kitchen backsplash if you're into a more industrial feel in your kitchen space. Try hammered metal for a decorative look, or copper for an upscale feel. Metal tiles in different shapes and sizes are available, and you can mix and match them for an eclectic look.


Make your own mosaic backsplash by incorporating any small pieces of material that you like. Glass mosaic tiles, 2 inches square, are available in a variety of finishes and colours. If you have a collection of china pieces or pottery, you could make a mosaic backsplash out of the pieces embedded in plaster. You could also use shells or pebbles. Buttons or broken coloured glass are also a possibility.

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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.