Backsplash Design: Horizontal Or Vertical? Which To Choose?

Finding the perfect design for your kitchen can be easier said than done. Do you want to add a backsplash behind your countertops but have no idea whether vertical or horizontal designs will look better? What way does a backsplash typically face?

Well, we've done some research and have the answer below!

You generally want to install a kitchen backsplash that has a horizontal pattern. Most backsplashes follow a horizontal design, so this makes the most sense for your walls.

With that said, you can go against the crowd and try a vertical backsplash, although this works best for kitchens with plenty of extra wall space.

As we start this post, we will cover all things kitchen backsplashes and discuss whether yours should have a vertical or horizontal design. If it's time to renovate, you are tired of your existing walls, or you haven't installed a backsplash before, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right in!

Shot of a kitchen with words 'Stay at home' written on the chalkboard wall. - Backsplash Design: Horizontal Or Vertical? Which To Choose?

Should A Kitchen Backsplash Be Vertical Or Horizontal?

Elegant Kitchen Design with white matte refrigerator, white cabinets, and two toned kitchen island. Gray tile backsplash and metal range hood.

In general, you will notice that kitchen backsplashes follow a horizontal design. This is more common versus vertical patterns, as horizontal tiling allows for more pieces.

On the other hand, vertical tiling can require plenty of extra wall space, which not every kitchen has. Think of any kitchen you've been in recently. Were the wall tiles vertical or horizontal?

Nine times out of ten, you'll notice they are horizontal. Again, this isn't always accurate, but we recommend staying horizontal with your design if you have regular or limited wall space.

Another idea would be to choose square tiles because you aren't technically going in either direction. Depending on your space, you may also want to consider using small tiling and going vertical or large tiles and staying horizontal.

Everyone will be different!

Where Should A Kitchen Backsplash Start And End?

For those installing a backsplash for the first time, you want to find a natural starting and ending point. Typically, you want to begin and end your backsplash with your cabinets or countertops.

For example, you can start your backsplash right at the point your cabinets begin, ending them at the same point as well. Doing this creates a good framing and aesthetically pleasing area within your room.

Depending on your wall space and kitchen layout, you might need to get creative with where and how you add a backsplash. Suppose you have lower cabinets but none above. Where should your backsplash end?

In this situation, we recommend either running it up the wall or adding a decorative border around your chosen square footage. The key here is creating distinctive padding around your backsplash.

As we said, larger walls can have vertical tiling, so if you don't have upper cabinetry, this could be an excellent option for your kitchen.

Do I Have To Use Ceramic Tiles For My Kitchen Backsplash?

Male architect or interior designer hand choosing ceramic texture sample from swatch board in design studio. Floor and wall finishing material for architecture and construction industry.

Although purchasing some ceramic tiles can be expensive, we recommend doing this. Backsplashes are usually made of ceramic material, which will be durable and look good in your kitchen space.

Whether you choose tiny, colorful tiles to create a mosaic look or go with glossy subway patterns, the common denominator is that they're ceramic tile-made.

However, many designers offer glass options if you don't want to use tiles for your backsplash. You may see these in fancier hotel bathrooms, but you can also try them in the kitchen.

The key is installation and choosing a material that can withstand moisture, heat, and a bit of wear and tear. Kitchens tend to be popular spaces, so they'll take more of a beating.

Hominter Crackled Glass Backsplash

These crackled glass backsplash sheets come in a pack of 11, have a blue and white color scheme, are glass, resin, and shell material, require mesh backing for installation, and work for all interior spaces.

Follow this link to view them on Amazon.

What Color Should A Kitchen Backsplash Be?

Modern new light kitchen interior. White furniture and white tile pattern wall. Utensils, decoration and pots with fresh herbs in domestic kitchen.

If you're stuck on which color to choose for your backsplash, this is easier than you think. Generally, you need to find a backsplash design/color that complements your countertops.

Therefore, if you have grey cabinetry, choosing a tan, grey, blue, or even mixed-hue backsplash can work. On the other hand, if you have more traditional wood cabinets, you might want to stick with warmer tiles like tan, orange, or brown.

You also want to tie in your overall theme into your backsplash. So, if your kitchen has a modern design, try and continue that with your tiling.

Luckily, most backsplash designs come in various colors, so you shouldn't run into trouble finding the "perfect" one.

Should Backsplash Be Lighter Or Darker Than Kitchen Counters?

Moving down to your countertops, choosing a contrasting backsplash can be a nice touch. Typically, someone with super light countertops will choose white backsplash tiles.

This continues the bright, clean theme but isn't the only option. In contrast, you can find deeper backsplash tiles for a light countertop (and vice versa) to add drama to your kitchen.

Suppose you have grey and white marble countertops. A good backsplash concept for this kitchen would be dark grey tiles, black tiles, white tiles, or even a fun color like blue or green.

The grey and white counters have a cooler tone, so the only thing you need to worry about is finding a backsplash that shares that vibe.

The same goes for darker or warmer counters. Find a backsplash that shares a similar undertone.

What Is The Current Trend For Kitchen Backsplashes?

When it comes to current trends, many kitchens are choosing clean, simple backsplashes in 2022. According to, clean and straight lines plus neutral color schemes are the top choices for your kitchen.

Many design experts also recommend sticking with white subway tiles if you're renovating, giving the kitchen a clean, sleek appearance. Another modern way to design a backsplash is using geometrical tiles like hexagons or triangles.

Neutral tones are the best option for the kitchen as of now, so that's something to remember. Even though having bright kitchen tiles can be fun, this isn't always great for resale value.

Think of a brand new, un-lived in house. The walls are white, the floors are neutral, and the kitchen backsplash is likely grey, beige, or white.

When in doubt, keep it simple!

Art3d Subway Tiles

These peel-and-stick wall tiles are perfect for the kitchen, include ten sheets, measure 12x12 inches, have a thicker design, are stickier than other options, and are vinyl material.

Check out these tiles on Amazon here.

Miscasa Peel And Stick Hexagon Tiles

These peel-and-stick backsplash tiles have a modern hexagon design, combine painted glass, aluminum, and stone-like PVC tile, are heat-resistant, can handle moisture, and measure 11.5x11.7 inches.

Follow this link to view them on Amazon.

Do Vertical Backsplash Tiles Look Better Than Horizontal?

Although vertical backsplash tiles can have an interesting vibe, most designers don't prefer them over horizontal options. As we covered earlier, horizontal backsplash designs are the default for most kitchen designs; hence why we see them almost everywhere, we go.

According to MSI Surfaces, horizontal subway tiles are the top choice for kitchens as of now. They also cover how horizontally installed tiles tend to create a more uniform wall design, which is the end goal of having a backsplash.

However, this doesn't always need to be the case. If your kitchen has super long, empty walls, we don't see why you can't install vertically-running tiles. Remember, your backsplash serves a purpose: to fill open wall space.

For example, it could be a good idea to install vertical subway tiles to stay modern and cover as much square footage as possible. Regardless, try and create a decorative border around your tiling.

What Kind Of Backsplash Makes A Kitchen Look Bigger?

Kitchen brass utensils, chef accessories. Hanging kitchen with white tiles wall and wood tabletop.Green plant on kitchen background side view

If you're dealing with a smaller kitchen, there are ways to make it feel bigger with your backsplash. To do this, we recommend choosing a reflective backsplash, as it will reflect more natural light and give your kitchen an open-air feeling.

In addition, you can also use hexagon-shaped tiles for a backsplash in a small kitchen to make it look bigger. According to Insinkerator, lining your kitchen walls with hexagon tiles can draw the eye vertically or lengthways, tricking us into thinking the walls are longer than they are.

For materials, we recommend sticking with glass, stainless steel, glossy tiles, and mirrors, as these are all great conductors for light reflection.

On top of tiling, you may even want to paint your kitchen walls with semi-glossy paint to give them a more prominent feel, so there are a couple of easy ways to do this.

Remember, the glossier your tiles and paint, the more light they will reflect!

Aimayz Glossy Beveled Mirror Glass Backsplash Tile

These glossy backsplash tiles have a mirror design, measure 3x6 inches, include 40 sheets, work for bathroom and kitchen walls, are rectangular, and come with a satisfaction guarantee.

Check out this product on Amazon here.

To Tie Everything Together

Whether you have a backsplash you want to redo or need ideas for your dream kitchen, knowing which way to install them is a must. We found that backsplash tiles should generally be horizontal, although this depends on your kitchen.

For those with normal to small kitchen walls, we recommend horizontal tiling. In contrast, if your wall space is vast, you can try vertical tiles to fill that space. Regardless, we recommend adding a decorative border around your tiles to frame them.

Many designers also recommend white subway tiles for a kitchen, so that's an idea.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related articles below!

What Color Backsplash Goes With Oak Cabinets In The Kitchen?

11 Stunning Kitchen Backsplash Ideas With Granite Countertops

11 Colors That Go With Birch Wood Cabinets (With Pictures!)

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