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March 15, 2016

Historically, the kitchen backsplash has been merely a device of function; almost an afterthought as far as kitchen design was concerned. It used to be built with any water-resistant material that could be washed of the soap, water or food that might splatter outside of the sink itself. Usually, that substance was as simple as a coat of semi-gloss paint on the back wall. In the post WWII era it was common to apply a laminate to the wall, edged with stainless steel, that matched the countertop pattern. Many older porcelain sinks had their own backsplash that swept upwards to give of a few inches of ceramic protection against the back wall. Well, times have indeed changed and the backsplash is now a key consideration when designing a kitchen.

Today, you'll still find some homes with only that simple coat of paint on the back wall serving as the backsplash. If you happen to be living in one of them; now may be the time for you to change it. Consider that many people are getting quite creative with the appearance of their backsplashes due to the numerous decorative wall-covering materials now on the market.

For decades, laminate countertops have been, and still are, a very popular choice for kitchens. They have a lower cost than other options, last a long time, and are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Many have a rise of three to four inches which acts as the backsplash. But today, even with this meager protection, the remaining exposed back wall is often decorated using one of numerous options.

Some of the hottest trending materials for backsplash designs are stone, glass, and metal. These substances are sold in a variety of formats. You can purchase individual large tiles in any style, or a combination of styles, in order to to create your artistic pattern. But also available are pre-assembled patterns of smaller tiles, often affixed to a square-foot mesh to be locked into or butted up to corresponding tiles on the wall.

To elaborate, you can buy a pattern of monotone glass tiles constructed of identical pieces, or one that has various shades and sizes randomly placed throughout the piece. An evolving trend today is to mix materials, and so many tiles can be a combination of glass, stone and even metal. Tiles made of tin alone are available in an array of metallic finishes and can be used to create a solid metal look, or applied only as an accent among other materials.

A prime example of mixing materials is happening today with decorators who are using tumbled stone. This off-white, weathered surface stone has been popular for some time, but is slowly becoming dated because it was most frequently used alone in repetitious laid-brick patterns. Today, that monotonous arrangement is being broken up by placing stylish glass or metal tiles randomly in the mix.

The installation of tiles as a backsplash is not as diffcult as you may think. It is simply a matter of sanding the wall surface, coating it with mastic to hold the tiles, carefully placing the tiles in position, and finishing with a coating of grout. Many tile designs, and other decorative materials, are available with a pre-applied adhesive backing to make the project even easier. All you need to do is clean the surface and press into place. The time necessary to complete this project will depend on how big of an area you plan to cover.

The pattern options for mosaic tiles is endless. Your design can be created using square tiles as tiny as one inch square or as large as one-foot square. These squares can be tilted to a diamond shape throughout; or just randomly to draw attention. But tiles also come in all sizes of rectangular shapes. These can be used horizontally, or vertically, or as a combination of both. Or, they can be mixed with square tiles of any size.

By now you can tell that if you let your imagination go you can create a very unique kitchen backsplash. Here are a few extraordinary ideas. Chalkboard can be installed and used for daily notes between family members. Wood and wood veneers can be cut and applied for a rustic look. A favorite photo can be enlarged, printed on vinyl and affixed to the back wall. Pegboard will give you another place to hang utensils. A collage of your favorite posters can be affixed in position. You're getting the idea. Anything goes.

How much attention your backsplash gets in your kitchen, is your decision. And probably, its been a decision you never thought you'd have to make! But, now that you know what a lot of people are doing to invigorate their kitchen's appeal, you just may be inclined to add a touch of class, a touch of fun, or even just a touch-up of paint to protect your sink area.