Dorn Designs: Kitchen Backsplashes

  • When going through the process of designing a kitchen, most homebuyers focus on the three items that take up the most visual real estate: cabinets, countertops, and appliances. These three things will help you establish an overall design theme, rustic, modern, elegant, etc., but your opportunity to wow visitors and design the kitchen of your dreams doesn’t end there. One way you can make bold design choices to really highlight the visual appeal of your kitchen is through the use of a stone, tile, or glass backsplash.

As you can see in the image above, this homeowner has opted for a visually striking backsplash to accentuate their contemporary kitchen. Because the great room is open to the kitchen, this bold style draws attention from anywhere in the room. The linear pattern of the backsplash also directs eyes upwards to the vaulted ceiling and modern range hood.

In our second example the homeowner has selected a stone backsplash that accentuates the rustic feel of the natural wooden cabinets. By adding under-cabinet lighting and using clear glass pendant lights the homeowner emphasizes the warmth and inclusiveness of the kitchen and countertop dining. The choice of stainless steel appliances provides a modern flair in this rustic setting.



For our final example we’ve selected a backsplash that is being used to add flair to a kitchen that is otherwise tastefully minimalist. The gray backsplash adds depth to the visual space and provides an attractive compliment to the white cabinets and countertops.

The kitchen is a natural gathering spot for guests as family and friends will frequently congregate around food and drinks and will spend time with hosts who are preparing meals. Building a kitchen that prominently features a tile backsplash is the perfect way to accentuate visual components of the kitchen and to show off your personal style. When considering your design choices, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Glass is a popular choice for kitchens that prominently feature light colored cabinets and countertops, especially for homeowners looking for an exceptionally modern appeal. Stone, on the other hand, better compliments dark or natural cabinets and dark countertops. Stone is frequently used by homeowners seeking a rustic look or accent. Ceramic tiles are a versatile choice and, because of their uniformity, are best suited for designs that emphasize the pattern rather than the material.


When deciding on a pattern for your backsplash, think of the statement pieces of your kitchen. In other words, what do you most want guests to see? If you have vaulted ceilings, as our first example did, a herringbone pattern is an excellent choice for drawing attention upward. Horizontal stripes, such as a subway tile pattern work best when you want the backsplash to be the point of attention. In fact, if you’re looking to make the backsplash really stand out, consider using multiple tile or stone sizes and building custom patterns in your kitchen.

Under-Cabinet Lighting and Outlets

After deciding on your materials and pattern, your final consideration is whether to use outlet plates that blend into the backsplash, to have outlet plates over the top of the backsplash, or to get rid of visible outlets altogether. Dorn Homes offers under-cabinet electrical outlets that move your outlets to the front underside of the upper cabinets. This option provides you with more control over the final appearance of your designs. At the same time, consider whether you want to install under cabinet lighting. That lighting is exceptional at drawing the warmth from natural stone, as we saw in our second example above. Under cabinet lighting can also be an excellent way to highlight your custom patterns.

If you have any questions about our homes or design options, reach out to an Online Home Advisor today.