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Ask Maria: Lip or No Lip?

By 04/19/2013April 28th, 201720 Comments

Ask Maria

I am a long time reader and have thoroughly enjoyed your blog ! I’m currently in the midst of a master bath update.  I am replacing my laminate countertop with Cesarstone Organic White Quartz.  This will be placed on a white cabinet in a primarily white bathroom.  There is a full plate glass mirror unframed that meets with the current  “laminate 4 inch backsplash” or lip.

I have been encouraged to not have the quartz go up the 4 inches and to use a decorative white mosaic beneath the mirror.  I have read all of your posts on classic simplicity and I never regarded the quartz backsplash in a bathroom to be dated but rather cleaner looking than trying to incorporate yet another trend. I probably won’t put the 4 inches up the sides of the wall but what are your thoughts on the backsplash.  I’m planning to keep the mirror as is and possibly just frame it out.   I value your input!

Yes, I totally agree. As long as you don’t repeat it on the wall it’ll look great!

Ask Maria: How to Finish a Bathroom Backsplash


Here’s an example of a 4″ backsplash on these vanities.

Ask Maria: Lip or no Lip?


I even like this 2″ lip. Clean, barely there but finishes the edge of the stone countertop.

Ask Maria: Lip or no Lip?


I love this detail in a more traditional bathroom.

Ask Maria: Lip or no Lip?

Here the faucet height is taken into consideration for the design of the backsplash. Very tastefully done.

Ask Maria: Lip or no Lip?

If you do choose a different material to finish the backsplash of your bathroom I like the way they have repeated the Morrocan tile here on the bath and shower surround (above).

I agree with my reader that simply to install an accent around the splash that is not repeated anywhere else in the room is not quite as clean and classic looking.

What does your bathroom splash look like? Do you love it or hate it?

If you have a question for an Ask Maria post, email me here.

Related posts:

Is your Bath Perfect or Perfectly Nice?

Wood Flooring in the Bathroom: Yay or Nay?

Do you Understand Neutrals? Take the Bathroom Test

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  • StagerLinda says:

    I love your clean ‘barely there’ backsplash. It’s all in the details.

  • Funny how a lip in the bath can look clean, but a lip in the kitchen just looks plain cheap. I think it’s because in the kitchen you generally have cabinets and you need something to fill in between the counter and cabinet (full backsplash) as opposed to a bath where you will have a mirror only a few inches above the vanity.

    • Geo55 says:

      I agree. Hate it in the kitchen but seems necessary in the bathroom with so much splashing of water.

  • Debbiecz says:

    My lip is the “temporary” Formica builders special countertop we put in 18 years ago! Some day, before I die, that Formica will be replaced with a four inch lip.

  • Lori Fischer says:

    totally agree! so often the issue of lack of cohesion is the biggest problem my clients have and this would be a perfect case of that if the backsplash was the only place with the mosaic. also, it is a somewhat permanent choice and not that easy to change when you tire of it.

  • Angela N says:

    To add on to her question…should the backsplash be run on the wall sides as well?? My vanity goes straight to the wall and the builder installed the lip around to the wall side. I am tempted to remove it before I paint in there.

    • Maria Killam says:

      That was part of her question and I would say not to run it up the sides of the wall, it always look so lumpy using the same countertop material. Maria

  • Beth Thomas says:

    Hello Maria,
    I am so glad I found your blogsite. You really do know your business! We live in a very old farmhouse and have very simple kitcen cabinets, painted antique white. The walls are a light yellow and our current coutertops are navy laminate. We are in the process of remodeling and I have picked out granite that is called blue pearl, which is a very dark navy with flecks of whitish, silvery looking flecks. I want to use this for my countertops. I do not know what “color” tile or ceramic we should use for the backsplash. What are your suggestions.

    Also, I have a very small simple kitchen island, again painted white. I would to have white honed marble placed over this island. What are your thoughts?

    I would greatly appreciate any advise you can give me.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I think the combination of the two will be busy as both are patterned. Instead I would choose a solid quartz to coordinate with your granite. I would choose white or off-white subway tile for your backsplash. Hope this helps, Maria

  • BillP says:

    I believe that the lip finishes the look off, and in my baths runs along the sides as well as the back. I think it serves a practical purpose also, it can hide an uneven wall behind the backsplash. It also prevents water from going between the vanity top and the wall.

  • mrsben says:

    Though I believe ‘detail’ is of great importance in completing a space; feel there are occasions when “less is more”. Therefore ‘stepping outside of the box’ I would be questioning why have any backsplash at all? With the paint and waterproof products they have on the market now, IMO there is really not a necessity for it if the wall is level, has a waterproof gypsum (plaster) board property and the countertop is properly installed.

    With that said, not knowing the entire layout of the bathroom or its other features; she might wish to consider opting for one large decorative ceiling to counter-top mirror which would visually expand the space. -Brenda-

  • Maggie S says:

    In my last house, I used a large vanity so that there was 4+ inches between the faucet and the back wall and I didn’t use any backsplash at all –but it was a bath used by adults only.

    I would not use the backsplash on the side walls if there is enough space between the sink and the wall so that the wall isn’t being splashed on a daily basis.

    Of course if it is a kids bathroom I’d go with backsplash all around!

  • Franki says:

    I LUV your examples #3 & #4!! At the moment we do not have a back lip…and I bite my lip every time “little ones” brush teeth, etc. 🙂 franki

  • Victoria says:

    just did this trendy backsplash thing for a client because
    she watches too much HGTV ~ I explained it is trendy
    but hey in the end it is her bath and for now it looks
    great. I however only did it at the sink because in the
    future that will be easy to remove instead of around the
    tub and shower where it would have been a much bigger
    issue. I do however lover the shaped marble backsplashes
    you feature beautiful Maria.

  • Beth says:

    I think photos can fool the eye. Most 4″ (standard around here) back splashes I see look like something cheap the builder threw up there to finish it off. But a couple in your blog look “on purpose” so quite nice.

  • Mollie Duvall says:

    Maria, I dealt with the backsplash/lip issue a lot at my job as a consultant/designer for a high-end marble/granite/tile company.

    I always specified a 1″ lip in the same material as the countertop. I feel it “finishes” the look and (if using tile on the backsplash) keeps the grout from meeting the countertop where it will, inevitably, start crumbling. The 4″ lip looks dated and greatly reduces the space you have for showing off a nice backsplash tile. JMO, but it has worked for clients and in my own home.

  • Alexis says:

    I love the cabinets in pics #2 & #4, do you have details on them? Thanks!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    mine are same material as the counter tops.. like the clean look… no lip…

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