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Vancouver Interior Designer: Can You use Large Tiles for Your Kitchen Backsplash?

By 10/19/2011September 18th, 202211 Comments

This is a question I occasionally receive regarding kitchen backsplash tile.

Sometimes people get a notion that if you go with a large tile you have less grout lines which equals less maintenance, right?


Image via Cote de Texas

So, just make sure you don’t go much bigger than this size (above) which looks like about six inches square. DO NOT use 12 x 12 because it will just look like your floor tile has been extended onto your backsplash.

In my sister’s last house the builder took the shower tile and repeated it in their kitchen backsplash and that is exactly what it looked like. Bathroom tile.

Details are always what you need to remember when creating a bathroom or kitchen that’s perfect instead of perfectly nice.

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11 Comments

  • That’s such a good point about not going too large with the backsplash tile. Large tiles would beg the question “where to make the cuts” – there are usually only 18″ under that upper cabinet.

  • I agree, Maria. Your reasoning is exactly what I thought to myself when I read the title. If one is going to use the same tile throughout the home, choose one that doesn’t look like it belongs in a particular room. Natural stone is my favorite and can be used anywhere. I actually used a mosaic tile that is usually meant for a backsplash on the floor in my bathroom. (Pics on my Diva by Design Facebook page) It is a fairly classic style and I may use it one day in my kitchen as well.

  • Christine says:

    Agree! I have only seen 12x12s work in a few spaces. For our kitchen backsplash I felt that white subway just wasn’t quite right, but I got a great deal on white thassos 12x12s. So, we just cut them thirds to get 4x12s, and they look perfect! We get tons of comments on how beautiful it is. Simple yet elegant.

    BTW: love the new website, but wish I could see your entire blog post in the email. 🙂

  • Mary says:

    I’ve seen 12″ tiles used as a counter-top with the same tile run up the backsplash. And it still looked like floor tile.

  • Tabitha says:

    I can see how you wouldn’t want to think about feet walking on your backsplash–weird!
    I totally agree with you!

  • I have a similar problem in my house. Twelve inch floor tiles were used in the mantel surround, yet the mill work is ornate and goes all the way up and merges with the crown moulding. What a mismatch! The mill work is gorgeous yet the tiles look like the bathroom floor at Home Depot. I can’t wait to change it!!!

  • Lee says:

    I am glad to see someone else finding inspiration in ancient tiles. Our family’s trip to Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum last year made us constantly wonder how to bring something like that look back into our own present day home. The murals, the tiles, the architecture…

  • Diane says:

    Hi Maria — We used 18 X 18 x 1/2″ marble tiles for our kitchen backsplash. The vein goes vertically, with 1/16″ matching grout lines every 18 inches. The marble tiles are honed and definitely do not look like floor tiles. Have had this for a year now and am still very pleased with the effect.

  • Boy..that would be awful! Giant tiles for a kitchen backsplash. Poor Anita!

  • Barb says:

    The builder put floor tiles on our kitchen backsplash….he could have put anything, so he must have thought it was unique. The same ones as on the floor. He mounted the cabinets 24 inches up, so two full tiles.

    I want to replace the tiles but it is difficult due to the under cabinet lighting and the under cabinet valance etc, so finally this summer I painted the tiles, as an interim measure.

    Now they look like concrete, yuck. So I stencilled an orange coloured design and it is a bit better, but I still don’t like it.

    But my counters have so much stuff on them anyhow.

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