If you aren't afraid to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirt under your nails, updating your kitchen backsplash or bathroom tile can result in a luxe, designer-inspired look at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional. While some home improvement projects, like relocating an electric panel, are best left to an expert, others, like replacing tile, can be relatively safe and straightforward. As long as you can follow instructions, you can DIY your way to a chic space that will wow your guests and increase the value of your home.Marrying form and function
Any designer will tell you that the key to a successful DIY home improvement project is marrying form and function. When it comes to selecting tile for your backsplash remodel, choose one that speaks to your soul and meshes well with your lifestyle. It's the same theory behind adopting a dog - if you work long hours, don't pick a breed that requires lots of attention and frequent walks, no matter how cute he may be!Natural stone materials like marble
, onyx or travertine are dizzyingly beautiful but require regular care to prevent etching and discoloration. If your heart is set on all-white Carrara marble, go for it! Just understand that you'll need to do a little extra work to ensure its integrity over time. Glass tiles
, on the other hand, are stain-resistant, easy to clean and require minimal upkeep. Ceramic tile
is a durable, low-maintenance choice that can be textured or created in a fun shape, like hexagon, ensuring a fun look that's uniquely you. And you can never go wrong with porcelain
- in addition to having a huge variation in design options, it's perfect for the busy homeowner who wants to minimize time spent cleaning.
Once you've selected your material, you can further narrow your search by considering design elements like:
Are you drawn to bright hues like orange and red or do you prefer subtle neutrals like cream or gray? If you love neutrals but want a little something extra, pattern and texture can elevate an otherwise basic tile. A gray mosaic tile backsplash pops against white countertops and cabinets while a basketweave tile
provides interesting texture. As far as shape and size go, the options are endless.
While the general rule of thumb is to design according to your architectural home style - for example, avoiding über-modern finishes if you live in an antique farmhouse - we encourage you to think outside the box and be bold in your design choices. While black beveled arabesque tile
might overwhelm a space if you cover an entire wall or floor with it, chances are it'll add just the right amount of pizzazz to a smaller area such as a kitchen backsplash or bathroom floor or wall.
(By the way, using floor tile as backsplash is completely acceptable, so if the tile you adore was made for the floor, go ahead and buy it!)
In need of some inspiration? Here are some of our favorite looks:Subway tile backsplash ideas
Decorating residential kitchens and bathrooms with subway tile is a trend that doesn't show any signs of losing steam. It seems as if almost everyone likes this look; if you're remodeling your home to sell, white subway tile
and white grout is a safe bet. It looks nice in virtually any style of home and brightens up a space.
If you're looking for something a bit more edgy, try white subway tile with black grout. Not only does dark grout make your white tiles sing, it's much easier to keep clean than light-colored grout! We love the way the combo looks when accented by bronze fixtures and Edison bulbs.
Subway tiles are available in a variety of finishes and patterns, too, from glossy to matte and from a bold diamond texture
to a more subtle honeycomb texture
Look for part two in our DIY backsplash tile ideas series for more design inspiration!