White cabinets are very common and actually the most popular color for kitchen cabinets, so of course there’s lots of ideas about how to pair a backsplash with the cabinets. In general, there’s many ways you can design a kitchen backsplash and what’s so great about white cabinets is that they can be styled with so many things!
The backsplash in your kitchen is the wall space between the countertops and the bottom of your kitchen cabinets and any of the wall space above or between them. There are countless ways to design a backsplash, from very modern designs to class and rustic designs to colorful bohemian ones.
Since it rests in the background, picking a backsplash design for your kitchen sets the foundational tone for the whole kitchen design. Not to mention, white cabinets are a perfect neutral base that can go with almost any backsplash design. There are so many variations you can take regarding color, pattern, material, size- tons of creative freedom!
Although, I understand that having so many choices can be overwhelming and it’s helpful to have some direction. Here are 30 ideas to get you started in deciding what design best suits your home.
Full white backsplashes are some of the most popular designs, given they’re so versatile. For people who don’t want too much color in the kitchen, white backsplashes with white cabinets create a clean minimalist look. Yet, as you’ll see below, these designs with white backsplash and white cabinets can still be interesting and playful.
Hexagon shaped tiles are a fun and gentle way to add another element of design to the kitchen space. These white hexagon tiles add a bit of texture against the white cabinets, but don’t have a strong pop like a bright colored backsplash would.
Especially with this example here, the wooden stools, orange painting, and accents already add a bit of color. So, having a backsplash that matches the cabinets helps keep a calm atmosphere.
White with Wooden Accents
Here we have another white on white color scheme, but with wooden accents to add some natural color and an organic feel. This kitchen uses white kitchen cabinets with white tiles for a backsplash that goes all the way to the ceiling.
The use of wood for the countertop, shelves, and on the hood is a great show of how you can use a variety of materials in the kitchen to achieve the right balanced look you want.
This kitchen is full-on minimalist design, with hardly any color save for the lemons on the countertop! Extreme minimalism can have a luxury feel and if you’re trying to create a modern looking kitchen, this is certainly one way to do it. A white on white design like this can be the central theme for the kitchen design, or it can be the foundation upon which you add colored accents, as with the next example.
With the rectangular tiles used here, the grout between is darker and makes the tiles more visible than the previous example. Additionally, with wooden cabinets on bottom and golden ceiling lights, this kitchen design incorporates more color and shows how a white backsplash can work as a neutral background for other colors to be added onto.
This kitchen design shows how you can add color to your space even with a white backsplash on white cabinets. Many apartments and rented spaces come with simple white on white designs, and usually for rented spaces you can’t paint the walls or add in tiles.
So, this example shows how you can add a bit of color to your rented space with plants! A natural air purifier and source of color, not to mention much cheaper and easier to add in than tiles!
Design with Colors
Whether you want a simple touch of color or a bright, bold backsplash, the following examples will show that a colored backsplash looks great in a modern kitchen as much as in a rustic kitchen.
Black and White
This is a great example of a simple yet powerful modern backsplash design. The white cabinets are clean and minimal, making the contrast with the black background pop even more.
The intense obsidian black matches with the chairs, lights, and appliances, so the whole color scheme comes together. Plus, the different textures of the backsplash tiles adds a bit of variety to the kitchen without having too much going on. Although it’s just two colors, this black and white color scheme is as bold as a bright, vibrant color.
This sage green backsplash is a beautiful color to add warmth to your kitchen. It’s a gorgeous yet soft color that easily goes with any natural colors and wood, making it blend the space rather than standing out too strongly.
Dark Blue Tiles
This is another example of how you can use color for your backsplash, but it also shows how a backsplash doesn’t need to cover the entire space. This backsplash only goes about a foot up from the countertop, leaving the rest of the wall white, so the space doesn’t become too dark with so much blue.
Having just a foot of backsplash makes the color stand out even more and doesn’t dilute the richness of the blue. This backsplash also matches with the dark blue ceramic kitchenware.
Although you might not normally think of pink as a color to use in the kitchen, this example shows it can be done in a stylish way. Using a light pink keeps it a soft background color that can bring together the white cabinets, the wooden countertop, and the colored kitchenware. A beautiful example of how you can add color to your kitchen design in a gentle way!
As with the light pink, this design adds a touch of color to the kitchen without overwhelming the space. Here, the blue is slightly neon, which makes it pop a bit against the white cabinets and wooden flooring.
This is also a great idea if you don’t have upper cabinets, as with this kitchen. This is because placing in tiles for the whole wall space can be tedious, so painting the whole wall is an easier way to fill the space and add an element to the design.
White and Gray
This kitchen also keeps with a simple color scheme, only using gray to break up the white cabinets. This backsplash wonderfully ties in the gray and white marbled island in the center of the kitchen. Plus, with all those fresh fruits and veggies, this kitchen isn’t low on color!
White and Gray Tiles
This is another way to add some variation and depth to your kitchen, without adding too much. Here you have a small addition of color and design, without overwhelming the space with multiple colors or a large design.
Here, they’re creating a blue accent through using blue and white tiles for the backsplash- but just for the backsplash behind the stovetop. A design like this adds a bit of color without using it all throughout the kitchen, so it can remain an accent and stand out against the white in the rest of the kitchen.
This beautiful kitchen uses a bright turquoise backsplash to add an energetic touch. The white cabinets serve as a base to contrast this vibrant blue and make it seem even brighter.
The white background also helps to make the blue tiles the focus of the kitchen, whereas colored cabinets would distract from the blue.
This design uses a light brown to pull together the white cabinets above and the brown cabinets below. The image shows how lightly translucent tiles take in natural light and increase the light in the room.
This is yet another way to add some color to your space without doing so in a bold way. This light brown is very subtle and gentle.
Beige and Brown
Having an earthy, neutral color scheme can help add warmth to your space, as opposed to the stark black and white color scheme, without using bold colors and overdoing it. In this example, they use thin rectangular tiles and alternate between tan, beige, and brown for a modest amount of color.
Backsplashes with Patterns
This will take more planning if you’re planning to do this step DIY, but it pays off in aesthetics. A simple way to add a creative touch to your kitchen. This design uses gray and white tiles, but you could definitely use any color you’re interested in and like that incorporate more color into your design!
Zig-zag Tile Pattern
You can make a pattern from the tiles you use, like this one with a zig-zag design. The tiles are white to match the cabinets, so they don’t add anything in terms of colors, but their design adds some fun texture to the space.
This design takes things a step further by adding more color and a design. This beautiful fan design makes the small a space more cheery and light-spirited. Here, the shades of blue work well with the light brown and white colors in the design.
Stripe with Tiles
This kitchen design uses different colored tiles to create a small stripe that extends across the whole backsplash. Here, the design is very subtle and helps to add a bit of color to the overall simple kitchen.
Tiles Under the Hood with Painted Walls
Here this backsplash design combines a patterned tile backsplash and painted walls- the best of both! It’s actually fairly common to have a different backsplash design under the hood, because the stovetop area is often the messiest thus backsplashes are most necessary here.
Here they made a zig-zag design enclosed in a square, surrounded by normal, linear tiles. The grayish blue paint color has a gentle effect similar to the sage wall we saw earlier. This design also uses a minimal amount of color.
A checkerboard design with tiles is a bold design element to make your kitchen space without using more color. This pattern creates a modern look for this kitchen. While the black and white design is powerful, you can do a check design with any color you’d like! See the next example.
Neutral Colored Checkers
This kitchen beautifully adds some color and variety by using white, beige, and tan colored tiles in a checkerboard pattern. Because these colors are earthy and neutral, they match with anything!
The white tiles tie in the white cabinets while the beige and tan colors match with the wooden countertops. This is a very light way to add some color.
Tiles come in so many different shapes and colors, so there’s already lots to choose from with that type of backsplash. If you want to experiment even more or do a design a bit alternative, there’s an amazing array of materials you can use beyond tiles.
Most kitchen backsplashes use tile, but that’s not a rule! Whatever material best suits the design you’re trying to achieve and is accessible to you is valid as a backsplash. This image shows another modern kitchen design, this one with marble as a backsplash, to create a look that’s almost all white.
If you’re big into minimalist design or monochromatic color schemes, an option like this is a great way to add a bit of color while maintaining a low amount of colors in the room. Also, because it’s a natural material each piece of marble will be different. So, if you have the chance, you may be able to pick a slab that has more or less color, depending on what you’re looking for.
A bit rougher than tile and a bit more organic than brick, this look uses natural stones as a backsplash material. Because the stone is natural material, each piece varies a bit in color and pattern, so you can add some variety to your space without needing a bold move.
Any material is viable for a kitchen backsplash and, of course, this includes wood. A wood backsplash could be a great way to accentuate the white cabinets by having a darker background for them to bounce off of. Also looks very nice with the wooden chairs in this room.
Nothing really adds life and color to a room like a large window. If you’re in a position where you can design your home and pick where the kitchen is and how it’s oriented, it’s a great idea to have a grand window in your kitchen.
For a rustic look, you can use large wooden planks to resemble a classic kitchen style. You can either leave the planks with their natural wood color or paint them, as in this example.
You’ve most likely seen granite countertops, but have you thought about granite for your backsplash? It takes less time than placing tons of tiles, however granite is usually very heavy and to get a piece this large into your kitchen, you’ll likely need to hire someone.
But the effect of such a large piece of stone is stunning and, like with the marble, because it’s natural each piece will have a unique design of rock sediments. An amazing way to incorporate the Earth into your home!
Brick is a very classic backsplash material. In fact, most backsplashes used to be brick since many houses are made from brick and it wasn’t until a few decades ago that tiles became more popular for kitchen backsplashes.
If you already have brick walls in your kitchen, consider leaving them bare and untouched for a hip modern look. You can definitely also add brick to your walls to create a backsplash, if you have the space. Bricks are fairly easy to come across and might actually be the cheapest option depending on your space.
Take Your Pick
The ideas in this post covered a ton of different ways to style your kitchen backsplash, so I hope you’re now feeling a bit more inspired! With each of these designs, there’s many ways you can alter and customize it to make something that really fits your space.
Don’t forget to consider how to use the colors, materials, or designs that are the most interesting to you. The kitchen backsplash sets the tone for the kitchen design, so you’ll want to spend time thinking about the design you want and how the backsplash can add to that.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.