Trendy Tiled Bathroom Backsplashes

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Aug 25, 2015 | Laura Firszt

House of 34/HometalkBeautiful tiled backsplashes are not just for kitchens anymore! This incredibly popular design feature is appearing now in the most fashionable bathrooms across the country. Whether they play a backup role to a bathroom sink or run along a bathtub, tile backsplashes are as decorative as they are functional.

What Does a Backsplash Do for Your Bathroom?

The function of a backsplash is to protect walls of wood or drywall against moisture (and eventual mold or rot). This moisture comes from water which pools behind the bathroom faucet or along the side of the tub. All you really need, in order to stop the dampness getting into the wall, is a backsplash 2 inches high … but where would be the fun in that? The standard height of a bathroom sink backsplash is 4 inches, and many are much taller.

The reason for the focus on tall, decorative backsplashes in the bathroom is that they offer a convenient and fun way to add color, texture, and visual interest to what could otherwise be a rather boring room.

Is Installing a Backsplash a DIY Project?

That depends. If you want a simple ceramic tile backsplash, you could install it yourself. Most home improvement stores sell mesh-bound sheets of small ceramic tiles, backed with adhesive, which are quick and easy to apply to your bathroom wall. On the other hand, if you would like a more elaborate custom design and/or a more difficult-to-work-with type of tile, your best option is to hire a professional tile contractor.   

What are Trendy Tile Materials and Styles for Bathroom Backsplashes?

Ceramic is widely used because it is inexpensive, flexible, and easy to customize to the hue and style of your dreams.

Mosaic has been fashionable for some time now. Unusual materials such as limestone tile are giving it a new look.

Subway tile is commonly used for both bathroom walls and backsplashes. Install tiles vertically for a more modern look.

Glass tile adds a lovely luminous quality to your backsplash. It's also low maintenance and highly water-resistant.

Travertine, a kind of limestone, is a durable and classically handsome choice for a bathroom backsplash tile.

Carrera marble is the most affordable natural marble and it gives an elegant effect. Do be aware, though, that it needs annual sealing and can stain if you neglect to wipe up spills promptly.

Tumbled stone is a very different type of natural stone tile made of marble, limestone, quartzite, or travertine, tumbled to give an attractively earthy, casual appearance.

Onyx tile has an intriguing translucent quality. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just black, but comes in an enormous variety of colors.

Metallic tile is a very sophisticated choice for a bathroom backsplash, delightfully unexpected.

What are Some of the Most Interesting Backsplash Layouts?

Unusual Sizes, Layouts, and Shapes -- Oversized tiles, offset and basket weave designs, and octagonal or arabesque shapes are some of the most exciting backsplash ideas on the scene.

Accent Notes -- Individual contrast tiles are scattered among the field tiles … a fantastic way to show off a few special Mexican or Armenian handmade tiles! An inset design or a full-scale tile mural turns your backsplash area into a piece of art.

"Chair Rail" -- Run the line of tile around the entire bathroom at backsplash height to mimic your living room's chair rail.

Backsplash that Just Won't Quit -- Extend your backsplash tile up to, and around, the bathroom mirror to create a gorgeous frame.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated April 8, 2018.

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