A backsplash is bathroom armor, protecting your defenseless walls from water and spills. But that doesn’t mean it can’t make a splash, too. If you’re ready for a bathroom upgrade, check out this eye-catching bevy of backsplash beauties that’ll safeguard your walls and look good doing it.
Marble’s beautiful graining and elegance make it a bathroom showpiece. Though waterproof and durable, it’ll stain if you don’t wipe up spills immediately. Once a year protect it with a good stone sealer — $20 for 1 oz. treats 50 sq. ft.
Pro: Beautiful; readily available; non-toxic Con: Can be expensive; installation isn’t for DIYers; needs regular maintenance Cost: $20-$200 per sq. ft. for custom marble backsplash with installation; save money with marble tiles, $10-$20 per sq. ft.
Still good-lookin’ after all these years, the original ceramic tile in this 1940s bathroom was kept as is by home owners who remodeled and replaced everything else. Hard to beat as a backsplash material, properly installed ceramic tile lasts for decades.
Pro: Stands up to moisture and resists stains; easy-to-clean; available everywhere Con: Custom tiles can be pricey; cleaning grout requires lots of patience Cost: $1 to $250 per square foot; installation adds $5-$10 per sq. ft.
Durable and waterproof, hand-troweled concrete is a unique backsplash material. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll be tempted to give it the rustic finish shown here — a mottled appearance that disguises stains, yet cleans up easily.
Pro: Durable; seamless application is waterproof; cleans up nicely Con: Specialized application process requires experience; industrial look not for everybody; should be resealed every year Cost: $10-$45 per square foot
Although it looks like ceramic mosaic tile, this handsome backsplash is made from cork tiles that are stained, sealed, then grouted like regular ceramic tiles. Cork-producing trees are sustainably harvested, and many cork products — including these tiles — are made from recycled cork.
Pro: Environmentally friendly material; easy to install for DIYers; can stain any color Con: Must be resealed periodically; soft surface may show wear after a few years Cost: $15 per square foot, material only
Corian solid-surface material was invented by DuPont in the 1960s. Since then, it’s become the countertop-and-backsplash gold standard for its ability to stand up to moisture and stains. A vanity countertop, backsplash, and sink can be formed from a single, seamless piece of material.
Pro: Waterproof; stain resistant; cleans easily; seamless bathroom vanities; lots of colors Con: Can be pricey; not a DIY project; synthetic look not for everyone Cost: $45-$75 per square foot, installed
Credit: Simona Gosu
8 Bathroom Backsplash BeautiesExpressing Yourself
You’ll put on a happy face with this bathroom backsplash — just draw one with chalk. Tough chalkboard paint lets you change your look on a whim. It sticks to drywall, metal, wood, and other materials, and cleans up with soap and water.
Pro: Fun to use; cleans easily; water-resistant; inexpensive Con: Spills and splashes (toothpaste, mouthwash) may stain if not cleaned immediately; dark color isn’t for everyone Cost: $15/quart
When converting a porch of an older home into a powder room, the owners decided to keep the rustic board siding exposed. No backsplash means paint has to protect the wood siding from water, so choose a tough, scrubbable paint with a high or semi-gloss sheen.
Pro: Limitless colors; simple look is charming Con: Wall surface is exposed to splashes; joints behind the sink must be caulked Cost: $20-$40/gallon
8 Bathroom Backsplash BeautiesWho’s the Fairest of Them All?
You’ll be looking fine with a wall-to-wall mirror that’s also a backsplash. A one-piece installation avoids seams, although you should caulk between the mirror and the vanity top. Use tempered glass for safety.
Pro: Stain- and waterproof; reflects ambient light; easy to clean Con: Mirrors require constant cleaning; large, one-piece installations are heavy Cost: $8-$15 per sq. ft., installed