Countertops Vs. Backsplash

December 11th, 2019 | by Christophe Selvais

Complimentary Color Theme

Kitchen with wood backsplash and grey granite countertop

Your kitchen wouldn’t be complete without countertops and wall tile. When arranging the design elements and architectural features, the colors don’t have to match, but they should be balanced. You’re not going to love your kitchen backsplash tiles if they do not suit the color of your countertops. Ideally, colors complement, harmonize, and enhance cohesion across all room features.

Contrasting Color Theme

Use backsplash tiles with colors that visually clash against your countertops thus creating a counterintuitive or dramatic kitchen. Include a variety of colors to other spots of the kitchen, such as flooring, appliances, light fixtures, faucets, and ceramic sinks, and choose a color that suits your overall kitchen style. 


For starters, you may want to install a stainless steel backsplash with slate countertops and stainless steel appliances, or you may go for pale blue tiles with engineered hardwood countertops and wedgewood blue-opal window treatments. The options are entirely yours to make. But overtime, you ultimately want to create a warm and inviting space that bolsters as a well-coordinated environment.

contrasting concrete ornamental wall tile

Coordinating Colors

Every morning you wake up and the kitchen is one of the first places you seek out to start your day. You can opt for a backsplash tile color that suits or corresponds with a specific spot or hue. For example, soft gray backsplash tiles can appear striking against charcoal granite countertops with light gray spots. 


Most honey-colored subway tiles look appealing on soft brown, gold and beige marble countertops.  Terracotta backsplash tiles fit perfectly with maple countertops with peachy undertones. 


Once you buy or add tile, keep backsplash tile tests on your countertops to see which ones are most appealing. Pro-tip: test in a variety of lighting – dawn, high-noon and dusk. You will be surprised to see how the change in lighting will affect the character and nuances of the tile.

Design Tips

quartz tile man made propping up banana and drying rack

The design can also be more regular, making it a more uniform look. Quartz is an extremely hard and robust product that has become a popular choice for kitchen countertops. They need less upkeep and care than granite and do not need to be covered. 


Laminate countertops have come a long way. If you’re looking for a lower price point or something for use in a bathroom or laundry room, it’s a great option. Here’s an example of a laminate countertop that looks just like granite, it’s really hard to tell the difference.. There are a lot of options out there, whether you want smooth sleek lines with a straight edge, or maybe you want something with a little more of a profile like a bistro kitchen or something more traditional.  

soft honey yellow and peach undertones rustic kitchen

Heated Countertops

When you start the process of choosing your countertop surface, be aware of the thermal conductivity of the natural stone being applied. Many times, when speaking to designers that are out there making the decisions for their clientele, one of the many complaints of the clients they boast is that their countertops are always cold. There is a product on the market that can be retrofitted to many backside areas of kitchen counters that extend out from the base. Kitchens with cantilevered islands or countertops can bring comforting heat to the whole stone slab’s surface, and reasonably so. 

No more do you have to suffer from cold countertops! The following video showcases an amazing product called Feelswarm countertop heaters available for sale.

Countertop First

The rotation of the layout of your solid surface countertop will determine how busy or plain the kitchen backsplash should be. If you use a complex granite, marble or quartzite, a discrete neutral choice will keep the region from becoming too complex looking.

When choosing countertops and backsplash, do not lose sight of the fact that they have a job to do. If you’re a serious chef, you might want a harder surface that doesn’t need a lot of care. When you consider all your options, you want to think about how the material will hold up and make choices about the look and feel that suits your evolving needs throughout the year.


There are a few things to consider when choosing between granite, quartz, or laminate. Granite is a natural material, so that the pattern is unique to a stone. This is also the most attractive to some people. While granite is the hardest, most durable and least scratchable natural stone, it can still be stained. Quartz is a man-made material  that comes in a much wider range of colors.

subway wall tile paired with dark countertop

Backsplash First

For example, the kitchen above features Fantasy Black Quartz countertops paired with a white subway tile backsplash and black grout. Backsplash is a good choice for a couple of reasons. First it suits the accent color on the countertop. Second there’s no visible overlap with the quartz countertop colors.

Starting with your backsplash isn’t a bad idea if you’ve got your heart set to a specific design. Much like the previous option, the countertop options will narrow down. If you’re going with a big backsplash, you’ll find a quiet and discreet granite or marble counter choice like Absolute Black Granite or White Calacatta Marble tiles.

Bright and modern kitchenette

You want your countertop materials or backsplash to provide the visual lead. When both of them compete for space, the modern kitchen can feel overwhelming. That doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to consider a variety of colors in your kitchen layout, but be careful. You’re going to want to have a color that’s compatible with both your countertops and your backsplash, even if it’s mild.

Do you have matching countertops and wall tiles? Have you struggled trying to understand which to install first? Comment below with your thoughts.

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