Freaking Out Over Your Kitchen Backsplash?


Hey Guys,

I promised and here it is… A post about your kitchen backsplash. Countertops will have to wait because this one is pretty long as it is.

We touched on it a bit in last Sunday’s post about kitchen trends but since a lot of you are interested, I am delving deeper into the topic.

Let’s just jump in because there’s a lot to cover with the kitchen backsplash


And I know what you’re going to say…


Laurel, I’m so sick of plain white SUBWAY TILE! It’s so boring. So unimaginative. Gosh, it’s going to go out of style one day…


Yes, it might, but it hasn’t in over a hundred years so I’m putting my money on that one.

But here’s something else I bet most of you have never considered.

Are you ready?

You don’t have to have a kitchen backsplash!



Allan Ramsey “The Artist’s Wife”

There there now. Why so glum?

Yes, I realize that you’ve been fretting about this all-important decision and now I’m telling you, you don’t need to worry; you don’t need to have a kitchen backsplash?

That’s right. You don’t need to.

Good night.

Wait, Laurel, you can’t just leave us like that!

Sorry, but yes, I can and I’m going to show and tell you why.

deVOL-kitchen backsplash-Wilmington Square - I ADORE this smexy kitchen which is both modern and old at the same time.

It’s because of him.

deVOL-WilmingtonSquare- I ADORE this smexy kitchen which is both modern and old at the same time. Kitchen Backsplash is only over the range.

This is the one… The one I’ve been looking for all of my life!

deVOL-WilmingtonSquare- I ADORE this smexy kitchen which is both modern and old at the same time. Kitchen Backsplash is only over the range. Only a small 3" lip of the same material thatDeVOL Kitchens

This is the kitchen I’m going to run away with to a deserted island paradise. We’ll take along a couple of other rooms, a comfy bed, a bathroom…

and oh, we’ll need a hot chef.

huff post- handsome hunk chef-ALAIN-ALLEGRETTI-facebook

Alain Allegretti via Huff Post

He’ll do. ;]


Laurel, have you lost your marbles?


Um, perhaps… But the marbles are right there in my hubba, hubba kitchen. Tall, dark and handsome and adorned with a delicious Carrera marble lip of only 3″;  not 4″, not 5″, not 6″ but a small 3″ lip of the same.


And ahem. Notice what’s NOT there?


There is only one simple backsplash slab of the same marble over the giga-gorgeous range.

It is perfect. I am so in love with this kitchen and it is exactly what I’m talking about when I speak of today’s Unkitchen. This kitchen could go ANYWHERE! It’s neither really modern, nor traditional but a perfect blend of both. There is no huge bulk of upper cabinets looming over us!

And there is plenty of storage in this kitchen.

One thing, I’m missing is a fridge. There is a long bank of tall cabinets on the wall opposite the range, so it might be hidden in there.


But Laurel!!! I thought you had a thing for white kitchens!


Oh yes, that’s right I do. Well, I can’t stay on the island forever. During monsoon season, I’ll head back to the mainland. (yes, Alain will come with me, silly) Maybe to this one below.

country kitchen backsplash accent DeVOL Kitchens

Another cool DeVOL kitchen. This is a British company and I love what they are doing! The kitchens are so simple and natural looking. Very unkitchen. Above, the only backsplash in this kitchen is a pattern above the range. I think that this is wonderful because it makes the backsplash special.

Devol kitchens white kitchen no backsplash - wood counters with a 3" lip of wood and white walls

Another lip and they are making it out of wood? I wonder how that works in the sink area. Presumably it’s a wood that doesn’t mind getting wet like Cedar, perhaps.

deVOL_Classic_Pimlico kitchen Backsplash is white subway tile - counters are wood - cabinets a pale blue

Another DeVOL kitchen. This is more like our kitchens and there is a simple white subway tile backsplash. Those are fabulous shaker-style cabinets. So pretty.

deVOL_Classic_Pimlico_DSC_7446 Beautiful pale blue kitchen with Shaker cabinet doors and a farmhouse sink and wood counters. Kitchen Backsplash is white subway tile.

devol kitchens forest green cabinets marble and a shelf with art

And this is one from last Sunday only I couldn’t find where it was from until I was looking through the DeVOL website.

devol kitchens green with marble counters backsplash and a real furniture piece. Kitchen table in the kitchen instead of an island is interesting too. It feels more like a room than the standard kitchen.

There’s a marble slab for the backsplash that is the same as the counters. This is a great choice but I really feel strongly that unless it’s something contemporary, please keep it light.

I had a client a few years ago who moved into a home in Rye and the previous owner decided to “fix it up.” He put in the most hideous orange-y granite. I would not have been able to live with that.

Classic Style Townhous by Elizabeth Roberts Marble kitchen backsplash and counter and dark green cabinets

Elizabeth Roberts

Please check out this talented architect and designer’s portfolio. Her work is pure and full of white walls. So, anyone afraid of white, please check her out. I don’t think you’ll think her designs are at all boring.



Design Jenny Wolf   – Photo: Emily Gilbert

Natural brick is cool in this semi-rustic kitchen.

Portraits, Interiors

lacquered life

Shiplap is fab in this country kitchen. There is a type that looks like wood but is stone. If this is wood, I would worry about the flame from the range. No?


marble-backsplash. Jacquelyn Clark project dream client

Jacquelyn Clark

Jacquelyn is a young very talented designer. Her interiors are fresh and very pretty. I love this hexagonal honed Carrera marble backsplash.

dream kitchen nickel hood white cabinets - wolf range with calacatta gold slab kitchen backsplash. Design and photo by Laurel Bern - Faucet by Perrin and Rowe. Hardware available at - custom cabinetry by Jem Woodworking

The kitchen we did two years ago with a Calacatta Gold Marble backsplash over the Wolf Range.

Benjamin+Moore+Chelsea+Gray+Cabinets+and+Marble+Herringbone+Kitchen Backsplash+||+Studio+McGee Photo by Lindsay Salazar

Studio McGee

More Carrera, this time in a herringbone pattern.

Kitche by Melissa Lee with Carrera marble backsplash in a straight herrinbone pattern

Melissa Lee via Design Sponge

This is also a herringbone, but they call it a straight herringbone. Not sure which I prefer.

Before-after-kitchen-renovation-Nastasi Vail with white subway tile and dark blue cabinets

Design – Nastasi Vail    photo – Genevieve Garruppo

We had two other views of this kitchen last Sunday. I quite love this one! (I might have to cheat on my tall dark and handsome DeVOL – haha!) Love the simple subway tile with white grout.

The question. To white or not to white the grout. If I had to choose, I choose white, but sometimes I do like the darker grout. Just depends on the kitchen and what else is going on.

white-marble-countertops-gray-flower-mosaic-tile-backsplashphoto – Bethany Nauert

Another kitchen from last weekend with a delicate pattern on the cement tile. If this was all over the kitchen it would be too much, but it’s way cool on the one wall I think. And I love that they go clear up to the ceiling.

Counter to ceiling tiles is another popular trend. It’s good on one wall, if it suits the space.

kitchen backsplash Childers_kitchen_hgtv- fixer upper - Joanna Gaines - Magnolia Home

Joanna Gaines

Another wonderful cement tile in this fresh kitchen which goes into a family room. This is a beautiful focal point.

dquesa kitchen backsplashI believe the  tile in Joanna Gaine’s kitchen is this one; Walker Zanger’s Dquesa

A+Row+House+Reinvented-lonny-kitchen backsplash-tile-idea - with painted exposed brick, open shelves and rustic beams

via Lonny

A more graphic cement tile. I think it’s wonderful as an accent over the range.

gray glass kitchen backsplash with carrera marble counters in a pretty traditional white kitchen. Nickel faucet and wolf range

source unknown

I love glass tiles, especially when they have a slight color variation.


The Real Shaker Kitchen by deVOL with simple kitchen backsplash

Another beautiful DeVOL Kitchen. Love the warmth of the herringbone floor!

Gosh, I’m thinking that perhaps our founding American fathers were wrong. We should’ve stayed tied to Great Britain. And we should’ve kept the tea, paid the damned taxes… oh well. We didn’t.

walker-zanger-handmade-white-subway-tile over the range in a white kitchen

Walker Zanger handmade white subway tile.

Handmade ceramic tiles are far more expensive than the others. But if you can swing it, they are the most beautiful because of the slight variations. There are machine-made that mimic handmade. Not sure about that. I think they look fake usually.


photo: Daniel Lowe

These mini subway tiles are another option.


Blue Celeste subway tile by Walker Zanger

Ann Sacks

This is a pretty gray-blue stone called Blue Celeste available at Ann Sacks.


I guess to sum it all up. For the most part, less is more when doing a kitchen backsplash and if you don’t have one– it isn’t the end of the world, either. Isn’t that nice to know?

There’s no need to do a shiny, tacky paint either. Benjamin Moore’s matte formulation is washable.

What do you think of backsplashes? Do you have any favorites?

Could you live with just a small lip instead of big to do? I definitely could!





















7th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2020 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Eleni Malmlund - April 6, 2017 - 9:24 PM

    I had slab leek and am now in the midst of a kitchen remodel. I am reading your blog and starting to panic. So many decisions to make! I have made a decision on the cabinets. They are white shaker with a gray island. I am reading your blogs on backsplash and this is where I start to panic. I am thinking about putting quartzite, taj Mahal, on the counters and Walker Zanger Sm plaster Rambler or Small Plaster Montclair both in white on the backsplash. When I’m looking at this blog post along with other post I am starting to wonder if I should go with a simple Quartz on the counters and a more fun backslash or if I should keep the Taj Mahal and do a simple subway tile. So confused!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - April 6, 2017 - 9:39 PM

      Hi Eleni,

      Not sure what a slab leek is, but all the best to you with your remodel. I’m sure that it’s going to be fabulous!


  • Beth - March 12, 2017 - 3:21 PM

    I don’t have a wall behind my kitchen sink. There is a lot of countertop behind my kitchen sink and water splashes all over it, getting papers, etc wet. Is there any way I can put a water barrier behind the sink that would act like a backsplash when there is no wall to attach the tile to?
    thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 12, 2017 - 6:06 PM

      Hi Beth,

      We had that situation in our old kitchen and sometimes the water splashed out a little. I don’t remember it being a problem and there was only a few inches behind the faucet.

      I don’t know of anything else you can do to keep the water from ruining stuff except to wipe up as you go along.ReplyCancel

  • Nyjil - February 7, 2017 - 10:42 PM

    I have the weirdest backsplash & I don’t know what to do with it. It is 10″ tall and matches the counters. It isn’t tall enough to reach the cupboards. It is too tall to be called a lip. It is just plain awkward. I would like to rip it out and put in something short (a lip) or tall enough to reach the cupboards. The biggest problem is the area behind the range. It is just painted wall above the backsplash so it is always oily & dirty looking. Help!ReplyCancel

  • Lisette Roozen Mast - January 25, 2017 - 8:57 PM


    I would love to know the color (dark green of some sort) in the top kitchen: the one where you refer to no subway tile. It features the handsome chef in the last photo.
    Thank you,

    • Laurel Bern - January 25, 2017 - 10:01 PM

      Hi Lisette,

      Yes… I know the one. I’m curious too and am going to work on that one.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Caryn - October 9, 2016 - 1:52 PM

    THANK YOU for putting up deVOl’s website. For our kitchen reno, I’ve been planning a focal-point tile behind the range and one, lone upper cabinet to the left of the range (there is a small sink to the right). People have been saying it can’t be done. It won’t look symmetrical. deVOL proves that lone uppers can be fabulous! I’m also counting all the pennies I can now put toward nicer countertops now that I don’t feel I have to cover every wall with tile. You know, when I was a kid, no one had backsplashes. It was always just a lip and a painted wall. OOPS, am I dating myself? LOLReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 9, 2016 - 4:14 PM

      Hi Gail,

      Hooray for DeVol!

      If you’re dating yourself, I’m right there with ya.

      We had the boomarang formica in our kitchen back in the 60’s. No backsplash, just the lip.ReplyCancel

  • Melody - October 9, 2016 - 12:47 PM

    I am just going to say that I think you are fabulous! I have never liked backslashes in general and have always found them too busy. However, I understand the function of them, but mostly just near the sink and range, perhaps?
    I now feel that I have official permission to skip out on them–thank you. Thank you!

    We are currently one week away from getting the keys to a “new” house!!! It is on half an acre, only 5 min from our downtown, has an amazing view of our local valley and mountain ranges as well as bordering vineyards! Yes please! The house, however, is only slightly (just slightly) less than hideous.
    No worries : ) We will be putting in the main kitchen you featured (and hardwood floors) ASAP. Oh kitchen love!
    You have successfully converted me over from my white cabinet obsession–my husband thanks you! Truly ; )
    Have a cheery day~ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 9, 2016 - 4:07 PM

      Oh wow Melody, That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing that. And we made husband happy too! Hooray!ReplyCancel

  • John Trosko - September 25, 2016 - 1:00 PM

    Thank you for making the argument for backsplash or no backsplash. I do admit not having one tends to make the kitchen look “unfinished” in some of the photos, or a vintage vibe. Simple is best if there are layers elsewhere, not every corner of our home needs to be styled. Open space gives your eyes (and wallet) a break! Somehow you just have to make the tile or not choice appear purposeful.

    John @ OrganizingLAReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - July 27, 2016 - 6:28 PM

    I don’t know what it says about me that I know this, but here is the source for one of your photos above – a designer named Olivia Brock – I love her whole house and I bet you will too!

    • Laurel Bern - July 27, 2016 - 7:43 PM

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! What it says is that you have exquisite taste. I made the change right away.

      It never fails to amaze me that so many people make no effort to attribute. I put everything through google images and too often, come up dry. Attributing to pinterest is the same as nothing! I can’t wait to peruse her website!ReplyCancel

      • Elizabeth - July 28, 2016 - 10:00 AM

        Well that comment made my day! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - July 27, 2016 - 3:14 PM

    Can you comment on mirror backsplashes as well as solid glass?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 27, 2016 - 3:25 PM

      Hi Barbara,

      I did comment about glass. As for mirrors, the only time I’d consider doing that is maybe for a black butler’s pantry that’s one-side only and/or a restaurant. Otherwise, I think it’s very trendy.ReplyCancel

  • Emilia - July 26, 2016 - 8:06 AM

    One of your best posts ever. Love you soo much for sharing your knowledge and what you learn with us. Also appreciate the comments from everyone and your answers to them. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 26, 2016 - 9:09 PM

      Thank you so much Emilia. I very much appreciate your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - July 25, 2016 - 1:06 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    This post was music to my ears. 🙂 We are on a small budget and I am painting (!!) over the mauve countertops and the lip. I was just planning on painting the backsplash and the fossets (I think that is what they are called) Simply White to match the upper cabinets I am painting. I actually got the idea from an old post of yours where you made a small kitchen look bigger. Thank you! I had marvelous success painting the faux cherry fireplace with faux marble in our master so I thought I would try the countertops. Anyway, it was lovely to hear about no backsplash since I am just going to paint.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 2:32 PM

      Hi Lauren,

      I have had many a client paint their entire BLUE bathroom and it looks SO much better. There are epoxy paints that probably work better on tile unless a more porous stone and then it won’t matter.

      I would look it all up on youtube because there are tons of tutorials and advice there.

      As for the backsplash. Yes, you could just take the entire thing down. And yes, it’ll make a big bloody mess, but it’s not a huge job to repair. But maybe it’ll be just as good and a lot easier to paint it out! ReplyCancel

      • Lauren - July 25, 2016 - 8:02 PM

        Oh Laurel, thank you so much for your comment. Actually there is no backsplash currently- just the counter with a little lip. So, it will be perfect. The countertops are laminate and are the same material as my faux red marble surround on my master fireplace that I have already painted. And that turned out lovely. Paint solves everything.

        I have an aqua green master bathroom sink, counter, and tub; with a pink toilet and shower; a white toilet seat lid, and with peach paint on some walls and floral wallpaper on the rest. I am not sure how paint would solve all of that crazy! Ha! But it is lower down on my list and I will get to it eventually.ReplyCancel

  • Ennis - July 25, 2016 - 11:29 AM

    Would a 3″ backsplash work with windows that are sitting on the counter?
    Are the white knobs pictures ceramic or painted wood?

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:22 PM

      Hi Ennis,

      Yes, I think so. I would just die it into the window casing the same as if you had a taller backsplash. However, it’s something you would need to discuss with your contractor as I’m not there to see the situation and there might be something else going on.ReplyCancel

  • Teri - July 25, 2016 - 9:46 AM

    The real problem here is that most of us only have one kitchen to design. I love so many of those.

    Personally, I always secretly wished when we were house shopping to find a kitchen with nothing in it. My dream “unkitchen” will have real furniture in it rather than a bank of wall cabinets.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 10:26 AM

      Hi Teri,

      I think that would be so cool to have real furniture and no built in wall cabinets. That’s how they used to build kitchens! And gosh, our ancestors survived pretty nicely.

      But I’m with you on only having one home/kitchen, etc to design. I love so many different things that it becomes difficult to choose. ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - July 25, 2016 - 9:38 AM

    I have been designing a kitchen in my mind for a renovation that we will do in a couple years. I have been obsessing about backsplash and your post gave me the courage to go with no backsplash. Surprisingly, I already have no backsplash, just a 4 inch lip because there is 4 inches between the cabinet and the window over the kitchen sink. The paint color is the same as the den the kitchen flows into. You have saved me a ton of money and brain cells. I want the unkitchen look; I am going to tear out double ovens and a narrow counter & cabinet where I now have a microwave and put in an armoire. The new stove will go on a peninsula where the countertop burners are now. I have a downdraft instead of a vent hood so I have to find a range which can accomodate a downdraft…not an easy thing to find I am finding. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I don’t have to have any more than four burners because, well, hey, the stove is little more than an accessory in my home! Your posts have been extremely helpful in my planning and I am a devoted reader. When I am traveling, I may delete other blogs to reduce email but NEVER yours!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 10:24 AM

      Hi Cheryl,

      What a wonderful comment and thank you for your kind words. I’m afraid that appliances aren’t my forte, but research is! I do know that the down-draft ranges exist because it’s very popular to put a range in the island.

      But you touched on another point and that is humongous range hoods. Now, so are beautifully integrated and or works of art like in my Bronxville kitchen. (the fab nickel hood). But I really don’t like those little weird stainless things with chimneys.

      I love the integrated ones that DeVOL is showing in their kitchens.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline - July 24, 2016 - 11:39 PM

    I love all these. I’m building a house. I’ve decided on Dallas white granite counter, linen color cabinets and white subway tile backsplash. Dallas white is white, with beige, gray, and a touch of cranberry. I still worry about white subway against the linen color cabinets, but I’m taking the leap. Lol nice to know that no backsplash would be nice as well.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:45 AM

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Whenever I hear someone say “taking the leap” or “crossing fingers” I say STOP!!! I would put up the cabinets and then select the tile for your backsplash. ReplyCancel

  • Marilynn - July 24, 2016 - 10:28 PM

    I drool over all of this. Seriously.Sigh.
    We had a tight I mean really tight, budget and went with white cabinets from IKEA (gasp). I put a chevron black backsplash all the way up with black counters, black knobs and cup pulls. My floors are whitewashed oak. I debated no upper cabinet but because our kitchen is small and I needed storage I opted out (sad face). But I did put glass on fronts and lighting inside so there’s that. I love the contrast in the space. So much so that when I redo my bathrooms I will do them in black and white as well. Here in the Southwest the concrete floor tiles have been around for years. I think it will still look fresh for a very long time.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:41 AM

      Hi Marilynn,

      My cabinets are from Ikea too (my place came that way) and I did a post recently which talked about them. It was the smart kitchen renovation post. That came after a hideous apartment renovation. Those are all within the last month or so.

      But it’s possible to make an Ikea kitchen look pretty darned good and the quality isn’t bad!ReplyCancel

  • allison jones - July 24, 2016 - 7:17 PM

    I agree with no backsplash. I remodeled beautiful kitchen a few years ago, NO backsplash, just took the granite up 3 inches, Just did a second kitchen white cabinets, black granite 3 inch up wall and no backsplash. I personally think most of them are really ugly.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:38 AM

      Hi Allison,

      There are a lot of ugly backsplashes. That one is true! ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - July 24, 2016 - 7:11 PM

    Laurel, this is the blog that deserves a billboard, that everyone should share with two friends, that should get the Good Taste and Sanity in Kitchens Award for the decade. You are like that transgressive little boy who said, “But the Emporer is Nekkid!” You mean the kitchen is for cooking? Not for holding court or fooling around with courtesans? And some of your cabinets can come down to countertop-level, thereby precluding all the little “thingeys” that accumulate under counters? You are a marvel. What beautiful, functional kitchens. Form follows function. (Except for the “islands,” in my view. There bruised hips follow form.) Every one of these kitchens is timeless and beautiful and functional. Thanks for sharing your guy with us.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:38 AM

      Hi Gaye,

      I have been shouting about the Emperor my entire life–whenever I see a butt nekkid one! And they appear in all walks of life–particularly in the education of your children. But alas those days are over and now I’m onto – perhaps far more trivial pursuits.

      BTW, you are only to look at my guy. ;]ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - July 24, 2016 - 7:02 PM

    Laurel –
    I have been a BIG follower of the DeVol kitchen site. I love the look of no “toe kick” – any thoughts yay or nay? Just so finished and beautiful in their simplicity…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:35 AM

      Hi Jackie,

      I love the way it looks, but I actually had an island like that in my old home and I was constantly stubbing my toe on the corner and it would get scuffed.ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - July 24, 2016 - 5:28 PM

    I love the look of no backsplash, or only a little lip, combined with one accent wall of counter-to-ceiling tile or just tile over the range. All of these kitchens are absolutely stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Christine - July 24, 2016 - 4:28 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for another fun read and great kitchen pics! I always love having my Sunday tea and reading your latest and greatest.

    As a former kitchen and bath designer I have to put something out there for all your wonderful readers who love to learn from you. A backsplash and the height of the backsplash is not merely a matter of aesthetic and budget choice. IT IS YOUR RANGE THAT DETERMINES THE MATERIAL AND HEIGHT OF THE MATERIAL. (I’m not yelling here, just wanted that fact to pop out in this comment.) Areas away from the range are completely discretionary, but often when you must do something specific in the range area, it affects what you do elsewhere.

    The specifications of the range you select will indicate very clearly what is required. For many 30″ standard residential ranges nothing special is required as many already have a 10″ back where the controls are, however, when a semi-professional or professional range is selected with high BTU power, that is a different animal completely as the fire risk increases dramatically. When those specs say a non combustible material must be placed behind the range you must adhere to this or your insurance could be void in the case of a fire. There are many choices, but drywall is combustible, and the manufacturer will indicate the height of the non combustible material, and the width, and how close the cabinets other materials can be. In fact, the first DeVol picture is a really good example of my point. It is really hard to tell, but if any of the burners on either side of that gorgeous range are gas, those side walls must be covered in a non-combustible material. (i.e. the marble to match the back of the niche). If they are induction burners, it would be ok to have the side walls as shown. See what I mean, it is the appliance that dictates the backsplash area!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 25, 2016 - 12:24 AM

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks so much for all of that. I guess I didn’t make myself perfectly clear. When I say backsplash, I mean the wall under the cabinets not the one behind the range. Obviously, that needs to be made out of safe material if as you say the range is not providing the protection.

      But thank you for clarifying that. ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - July 24, 2016 - 4:09 PM

    Hi Laurel, Wow this post is just beyond wonderful! XOXO for that handsome kitchen! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year, jotting down notes as I go. OMG Your laugh out loud humor is so relatable! We moved into an older home last summer that has tons of moulding and built ins… Don’t envy me, I am cleaning way too much. Eventually will repaint it all in one of your fave BM whites ( rolodex and paint colors subscribed) LOVE THEM BOTH!! Our kitchen came with great appliances but a hideous circus like diamond pattern in barf browns, and beige and glued on “do dads” on the cabinet doors. WHY would someone do that? Try cleaning them!! Plus the counters are laminate with a chunky wood frame on the edge that I’ve nearly impaled myself on.. again a cleaning nightmare. So I’m dreaming of some marble counters with a 3″ lip and a nice run of stone behind the 6 burner stove top plus some nice tall dark and handsome open shelving on either side… “Honey, where’s the sledge hammer?”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:17 PM

      Hi Leslie,

      You are such a delight! Thanks for the sweet and funny comment! And yes… I know. I don’t understand where people are coming from. But what disturbs me even more and this is down the entire home furnishings line, is WHY certain things are created in the first place!ReplyCancel

  • Nin - July 24, 2016 - 4:08 PM

    Thank you Laurel! I’ve often wondered why back splashes seem so essential to so many people. Are they having weekly kitchen pie fights or slaughtering livestock? We’ve lived in 6 lovely homes over the years, no backsplash, no probs!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:15 PM

      Hi Nin,

      I’m so surprised how many people are writing in that they don’t have a backsplash. I think around these parts, you get a visit from the backsplash police if you don’t have one! ReplyCancel

  • Celeste - July 24, 2016 - 2:47 PM

    Well, we are still debating the backsplash we are putting in for our neverending reno to list, but we are both agreed in putting that Blue Celeste tile somewhere in the new house. Maybe over a dedicated baking nook.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - July 24, 2016 - 2:14 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    The Jenny Wolf kitchen with the oven/range and hood surrounded by the brick walls, is simply gorgeous to me, but I would wonder about keeping it clean. I have never really cared for ranges that face the walls, and so many of them do. (I’m obviously not a designer or I would know why this is the case.) I think I just don’t like to look at the wall while I am cooking. I feel as if I’m standing in the corner with my face against the wall, or something, but I certainly wouldn’t mind standing at this range.

    The glass tiles are also lovely and add a calm reflectiveness almost like a water feature would. And I love the marble tiles and the cement dquesa tiles.

    The chef? I think you and your readers have said it all.

    Thanks again for a witty and informative post.

    Lisa D.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:13 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      That’s interesting, I’ve never had a range that didn’t face the wall. But I can see your point if one is cooking a lot. Or you have folks over and want to converse.ReplyCancel

  • Celeste - July 24, 2016 - 1:13 PM

    oh wow, timely. We are debating right now, my husband wants the darker gray glass subway tile and I am afraid. We’re leaving it til last when we see how it looks After we’ve ( lol he’s) done painting,
    Just like I never knew I hated upper cabinets til you showed how awesome it looks without them, I am in love with wood edge now, COVET.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:10 PM

      Hi Celeste,

      I’ve tried to tell a couple clients to save the backsplash for last. Usually they don’t want to hear that, but it’s really the wise thing to do. It’s best to see it in the light and with the cabinets installed.ReplyCancel

  • karen - July 24, 2016 - 12:14 PM

    Thank you for the great post Laurel. Funny, never had a backsplash before I renovated my first kitchen. The painted wall worked just fine! Maybe I ‘m just not a messy cook. I think of tile as a necessity in places like the Hong Kong wet markets, where animals are being killed, and there’s a real need to hose off the walls and floors. But in residential kitchens maybe we really don’t even NEED the splash for the occasional red sauce hitting the wall. I do love how a shiny tile brings LIGHT in though, and maybe that’s worth the expense of a wall of tile in itself.

    Loved the hex marble splash and the mini subways. Different but still trad.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 12:19 PM

      Hi Karen,

      I found that the there are two things that mess up my walls. The biggest offender is my blender when I make smoothies. (which I’m going to do just now) The second is baking. Astonishingly, even though I baked on a weekly basis when my kids were underfoot, I never had a normal mixer, just a little hand-held one. But it worked just fine. Except sometimes stuff would go flying. If the bowl was a little too full, I’d stick it in the sink to mix it up!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Sherman - July 24, 2016 - 11:56 AM

    I just love you Laurel love your info, your photos, your humor, your wit, your talent!
    Thank you for putting another smile on my face!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 12:14 PM

      Hi Pamela,

      Thanks so much for such a sweet comment. I’m smiling too and was giggling away as I put the post together!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - July 24, 2016 - 11:43 AM

    The house we bought is circa 1967, kitchen appears to have been re-done in the 80s … kitchen counters have a lip, it is painted (enamel? very durable) wood – same creamy white as cabinets and walls. Have had no troubles with it. When I do a full remodel, I will likely go with a lip in the same material as the counter. Maybe an accent tile over the stove. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - July 24, 2016 - 11:05 AM

    I prefer the no tile look and is what I have in my latest reno. If I was going to put in a backsplash, I would keep it simple and go for glass, which I had before. I liked the simplicity, ease of cleaning and slight shine. Subway tile may be timeless but I find it is everywhere. And, who wants their newly renovated or built kitchen to be a carbon copy of almost every current house in North America? Great post, as always, Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 11:37 AM

      Hi Joanna,

      I think there is definitely a trend emerging towards simplicity and less “decorating.” And now that I’ve heard that Restoration Hardware-Taking-Over-The-World, inc. is doing a deal with DeVOL then, I’m further convinced. ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:31 AM

    Hi Erika,

    So glad it was helpful for you!ReplyCancel

  • Betty - July 24, 2016 - 9:49 AM

    You will have to fight me for the first kitchen and, of course, for that beautiful Chef! What a gorgeous kitchen, so simplistic and obviously it works without a back splash which is something I’ve never had. Oh sure, I’ve tossed the idea around, but never committed to actually doing one. I really like my painted walls and yes I agree BM paint can be wiped off. My one kitchen had BM flat/matte paint on it for ten years and not a spot on it.

    I love the drawer cups instead of knobs or the modern “stick” type pulls that invariably get caught on a sleeve or pocket. Looks like a cutting board nook by the sink – ingenious. When I moved I went from 22 cabinets to open shelving and eight cabinets – it works and I love it.

    My question with the bare brick over the stove is how to wipe that if splattered by tomato sauce, is it coated? What about dust from the bricks?

    As always, thanks for sharing my Sunday morning coffee.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:49 AM

      Hi Betty,

      Your kitchen sounds gorgeous!

      Good question about the bricks and the dust. Maybe it’s roughage? lol Cleaning, I’m also not sure. I guess they get wiped down like everything else and if you can’t see it, it isn’t there. :]ReplyCancel

  • Debra - July 24, 2016 - 9:47 AM

    Great post as always!! I used an old brick backsplash in the kitchen of our new house we built last year. I almost went with subway tile, (which I used in all the baths) but decided to do something different and I love it so much! It gets the most positive comments of anything we did in our house. I also did not use backsplashes in any of the baths. I just liked the clean look of our marble and granite countertops.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:46 AM

      Hi Debra,

      Hooray! I try to show a wide variety of possibilities that I think are good ones. And there IS a lot of choice still. I just don’t like those busy random mosaic things. Some of them are so bad, they make me lose my appetite. And they always seem to go over some busy speckled granite.

      I agree about the bathroom too. No need for a backsplash. ReplyCancel

  • Joan Young - July 24, 2016 - 9:21 AM

    Another great post Laurel, however I think I may have to fight you for that “new boyfriend” of yours!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Webb - July 24, 2016 - 8:12 AM

    One mistake I see in diy reno projects is putting in a back splash with out removing the original lip. A back splash always looks best when it is joined to the countertop.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:42 AM


      You are so right! Terrible mistake!
      I had in my file some really bad fuglies, (that I didn’t put up this time because I didn’t want to wreck the pretty post) and YES a couple of them had the lip AND a hideous backsplash and the lip and counter were also horrid along with the cabinets. They were from a kitchen place portfolio. Scaryyyyy. ReplyCancel

  • Patti - July 24, 2016 - 8:03 AM

    LOVE this post! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Donna lspollo - July 24, 2016 - 7:41 AM

    You are so right!
    I love the “no backsplash!”

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:38 AM

      Hi Donna,

      The genius part is that it saves a lot of money! And in many cases is easier on the eyes.ReplyCancel

  • Cookie - July 24, 2016 - 7:11 AM


    All of those kitchens are beautiful. I am in the process of moving into a new house with a nice big white kitchen. In the process, we have purchased our own tile, knobs, plumbing fixtures, countertops. I have a knack for picking out the most expensive things in the showroom so I am invariably disappointed when directed over to my price point.

    Why is simplicity (and taste) so expensive? I just want a simple traditional NE lake house with a timeless feel where QI can cook and entertain family and friends (who are all priceless)

    Cookie with the good hairReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:37 AM

      Hi Cookie,

      Cooking With Cookie. Has a nice ring to it!

      With a timeless kitchen, at least you won’t have to redo it, so in the long run, a big savings.

      I can rationalize almost anything. lolReplyCancel

      • Celeste - July 24, 2016 - 1:32 PM

        Lol. Same. On the positive side, I have now worn my husband down to the point where he just opens a beer and sighs,ReplyCancel

  • Joanne C. - July 24, 2016 - 7:11 AM

    Love your bog Laurel! I look forward to hunkering down with a cup of coffee to read your every word. In the pic of the first kitchen featured, do you happen to know the paint color?; it looks like a charcoal color. I love it. (BM Chelsey Gray?)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:34 AM

      Thanks Joanne,

      Actually, it looks more like Farrow and Ball Down Pipe to me. Dark paint colors often photograph lighter than they are I’ve discovered. Not sure why that is. I imagine if you contacted the company, they would tell you unless it’s a custom-make of their own.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - July 24, 2016 - 4:20 AM

    Love love love these kitchens! One question though….where are the microwave ovens?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:31 AM

      Hi Mary,

      Good question! And the fridge too! It’s possible that they are in the big bank of cabinets that I see in every kitchen. But there are also lower microwave drawers. We’ve done them before and the clients love them.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - July 24, 2016 - 3:01 AM

    Yes, I’d be able to live with a tiny lip..why do they make it 4 inches at all when 3 looks so much more handsome and balanced?

    I chose hand made ceramic subway..not in white though. I love, love this subtle variation!
    It looks fab (would be happier even more if one of the tile didn’t put all special-ordered more pricey tiles with a glazed edge inside the backsplash lol. We had enough to go up to the ceiling. Well, not anymore I guess)
    Initially, I was in love with a pattern-but the pattern I loved, loved, loved would make this very modest space on the wall into a $5000 worth modest space on the wall..
    I wanted to do an accent at least but decided, for the sake of the big picture, to go without.
    Maybe I’ll just buy several tiles and frame them)) Can’t get them out of my head..

    I pinned like crazy, sorry to say. Well I usually do.
    I love my Pinterest-so quiet, so beautiful..put a music on the background-and it will be better than any fashion channel)) Very nerve-calming experience I must say.

    And yes, I believe this is Duquesa)) Learned a lot of brands manufacturers etc while was looking-tiles are my weakest spot.
    I’m in love with good tiles and ceramics in general

    (What is the thing with backsplashes in the bathrooms? I really don’t want to have one.
    We didn’t have any backsplashes back where I from-not that it was amazingly nice but the houses didn’t rot..)

    Thank you, thank you, Laurel! You made my evening.
    PS I’ll come back in the morning to enjoy this post again, with my coffee. Hope you don’t mind.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:29 AM

      Hi Jenny,

      Well, it sounds like we’re birds of a feather for sure. I could pin on pinterest all day long. In my case, I can’t because they say it’s better to only pin a few at a time, so I’ve started using an app that I have to pay a little for that schedules the pins for me.

      And yes, come back as much as you want! Mr. Google loves visitors and rewards me in kind. ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Spanos - July 24, 2016 - 2:47 AM

    I loooooove everything DeVOL. I read somewhere (was it on your blog??) that they’re going to be sold in the U.S. soon through Restoration Hardware. I wonder if their cabinets look as good in person as they do in the yummy photos.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:24 AM


      Oh dear… No, you didn’t read that here because I had not heard that. RH is going to be selling them? Well, there goes the neighborhood! lol Geeezzz. I know they acquired Waterworks, so I guess they are trying to expand their market. I guess they have to justify the huge expense of printing (and mailing) those ginormous over-the-top catalogs!ReplyCancel

  • Katy - July 24, 2016 - 2:10 AM

    Laurel…here I’ve been thinking something must be wrong with me because 1. I am sick of white subway tile, but if I HAD to pick a backsplash, it would be some form of white subway because I have never liked busy or bossy colored tiles. 2. I MUCH prefer just bringing the paint down to a short lip of whatever the countertops are. There…I said it! I never thought of calling it the “UN”kitchen look….but I get that and I do so agree! Thank you for saying you really do NOT have to install a backsplash. I have not had one for about 12 years…love it that way…and have no maintenance issues whatsoever. The paint is easy to clean. My stove has the built in back part that rises to protect wall and draw cooking smells out…like a range hood would do…but I don’t have a hood…just a button that raises and lowers a panel that also protects the wall.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:21 AM

      Hi Katy,

      Ya know, the kitchen in my apartment doesn’t have a backsplash either. It doesn’t even have a lip! I really don’t miss it. And gosh, even our townhouse didn’t have a backsplash. Same thing. It didn’t come that way and we never put one in. We did a lot of other things but that one didn’t feel necessary.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Dwelle - July 24, 2016 - 1:13 AM

    I have been sweating the backsplash for months! We are updating our small early 80’s ranch to sell in the next year or so. We have good quality, fugly dark-stained cabinets which I plan to paint white. The walls throughout the house have been painted with SW On the Rocks. We found a beautiful granite on sale. But – it has a lot of movement. NOTHING looked good! Although it was considered, I can’t do with just the lip, because my fabulous sexy cook makes an ungodly mess every night. I scrub every surface daily and paint would soon show signs of wear. So I spent way too much time trying to find something that would work and that we can afford. I was thinking of trying to backpaint glass when I discovered Aspect glass tiles. One of their colors, “Putty”, is perfect! I haven’t bought it yet, and I was getting concerned about my decision as I went through the examples. Maybe glass is not a good design choice? But then there it was! Disaster averted! Thanks for this very timely post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 24, 2016 - 10:19 AM

      Hi Ann,

      Wonderful! I think glass is beautiful and is a wonderful choice for a busy counter. In my research travels, I found some doozies. I was going to post some of them because I often do that, but this time, I didn’t want to put that fugly on this pretty post.

  • Christine V - July 24, 2016 - 1:05 AM

    I want one of the beautiful ranges/ovens from these kitchens and Mr. tall, dark and I can cook for you. Surely he makes a nice cocktail and gives a back rub too! After that, who cares what the backsplash looks like :] I have 6″ granite backsplash that came with the counter. I really like the clean look of the 3″ – you may have set me free, not that I like the 6″ – it’s awkwardly tall, but I kept feeling like I had to do some kind of backlash, something gorgeous. Love the kitchens you highlighted. Less is more, and something gorgeous can be Alain! Lol – nice pick there!ReplyCancel