beadboard kitchen backsplash

Budget Friendly Backsplash Options

Adding a backsplash can give your kitchen a distinctive and more expensive look. As with any home improvement project, though, it can get expensive very quickly if you’re not budget conscious. Instead, try thinking out of the box.

A backsplash doesn’t have to be expensive to look great. In truth, few people are going to notice if you spend quadruple the price for some kind of rare stone or pricy marble. We’ve compiled some cool ideas for materials that create a unique look without breaking the bank. Some are more traditional; others are more whimsical.

One important thing to note, though: Always get samples of any backsplash you’re considering and display them against the wall for a few days before deciding. Otherwise, it’s hard to tell what looks good with your existing finishes otherwise.

standard kitchen backsplash


gray cabinets with brown beadboard backsplash and butcherblock countertop

Beadboard is great for creating a chic cottage-style vibe. Beadboard is a type of paneling with vertical grooves. It can be made of real wood or synthetic materials such as vinyl or medium-density fiberboard (engineered wood). Many people picture white beadboard when they think of the classic cottage style, but it can be painted any color. Boards are available in a variety of panel widths, and width has a big impact on the finished look. Larger panels tend to look more busy, and smaller panels are more subtle.

Beadboard is usually pretty affordable – you could spend as little as $150 in materials to cover the whole kitchen with a synthetic version sold in preassembled panels. However, it can be difficult to clean, particularly behind the stove, because dirt and food get stuck in the grooves. Some people opt for an easier-to-clean material such as stainless steel behind the stove and beadboard elsewhere.

Recycled Glass

a selection of recycled glass pieces

Recycled glass is becoming a popular surface material for kitchens for its distinct look, its eco-friendliness and the ease of cleaning. The other great thing about recycled glass is that it’s available in almost endless color combinations. You can stick to one color or mix and match a variety of colors for a bolder look. Tiles also come in a variety of shapes and patterns, including small squares, rectangles, circles and interlocking designs. Mesh-backed sheets that are 12-by-12 inches in size start anywhere from $8 to $20.

Chalkboard Paint

cute chalkboard backsplash

You might not think of paint as a backsplash, per se, but chalkboard paint is cool and affordable way to add an unexpected touch to the backsplash area. It’s perfect for people who want a fun and distinct look, and for families with kids. The price is an attractive feature, too. A can of paint might run you $20 to $100, depending on quality.

Faux Tin

Real metal backsplashes can be pricey, but faux metal is an inexpensive substitute that looks pretty convincing and high end – particularly for what you pay. This is another distinct look that offers a lot of design flexibility. The roll-out sheets are available in a variety of metallic colors, including copper, gold, silver and pewter, and in many design patterns and textures, from crocodile to distressed to lattice. Expect to spend only about $100 to $150 for a roll that spans 25-by-2 feet.

Wine Corks

creative wine cork backsplash

You’re going to need to drink a lot of wine for this one (or just buy the corks online). To do this, cut the corks in half lengthwise and attach them with an adhesive so the flat side is flush with the wall. Contact cement works well as an adhesive. Most people use a plywood base so as not to attach the corks directly to the wall, which would be a nightmare to remove (just don’t forget to cut outlet holes!) You can do any pattern, but many people go with an interlocking or crisscross design of some sort. This can most certainly be a DIY project, but it requires time and patience.

Subway Tiles

traditional subway tile backsplash

These look a lot more refined than they sound – not like a gritty subway – but they’re inexpensive. They’re the rectangular tiles that tend to be some shade of white, cream, gray or subtle metallic. These fell out of fashion for a while, but they’re all the rage now for the clean and streamlined look. The price depends heavily on quality. Very basic white ceramic subway tiles might cost less than 30 cents each, while very decorative or handmade tiles could cost up to $15 per square foot.

Author: Ashley Smith

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