June 22, 2024

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Dos and Don'ts for Installing a Countersplash

Dos and Don’ts for Installing a Countersplash

Have you started seeing kitchens with countertops being installed as a backsplash on the wall? I have a few designer tips to help guide you if you’re considering a “countersplash” for your kitchen or bathroom design. 

Recently I opened up my House Beautiful magazine and learned this term for the first time. It’s called “countersplash” and it’s the hot new trend to continue the countertop onto the backsplash.

So, after seeing quite a few good ones and bad ones, I thought we should talk about when you should (or should not)  consider this idea for your home.

Because, as you know, every other article you’ll read out there about the countersplash trend will tell you what a fabulous–’There’s something about a marble backsplash that will never go out of style’–idea this is.


And we can’t eliminate bathrooms from this conversation because it’s happening there too.

This trend will be done badly a thousand to one times. 

So that means for every bathroom or kitchen that looks amazing, there will be 1000 that missed it.  The ones that we see in magazines are the ones everyone will use as inspiration but without that designer considering all the details. And it will 99% of the time go wrong.

How do I know this to be true?

Because 99% of the kitchens and bathrooms in real estate listings are bad. Keep reading you’ll see what I mean.

Dos and Don’ts for Installing a Countersplash

✅ DO include a shelf if you’re only running the slab up this far for the ‘no uppers’ look

Without the shelf, it looks like we ran out of money or marble.

Sarah Elliot Photography

✅ DO create a statement wall with the range so you can actually see the marble

Otherwise, what’s the point? Marble is a lot more expensive than subway tile, just saying.

Atlanta Homes


✅ DO Keep your marble quiet unless it’s a smaller area like this. 

Just my opinion, but this very busy marble (below) would stop looking like art on a countersplash and just look, well busy.

Old House Online

I get that this book matched blue slab might be fabulous, but look at all the other details that are correct. And remember, there will be thousands of kitchens inspired by this one but only a few that will look this good. 

Frankly, I would only install this kitchen if I was in love with blue and I was going to live in this house for the next 15 years.

House & Home

❌ DON’T install marble that’s this much of a zebra statement

UNLESS you’re rich and can rip it out 10 minutes later after you’re bored. I’m not kidding.

And especially do NOT create a ‘carpet moment’ with it smack in the middle. This is just way too much of a good thing that could have stayed just on the countertops.

Artistic Tile

❌ DON’T use quartz with a prominent veining for this look because it doesn’t look natural

Not to mention this bathroom looks like old floors, new wall tile – did you notice that? Even though I find it hard to believe someone would spend this much money on slabs on the walls and leave the old floor so maybe this flooring was new at the time? 

A real estate listing photo sent to me by a follower on Instagram where the owners shall remain anonymous.

Also, look further into the shower and it seemed like the designer felt like the crescent window also needed to be accented with penny tile as well. All that money for a look that still leaves us saying, “They left the old floor from the Tuscan trend.”

PS. Everyone keeps asking me about shiplap so if you actually have a farmhouse or a cottage, that’s when I’d install it. Love this kitchen so much and especially the huge lamp!! 

A side note (if we’re being picky) since the lamp and the chair appear to be a violet grey, the art should have matched better but otherwise this kitchen is perfection.

Atlanta Homes

Remember, Boring Now Equals Timeless Later

So here’s the bottom line of all this. When you watch the trends come and go with your boring now equals timeless later subway tile, you won’t have to be upset that you just installed Encaustic Tile on your backsplash just a few short years ago when it was trending (for example) and now wish you had a slab there instead.

Remember, backsplash fads change every two years and we often fall madly in love when they do arrive because they are NEW. As human beings, we love new and when you see it done well all over social media, you think you have to have it too until they change, AGAIN. 

Over to you my lovelies, do you have a countersplash planned in an upcoming renovation? Were you thinking Zellige but then changed your mind when you started seeing slabs all over the walls?

If you’d like help with the details, see my edesign packages here.

If  you’d like to become a True Colour Expert and learn even more about how to navigate the trends in your new build or renovation, there are two dates left in my Fall Virtual Specify Colour with Confidence workshops!

October 5 & 6, 2022 – SOLD OUT

October 15 & 16, 2022 (weekend)

November 10 & 11, 2022

Register here

Related posts:

Can you use Large Tiles for your Kitchen Backsplash?

A 10 Year Review of Accent Tile; Should you Install the Current Trend?

DO’S & DON’TS for Installing Accent Tile