The bathroom backsplash. So-called because it splashes back at you if the sink overflows... or something. Personally, we’re more glad to have one for those times when you wash your hands and then your hands are sopping wet, and when you go to turn off the faucet the water drips everywhere. Washing your face, too, water just gets everywhere somehow.
Look, the point is that if you’re looking for a way to make your bathroom look a bit more brand-new, the backsplash is a gold mine. Think about it: the two things people look at the most in the bathroom are the toilet, and the sink. So, a nice, new backsplash can help your bathroom look its best when people come to visit. Like, new tile, fresh paint- stuff like that makes the room look miraculously cleaner.
Or, if you hate company, do it for yourself! You’re the one who has to stare at it all the time. A new backsplash can make your handwashing life so much more exciting. Plus, it’s functional- it helps protect your back wall from water damage.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a trick to make you empty your bank account. (But, uh, if you’re interested in that, can we send you our venmo?) You can makeover your bathroom backsplash for fairly cheap, depending on what material you choose. So let’s get to it- here are some bathroom backsplash ideas to get you on your way!
No, you do not have to get out your grout necessarily. Loose tiles from the hardware store will need some TLC, yes, but others come in peel-and-stick forms! Behold, the different types of tiles!
If you want to go the geometric route, what you’re gonna wanna do is look for a tile that tessellates. Welcome back to high school geometry, huh? If you need a crash course, that’s shapes that line up real nice. Squares, diamonds (like the photo), hexagons, octagons, you name it. It’s very easy on the eyes how all the shapes just fit together.
Now, mosaic tiling you get to have a little more fun with. This is where we get into mixing materials, colors, etc. The cool thing about mosaics is that you have that bit of creativity to your design. No tile man at a shop will tell you how to arrange your tiles- you get to choose! You could make a picture, randomize your tiles for a more varied look, or do a pattern like 5 white cubes and then a colored cube.
Subway tiles are fun, especially because they have culture to them! Did you know that Subway tiles are so named because they were originally designed for the New Work Subway in 1904? The ones in your bathroom are gonna look much less grimy, though, don’t even worry about that.
Paint + Stickers
Ok, maybe you don’t want to buy and stick on a lot of little tiles. What about making it look like you got a new bathroom backsplash instead? That’s right! A new coat of paint is a great magic trick, and can make any room look brand new. Paint is self explanatory- you’ll probably just want to paint the back wall behind your sink. Tile paints are best if you’ve got tiles, but you could also do a matte paint. Be warned, though- if you wind up doing a matte paint, you’re going to need to seal it off afterward so that you can clean ‘em.
Stickers are phenomenal, though. Can’t recommend stickers enough. They’re just as fun when you're three as when you’re 30, it’s magical. Now, stickers for bathroom backsplashes come in a couple different varieties. As we already discussed, there is a version of a number of tile layouts that are made to peel and stick onto your wall. However, that’s not your only sticker option. There are also stickers that come in a roll form, kind of like wallpaper. They come in both vinyl designs and tile designs, so you can order what you like!
Whether you’re more keen on a subtle strip of wood to line that back wall or opting in for a wood paneling look, wood could be your new favorite backsplash! Just don’t forget to seal it off from moisture- a little water-based varnish will go a long way. And by that, we mean you should put some varnish on it, seriously don’t forget that step.
Make Something New
The great thing about backsplashes is that if you want to get inventive with it, you can. The name of the game is just to protect your back wall from water damage. So, if you like, you can use any material as a backsplash! Yes, some materials might be more well-suited than others, but if you pick something eccentric you can always coat it in modge podge, or otherwise set it so that it’ll be as effective as it is creative.
We talked earlier about mosaics, but you don’t just have to make ‘em out of tile. One thing you could do is make a mosaic out of what’s lying around! Keyboard keys, pennies, vase gems, wine corks, scrabble tiles, you name it! It’ll be a fun, creative project that you’ll get to admire for a long while.
Or, if you want to get the family involved, why not make a day out of it? You can buy white tiles, paint them together, install, and voila! A unique backsplash that’ll make you smile every time you see it.
For this idea list, we mostly tried to stick to things that could be done simply, or simply enough. However, you should know that the list doesn’t end there. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also try a concrete backsplash. It’s similar to grout in that you’ll need to measure and mix it up yourself, so be warned. But, if that doesn’t scare you, go for it! It’s a durable material, and it’s really easy to refinish if you need.
Everyone’s bathroom is different. Some people, for instance, won’t have to deal with doing a backsplash around an electrical outlet, for instance. If you do have an outlet in the direct area of where you’re putting in a backsplash, please be careful. Also, do some good research. For instance, if you’re going to do DIY tiles, you’ll need to know how to extend an electrical outlet over tile. It’s a fairly simple process, but if it makes you nervous, it might just be best to call in a professional. DIY pride isn’t worth getting hurt, trust us.
Also, sampling is going to be a helpful process here! Don’t just start sticking things on the wall- do a test surface or a test area to make sure you like the look of your backsplash before it’s too late.
Katie Sabel is a writer from Saratoga, CA, currently studying creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University. Her writing spans across multiple genres, including professional writing, playwriting, poetry, fiction, and game writing.