Improve your kitchen's outlook by installing a mosaic tile backsplash that showcases motifs, murals, and patterns.
Want to give your kitchen a stylish lift? There may be no better way to make a drab kitchen fabulous than by dressing blank walls with mosaic tile backsplashes and/or murals. These fetching displays, be they monochromatic, pictorial, or prettily patterned, appealingly upholster spaces between countertops and upper cabinets and on range walls.
Mosaic tiles are smallish shapely tiles measuring 2 inches or smaller and are usually massed on a 12x12-inch mesh backing that makes handling and installing the tiles easier. The stone, glass, ceramic, porcelain, metal, and mixed-material tiles are available as squares, subway, octagons, circles, and ovals that are laid out in straight rows or prestacked in patterns, such as herringbone, checkerboard, brick, and staggered brick. Mosaic tiles can be installed as stand-alone backsplashes, as backsplash accents, or as components in larger murals.
Happily, your mosaic tile backsplash options are limited only by your budget, your imagination, and your (or your tile guy's) tile-laying skills. Here are a few ideas for using mosaic tiles to their best advantage.
Easily installed mosaic tile sheets bring plenty of bling for your buck. Consider using white polished marble subway tile mosaics in a staggered brick pattern to introduce subtle dimension and classic shine to perimeter walls. Take it up a notch by installing sheets of oval glass tiles executed in shifting shades of gray or by using sea green glass squares, laid in a single or double row, to embellish white matte-finish ceramic or honed-stone subway tile backsplashes. Want a backsplash that really pops? Opt for mesh sheets that feature vibrantly hued or high-contrast tile combinations; think shimmering green and blue glass rectangles or black and white porcelain hexagons arranged in a floral pattern.
Pictorial murals not only tell a story, but they go a long way to establishing a specific design style. Usually installed behind the range or on a large stretch of wall, these dimensional illustrations are most often sold as kits that can be embellished with complementary tiles. For old-world appeal, render still-life murals using neutral and hand-painted stone tiles; treat the image like the work of art it is and frame it in darker mosaic tiles and trims. If you prefer an unfussy style, look for botanical-series ceramic tile sets featuring simple motifs that can be grouped as punctuation points on a neutrally tiled wall. Go lighter and airier by choosing mural designs that showcase willowy silhouettes or a spare arrangement of shapes inset within a white mosaic-tiled ground
Puzzle together various color-coordinated tiles and trims to fashion backsplashes that boast mural-like proportions and impact. Shop for collections of stock or handmade tiles that can be configured to create larger motifs, such as starbursts or flowers, which join together to fashion an overall design on a range wall. Or, layer small, medium, and large tiles to create the illusion of a framed fresco that is more about fusing textures than presenting a realistic representation. This layering technique also allows you to fashion attractive backsplashes that carry the eye around the room. Fabricate a design that employs a base of rustic stone mosaic tiles that supports a shinier decorative tile band topped by a duo-tone row of diamond-shaped tiles.
Learn how to tile a backsplash with our free step-by-step guide.
Get inspiration for your backsplash with ideas from some of our favorite designs.
Browse photos of kitchen in our Decorating Gallery and get ideas for your own kitchen.
Calculate the cost of home improvements with HomeAdvisor's Home Improvement Cost Guide.
Add color and pattern to your kitchen with a tile backsplash. Follow these simple steps to complete this project in a weekend. You'll need mosaic tiles, a box cutter, mastic or thinset mortar, a notched trowel, spacers and the tile cutter or tile nipper. Dry fit your tiles by laying them out on a flat surface. If your tile is multicolored, make sure light colors do not touch. This will save you time as you put tiles on the wall. If you only need to use part of a sheet, use a box cutter to cut through the mesh backing starting from the bottom of the wall and working your way up. Apply a layer of mastic or thinset mortar spreading evenly. Hold the edge of the notched trowel at a 45-degree angle to the wall dragging it to make ridges in the thinset. This help the tiles stick securely to the wall. Working small sections so your mastic or thinset mortar doesn't get too dry before you can apply the tile. Position and press the tile sheet to the wall, working your way up from the counter. Apply firm and even pressure with your hands to ensure a solid bond. Use plastic spacers between the tile sheets and the countertop to keep the spacing even as you press adjacent tile sheets into place. Continue placing tile on the wall based on the dry fit pattern. Use a tile cutter to make clean, straight cuts for custom fit pieces around the window or outlet boxes. Continue until the backsplash is covered. After your mortar has cured for the recommended time, you're ready for grout.