Metal backsplash ideas – 10 vertical surfaces for a contemporary kitchen
From warm copper and brass to cool steel and silver leaf, metal backsplash ideas – and metallic finishes – are making a comeback
There’s no greater example of how kitchen planning and interior design have become intertwined than with metal backsplash ideas.
Elevated from a purely practical role – it is, after all, about protecting the walls from hob and sink splashes – these days it’s also more of a statement piece, sporting a new choice of luxe metallics. Along with countertops, backsplash ideas are often the first element that’s noticed among your kitchen ideas when walking into the room, so designers are keen to make it count.
‘A backsplash is an integral part of any kitchen layout project,’ explains Alex Beaugeard, design director at McCarron & Co. ‘As vertical surfaces, they carry significant design weight and there is a real appetite to experiment with metal when designing a kitchen.
Metal backsplash ideas
So what’s on trend? Pairing metallics, such as copper or gold, with crisp marble kitchen countertop ideas are proving popular. Similarly, stainless steel options have been championed for hygiene reasons – and would be perfect in a chef's kitchen.
The ongoing trend for luxe metals such as copper and has led to some eye-catching designs available. Whatever you choose, play to the material’s strength, adding backlighting or down lighting to make the most of color, age and shine.
1. Go for a zinc backsplash in a modern kitchen
Looking for a metallic with the cool undertones of stainless steel but without the commercial associations? Aged zinc could be the answer. ‘It is an extremely practical surface featuring stunning tonal variations that will evolve over time and use,’ enthuses Hush Kitchens’ designer, Chris Spink.
‘Like stainless steel, zinc is non-porous, naturally antibacterial and easy to mould into complex shapes, like the curved kitchen sink corners shown here.’
2. Decorate with a verdigris color scheme
With a soft hue somewhere between green and blue, Verdigris is a natural patina formed when warm metals are exposed to air or seawater over long periods. Here, Naked Kitchens oxidised copper panels by hand to speed up the process, before pairing with kitchen cabinets painted in jewel-like turquoise tones.
‘The sheets are sealed with a non-porous lacquer to secure the color-match and enable easy cleaning,’ adds senior designer Elizabeth Sherwin.
3. Add interest with mosaic tiles
In mosaic format, sterile stainless steel kitchen tile ideas have been elevated to a more decorative role.
‘The hardwearing nature and modern hexagonal pattern of stainless steel mosaics fitted the brief perfectly in this busy family kitchen,’ explains Rebecca Northmore, design manager, HUX. ‘One drawback is the grout lines are not as easy to clean as a seamless steel sheet would be – but using dark grout will help matters considerably.’
4. Enhance the appeal with steel
When it comes to easy-to-clean kitchen wall decor ideas, a brushed stainless steel backsplash will show fewer marks or fingerprints than polished and coordinate elegantly with stainless steel appliances.
‘Brushed steel is easily cleaned using a commercial spray stainless steel cleaner, or you can let it build up a patina that adds texture and character,’ says interior designer Alison Henry. ‘Any scratches you can’t handle can be swiftly removed using an orbital sander and Scotch-Brite sandpaper.’
5. Opt for a faux metal backsplash
Metallic-effect porcelain tiles come in incredibly realistic designs with full-body glazes that convincingly emulate the shimmer and shine of real metals.
‘A metallic-effect tiled backsplash is the perfect backdrop for a metal-trimmed range cooker in an industrial-style kitchen,’ says Camille Syren, Chef de Projets, La Cornue. ‘Porcelain tiles are a low-maintenance and resilient choice for the backsplash since they don’t require sealing and are easy to keep clean.’
6. Go for a neat frame
A neat frame hides the raw edges of this custom cut backsplash, while highlighting the rich brass within.
‘Framing the backsplash was about exploring the idea of blending in and standing out,’ explains kitchen designer, Charlie Kingham. ‘The frame draws attention to the material, making it feel extra special, but also helps smooth the transition between the bright metal and classically painted Shaker panelling surrounding it.’
7. Make it seamless
Using the same striking metallic on both backsplash and on your kitchen cabinet ideas helps achieve design cohesion and a seamless look in this modern kitchen by DesignSpace London.
‘The metallic surfaces are sheet aluminium with a patinated bronze dust finish,’ says managing director, Richard Atkins. ‘As well as providing warmth and interest, we love that it comes in really large sheets, so we can accommodate most elevations in one piece and avoid unsightly joints.’
8. Perfect with a professional finish
If you're looking for white kitchen backsplash ideas, hard-wearing, extremely heat-resistant and ultra-hygienic, a stainless-steel backsplash can withstand anything the busiest kitchen can throw at it. It can scratch so choose a brushed or patina finish that’s more forgiving. Off-the-peg panels are available for use in a single area, such as behind a range cooker, but otherwise, a backsplash will be made to measure, usually with an MDF or chipboard backing, and supplied with cut outs already in place with welded corners and folded edges.
9. Let your metal backsplash shine
A kitchen backsplash can do more than look pretty and save your paintwork – it can actually make your kitchen look bigger too. Mirrors are handy for making all small rooms feel roomier, but use one that stretches the length of your kitchen and the effect can be substantial.
A mirrored or metal backsplash is destined to acquire a patina over time and therefore will need regular polishing in order to maintain a gleaming appearance.
10. Make a statement with brass
For those who want to make a real show-stopping statement in the kitchen, a metal backsplash and countertop is the way to go. While stainless steel designs are commonly found in industrial chef’s kitchens, brass or copper are warmer, more stylish options to incorporate into a residential property, like this one by Sustainable Kitchens. Naturally, these surfaces have antimicrobial properties, which make them a good option for a kitchen or a bathroom.
How do you install a metal backsplash?
When installing a backplash, make sure the specification and measurements are correct as they’re made to order. The templating procedure itself usually takes two to three hours. Lead time is generally around 7-10 working days but this may vary by supplier, with some granite taking up to three weeks after templating.
Does metal make a good backsplash?
A metal backsplash is a favorite in the professional kitchen as it can withstand heat, impact and is an ultra-hygienic surface material. Soften the industrial look by teaming with rich wood and smart white gloss cabinetry, and choose a brushed finish that is more forgiving of marks and fingerprints.
Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism.
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