Innovative Backsplash Designs For Your Chicago Kitchen Remodel 

kitchen remodel

 Components For Your Chicago Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the workhorse of the home. It’s the one room in the house that serves as the family meeting space, entertainment area, homework space, work-from-home office, and so on. While it’s essential for the kitchen to be functional, and even multi-functional, it doesn’t need to be bland. From experience, we know that our clients expect their Chicago kitchens to be unique.

Whether you are remodeling your kitchen in your forever home, investment property, or your first home with intentions of selling in 5-7 years, a kitchen backsplash is the icing on the cake. As with any home design, when you walk into the room, it’s important the aesthetic sparks an emotion – calm, delight, energy, etc. Continue reading for 10 of our top kitchen backsplash designs for any kitchen remodel.

Large Scale Stone Slabs

Large-scale stone slab backsplashes are a true stunner. If you are fortunate enough to have enough cabinet storage within the lower cabinets and island, this design option is the way to go. To incorporate large slabs into your kitchen, we love seeing a matching countertop stone carried halfway up the wall and capped off with a floating shelf in the same stone. You can even add multiple floating stone shelves if you would like to showcase your dinnerware or other frequently used glassware on the open shelving.

It is also a great space to add décor without taking up counter space. If you opt to keep the upper cabinets, you can still incorporate large stone slabs by doing a seamless matching stone backsplash across the entire kitchen. It’s a beautiful design element with a bonus of easy wipe-down clean-up.

Handmade Square Tile

Handmade tiles are not for those seeking perfection and uniformity. The beauty of a handmade tile lies in its perfect imperfections from irregularity in size, shape, natural color variations, and patina. Each tile truly has a unique look. Zellige tile is a beautiful option for a kitchen backsplash. Zellige originated in Morocco and is tiling made out of a blend of local clay that is then glazed and fired. There are also beautiful cement tile options in a range of glossy, matte and satin finishes. Take a look at our “A Wet Room in Lakeview” project which showcases a beautiful handmade black floor tile.

Chicago skyline


True standouts of a Chicago kitchen remodel are high-rise spaces with walls of windows overlooking the skyline, Chicago River, or Lake Michigan. Sometimes less is more. Make use of that priceless view and incorporate your windows into the kitchen design by allowing them to serve as a “backsplash.” Build your lower cabinetry up to the window frame, top with a stone of your choice, and soak in the view as you entertain, wash dishes, or cook your favorite meal.

This same design can be incorporated into a single-family home as well. When designing your kitchen space, look for a wall that you can add, or already have counter-to-ceiling windows. Then build your kitchen floorplan around this architectural element. This unique backsplash option brings the bonus of copious amounts of natural lighting.

Venetian Plaster

Venetian plaster adds a gorgeous smooth stucco texture to any space. We especially love how it looks as a kitchen backsplash. Opt for a smooth lime-based plaster instead of a coarse plaster. Smooth plaster is more water and mold-resistant due to the lime base and high alkalinity. If tile is too traditional of a backsplash for your design taste, but paint is too boring, Venetian plaster would easily serve as a happy middle ground with a high-impact visual appeal. The plaster finish can be made in any color imaginable like traditional latex paint.

Colorful Patterned Tile

With wallpaper accents making a huge splash right now, patterned tile is a great option to give this same effect with your kitchen backsplash. The options for a colorful patterned tile are endless. You can opt for a more tone-on-tone pattern, go full artistic with a hand-painted tile, geometric shapes, or opt for a single bright color in the blue, green, or pink family. Choosing a tile that matches the color of both your cabinetry and countertop brings a lot of texture and pop to the space. For example, if you have dark green cabinetry with a white quartz countertop, look at tile options that are white and green patterns to tie the two together.

Accent the Range

The kitchen is the heart of the home. For homeowners who are undergoing a kitchen remodel and splurging on higher-end appliances, our design experts recommend making them the showcase of the space. Wolf, Sub Zero, and Café appliances are stunning. They come in a variety of finishes aside from stainless that are truly easy on the eyes. Range hoods have also taken center stage in kitchen design.

From matte white, mixed metal, tiled, or even wood veneer, the range can be a stylistic element in your kitchen design and not just the bulkiest appliance in the room. To create a focal point, we love a tonal backsplash design. If the remainder of your kitchen backsplash is a light neutral color, go the opposite in tone and choose a dark moody tile for the range backsplash that flows up the length of the wall.

subway tile backsplash

Subway Tile With An Edge

Subway tile will always remain a classic choice for any kitchen backsplash; however, to really take it a step further, consider any of the following modifications:

  1. Dark grout accenting a light tile adds an edgy graphic twist to an otherwise simple tile pattern.
  2. Tone on tone in a dark moody color – a bold dark-colored subway tile with matching grout lines can really set the mood and inject your kitchen space with more dimension than flat paint.
  3. Go glazed – if you want to add a little shine or sparkle to your backsplash, choose a glazed subway tile.
  4. A beveled edge on a basic subway tile is a simple detail that adds dimension and visual interest.
  5. A larger-sized tile works to anchor the space. For a fresh take on a traditional option, look at oversized subway tiles.
  6. Change up the pattern. There are several different patterns you can lay out with a subway tile. Instead of the traditional brick layout, consider vertical stacked, horizontally stacked, herringbone, alternating horizontal and vertical, or sunburst. Keep in mind that different patterns require more tile material and special cuts to create them.

Monochromatic Stone and Paint

If your design style lends itself to a monochromatic minimal look, this backsplash design should be at the top of your list. Let’s set the mood. Envision a kitchen with deep navy, almost black, cabinetry. The countertop is a charcoal gray granite in a matte finish. The cabinetry is accented with brass hardware on the doors and drawers.

Behind the range leading up to the hood is a slab of the same stone used on the countertop. The other walls are painted in the same deep navy as the cabinetry. If you are not into a dimensional or textured space, the way the painted walls fade away into the cabinetry is striking and a minimalist’s dream. This same design can be replicated in any color palette – earth tones, neutral, all-white, etc.

Painted Brick

Chicago is notorious for beautiful converted industrial loft spaces that highlight architectural elements like steel beams, concrete pillars, and raw brick walls. However, if exposed brick is not your thing, consider painting it to create a more modern and fresh mood as opposed to the cold industrial feel that exposed brick exudes.

Painted brick is a beautiful design element when built into your kitchen space. It gives a multi-dimensional look to your kitchen backsplash. A painted texture is also easier to wipe clean than raw brick. If you love the look of brick but live in a more traditional home, consider adding a painted brick veneer to your kitchen backsplash. This design choice is not only for loft or high-rise living.

Painted Glass

A special and unique backsplash choice for a modern design is painted glass. Painted glass goes perfectly against modern flat-panel lacquered cabinetry. The glass backsplash provides a high shine touch, and minimal seams, and can be treated in any color. Glass backsplash allows for one of the most customizable and artistic backsplash options available. Paint your backsplash wall in a solid bright color, geometric design, landscape, or other pattern before installing the glass panel to bring it to life. This backsplash design pairs best with an industrial, high-shine design.

When looking to invest a small amount for a big visual impact, a backsplash upgrade can be the perfect change to your kitchen. If you need personalized design advice, contact an Areté designer to help you make the best selections within your investment range, design aesthetic, and timeline. Our Chicago kitchen design team truly believes in crafting a space that is timeless and uniquely yours.

At Areté, we believe in the power of design to transform spaces and enhance the lives of our clients. With our wealth of knowledge, commitment to quality, and commitment to a high level of communication, our team can create a space that reflects who you are.

Contact the Chicago kitchen remodel professionals at Areté today at 773.683.3033, and together, let’s bring your kitchen to life.