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I think I made a backsplash mistake!

Cristina L
September 9, 2019

Hello! I'm worried that we picked a backsplash that is way too cool for our countertops. When we picked the backsplash out, using the sample of the granite countertop, we saw that there were both warm and cool tones in the granite. But now that the granite is installed and the backsplash is up, it just looks like such a stark cool/warm difference and I don't know if there is a way to fix it. Can anyone suggest a solution. Would the color of paint that we choose to be in the kitchen, or a warmer/cooler floor tile help the situation at all? Thanks in advance!










Comments (56)

  • M Miller

    I am sorry, but I think the backsplash tile is both too shiny, too dark, and have too much color variation for your granite. Your granite is beautiful, but it needed something neutral and plain for the backsplash. The granite should be the star, and the backsplash should be quiet and let the granite be the star.

    Cristina L thanked M Miller
  • chloebud

    I think the granite needs something more toned down. Let the granite be the focus. It could just be my monitor, but I don't see much of a color connection between the granite and backsplash, at least in the first five photos.

    Cristina L thanked chloebud
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  • PRO
    Cristina L thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • M Miller

    @BeverlyFLADeziner, I am sorry, but I don't think that works either.

    Cristina L thanked M Miller
  • calidesign

    It looks much better from a distance in your photos than close up. Since it is already installed, I would live with it for awhile and see what you think. When you get a few things on your countertops and paint the walls I thin kit may be okay. For the floor, go with the darkest taupe option in your photo - the one mostly in front of the dishwasher.

    Cristina L thanked calidesign
  • eam44

    Try it if you want to, but using a warm paint color is not going help - it’s just going to give you another surface to which the tile is mismatched. If you can grow to like it, and you’re not planning to sell, leave it be. If you decide you don’t want to live with it as is, let us know.

    Cristina L thanked eam44
  • salonva

    Well I am undecided about the backsplash. I agree from a distance it looks good and it is beautiful......what is the name of your granite? I agree that is really the star.

    Cristina L thanked salonva
  • jemimabean

    My gut reaction is that it looks too much like a dark cave with your counters, but I do like the backsplash tiles on their own. It’s not only that they’re cooler than the backsplash, but also that they feel far too dark and like they’re competing with it (when the granite should definitely be the star).

    I really do think that backsplash is the hardest thing to pick. So I’m just sort of avoiding it...

    Cristina L thanked jemimabean
  • felizlady

    IMO, a backsplash should match one important color in the counter material. Unfortunately, the color, texture and gloss of your backsplash all seem to fight with the granite. Put all your countertop appliances, utensils holders and canisters where they function the best. If the backsplash is half hidden, I wouldn’t rush out to replace it for at least six months.

    Cristina L thanked felizlady
  • artistsharonva

    If the backsplash is nagging you now, it will probably bother you later.

    So sorry, but honestly I do not like that backsplash at all.

    Yes, it looks better from a distance, but you're going to be standing up close everyday seeing it when using your kitchen.

    I would remove it now & redo. You deserve to walk into your new kitchen with satisfaction overall, not that nagging feeling something is off.

    Were you trying to go for this look?

    That's granite used as backsplash, quite a lot of $$$.




    Got some good news! That is a gorgeous countertop you chose.

    Make that the star of the show by getting a simple backsplash.

    That will push the backsplash visually back where it belongs.

    When choosing tiles, I would stay in the simple, subtle neutral tones.

    I would get 3-4 samples of lighter colors that are in the granite, plus some 3-4 white tones of tile samples. Then bring them home put on counter for a few days. See them in daytime light, shadows, nighttime lighting. As the days go by, start removing the less desired tiles. Usually, you'll be drawn to your favorite &know that's the 1 to go get.

    Here's a few photos for inspiration. If you have any inspiration whole kitchen photos YOU like, please post, so other Houzzers can help you get to YOUR style faster :)



    I like the below picture. Would of like more minus the black backsplash resting on counter.

    Glad you did not do that ;) Another success.


    Hope you find something YOU like soon & get lots of smiles while using.

    Cristina L thanked artistsharonva
  • njay

    Someone posted a similar dilemma not that long ago. Lovely backsplash and lovely counters but they clashed big time. The OP finally painted the backsplash two times with chalk paint with very nice results. Why not try that? Much cheaper than replacing the backsplash. If you're successful, you solved your problem for much less than $50. If you don't like the results, then remove the tile.

    Cristina L thanked njay
  • hu1967910

    Choosing a backsplash is wicked hard. If you're questioning or regretting your choice, admitting that to yourselves and changing the tile now makes more sense (to me) than letting that tile dictate your floor and paint choices. Trying to camouflage something you're not happy with might end up being more costly (in terms of money OR kitchen enjoyment) than replacing the tile.

    Cristina L thanked hu1967910
  • Cristina L thanked mdln
  • PRO
    Anglophilia

    I think you'd be better of with white subway tile - plain, no special edge, no hand-fired look - just plain white subway tile to match your cabinets. What you have is competing with your granite and is far too dark and has too much movement in it. Sorry - it's a re-do.

    Cristina L thanked Anglophilia
  • happyleg

    Like the butter one or white subway or maybe light gray.

    Cristina L thanked happyleg
  • Cristina L

    Salonva, the granite is called Cosmos. I agree with you all, the granite should have been the star of the show. I think we wanted each and every element to have some point of interest, but we realize now, that it's too much. Njay, your suggestion of the chalk paint is a great one. Looking at everything now, we are kind of kicking ourselves for not just going with the simple, white subway tile. But what's done is done. We will see how it looks once the entire renovation is complete, and then we can decide if it's OK, or if we need to paint the tiles or replace them. This is my first time using Houzz (I had never even heard of it, before), so thank you so much to everyone for your imput! I wish I had known about this sooner, then maybe we wouldn't be in this pickle! :)

  • Casamacho

    Cristina, subway tile is one of the easiest parts of a kitchen to change so don't worry over it too much!

    Cristina L thanked Casamacho
  • Cristina L

    Thank you, Casamacho! That's a relief to hear.

  • tedbixby

    Since you haven't picked out the flooring you need to decide what gets decided on 1st, the back splash or the flooring and then you decide on the other one. And from what I can see, none of those floor samples are working with what you have now.

    If you keep the grey backsplash look at light grey flooring.

    To give you a visual of how white subway looks with your granite. Also, I'd look at something in the amber or carmel family and see how that works. Ignore that black strip in the tile.


    Kitchen · More Info


    Cristina L thanked tedbixby
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    First, your granite is beautiful but has lots of gold movement. Already a problem with white cabinets. Whenever granite is this distinctive? Backsplash needs to “be quiet”. Take the backsplash off while it is new and easier to remove without too much wall damage. Concentrate on flooring. Everything you have is too warm and creamy. Won’t work. A wood look tile with grays and soft warm would work great. If budget allows, let us help you get right backsplash. I don’t think white is your answer. I would paint the backsplash wall and give yourself some breathing space. Paint it to match your cabinet color. Live with that and it will help you decide. This is common problem so don’t beat yourself up. If you feel you have to keep it, go buy some beautiful (two) interesting wood cutting boards and lean them up against the backsplash tile. Add countertops paper towel holder. Add gold accessories like utensils in wood container. Add small flower arrangement such as sunflowers. All these touches could solve everything. Good luck.

    Cristina L thanked Flo Mangan
  • Cristina L

    Thanks, tedbixby. That photo is great for a visual!

  • Cristina L

    Thank you, Flo Mangan! That's all great feedback. The idea of cutting boards and other countertop items is really great advice, too!

  • njmomma

    following

  • kulrn

    Maybe not the best choice, but I don't think it's that bad. Especially in the more distant photos.

    Cristina L thanked kulrn
  • PRO
    Focal Point Hardware

    I think maybe if you choose a beige taupe type of color on the walls it will even out the contrast. it will add more warmth to the kitchen rather than adding even more cool tones.

    Cristina L thanked Focal Point Hardware
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    I don't think this is horrible.. I think you can get used to it especially since the color seems to change so much from up close to far away.. Settle in- put stuff out on your counters - small appliances, canisters etc, then step back. If after 6 months you still don't like it, deal with it then. Why waste a perfectly good splash if you haven't given it a minute to settle in?

    I feel like we see loads of comment from people right after they put the backsplash in - doubts, questions, worries...in the end t always seems to work out ok...

    Good luck...

    Cristina L thanked Debbi Washburn
  • MizLizzie

    Hmm. Before I ripped it out, I would play with my under-cab lighting a bit. Warm LEDs might help. Long shot. And if not, I would eventually take the tile out. I once installed the butter yellow Grazie Rixi (an Italian crackle tile) and when they put my warm under-cab lights in, it turned almost lime green. Freaky green. Switched them out for very cool lights, and all was buttery and subtle again. Good luck.

    Cristina L thanked MizLizzie
  • Nicole Busch

    I think it looks fine. I think it will blend in the background after you start living with it. You’re never going to be as close to the tile as the close up pictures. Don’t second guess yourself. Go with it.

    Cristina L thanked Nicole Busch
  • rnonwheels

    Will the cabinets have dark pulls? That I think will help balance the white with the warm granite. I actually feel like the back splash helps bridge the two also but the white cabinets need something dark too., IMO.

    Cristina L thanked rnonwheels
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    I don't think it looks bad once you take in the entire kitchen.

    Lose the off white outlets and bring in a gray to match your tile:


    What has to go is the wood window casing. to me that stands out like warm, sore thumb. paint it white, paint it black, but paint it! (or stain it in a dark walnut. the yellow tone has to go)



    (I'm not feeling those creamy floor tiles either. why are you choosing that when your cabs are bright white and your have gray/black in the granite??) (see part II below)



    to tie in more of the gray on the splash (and good heavens, please don't use chalk paint to paint the tile! that will look worse than anything) pick a hardware that plays off the charcoal/nickel tone. maybe a black nickel?


    Cosmas Black Nickel hardware pull (or the two tone black/nickel in the pic)




    If you had asked for opinions after your countertop went in (which is why we always say wait until counters are in before picking a splash) I would have told you to go w/Basalt




    She used it here w/her Cosmo granite. hers has more gold in it and her cabinets are quarter sawn oak. using a white backsplash would have looked horrible w/her choices.


    I wouldn't have chosen white for yours either. too much of a contrast against the dark granite. I would have picked the black, or a matte lighter gray tone.

    **look at the first pic I photo shopped for you,,,that's this tile, below, a black window, and pendant**

    what you could try is redoing the grout (Grout Renew) in a grayish/white color. it would look like this against the dark tile


    I also would have done a smooth tile like this one, as opposed to your wavy, handmade look. the waviness competes w/the movement of the granite. This tile above is from Fireclay tile and the color is Meteorite. doing it w/the white grout would have blended a bit better, IMO.

    the other option would have been a longer, thinner style glass tile


    Cristina L thanked Beth H. :
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    part II: the floors

    why are you looking at creamy-yellow toned flooring when you have bright white, black/gray??


    The color tile in your samples belongs in a kitchen like this^. this has warmer white cabs and Taj Majal countertop. Your taupe toned tile samples would work better in this color kitchen.

    What you need is something like these:

    if you want creamy light, then choose a lighter gray tone w/underlying blacks.


    Here's a Montauk black Slate, and the inset left pic is a charcoal gray porcelain wood look tile (Tilebar) look at them both next to your cab/countertop picture. goes much better.

    This Linden White (Tilebar) is an off-white but it has slight gray tones. it's 18x36

    or the Marbella Greige, 24x24






    you could do a very large basalt tile. 24x30 or 36


    I also like this medium walnut stain color on a hardwood. this is just enough to bring out the gold tones in the granite.


    same w/this European style oak floor from Provenza.


    this medium, matte gray tile in a larger hex, from Daltile w/a lighter gray grout would also work


    Paige Grigio, matte


    I like this 30x30 tile below,,,from Tilebar. Arkim-Black, below




    they also have the 24x24 tile that resembles limestone. has the underlying gray tone rather than that off-white-yellow-taupe tone your looking at.


    Tilebar has 5 samples for $5. go take a look over there.

    Cristina L thanked Beth H. :
  • Cristina L

    Ack! I'm so confused now. The hardware that we are choosing is a black pewter option (photo below). We are doing only the pulls; we decided against any knobs. We opted for Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray paint (photos pulled from internet below - I know they're not the same conditions as our kitchen, but just for a visual

    ). Our thought with the warmer-toned flooring was to try to diminish the coolness of the gray backsplash. I feel like I need to be more concerned with getting a good floor to go with the granite, because that is one element that will definitely not be changed. Changing out the backsplash, down the line, would be an easier option, so I don't want to "mess up" on the floor choice. So my thought had been to warm things up with a warmer toned floor, pulling from the warm tones in the granite itself. Does that seem like a good move?


    [As a side, these are Kraftmaid, and cost $6.00 each. If anyone knows of a similar look/feel pull for less, I'd love to hear about it!]




  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Cristina, you can't balance out the cool tones by bringing in those color floors. it doesn't work that way. you'll end up w/two tones fighting each other. That's why I posted all of those flooring examples so you could see the diff. if you want lighter floors, then pick one w/the gray undertone, not the taupe/yellow one.

    Technically you're not matching the tones to the backsplash, you're matching it to the granite and the cabinets. (if your backsplash goes w/your countertop, it will automatically go w/the flooring).

    Why don't you order some of the samples I mentioned from Tilebar? it's only $5.

    other ways to warm up the space is w/natural wood, but not the yellow/golden tone you have around your window. shoot more for a walnut color wood, or a natural white oak. See the color of the herringbone wood floor, above in my earlier comment? that's the color wood you want. see how yellow your window trim looks next to it?? That's why you don't want that stain color and why I mentioned you should paint it.

    As for your handles, I think they're a bit heavy looking. They look like something that belongs in a cabin or rustic farmhouse. The color is fine, but I'd go w/something a bit slimmer in design. any of these styles are slimmer.

    I still prefer this for your design:

    or do you like something like this two tone? (Amerock)

    Cristina L thanked Beth H. :
  • calidesign

    The taupe color floors will be fine imo, and much better than adding even more dark gray to the space. The countertop has even of the beige/tan color in it to make it work. I wouldn't choose floors based on just a back splash.

    Cristina L thanked calidesign
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    beige/tan isn't taupe. I disagree w/you cali. those tiles she has will not be fine. they're diff tones. this granite doesn't have 'taupe', or any of those pink tones.


    the other option if she wants lighter floors is to go w/more of a white tile, rather than a taupe or tan based color.



    this is basically her granite w/the darker floors. this looks way better than those taupe tiles would


    she has bright white cabs and plenty of light. any of those gray/light gray/ or charcoal tiles I posted would be fine

    a lighter tile w/more of grayish undertone


    here's one w/the wood floors I mentioned (in a walnut tone) and the black tile splash w/white grout.


    Cristina L thanked Beth H. :
  • calidesign

    We can agree to disagree. The granite has enough warmth in it. I'm looking at the photos from a distance with the flooring samples on the floor. I don't think you can best choose finishes based on close up shots, but the overall effect when the finishes are complete. I would not want dark countertops, back splash, and floors with bight white cabinets. The wood oak trim also appears to be throughout the home, which doesn't work with grays, imo.

    Cristina L thanked calidesign
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    I agree w/you on that oak. I only saw it around the kitchen window and think that should be painted.

    maybe the pictures look worse than what she sees in her kitchen. I don't see taupe going w/it at all. she doesn't have to pick a cool gray or blue gray, but more of a warmer gray. it's just a matter of getting the right undertone.

    Cristina L thanked Beth H. :
  • toomanycats12

    WOW, you stirred up a lot of interest here! I will share my three biggest mistakes when gutting and remodeling my kitchen, which may help: 1. the day they installed the backsplash of small, square glass tiles (the granite was already in), I HATED IT. Everybody said I'd get used to it; no I didn't, and I know it doesn't get better with time or new lights or only looking from a distance. The colors simply conflict and are busy. White vertically set subway tile with white cabinets, or matching granite would be my choice.

    2. I should have had continuity in my flooring from the entry foyer on one side of the kitchen, and an office and bath on the other. Now it's visually unappealing since the patterns and colors conflict. So please consider what other flooring will meet the kitchen choice (if open kitchen then I'd continue the same flooring you have.) 3. Turned out my "kitchen designer" wasn't a PRO; hire a pro to help you get it to come together, you won't regret it. I empathize because it's a huge job and you deserve to love the outcome! Best to you in sorting out all the great ideas!

    Cristina L thanked toomanycats12
  • Cristina L

    Thanks, toomanycats12! I'm sorry you had to go through hating yours, but it's good for me to hear that you didn't get used to it. My husband and I do have this nagging feeling that we won't get used to it either. But knowing that it's not too difficult to replace a backsplash, makes it a bit easier for us to try to focus more on the "right" floor for the granite/cabinet/paint combination, specifically.


    Our contractor did say that the wall behind the backsplash wasn't in the best of conditions when they ripped out the old/existing backsplash that we had prior to the renovation. He said that ripping out this one would cause more damage to the wall and might require more patch-up work, which I'm assuming means the cost of the job gets increased, too. So we have a lot to think about. (Especially since the kitchen isn't the only room being renovated, we are trying not to add more cost to the project.)


    The flooring that will touch either side of the kitchen is a warm-toned hardwood.

  • khegrat

    I have the same tile backsplash. Here are some pictures with under cabinet led lighting and microwave light.

    Cristina L thanked khegrat
  • toomanycats12

    Hi again Cristina,

    May I just say that the "nagging feeling" you're experiencing is correct and won't go away. If I were you I'd get a quote from my contractor to fix/reinforce the wall behind the backsplash, and then install a new one. It should cost a lot less now than in the future since he's still working on your project. Also, I don't have a photo, but wouldn't the continuity of continuing the wood floor into the kitchen be very appealing? (I understand budgets because we removed many things from our architect's rendition. But honestly, a few years later we were regretting it because in truth we only saved a relatively small amount and lost some wonderful features.) Hope you will share a photo of your finished kitchen when it's done and just what you wanted!

    Cristina L thanked toomanycats12
  • eam44

    Of course ripping out the tile will damage the sheetrock. Who cares? He could demo the bs by cutting out the sheetrock and replacing it (not that I’m recommending this) he wouldn’t even have to tape it because he will be tiling over it. Ask him his plan for protecting your counters while he demos.

    Cristina L thanked eam44
  • eam44

    OK now for the fun part - let’s talk about tile! I think both of these colors from Fireclay Tile could be approximated in a less expensive option. For right now, let’s just focus on color. Whatever hue you go with has to look pretty with the granite and the white cabinets. Here are some options: this is your counter with Fireclay Tile in Ultra Cream, and Sandstone.







    What do you think, and what is your budget in $/SF?

    Cristina L thanked eam44
  • PRO
    Susan Tiritilli

    I think the problem is that both the counter top and the backsplash have a busy visual effect. Use paper towel holders, cutting boards, a utensil holder and maybe a potted herb garden to distract until you’re sure what to do, just like Flo mentioned.

    Cristina L thanked Susan Tiritilli
  • jlorie

    This one

    Cristina L thanked jlorie
  • Gina S

    In my previous home I picked that granite and loved it. I chose travertine to go with it. My cabinets were quarter sawn oak. I struggled with the backspash for probably a year. Once I finally made a decision and went with something quiet and classic I loved it.


    I love your backsplash. It doesn't work well with the granite but the pictures you took standing back a bit it seemed to work overall. I see that you have under cabinet lighting. What happens if you change it from cool to warm? Do you have that option??



    Cristina L thanked Gina S
  • salonva

    @Gina S was your backsplash travertine or was that the floor? Would you have pictures of your previous kitchen? I too am wondering if changing the lighting, putting "some stuff" on the counters , and some other minor tweaks will bring it around.

    Cristina L thanked salonva
  • tedbixby

    Cosmos with what appears to be with a travertine backsplash.

    Craft Kitchen · More Info



    Craft Kitchen · More Info


    Cristina L thanked tedbixby
  • salonva

    Well, Travertine might not be on the upswing of trends, but it sure looks lovely in that kitchen... I love it.

    Cristina L thanked salonva
  • Gina S

    @salvana I did a quick search of pictures on my laptop and didn't find any pictures there. I will look at my desktop when I get home. It looked similar to the photos above. The travertine was for backsplash. My floors were site finished hardwood. The tone of the travertine was a little more neutral than the photos above. The travertine in the pictures is more golden/warm than mine were. It is interesting how different it looks with white cabinets.


    I love the kitchen @tedbixby posted above. The flooring looks great in that kitchen too!!

    Cristina L thanked Gina S

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