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How to Choose a Kitchen Splashback

Steph O’Donohue

When it comes to kitchen design, I like to think of the splashback as the trendy accessory that finishes the outfit.

Due to the nature of kitchen design, there are often no details at eye height. Benchtops reach to 900mm high and overhead cabinetry is just that, overhead.

The only thing at eye level in your kitchen is your splashback. This is your opportunity to make the biggest visual impact.

You can get really creative with splashbacks because they don’t have lots of weight on them, and don’t move or have a mechanical function. You only need something that is simple to clean and heat resistant.

Glass and mirror are a popular choice. They are the simplest to keep clean look minimalistic as there is not a lot of fussy detail. Glass gives you a huge variety of colours so you can get a loud contrast like a navy or green or use it to colour match just the right white for a totally streamlined look.

We all know Mirrors are fantastic for opening up a room, but please consider your view! If your kitchen looks back onto an unsightly fence or your neighbours living room window, that is all you are going to see while you cook. There is no point having a gorgeous new kitchen with a mirrored splashback if the image that it is reflecting is not desirable. Mirror just creates double the ugly!

You can also print digitally on glass. Abstracted images with the right colours for your kitchen can look really unique and add texture. Tread carefully though, this is not a place for your family holiday pictures!

Also make sure your installer is aware of the safety standards. You will need a heatproof board behind the glass if your cooktop is going there.

Stone and reconstituted stone have a lux feel. Nothing says sophisticated glamour like a slab of gorgeous stone with a striking marble vain running through it. Natural stone is porous and needs to be sealed to ensure it doesn’t stain. This is easy to do. But if you don’t plan on putting the time in, try a reconstituted stone like Caesarstone, Essa stone or Quantum Quartz. The pores are much finer and less likely to soak up bolognaise from your overenthusiastic pot stirring.

Tiles give you the biggest range of possibilities in colour, texture and cost! Large format tiles in a gloss finish will give a similar streamlined look as glass. Where handmade tiles or mosaics or odd shapes add depth and interest and is sometimes the much needed textural relief that all white handleless kitchens need. With quality tiles ranging from $30 to $1,000 per square metre, this is where you can control your budget depending on your choice. I often have people hesitant to use tiles as they had problems keep the grout clean in the past. To this I say use an epoxy resin grout and you will never have to worry again. Unlike cement based grouts epoxy is non porous and cannot stain.

The splashback in your kitchen is the only element of design at eye level. Use that chance to make a statement! Plus, just like an accessory, a splashback is the easiest design element in the kitchen to change. So in 5 years when you are a little tired of looking at gold fish scale tiles, (don’t laugh, they look INCREDIBLE) just take them off and try something new.

Be daring with your splashback choice. It will require least amount of design risk and you will get the biggest reward.

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