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Best Backsplash For Dark Cabinets

Best Backsplash For Dark Cabinets

Best Backsplash For Dark Cabinets

You have taken the bold move and gone for dark cabinets in your kitchen. They look amazing! But now you have to choose a backsplash.

You need to follow that move with a smart choice, your backsplash can make or break the look of your kitchen.

Do you complement or contrast, do you stick with plain or up the ante with a patterned backsplash? Can you be brave and combine two different materials or should you play it safe?

There are so many options. From material to color to pattern. How do you maximize the impact of your dark cabinets without jeopardizing the whole design of the kitchen?

Making a mistake with your choice of backsplash could be a costly error, in terms of time, materials and effort.

But don’t worry, we have put together this guide to help you make the best choice for your kitchen and made it easier for you to choose the best backsplash for dark cabinets.

Let us walk you through the options for the materials you can have for your kitchen backsplash and give you the pros and cons of each one.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic Tiles

The beauty of ceramic tiles is that they come in a vast array of colors, shapes and styles, so you will have almost limitless options when it comes to choosing a backsplash for your dark cabinets.

You can also mix and match different ceramic tiles such as mosaic and plain tiles.

You can keep it simple when it comes to color and go with white as a contrast to your dark cabinets, or you can continue with your bold trend and use a dark tile.

If you do use a dark color for the backsplash you may want to balance this with a light colored countertop.

Ceramic tiles come in many shapes and sizes. You can have one inch mosaic tiles or go big with 8 inch tiles. Penny tiles in a high gloss finish will reflect the light complementing your dark cabinets.

Mix in a patterned tile in a complementary color with white subway tiles to keep it interesting or use a chevron pattern to draw the eye.

Add a different material such as a wooden trim that matches the color of your kitchen island to your ceramic tile backsplash for texture or to draw the whole look of the kitchen together.


  • Many options for color and style
  • Use on their own or mix and match
  • Combine with other materials
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • May be considered a dated option

Metal Backsplash

Metal Backsplash

For a contemporary on trend look for your backsplash, metal is an excellent choice. Metal will reflect light and add an eye-catching complement to dark kitchen cabinets.

If you want an obvious metallic look then stainless steel is the way to go. It has a clean look and will look great in contrast to dark kitchen cabinets.

Copper goes beautifully with dark colors and will take on a gorgeous patina as it ages.

A metal backsplash has the advantage of being versatile in its shape. It can be used as a single piece or in the form of metal tiles to form a pattern.

Tin and copper are very easy to form into different shapes and can create a wonderful backdrop to your dark cabinets.

Stainless steel can be used to create a herringbone or chevron pattern.

But not all metal backsplashes have to look metallic, pressed tin tiles are available in numerous patterns and finishes as it is a very malleable material.

A mixture of matte and polished metal can be used to create a dynamic pattern to wonderful effect and make your backsplash the focal point of your kitchen.


  • Metal is a contemporary choice
  • Reflects light to contrast dark cabinets
  • Very versatile material
  • Easy to clean


  • Copper backsplash will require additional care to keep it looking good

Natural Stone

Natural Stone

The tone and texture of natural stone looks wonderful in any kitchen and will look amazing against dark cabinets.

Natural stone is a very durable material though it does take some looking after. It is pricey but a good investment if you don’t want to remodel frequently.

Black or white granite or sparkling quartz, your backsplash of natural stone will give your kitchen the highest touch of elegance and style.

Or you may want to go for some subtle hues of limestone to warm the look.

Natural stone is available in slab form as with granite, marble or quartz, or it can be made into tiles such as limestone. Some will offer contrast to dark cabinets and others will complement them.

The wonderful thing about a natural stone is the variation in its structure and no two pieces will be exactly alike.

Quartz has the light reflecting sparkle that will catch the eye and marble has unique pattern structures.

Natural stone can be combined to good effect with a lot of materials however be wary of using a natural stone backsplash with a natural stone countertop.

The effect can be overwhelming and not a good look.


  • Natural stone is very hard wearing
  • Gives an elegant look to your kitchen
  • Available in slab or tile format


  • Pricey compared to alternatives



Slate creates a beautiful backsplash and contrasts gracefully with dark cabinets.

This natural material gives your kitchen texture and creates an attractive dimension to the decor.

The earthy brown, gray, rust and red tones offer a warm backdrop to your dark kitchen cabinets.

The tiles can be either homogeneous or mixed depending on the look you want to create.

Copper chiseled slate is a beautiful material that highlights the natural layers and each tile is different from the next.

Slate is typically available in rectangular tiles of varying sizes and also as mosaic sheets for ease of application.

Although mosaic sheets are available in irregularly shaped slate too and not just confined to small square patterns.

Frequently mixed with glass tiles to complement and contrast the texture, color and light reflection of slate.

The random color patterns are a wonderful counterpoint to the hues of dark cabinets.

Custom patterns are easy with different colors of slate tile for your backsplash.

The unique structure of slate as a natural material means that you can create unique patterns.

Combine with glass tiles for a contemporary look and to contrast the matte finish of the slate with the reflective surface of the glass tiles.


  • A beautiful natural material
  • High variation in color, pattern and texture
  • Combine well with glass tiles


  • Slate needs to be sealed to protect it from damage

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles are extremely hard wearing and tough. It is a very dense material and less porous than many others making it an ideal choice for a backsplash. This makes it very low maintenance and easy to keep clean.

You will have a huge amount of choice when it comes to the color of your porcelain tiles.

If you are looking for uniformity of color then this is the tile for you. For creating a homogenous display porcelain tiles will provide consistency and style.

Although porcelain is a very tough material it can be shaped in various ways such as hexagon but most commonly available in square or rectangular tiles. Mosaic tile sheets are also available in porcelain.

Porcelain tiles are incredibly good at mimicking other materials such as marble or wood without the expense of the former and the water susceptibility of the latter.

You can use porcelain tiles for your backsplash and fuse it with marble countertops for a monochromatic color scheme against your dark cabinets.

Or use porcelain tiles that are ink jet printed with weave patterns to create texture without the fuss of fabric.


  • Very hard wearing material
  • Uniformity in color
  • Less porous than alternatives
  • Mimics other materials such as wood, marble or fabric


  • Although similar to ceramic it is more expensive

Buyer’s Guide

Investing in your kitchen is never going to be inexpensive so when it comes to choosing the best backsplash for your dark kitchen cabinets there are a few things you should consider.


Getting the color of your backsplash right is key to how it works with your dark cabinets. You can either decide to contrast, complement or highlight your choice of color scheme.

Many people will opt to contrast dark cabinets with a lighter color backsplash.

Whether your cabinets are made from dark wood or painted a dark color you have many options with lighter colored backsplash materials from porcelain, ceramic, stainless steel or limestone.

If you choose to complement your dark cabinets with your backsplash you can choose a tone on tone option.

This means you choose the color of your cabinets for your backsplash but in a different shade.

For a mixture of color and texture you could choose a mosaic of slate and glass tiles.

This adds a lot of color to the backsplash and creates an attractive focal point in the kitchen.

Lighting is important when you choose the color of your backsplash.

It’s almost certain that the lighting in a store or showroom will not be the same as in your kitchen so bear this in mind when you are choosing a color for your backsplash.

Also the lighting will hit a vertical surface differently than it would a horizontal surface.

So it may be an idea to take a sample of your chosen tile or material home to test it in the light of your own kitchen.


When you have decided on a color scheme for your backsplash you will have to choose which material will best suit your needs.

This will depend on your budget, design and personal preference.

Ceramic is one of the most versatile backsplash materials available. It comes in a range of styles, colors and patterns and is relatively inexpensive. It is also easier to cut and maintenance is low.

Metal is a great choice for a backsplash. It gives a contemporary look and will highlight the dark shade of your kitchen cabinets beautifully.

Stainless steel has a clean, industrial look and will definitely make a statement. Copper ages beautifully but needs careful attention.

Natural stone is a popular choice for backsplashes and there are a host of beautiful choices to be had, marble, quartz or limestone. Any of these materials will give your kitchen style and elegance.

Slate is a beautiful natural material that comes in a range of hues. It offers a striking feature in your kitchen and when combined with glass tiles creates an eye-catching display of color and light.

Porcelain is a classic tile material and this is because of its durability and low porosity.

It is uniform in color for monolithic backsplashes but can also mimic other materials such as wood, marble and even fabric. It is one of the more expensive materials, however.


The design and pattern of your backsplash is important to get right as once it is done it will be difficult and expensive to do over.

So take some time in choosing the right layout and pattern of your tiles or the decorative effect if you are having a metal backsplash.

There are so many patterns of tile layout to choose from, brick, stacked, mosaic, herringbone, chevron, or basket weave.

The material and color of the tiles will affect the choice of pattern, however.

Of course, you may decide to have a solid slab of marble or quartz instead which contain their own beautiful and unique patterns.

Metals such as stainless steel can be used as a single piece backsplash or in a style of tiles to create a pattern.

Copper is a luxurious material and will acquire a beautiful patina, but it does need a lot of care and attention to look its best.


Combining different materials for your backsplash gives you more options for color, pattern and creativity.

You can combine ceramic subway tiles with shiplap or mix mosaic glass tiles with single color porcelain tiles for texture and effect.

There is an infinite variety of combinations that you can use to create a wow factor backsplash to highlight or contrast your dark kitchen cabinets.

Slate and glass mosaic tiles are often used together for dramatic effect while mixing polished and matte metals in hexagonal mosaic looks great and provides a focal point in your kitchen.

Light colored porcelain tiles paired with a marble countertop in a similar shade provides a contrast to dark kitchen cabinets.

Be aware of the different properties and maintenance needs of any materials that you choose to combine as part of your backsplash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Choose A Backsplash For Dark Cabinets?

You need to decide if you want to contrast the dark cabinets with a white or light colored backsplash or whether you are going to complement it with a tone on tone choice.

A lot will depend on the material you are using and what design you want to achieve.

What Is The Best Material For A Backsplash?

It will rest on how functional or decorative the backsplash is going to be.

If you think it will get a lot of use you may want to choose a hard wearing material such as ceramic or porcelain.

If style is more important to you then perhaps choose a contemporary metal or natural stone.

Should A Backsplash Be Lighter Or Darker Than Cabinets?

If you want to introduce some light into the kitchen then choosing a light colored or reflective backsplash will contrast with the dark cabinets.

Your kitchen lighting, both natural and artificial will also influence whether a light or dark backsplash will work well with your dark cabinets.

What Is The Most Popular Backsplash?

Ceramic tiles are the most popular for creating a backsplash. This is because they are incredibly versatile, they come in many different colors and can form lots of different patterns.

Ceramic tiles are also one of the most affordable materials for backsplashes.

Final Thoughts

Your kitchen is the heart of your home and where you and your family spend most of your time.

For this reason creating a space that is pleasant and inviting is important, and your backsplash will be part of that overall creation.

So, don’t rush your decision, take the time to explore the different options available to you and how they will work with your dark cabinets.

Take samples of tiles or metal backsplashes and see how they look next to your cabinets and under your kitchen lighting.

You will want to be sure of your decision as remodeling a kitchen is an expensive process, and you really won’t want to be doing it over if you find you don’t like your original choice.

Research the options and see what other people have done for backsplashes with their dark cabinets and whether you agree or disagree with their choices.

We hope this guide has helped you make a decision for your backsplash.

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