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DWYER MARBLE & STONE  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 2, Issue 14  •  Back Issues click to call: 248.476.4944

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Article: Making A Splash With Backsplashes
Material Spotlight: FLORIM Stone Porcelain Slabs

'Coming Soon' Slabs - See Now!




Making A Splash With Backsplashes

by Megy Karydes

Most homeowners focus on cabinetry and appliances when updating their kitchens and may forget a key focal point that can make a strong statement: the backsplash. Using the right material for kitchen backsplashes is not only functional, it adds an element of elegance and architectural detail in the space just above the kitchen sink or stove.

Photo by Lauren Coburn.

Backsplashes can provide an instant opportunity to create a statement, especially if the countertops are visually quiet, according to Lauren Coburn, owner of Lauren Coburn, LLC. Alternatively, a quiet backsplash can draw the eye to a countertop with more movement and visual interest.

Coburn recommends considering the countertop and rest of the kitchen space when choosing a backsplash. "The 'art' in the kitchen has to be carefully chosen and minimized visually," she notes. The biggest mistake people make, according to Coburn, is creating too many focal points.

She advises clients to consider choosing either a busy backsplash or busy countertop (such as one with veining). Choosing two materials with competing movement can make it hard to focus on either. "Your eye doesn't know where to go," Coburn notes.

Of course, if a material can be used on a countertop, then it can certainly be used for a backsplash. Marble and quartzite looks usually make the greatest impact on a space, since they come packed with personality, color, movement, and elegance.

And, context is important. The color and movement of the material should be taken into consideration, as well as the design of the kitchen. Coburn recently created a full-height marble-look backsplash for a client, carrying through the veining she included on the countertop. "I always love the same material as the countertop extending up the backsplash," she says. "It's seamless, elegant, and architectural."

What to Consider When Selecting Backsplashes

There are a few other things our expert remind homeowners to consider when selecting backsplash materials. Several considerations deal with practicality.

To avoid disrupting the backsplash visually, Coburn suggesting using plug molds versus outlets. These can be installed by an electrician. "You can plug appliances into the plug molds concealed in the cabinets above so you don't have outlet plates on your backsplashes creating disruption in the design," she explains.

"Leaving outlet covers off the backsplash creates a much more seamless and simple look and makes your backsplashes pop without interrupting the movement." Plug molds also make it easier to clean a backsplash when oil or other things splatter while cooking. Coburn also cautions clients to consider that any backsplash must hold up to heat if it is near the stove. Many people make the mistake of not checking with the vendor on heat requirements.

Other things homeowners should analyze is how much space is needed between your backsplash and sink faucets or knobs before installation. Consider where your plumbing is located, how large your sink and cooktop are, and the amount of space you feel comfortable functioning with, so that once your backsplash is installed you don't feel like your hardware is crammed against it.

Trends in Backsplashes

Bookmatched backsplashes are still as popular as ever, and continue to take the design world by storm, acting more as a feature wall as opposed to a backsplash, even if technically they perform the same function. Large bookmatched slabs tie a space together and add a sense of direction, while also creating a beautiful, organic focal point.

Another trend is to use the same material for the countertop and backsplash, creating a smooth transition from surface to surface. Note that using that same surface as a floating shelf will likewise add an open, yet streamlined element to the space.

© UseNaturalStone.com

Material Spotlight:
FLORIM Stone 12mm Porcelain Slabs
Material Stocked By:  Dwyer Marble & Stone
Colors Shown:  Calacatta Gold, Marble Marquina
Photographer:  Florim Ceramiche S.P.A.