Clayton Blog

A Brief History of the Modern Backsplash

You might not be familiar with the name backsplash, but I guarantee you have seen one! Backsplashes are usually found behind the sink and the stove in kitchens, and are generally made out of tile.


Bright Colorful Mosaic backsplash Clayton Mobile HomeThe Cumberland model by Clayton


No one knows exactly when the first backsplash was created, but we do know why!

They were created to keep water and grease from splashing up on your wall—hence the name backsplash.


The Beginning of Backsplashes


The first backsplashes were only 4 inches tall and made of out glass or ceramic tile. It really depended on what was available at the time. With the innovation of running water in the home, kitchen functionality and design rapidly evolved, which includes the introduction and evolution of backsplashes!


For a long time, kitchen sinks came with their own tall backsplashes and the walls in the kitchen were less likely to have backsplashes.


Style Evolution


In the 1940s, the popular farmhouse sink that came with its own backsplash began to be replaced by undermount sinks, which meant the built-in backsplash was no longer there!


In the 1950s, backsplashes started to become brighter in color, and they went all around the kitchen. Tile throughout the house was becoming more colorful. The backsplash was evolving!


50s kitchen tile backsplash


By the 1990s, people were starting to get tired of the mosaics and bright tile configurations. They started to look more toward a natural looking tile.


Home buyers started wanting more neutrals for their kitchen backsplashes.  White or cream backsplashes plus honey oak cabinets and white appliances were a signature 90s look.


90s Honey Oak Cabinets White Cream Diamond Tile BacksplashPhoto by Mountain Wood Homes


In the 2000s, subway tile started to make its entrance into the backsplash market. Subway tile is a ceramic or glass tile that designers are using to combine with a mosaic tile. They use the subway tile for the base because it gives a clean look and helps accent the mosaic design.


45TMC32763BH_kit_0357.jpgThe Bristol model by SEhomes


This kitchen, featured in The Bristol model by SEhomes shows how the subway tile has a clean look, and the traditional feel it brings never gets old!


Functionality and the Future


Backsplash trends are always changing, but the functionality has stayed the same since the beginning.


Tile and glass continue to be the main material that backsplashes are made out of, but designers are making tile look like wood. Patterned cement tiles are even trending now!


When it comes to picking out a backsplash for your home, find something you love and go for it!  Happy backsplashing, and may functionality and style go with you!
See Backsplashes For My Style

Topics Decor and Design