With their non-negotiable basics — we're talking about toilets, sinks, baths, and showers — and small footprint, it can be challenging to create a bathroom full of style and personality. So, it's important to seize the opportunity and make the most of style-driven elements, such as flooring, wallpaper, paint, tile, and accessories, that personalize bathrooms and make them unique.
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A perfect way to do this is by including a colorful backsplash — a vertical extension of the countertop that provides a barrier (usually made of tile or stone) to protect the wall behind from water damage. While they serve an important purpose, both bathroom and kitchen backsplashes provide an opportunity to add color, texture, and character to functionally driven spaces.
There's no shortage of backsplash options to consider. From tile in classic shapes, like penny round and subway, to stone slabs, such as travertine and marble, to wood wall treatments, like shiplap and beadboard, you can't go wrong. However, we're partial to using backsplashes showcasing any shade of blue. With its reference to water, the cool color is a popular choice for bathroom tile, and depending on the hue, it can complement a variety of aesthetics from nautical to boho to traditional.
Curious how a blue backsplash can elevate your bathroom game? Read on.
1. Don't be afraid to go dark.
Lean into a pint-sized bathroom and amp up the drama (in the best way) by embracing a dark color palette. Take notes from interior designer Heidi Caillier who created this timeless bath with floor-to-ceiling, navy blue subway tile, with matching grout, to visually expand the small footprint. She imparted a bit of edge with black and white accents and orb wall sconces, while the marble console sink with antique brass legs is an enduring addition.
2. Opt for a hexagonal shape.
If you find tile in a color that speaks to you, don't be afraid to take it a step further with a unique shape. Never one to shy away from color, Justina Blakeney opted for a hexagonal backsplash tile flaunting an eye-popping cobalt blue shade. She continued the vibrant boho bathroom theme by pairing the wall tile with a Moroccan-inspired floor motif and a banana leaf print wallpaper in the same hue. A set of floating wood shelves and brass hardware complete the look.
Get the look: Fireclay Tile Adriatic Sea Hexagon, $50 per sq. ft.
3. Consider green undertones.
If you can't decide between a blue or green backsplash, there's no shortage of beautiful tile that marries the two popular bathroom hues. Raili Clasen of Raili CA Design knows a thing or two about color and complemented this rich teal zellige with a handful of punchy local prints, a trio of cut glass mini pendant lights, and mixed metal finishes. A skylight illuminates from above and enhances the handmade appeal and slight color variation of each individual tile.
Get the look: Zia Tile Zellige Aegean, $17.75 per sq. ft.
4. Consider a subtle pattern.
Wainscotting is a popular wall treatment that adds dimension and texture to walls. While it's generally installed using wood paneling, a barely-there patterned tile is an unexpected alternative. Amie Corley used a pale blue and white lattice print tile to introduce a subtle dose of contrast and personality to this soothing space. A small piece of painted wood trim adds depth, while aged brass fixtures give the space a sense of history.
5. Accentuate with architectural lighting.
Introduce softness to a blue backsplash with a tile that has gray undertones. The color functions as a neutral that works equally well in modern and traditional interiors. Kate Marker punctuated the gray-blue backsplash in this soothing bathroom with a trio of double bulb wall sconces for a contemporary twist.
Get the look: Clé Tile Zellige Tempered Steel Bejmat, $19.50 per sq. ft.
6. Carry the same material down to the floor.
Minimize sightlines and create a cohesive look by extending your backsplash tile from the walls onto the floor. Homme Boys deftly used this technique in their primary bath and paired it with a natural wood vanity, an integrated marble sink, and brass hardware for an elevated rustic retreat.
Get the look: Zia Tile Zellige in Skylight, $17.75 per sq. ft.
7. Go graphic
Infuse your bathroom with personality and character, regardless of its size, with a modern tile backsplash. Project 5 installed a high-contrast feature wall using blue and white graphic cement tile and layered it with a cast concrete sink, a matte back faucet, and a black metal-framed mirror.
Get the look: Popham Design Brasilia, contact for pricing
8. Reorient your tile for a completely different feeling.
Add a contemporary twist to traditional subway tile by selecting an elongated variation and installing it vertically in a stacked bond pattern. This moody powder room by Studio Life/Style uses the backsplash and an oval mirror to create the illusion of more space and pairs everything with plaster bathroom walls for added texture. Handsome accessories including leather-wrapped sconces and a custom marble and brushed brass vanity pop against the dark-hued walls.
9. Choose a whimsical pattern.
Add a whimsical touch to hardworking bathrooms with a nautical motif. This sweet space by Emily Henderson embraces a water-related theme with a light blue tile backsplash, and drives home the beachside vibes by pairing the fish scale-inspired wainscoting with gold hardware and white walls, floors, and vanity cabinet. The result? A crisp, clean space with youthful energy.
Get the look: Fireclay Tile Ogee Drop Crater Lake, $36 per sq. ft.
10. Pair your blue backsplash tile with glam accessories.
If you favor an elevated look and aren't convinced a blue backsplash will give you the refinement you crave, check out this wow-worthy space from the creatives behind Popham Design. Installing a hex wall and floor tile in various shades of blue with a pedestal sink and art deco-inspired light fixtures and vanity mirror, they achieve a show-stopping bathroom design that manages to be timeless and au courant at the same time.
Get the look: Popham Design Hex Artichoke, contact for pricing
11. Scale down with a penny tile mosaic.
Think outside the tile box with a round mosaic backsplash to add personality and a unique spin to your interior design scheme. Although subway tile is a ubiquitous bathroom staple, follow the lead of GRT Architects and consider a scaled-down penny tile in varying shades of blue. Pair with brass wall sconces and black hardware for a look that's fresh and contemporary.