While most modern bathrooms are rooted in practicality, eschewing ornate details for geometric shapes and clean lines, don't mistake the design style for boring. In fact, there are seemingly endless options when it comes to balancing functionality and aesthetics, ranging from lighting to bath fittings to tile — especially the backsplash. Modern backsplash ideas allow homeowners to keep their countertops clutter-free and inject personality and character into even the most minimal bathroom remodel.
Curious? Read on to discover 11 creative ways to dress up your bathroom.
1. Opt for color blocking.
Maximize the impact of a singular color by color blocking, as the team over at ETC. did in this efficient yet personality-filled en suite in the Firehouse Hotel. White walls and black accents play a supporting role to high-gloss red zellige tile that transitions seamlessly from the bathroom floor to the backsplash. An expansive marble countertop adds a dose of sophistication to a utilitarian sink.
Get the look: Clé Tile Zellige Palace Red, $32.50 per sq. ft.
2. Choose a wall tile in an unexpected hue.
Mint green might not be the first color that comes to mind when thinking of modern backsplash ideas, but the surprisingly versatile shade functions as a refreshing neutral backdrop. 2LG Studio used it to temper the severity of matte black bathroom sinks and a black and white vanity with hairpin legs. The retro, art deco-inspired floor tiles are a glamorous touch.
Get the look: Walker Zanger CAFÉ Brick Moroccan Mint Blend, $12 per sq. ft.
3. Make a high contrast statement.
Satisfy your inner maximalist and amp up the drama in your bathroom design with a high contrast tile, and then employ it on the floor and the walls. This eye-popping space by Natalie Myers embraces a monochromatic palette and a small scale all-over pattern for a more-is-more look that's big on refined details, including a thick marble countertop and brass accents. A wood vanity softens the masculine vibe and interrupts the pattern, keeping it from feeling too busy.
4. Add pattern to your bathroom walls.
And speaking of patterns, consider a graphic tile backsplash in a muted color scheme to introduce dimension and a bit of visual interest. This soothing space by Crystal Sinclair uses thoughtfully placed ceramic tiles to anchor a floating vanity and shower. The calming green and white color combo enhances the minimalist design without distracting from it while black fixtures ground the airy setup. Double mirrors and a trough sink are the perfect setup for two.
5. Warm up your space with wood.
Sure, using wood in areas with humidity and moisture might not sound like a great idea, but when properly sealed and maintained, a wood backsplash is a viable and durable option. In this small bathroom, Raili Clasen gave the classic shiplap wall treatment (typically associated with farmhouse interiors) a modern spin in bleached wood and paired it with a floating concrete sink, black faucet, and mossy green shower tile.
6. Put your own spin on basic white.
In this white bathroom, Sarah Sherman Samuel took an elongated white version of the tile mainstay, installed it vertically in a stacked bond pattern, and used extra thick horizontal grout lines for a simple yet impactful white subway tile backsplash idea. Unlacquered terra cotta floor tile, wood accents, and plenty of plants impart welcome earthy notes.
7. Welcome an abstract pattern.
Abstract patterns are a popular choice for flooring but don't discount utilizing them as a striking modern backsplash. This tailored bathroom by Daleet Spector Design makes the most of an edited color palette with a floor-to-ceiling accent wall covered in a hypnotic black and white tile design. A wood vanity and pint-size greenery add plenty of warmth.
Get the look: Clé Tile Cement Zenith White + Black Square, $7.85 per sq. ft.
8. Go with a classic.
While it might seem as though terrazzo is a relatively new material due to its explosion in popularity, its origin can be traced back to the 16th century. Arent & Pyke went with the eye-catching tile backsplash idea in this sophisticated bathroom, resulting in a mesmerizing focal point that infuses dimension and personality. Elegant design elements that complete the space include brass fittings, frosted glass sconces, and salmon-hued walls.
Get the look: Clé Tile Forage Terrazzo Shell, $14.95 per sq. ft.
9. Mix bathroom tile shapes.
A mashup of traditional shapes like the subway, marble hexagon, and penny round mosaic tile seen in this bathroom by Picture Perfect House can all work together and still look au courant. Contrasting grout on the vanity backsplash, a trio of double bulb sconces, and a flat front cabinet with integrated handles round out the modern look. Wood edging lends an organic feel.
10. Lean into asymmetry.
Deliberate asymmetry, a hallmark trait of modern design, can deliver beautiful results when done properly. The ladies at Studio Life/Style executed it with aplomb in this tasteful setup anchored by a two-tone marble backsplash flaunting a bespoke zigzag tile pattern. A slim profile wood bathroom vanity and offset mirror break up the design and add texture.
Get the look: Tabarka Studio Petite Alliance 12, call for pricing
11. Let your grout stand out.
Impart nautical vibes to a modern basksplash with navy tile and make your grout a design feature. Instead of opting for a traditional installation, Sammie of @insideofnumber9 chose an offset vertical stack pattern with white grout to make the look pop. White accents — a vessel sink, vanity cabinet, floor, and ceiling — tie it all together.