20 Backsplash Ideas for Dark Cabinets to Create an Alluring Kitchen

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You've decided to remodel your kitchen. Perhaps you've already curated a mood board to help you visualize exactly what you want in terms of color palette, style, and materials. But if you're going with dark kitchen cabinets, you may be stuck on what to do with your backsplash. More and more we're seeing people stray away from white cabinets in favor of darker hues. Whether you opt for a rich wood finish, like cherry, or a dramatic color — such as navy blue, teal, green, or black — picking the perfect backsplash to complement your dark cabinetry can make all the difference in your space.

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After all, a kitchen backsplash presents the perfect opportunity to express your personal style. Do you prefer muted palettes or color schemes that will pop? Do you like transitional tile or rustic stone surfaces? Dark cabinets don't necessarily limit your backsplash choices, but you want to select an option that will enhance the shade and style of your cabinets instead of compete with it. For instance, if you have shaker cabinet doors, you don't want an ultra-contemporary backsplash. We know: There's a lot to think about. Just remember to avoid trendy options and look for something timeless that you won't tire of in a few months. It should truly reflect you and the rest of your home.

To help you make your final decision, here are 20 backsplash design ideas that will pair beautifully with dark cabinets.

20 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas for Dark Cabinets

1. Stick to a black and white theme.

If your color scheme is black and white, then lean into that when it comes to your backsplash. Marble countertops brighten up the dark lower cabinets, but the real drama comes from those stunning black, white, and gray patterned tiles that tie everything together. We love this look by Danrak Design because it's both fresh and timeless at the same time.

2. Consider a honed finish.

Committing to a dark cabinet color is a bold move, but painting the walls in the same hue is an even bolder one. And if you want to take it a step further, stick to a matte finish for both the cabinet paint color and the backsplash material. In this kitchen design from deVOL, the muted forest green shade and the honed Cararra marble backsplash and countertops offer loads of contrast without feeling too flashy or contemporary.

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3. Try out penny tile.

In a kitchen, black cabinets are a quick and easy way to make a bold statement. However, if you really want to up the ante, combine that with terrazzo countertops and a black penny tile backsplash for a next-level chic design, as proven by this swanky setup from GRT Architects. The high-gloss mosaic finish breaks up the monochromatic scheme by reflecting every bit of available light, while the brass shelving and faucet make a sophisticated and oh-so-cool finishing touch.

4. Opt for a simple pattern.

When considering backsplash ideas, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Keep it simple. Interior designer Heidi Piron did just that in this rustic kitchen, pairing dark distressed cabinets with classic subway tile. However, to keep things interesting, she gave the traditional white backdrop a little extra flair with the help of patterned accent tiles, in a complementary color, dispersed evenly throughout. The wood trim along the front of the hidden range hood is a perfect match to the kitchen island, tying the entire design together while adding an element of warmth.

5. Combine shiplap and tile.

If you're worried that dark cabinets will make your cook space feel too closed in, this kitchen from Raili CA Design is the perfect solution. Bright white countertops lighten things up, but it's the wall of white subway tile and white vertical shiplap that really raises the roof in this room.

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6. Inject midcentury modern charm.

If you're into all things midcentury, including your kitchen design, consider a tile backsplash that's inspired by the beloved era. We're big fans of the patterned number spotted in this light-filled culinary space. The dark wood cabinets and open shelves add a natural element and just enough warmth to keep the color scheme from feeling stark.

7. Don't shy away from pink.

Do something unconventional with your backsplash, because after all, it's ​your​ kitchen. Take a cue from this design and marry pink tiles with dark green cabinets. Let's face it, pink is a soft shade that makes everything around it look even lovelier. Plus, it will always put a smile on your face.

8. Make a statement with marble.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

Marble is a classic choice for kitchen counters and backsplashes. While natural stone can be a bit pricey, it's durable and will always be in style, so it's well worth the investment. Plus, it looks exceptional next to shades of blue, green, gray, red, and black, not to mention natural wood finishes.

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9. Add jewel tones to the mix.

This sleek look from Fireclay Tile really turns up the heat. The combination of black and wood cabinets, teal subway tile, and marble countertops results in a visually interesting kitchen design that's bursting with depth and texture. Not sure about you, but we're officially sold.

10. Explore cork.

While there is nothing wrong with traditional backsplash materials like natural stone and ceramic tile, this modern kitchen spotted on Plykea has us considering cork for the first time ever. The black upper cabinets and open shelving with light wood trim are unexpected, but the cork backsplash below truly takes the cake. It's one of those ideas that you have to see to believe, and once you do, you can't stop thinking about it.

11. Opt for a tone-on-tone approach.

Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

If blue happens to be your favorite color, don't stop at a rich royal hue for your cabinets. Go for a patterned ceramic tile flaunting shades of azure for a truly awesome backsplash, like the mesmerizing design in this kitchen. Also, can we talk about how pretty the brass countertops and matching hardware look against the blue backdrop?

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12. Keep it old school.

Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

If you live in an older abode, or vintage style is just your thing, consider a porcelain tile backsplash displaying shades of buttery yellow and mint green. The color combo will look perfectly retro next to dark wood cabinets, as proven here. Not to mention, the patterned trim is a delightful finishing touch that echoes the checkered floor and seamlessly pulls the entire design together.

13. Amp up the drama with black.

Layne Kula from The Penny Lane gave this kitchen a moody makeover with the help of black slate. She used the same textured tile for both the herringbone backsplash and flooring, resulting in a cohesive finish that works beautifully with the dark wood cabinetry. To ensure the space doesn't feel too dark, she opted for white countertops and lustrous metal finishes that reflect loads of light.

14. Invite brass to the party.

And speaking of lustrous metal finishes, get a load of this stunning brass backsplash. If you really want to make a statement, and add a bit of warmth in the process, you can't go wrong with such a unique design choice. Paired with wood countertops and blue cabinets, the eye-catching backdrop looks positively radiant. Plus, the material's natural patina adds beautiful depth and character to the space.

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15. Use mosaic tile to design a work of art.

There is no rule that says backsplashes have to end with a straight, clean edge. In this culinary dream spotted on Mercury Mosaics, the black cabinets are a grounding element, allowing the artistic display to take center stage. Made up of shades of black, gray, and white, the abstract mosaic backsplash design — reminiscent of steam coming up from the stove — makes its way up the wall, ending in an uneven, organic edge behind the range hood.

16. Try something timeless like copper.

Metal backsplashes (such as stainless steel) work beautifully with dark cabinets, but this particular design by deVOL has stopped us in our tracks. While at the more expensive end of backsplash material options, copper brings with it an old-world feeling like nothing else. And if you're into embracing a bit of patina, they get even better with age.

17. Follow the lead of your cabinets.

In the world of interior design, monochromatic looks are endlessly chic. Just look at this dreamy navy blue kitchen by Jean Stoffer, with its matching cabinets and subway tile. White accents like the countertops, range hood, and trim keep the space from feeling too dark. Follow her lead and throw in a gorgeous runner and brass hardware, and you've got yourself a swoon-worthy culinary space.

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18. Mix and match.

Big on boho decor? This setup checks off all the boxes for an eclectically rustic kitchen, starting with the mix of blue tile and patterned ceramic tile on the walls. The backsplash combo really livens things up without seeming too busy. The dark wood cabinets, ceiling, and trim don't hurt either.

19. Turn on the texture with zellige.

The mossy green cabinets and hood in this kitchen from Leanne Ford are simply stunning. But combining that with a soft, white zellige tile backsplash and dark gray countertops is seriously ​chef's kiss​. There's something about the texture of the Moroccan-style tile that adds a whole other dimension. Plus, it also makes a truly lovely backdrop for the artful display of copper cookware.

20. Do something special around your stove.

While you can't go wrong with classic subway tile, perhaps you want to add just a little more visual interest to your backsplash. In that case, make the stove a focal point with the help of some accent tile. In this light-filled kitchen, patterned concrete tiles above the stainless range add something a little different without being too flashy. Sometimes the little details can make all the difference.

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A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Our list of backsplash ideas most likely helped you narrow down the choices for your kitchen remodel. But making a final decision can be daunting. It's a big investment and something you will live with for years to come. So where do you start? First, you need to decide on the budget. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a kitchen backsplash is around $1,000, but it can range from $450 to $1,500. The installation cost depends on the material you choose and, of course, how much area there is to cover.

When it comes to materials, if you're not just painting over your walls or using shiplap, ceramic tile is the least expensive option. It comes in around $2 to $4 per square foot, and it's easy to cut, so it will fit into uneven spaces. Porcelain is slightly more expensive than ceramic, averaging about $6 per square foot. It's also water- and stain-resistant. Natural stone, like granite or marble, gets pricier at $9 to $17 per square foot and is more expensive to install than tile. Well-maintained stone is highly heat- and water-resistant. Stainless steel or copper can run as high as $20 per square foot. As gorgeous as metal backsplashes look, they do tend to lose their sheen over time, and will require regular upkeep. Glass tile is a nice choice for more contemporary kitchen designs, but according to Remodeling Expense, it can cost upwards of $34 per square foot, which makes it one of the more expensive choices.

We definitely suggest taking a sample of your cabinet color to a home improvement or tile store to compare it with different backsplash materials, shapes, and colors. Many retailers have consultants who can help you make the best choice for your kitchen design and lifestyle. Line the final choice up next to your dark cabinets and spend time with them in your kitchen. The most important thing to remember is to take your time making a decision — there is no need to rush.

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As an Emmy Award winning creative director, writer and producer I have worked on content for brands like Disney, BravoTV, TBS, Universal, E! and MTV. But I mostly love rearranging furniture and repotting plants at home.