Can a Backsplash Be Darker Than the Countertop?

Can a Backsplash Be Darker Than the Countertop

Can a Backsplash Be Darker Than the Countertop? When it comes to kitchen renovations or updates, homeowners often ponder the color coordination between tile backsplash and granite countertops. One of the common dilemmas is choosing the right shade for the tile backsplash, especially when you have stunning granite countertops to show off. 


A backsplash can be darker than the countertop. This design choice can add visual depth and interest to a kitchen or bathroom, creating a striking contrast that highlights both elements. However, it’s important to consider the overall design and color scheme to ensure a cohesive look.


Let’s explore whether a backsplash can be darker than the countertop and its impact on the kitchen’s aesthetics. We will also touch upon the synergy between California tile and granite, a popular choice for many homeowners.


Should the Backsplash Be Lighter or Darker Than Countertops?

Whether a backsplash should be lighter or darker than the countertops is not set in stone; it’s a matter of personal preference and the overall design vision for the kitchen. A lighter backsplash can create a sense of openness and brightness, which is particularly beneficial in smaller or less-lit kitchens. On the other hand, a darker backsplash can introduce a striking contrast that highlights the countertops, especially if you’ve chosen a lighter shade of granite.


A darker tile backsplash can add depth and character to the kitchen, and it’s a choice that can complement both contemporary and traditional designs. The contrast can be dramatic and visually appealing when paired with light granite countertops. However, it’s essential to consider the balance and flow of the kitchen’s design to ensure that the darker backsplash doesn’t overpower the room or clash with other elements.


Does a Dark Backsplash Make a Kitchen Look Smaller?

A common concern with choosing darker colors in any room is the potential to make the space feel smaller. While it’s true that dark colors can sometimes make a space feel more enclosed, this is typically a fast rule for backsplashes. The key is in the balance and how you use the dark material within the space. If used correctly a dark backsplash can recede visually, creating an illusion of depth that can make the kitchen feel more spacious.


Moreover, the finish of the tiles can also play a significant role. Glossy tiles reflect light, which can help counteract any claustrophobic effect a dark color might have. Strategic lighting can also enhance the backsplash and add a layer of dimension that keeps the kitchen feeling open and airy.


What Are the Best Materials for a Dark Backsplash That Won’t Make My Kitchen Feel Smaller?

Selecting the best materials for a dark backsplash that won’t make your kitchen feel smaller is crucial in maintaining a balance between style and the perception of space. Here are some excellent options and tips to consider.


Glass Tiles

Glass tiles are an exceptional choice for a dark backsplash as they have a reflective quality that can brighten the space. Even when choosing darker hues, the way glass tiles catch and reflect light can make the walls recede, making the room appear larger. 


Also, glass tiles come in various colors. They can be found in translucent or iridescent finishes that add depth and interest to your kitchen without overwhelming it.


Polished Stone

Polished stone tiles, such as granite or marble, can also be a good option for a dark backsplash. The polished surface reflects light, similar to glass, and can add a touch of luxury to your kitchen. Choosing a stone with lighter veining or flecks can break up the dark color and create a more dynamic look.


Metallic Tiles

Metallic tiles or tiles with metallic accents can add a sophisticated and modern touch to your kitchen. Metals naturally reflect light, which can help to brighten the room. Whether you opt for stainless steel, copper, or bronze tiles, each serves as a bold statement without shrinking the space. These are particularly effective under cabinet lighting, which can enhance their reflective properties.


High-Gloss Ceramic or Porcelain

Ceramic or porcelain tiles with a high-gloss finish can be a practical and cost-effective choice for a dark backsplash. The glossy surface will reflect light around the room, helping to counteract the dark color’s potential to make the space feel smaller. Additionally, these materials are durable, easy to clean, and available in various sizes and styles.


Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles can be a playful and visually exciting option for a dark backsplash. They often combine different colors, materials, and finishes, which can distract the eye from focusing on the darkness of the color. Mosaics can include glass, stone, and even metal tiles, providing a unique texture and reflective quality that enhances the space.


Textured Tiles

Tiles with texture, whether stone, ceramic, or porcelain, can add dimension to your backsplash and prevent it from feeling flat or dull. Textured dark-colored tiles can absorb light differently at various angles, creating a dynamic surface that adds visual interest without constricting the space.


Matte Tiles with Strategic Lighting

If you prefer a matte finish, you can still use dark tiles for your backsplash without making the kitchen feel smaller by incorporating strategic lighting. Under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, or recessed lighting can illuminate the backsplash, enhance the color, and create a cozy ambiance that offsets the lack of reflection.


When choosing the material for your dark backsplash, it’s also essential to consider the overall size of the tiles. Larger tiles make a space feel bigger because they have fewer grout lines, which can visually expand the wall area. Additionally, applying a grout color that closely matches the tiles can create a more seamless look.


By carefully selecting the suitable materials and finishes, even a dark backsplash can contribute to a feeling of spaciousness in your kitchen. It’s important to balance dark tones with elements that reflect light and create visual interest, ensuring your kitchen remains bright and welcoming.


What Style of Backsplash Makes a Kitchen Look Bigger?

If you want to make your kitchen look bigger, consider lighter-colored backsplash, reflective materials, and a simple, uncluttered design. Light-colored backsplashes in shades of white, cream, or light gray can reflect light and give the illusion of a more expansive space. Glass tiles or tiles with a glossy finish can amplify this effect by bouncing light around the room.


Another trick to visually expand the space is to use larger tiles or to lay the tiles in a pattern that draws the eye outward, such as a diagonal or herringbone pattern. Keeping the grout color similar to the tile color can also create a more seamless look, making the kitchen feel larger.


Should the Backsplash Be the Same Color as the Cabinets?

Deciding whether the backsplash should match the color of the cabinets is another design choice that depends on individual preference. Matching the backsplash to the cabinets can create a cohesive and uniform look, which can be soothing to the eye. It’s a safe choice that will likely stay in style and make the decision-making process more manageable.


However, choosing a backsplash that contrasts with the cabinets can be a bold look if you want to create a focal point or add a pop of color. It can define the kitchen space and add layers of interest. For example, a dark or colorful backsplash can make a statement without overwhelming the space if you have white cabinets.



A backsplash can be darker than the countertop, and when done thoughtfully, it can enhance the kitchen’s overall aesthetic. The choice between a lighter or darker backsplash should align with your taste and the design goals for your space. Remember that a dark backsplash doesn’t necessarily mean a smaller-looking kitchen, especially with the correct use of finishes and lighting.


California tile and granite offer a timeless and durable option for both countertops and backsplashes, and they can be incorporated in various ways to achieve the look you desire. Whether you opt for a dark tile backsplash to complement your light granite countertops or vice versa, ensure that the materials, colors, and finishes you choose reflect your style and work well within your home’s design context. With careful planning and a clear vision, your kitchen can become a beautifully balanced space that stands the test of time.


Marblus Granite and Tile, Inc.

1775 Monterey Hwy Unit 40 C, San Jose, CA 95112, United States


Share this post with your friends

Thank You

We have received your message and will get back to you as soon as we have reviewed it.