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Originally published July 18, 2014 at 8:00 PM | Page modified July 25, 2014 at 8:58 PM

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Selecting right backsplash can help your kitchen make a splash

The backsplash can make a design statement, but if you leave the wall bare, you miss an opportunity.


The New York Times

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You’ve installed new marble countertops in your kitchen. Now, what kind of backsplash would make the right finishing touch?

“The backsplash in a kitchen is an opportunity to make a statement, whether it’s a statement of refined luxury or an accent piece,” says Sean Murphy Turner, an associate real-estate broker with Stribling and Associates in Manhattan. “If you leave the wall bare, you miss an opportunity.”

Elizabeth Maletz, an architect in Brooklyn, says a solid slab of natural stone cut to fit the space between your cabinets and counter would be a good choice. And if you use the same type of marble for countertop and backsplash, she says, “it would unify things very nicely.”

Be aware that a stone slab is one of the more expensive backsplash materials. Maletz suggested a few options that would add personality to a kitchen and may save a few dollars.

One is to install a marble mosaic that incorporates small pieces of the material used for the countertops. “That adds some texture, even as it unifies the palette,” she says.

Or you could try a different material. “Glass tile can look very nice against white marble,” Maletz says.

She suggests a single color in white or a very pale green, in 3-by-6-inch subway-tile shapes or long thin bars.

The most budget-friendly option is ceramic tile, she says. “Use a very neutral-colored tile, in the same white and gray tones you find in the marble.”

To add visual interest, you could choose tiles in an uncommon shape — hexagonal, for example — that is set off with a contrasting grout color.

“You can use a gray grout with white ceramic tile, so the pattern of the tile really pops,” she says.

Two of Maletz’s favorite sources for tile are Nemo Tile and Ann Sacks. The latter has “some affordable options,” she says, “although they also sell Louis Vuitton-grade tile, so you have to choose carefully.”

From a functional standpoint, any of these options would work as well as marble, if not better.

In fact, she adds, “marble would actually be the least durable thing,” because acidic foods can etch it. “But if you’re already using marble for your countertops, you’re probably not too concerned about that.”



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